Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: February 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Mandarin and Cantonese POS software support loved by newsagents

As the only newsagency software company offering Mandarin and Cantonese language software support and having done so for years we are thrilled to serve several hundred in this community. Through our support and our one on one training we are able to help an otherwise isolated community of newsagents and otherwise small business operators.

While other suppliers to newsagents and industry associations have struggled for years to serve the growing number of Mandarin and Cantonese speaking newsagents, we have shown how it is done and enjoyed excellent success as a result.

We are proud of our help desk team of Mandarin and Cantonese speaking experts in our POS software.


What makes our our discount vouchers unique?

xxnaf99While we get a laugh at businesses that after we launch an innovation in our software  announce that they had what we have announced for years, it is also frustrating because they are seeking to trade off our promotion of our genuine innovation.

Take Discount Vouchers – the loyalty innovation we launched last year. While we have had discounting, coupons, loyalty and related options for many years, under the naming of Discount Vouchers we launched genuinely new facilities with multiple business levers bundled with many options for personalisation.

The suite of facilities bundled in our Discount Vouchers functionality is truly unique to us. After launch we looked at what others do and this reconfirmed that our facilities are unique, innovating and exclusive.  Customers and sales prospects recognise this and embrace relationships with us as a result.

It’s the setting options, tweaking flexibility, reporting and conversion drivers that make our offer genuinely unique. No one has what we have and since the code is hidden no one can have what we have.


More retailers embrace POS software integrated tap and go

tapandgoMore and more retailers using our POS software are embracing integrated tap and go for payment, saving time at the counter – streamlining customer traffic and helping the business at end of shift for reconciliation.

By using a POS software integrated EFTPOS solution retailers are also reducing mistakes. The benefits are considerable.

We partner with Tyro as we have found their integration to be easy and the back-end support to be excellent. Their tap and go terminals are a dream to setup and install, they work wonderfully with our POS software.


Gift voucher options help small business retailers compete

gftvoucherRetailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software have access to a range of gift voucher / gift card options in the software. The photo shows the simplest of the gift voucher options – a voucher printed on a receipt printer.

While not sexy, this voucher works where cost is an issue.

Our recommendation always is to go for a professionally designed and produced plastic card. However, if the cost of this is prohibitive the voucher produced using the receipt printer is an excellent option. Retailers can produce this right away without effort and at no additional cost.

This paper based voucher is a means through which they can sell to a customer who can’t find the gift they are looking for.

It’s another way Tower Systems helps retailers.


Helping small business retailers know when they are close to out of stock

outofstockSmall business retailers are often tight on inventory, putting off replenishing until the last minute. Thanks to timely warnings issued by our POS software in the Point of Sale screen, we warn retailers about imminent out of stocks as another reminder of their stock holding situation.

This on screen reminder is in addition to reorder facilities and other stock control / ordering /  tools in the software through which retailers are able to ensure they have stock on the floor at the right time.

The on screen reminder is another way we help retailers be ready in time.


POS software catalogue sales helps small retailers more easily compete

cataloguespecialRetailers using our smart POS software can compete with bigger retailers when it comes to catalogue offers and buy 2 for 2 or other bundles.  Using the catalogue facilities in our software they are able to manage the bundles as well as promote these at the counter during the sale thanks to subtle prompts issued by the software – as shown on the screen.

The catalogue management tools enable our small and independent retail partners to more effectively compete with big retailers, to more finely tune their offers so they, too, can match the catalogue deals they see advertised.

Managed by date / time range, catalogue offers handled by our software are another way small business retailers can pitch themselves as offering a competitive value proposition.


Where is the box for this? POS software helps retailers find the box!

packaginglocationRetailers using our smart POS software are able to have the software indicate on the sales screen when scanning an item where the box for the item is located in-store. This is invaluable at a busy sales counter and in a business where casual employees are used. It helps anyone at the counter find the box or pother packaging quickly and easily. It shows the business as being professional.

Our Point of Sale software has offered this facility for many years. It’s a tiny part of what our software does yet for some retailers that we do this is huge – tremendously valuable. It’s all about helping retailers save time. It’s also about helping them enjoy their businesses more. This function reduces stress.


Sunday small business retail management advice: manage theft!

Employee theft and customer theft, like any activity in a retail business, require management. Not encouragement! … management. It starts with tracking, understanding what is being stolen, how often and when. Whether it is cash or products or services, tracking theft is the first step to reducing the cost of theft.

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software have excellent tools for tracking and managing theft. Some of these tools are obvious and others are hidden for security reasons.

Through advice sheets, training videos, live training and other access points we help retailers understand their theft management options – all with the goal of reducing the cost of theft to the retail business.

This is another commercial benefit for retailers using our POS software. Retailers who do not use our theft management tools are more open to theft costing more in their business.



Tower Systems welcomes ACCC focus on drip pricing

Rod Sims, the Chairman of the ACCC, this week laid out in a speech to the CEDA conference the priorities for the organisation for 2014. Included in the priorities is attention on drip pricing:

Drip pricing involves the incremental disclosure of fees and charges over an online booking process. It causes both competition and consumer detriment.

Consumers see a ‘headline’ price advertised at the beginning of the booking process but when they progress to the payment phase, additional fees and charges have been added. Consumers purchasing airfares or sporting event tickets are all too familiar with this practice. Drip pricing involves a lack of transparency which may mislead consumers, and it can also make it difficult for businesses to compete on a level playing field.

Drip pricing can also exist where a customer signs up for a product expecting the price to be X and subsequently, once using the product, that the price is Y. Y pricing could be a mandatory annual fee that was not adequately disclosed in the initial sale process and that is not clearly documented in any contract.

We see this in the POS software space – where customers find that the cost of ownership of software is much higher than as represented in the sales process.

We will watch with interest engagement by the ACCC on this.


The best pet shop software in Australia

We were thrilled on hearing this week from a respected member of the pet shop retail channel who declared that our Pet Shop Software is the best pet shop software in Australia.

We have worked hard to ensure that our Pet Shop Software serves needs specific to pet retail, needs to today and into the future. At the same time we have ensured that our software serves the needs of pet shop suppliers.

But like all good software, it is never complete, we are never done. We continue to evolve our Pet Shop Software, to ensure that it meets evolving needs and to use the software to uncover new opportunities for the businesses we serve. Through regular updates we deliver more business benefits through which we help our retailers to build even better businesses.

We think it is our commitment to continual improvement and our transparency with our customers about software enhancement opportunities that has got us to such a strong position in the pet marketplace. While we appreciate the recent kudos, we are committed to delivering even better software next month, and some months after that and later this year … continual improvement!


Flexibility the key to discount voucher success

rewardsvoucherHere is another example of a discount voucher produced by our software. This time, the retailer is calling it a Rewards Voucher. This shows off one of the many elements of flexibility in our software – the ability for the name of the voucher to be set by the local business at any time.

The retailer can call it something that they know will better connect with their customers. Good POS software provides flexibility like this.

Beyond what we call the voucher, our retail partners are able to adjust settings to deeply personalise the experience, value and other aspects of this sales-driving marketing tool.

We are excited to see more examples of how our customers are engaging with this.


The receipt is an important document and marketing tool in retail

wincarrecpTower Systems is helping small business newsagents leverage their receipts to engage with a high profile competition being run by Pacific Magazines – offering further support to our position that the receipt is a vitally important business development and marketing tool.

Beyond detailing what was purchased, a good receipt can get a shopper back sooner, it can get them spending more right away and it can make them feel even better about shopping with the business.

The key to leveraging the retail receipt for maximum value to a retail business is the relevance of what is on the receipt. It is important that any pitch or promotion is relevant to this customer at this time. This is where Point of Sale software can help.

Our experience is that retail businesses that use the receipt as a marketing tool are more likely to be growing and achieving a deeper basket with existing customers. For next to no cost they are embracing another customer touch-point. Enough customers respond to make it valuable.

In the two examples you can see a WIN A CAR promotion being pitched on the receipts. The receipt on the right includes a QR code for rapid shopper engagement. By helping our retail newsagency customers serve these coupons we are helping them connect with a major supplier initiative quickly, easily and professionally.


Hey small and independent retailers, what is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

In his 1960 book, Reality in Advertising, Rosser Reeves, a respected US advertising executive, introduced the world to the concept of the Unique Selling Proposition, USP for short.

Reeves defined USP in an advertising context:

  1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer: buy this product and you will get this benefit.
  2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot or does not offer.
  3. The proposition must be so strong that it changes consumer behaviour.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the concept of a unique selling proposition evolved from being essential to advertising to being essential in business. Finding your business USP was considered mission critical to businesses, retailers especially. Businesses drifted however and forgot about the importance of a USP.

Jack Trout told us just a few years ago that it was as relevant today. In 2000, he said that a Unique Selling Proposition was mission critical in business in his aptly titled book Differentiate or Die.

Differentiate of Die. There is no doubt about the call to action in the title, no doubt about the consequences of inaction.

Yet many retailers, for the most part, have remained still in the face of an onslaught of competition.

Retail is tough today. We don’t need to tell you that. The differences between competitors fewer and the burdens between types of businesses are more vague than ever. Yet many small business retailers have not responded to these challenges.

Smart retailers have a Unique Selling Proposition, they leverage this to their commercial advantage.

Differentiation could be service, products or location or a combination of these. Differentiation will not be price as anyone can match price easily. Price is, after all, the last line of defence in any business battle.

To develop your USP, engage with your employees and other stakeholders. Take your time. Determine what you and your business stand for. Following open and honest discussion and debate, the USP around which everyone in the business can willingly congregate will emerge.

A good USP will not require an advertising campaign to communicate. It will become obvious through the decisions you make and the actions that follow.

By living the USP in every facet of the business you soon become seen as unique by shoppers and this can drive excellent word of mouth and success for the business.

While differentiation in retail is more important today than ever thanks to today’s economic conditions, the approach to the challenge is the same as in the 1960s.

This information is provided by Tower Systems, an Australian software company serving close to 3,000 independently owned small retail businesses. Our POS and retail management software helps you encode and live your USP in many ways.

Our mission is to help independent small retail businesses thrive.


Learning retail insights from Monash University experts

We are benefiting from a briefing into the latest retail experts delivered today by experts from the Monach University Australian Centre for Retail Studies.  ARCS is a leader in their field:

ACRS is an independent retail and consumer research centre based within the Department of Marketing in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University, Caulfield Campus. The ACRS provides a range of research and consulting services to the private sector and government clients, with a particular emphasis on retail and consumer research. Research priorities are developed in consultation with industry clients and promote research-based knowledge and thought leadership.

Participation in today’s briefing was organised through an appreciated supplier relationship.


More POS software training opportunities for March

pos-software-trainingRetailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software have been given more free online training opportunities in March with the release last week of new live workshop topics … and in a few hours the sessions started to fill with  retailers using the Tower software jumping on opportunities.

We select topics for training based on an analysis of help desk call reasons, knowledge base searches and customer feedback. This ensures that training is being offered in areas of need and interest among our customers.

The latest series of workshops has been promoted through our website, via our help desk and through an email sent to our customers. Access to the live training workshops is completely free including the phone call for audio participation.


Winning new newsagency business customers

It’s a thrill to share good news about the newsagency channel given that it is often talked down with stories of business closures and other challenges.

Over recent weeks we have sold our software to newsagents opening new businesses as well as others switching from other software to ours. This is great news for us and for our newsagent customer community of 1,900+ businesses.

Enhancements to our software position us well but it is our support that people love – the word of mouth this generates is excellent for driving sales in our business.

While some want to say Aussie newsagents are in trouble, we’re here to tell you there are many success stories and we are thrilled to be part of these.


BONUS BUCKS – retailers control how they pitch discount vouchers

bonusbucksA retailer using our smart POS software sent us this photo of a discount voucher produced by their software. They call theirs BONUS BUCKS. We love this!

Using our software retailers can call their vouchers whatever they like, this personalisation opportunity helps them speak with their customers in ways that they know will for in their situation.

Too often software companies provide software that is rigid, software that fails to let the retailer speak with their own voice. Not Tower Systems. At every opportunity we offer flexibility to facilitate our customers speaking in their own voice.


Garden centre & nursery software helping Australian businesses grow

Offering time saving and business building facilities in key business areas, the latest garden centre / nursery management software is making further inroads into the retail channel. The very latest software in beta release now is set to deliver even more thanks to helpful suggestions from already engaged garden centre and nursery owners.

The areas already well-covered by the software include:

  • Point of Sale counter sales management
  • Customer accounts and LayBy
  • Customer loyalty program options including points, cash and shopper call-back
  • Gift vouchers – your own vouchers easily managed
  • Employee roster
  • Electronic invoices including Danks
  • Specialist nursery barcode labels including weatherproof labels
  • A broad range of business performance reports
  • Theft reduction and management
  • Customer marketing facilities
  • Fast integrated EFTPOS

The Tower Systems nursery software includes a range of facilities and services developed specifically for nurseries including a new industrial strength and fast barcode printer.


Adult shop software feature pitches Tower Systems

eros-pos-softwareEros, the respected association of adult shops and suppliers in Australia featured Tower Systems in their latest member bulletin, drawing attention to the easy to use age restriction facilities in our adult shop software that help adult shop retailers and their employees to meet their legal obligations in terms the age of customers for certain products they sell. We help these businesses make fewer mistakes.

Our work with adult products wholesalers and adult shop retailers helps us serve the needs of both types of businesses. This work also helps us better serve in other marketplaces. The result is more effective and valuable software for our customers.

In addition to age checking, our adult shop software offers a range of facilities including a shopper loyalty facility that works well when customers don;t want their details tracked.


Networking retail stores through smart POS software

casphoneMore retailers using the Tower Systems POS software are networking their businesses, connecting multiple locations through the browser to enable simpler management of the IT resources at the store level. Connecting a whole group spread across the counter by offering browser based access to our POS software not only saves time for the retailer, it drives operational and data consistency across the group. Through excellent management controls, we can help retailers ensuring policy application consistency, thereby supporting what the group stands for.

The Casphone group installed by Tower last year is another example of Tower providing a robust solution that serves the group level needs while facilitating efficient operation at the store level.


Sunday small business retail management advice: 3 easy steps to reduce mistakes at the sales counter

Retailers who do these three things will reduce mistakes at the sales counter. We say this based on years of experience working retailers in many different situations. If you want to cut mistakes, here is what to do:

  1. Scan everything you sell, yes, everything!
  2. Use employee codes or barcodes with every sale – so you know who did what.
  3. Process credit cards and EFTPOS transactions through your POS software and not on a separate device.

Do these three things and the accuracy of what you transact will improve considerably.


All set for Sydney Home & Giving Fair

hgfWe are thrilled to be part of the Home & Giving Fair in Sydney over the next four days. Our stand is ready to go as is our latest software for gift and homewares businesses. This is a big show expecting to be attended by many thousands of retailers from Australia and New Zealand from a range of retail channels including gift shops, homewares stores, garden centres, pet shops, jewellers and newsagents. We are excited to be able to show off our new software to existing customers and prospects.

We’re in for a good four days!


Live Saturday help desk support for POS software users

Retailers using the Tower Systems POS software have access to live help desk based support today – Satruday. This is a valuable point of difference for our customers, especially newsagency, gift shop, garden centre, jeweller, bike retail and pet shop customers.

At Tower Systems, in addition to our 24/7 mobile phone based support, we offer office based Point of Sale software help desk support on Saturdays – live support from the office by a skilled team member. So, today, our customers can call and talk with an expert in the office:

  • Melbourne: 03 9524 8000
  • Sydney: 02 9525 6444
  • Brisbane: 07 3136 6888
  • Perth: 08 6317 0207
  • Adelaide: 08 8121 3366
  • NZ TOLL FREE: 0800 444 367

Retailers using other POS software & checking out this blog should call the office of their current software company today and see if they are open.


Love is in the air

loveIt’s Valentine’s Day and we’re sharing the love here at Tower Systems. One of the very talented people who works in our office made the bouquets and more to share around.



Software people have a heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day.


Rush of suppliers joining our EDI project as we help small business retailers drive efficiency

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software are in for a treat with more suppliers coming on board with our EDI project through which we will deliver access to more time-saving data feeds and opportunities.

Having someone in our company working full-time on supplier relationships is helping us drive a valuable point of difference for our customers, a point of difference through which Tower retailer partners can save time and improve data accuracy.

Hours saved every week benefits the bottom line of a retail business and we are driving that through the EDI project. We;’re not revealing publicly the suppliers we are working with since this is our investment that we want to nurture for the benefit of our customers and our own business.

What we achieve EDI plays well for us competitively and well for our customers. The new round of suppliers to come on board will deliver

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