Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: April 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Helping retailers harvest customers with QR codes

gplusMore and more retailers are using QRki, our free cloud-based QR code content hosting and QR code generating platform we developed to harvest shopper details and encourage shopper engagement.

The photo shows how one newsagent is using a QRki QR code to promote their Google+ page. Smart.

Tower Systems developed QRki as a free software service for all retailers.


New jeweller software options help jewellers customise their offering

Thanks to fresh new software for jewellers, more jewellers are able to customise their business offering in valued ways. From customised product price tickets to customised receipts, jewellers are able to put their own stamp on the look and feel of their business through these everyday touch points.

Tower Systems has been at the forefront of this customisation for jewllers, providing jewellers with more facilities and options through which to represent their business through the software.

This is important in that it allows jewellers to speak with their own voice rather than being dictated to by a software company that is less flexible.

Flexibility in jeweller software is important to Tower Systems as it expands the number of jeweller businesses using its software.


Garden software featuring at Green Expo Sydney

gexpoTower Systems is thrilled to be supporting the national Green Expo event in Sydney with fresh software backed by fresh marketing in the industry magazine and other very special support on the floor of this important exhibition.

Developed specifically for Garden Centres, our Garden Centre software is packed with facilities that will deliver time-saving and business-building benefits.

Being part of the garden centre of the future opportunity at Green Expo helps show off other benefits of partnering with Tower Systems.

We appreciate the support of the NGIA in being able to present our software at this valued event.


Sunday retail management advice: POS software training boosts productivity

With more retailers engaging with the free POS software training from Tower Systems we can share the commercial value of employee training.

Retail business employees who undertake the professional and structured retail employee training in the use of our POS software are better equipped and more able to serve the needs of the retail business in which they serve.

Thanks to our exclusive an online training portal, retailers and their employees have access to a comprehensive library of training that, when completed, will result in a certificate to acknowledge the achievement.

Trained retail employees are more efficient and knowledgeable and better able to serve the needs of the business.

Tower Systems is the only company offering this level of online and video based training. It is a point of difference on which Tower partners can rely to leverage for the value of their businesses.


Newsagent suppliers choose POS software from Tower Systems

More newsagent suppliers have purchased business management software from Tower Systems than any other newsagency software company.

Chosen on the merits of the software and to as a result of any deal, discount or offer, our newsagency management software is exposed to more suppliers and their representatives than any other and this helps expand our reach.

In the met recent situation, a newsagency supplier put our newsagency management software into two locations to assist in the running of part of their business. We won the business based on a professional evaluation of our capabilities matched with their business needs.

We are thrilled to serve suppliers to the newsagency channel at this level.


Closed for Anzac Day

All our offices are closed for Anzac Day today. Our after hours, emergency and management escalation numbers are all available.


POS software lower cost of ownership than cloud software

While there is plenty of noise about cloud based POS software supplied under a SaaS model, Tower Systems is winning business by demonstrating that its Point of Sale software pricing model is more attuned to the cash flow needs of a business than noisy cloud based applications chasing some of the marketplaces in which we serve.

In a recent price comparison over three years the price difference was considerable. Once we layered in functional differences and commercial opportunities compared with cloud opportunities, the retailers involved quickly discarded the options that initially looked cheaper.

With software you get what you pay for.

Good cloud offerings have an infrastructure cost. They also have a support opportunity cost in that most do not provide live in-store training and this can limit the benefits accessible to the retailers and their associates using their software.

In being armed with accurate information, Tower Systems is able to give retailers more information with which to make business decisions when comparing to some cloud based alternatives.


Free cloud-based content platform helps retailers

qrkiAny retailer is welcome to use the free cloud based service called QRki from Tower Systems to harvest contact details from customers for email and other campaigns.

QRki generates a QR code that your customers can use to provide contact details, enter competitions, look at videos of products you load and look at other connect you may load.

We developed and released this free cloud-based platform to help small and independent retailers  to more effectively market and manage your business.

QRki is another way Tower Systems is helping small and independent retailers.


POS software & helping small retailers manage inventory correctly

Tower Systems is hosting an important free online training workshop for retailers using its POS software tomorrow. Covering the proper process for receiving inventory into a business, this session will help retailers and retail associates to get the data right from the outset.

This is vitally important since getting it right here avoids issues further down the track.

The workshop is part of our on-going free live training opportunities for our Point of Sale software customers.


Independent retailers benefit from loyalty choice in POS software

For years, retailers, especially independent and small business retailers, have been told to follow retail giants and reward loyal shoppers with points that can be redeemed for gifts and discounts.

Dutifully, many small business retailers acted on this – but without a thought-through strategy to achieve the best outcome for the business.

Without a financially rewarding outcome for a business, a loyalty program is worthless.

This is why retailers, in any retail channel and in any retail situation – high street, shopping mall, rural and or regional – need options in terms of shopper loyalty rewards. It is why Tower Systems offers valued options in its Point of Sale software.

While a points based program is useful, it could be that the business will benefit from a different approach.

Good POS software will offer flexibility. This flexibility can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line performance of a retail business each year.

The Tower Systems Point of Sale software supports multiple loyalty options that include: a traditional points based approach, interfacing to the respected Vii Accumulate loyalty platform, interfacing to the equally respected Transactor loyalty platform, interfacing to Flybys NZ and offering a unique and flexible front end loyalty solution.

Having so many options available provides Tower Systems retail partners with commercially valuable flexibility.

The loyalty platform selected by a business depends on the needs of that business. A business that chooses POS software without broad flexibility will be limited in what they can achieve for their business with their software.

Big system interfaces

Vii Accumulate – used by Qantas, BankWest, Clipsal and others – and Transactor – used by Westfield, Amcal, Goldmark, Prouds, Avanti, Subway and others – are both used by retail banner groups and national retailers to connect stores allowing point accumulation and redemption in any location.

The Tower Systems approach with these two platforms delivers maximum flexibility for the retailers and banner groups. Through our seamless interface you have access to the facilities of either Vii Accumulate and Transactor.

Groups with as few as four retail locations could benefit from either interface.

The traditional points-based approach

In the Tower Systems software, retailers can accrue points for customers easily.

This is done by customers presenting a loyalty card, usually called a VIP card, at any time during a sale.

This is the easiest loyalty program to setup in a small or independent retail business.

The software accrues points according to rules established by the business owner. Points can be used by customers to access rewards. They can also be used to generate gift vouchers for shoppers based on points accrued.

Many retail businesses using the Tower software use the points-based loyalty facilities to encourage shoppers to spend more.

Shopper loyalty is much desired yet harder to achieve in this world with more competition, more loyalty options and a greater desire for instant gratification.

Following carefully assessment of international trends and looking thoroughly at how large and national retailers used primarily points-bases systems to drive loyalty, Tower Systems invested in an alternative, a new software based facility to reward loyalty for an often forgotten shopper.

Change the game: front-end loyalty

By using an approach we at Tower call front-ending loyalty, retailers can achieve more from first-time and infrequent shoppers. Front-ending loyalty brings a reward to the front in an effort to engage shoppers in additional purchases sooner.

Too often loyalty has been all about total spend over a year whereas above average spend in just one visit can be more valuable to a business.

It’s an approach that can encourage those who do not shop with you to purchase something else right away, to get the value of the cash discount offered.

Regular shoppers can spend the cash discount right away or come back within any time limit you set.

We started trialling this front-ending loyalty strategy in February 2013 in several retail businesses. We did it using the Discount Vouchers facilities in the Tower Systems software.

Building the basket

From the first day we saw shoppers changing behaviour.

One chap came in to purchase a specific item. When he was handed the receipt the voucher was pointed out to him – offering $2.00 off his next purchase. He was not a regular and so spent the $2.00, and more, right away on another item. He received another voucher and purchased a third item. In all, he spent three times as much as the original purchase – all because of the Discount Vouchers he received.

Around 33% of all vouchers redeemed are used the day they are received. This shows customers building the basket – adding to their purchase that day as a result of the voucher. This makes each visit more valuable to us.

Bringing shoppers back

Around 33% of redeemed vouchers are used within seven days of issue and the remaining 33% are redeemed up to four weeks after issue.

Here’s another real story: A month after we started trialling this new approach to loyalty, a customer came in and used a voucher she had picked up a couple of weeks earlier. She was happy to get $5.00 off a $45.00 item she wanted. This resulted in another voucher so she bought another item for $29.95.

This customer said she would be back. Two weeks later she was.

You control the business rules covering how vouchers are issued and redeemed. You control your financial exposure at all times.

Like any good loyalty program, you need good levers with which to drive shopper engagement and to deliver the benefits it needs to justify the investment.

The Discount Vouchers facilities in the Tower software have this.

You control the amount of each sale you are prepared to give away on the voucher.

You control the products the voucher can be used for.

You control how long the voucher is live for.  I suggest 28 days but I have some retailers setting this at 90 days.

You control what it’s called

We have shoppers calling their vouchers Bonus Bucks, Cash Off, Thank You Dollars and other names retailers feel are relevant to their businesses.

The software has been developed in a way that gives each retailer complete flexibility as to what they call their program. This localisation opportunity is important as it gives you ownership over your own program.

Helping your business

With big box and national offering their corporate loyalty programs, it’s important for retailers to offer a genuine point of difference.  Discount Vouchers offer this.

While their approach is very corporate, your approach can be more flexible and more focused on early rewards. Over the months of trialling we have seen changes shopper behaviour, it gets them spending more with you.

I’m confident this fresh approach to loyalty is a game changer for any garden centre business. The control you have enables you to easily manage the cost and the value you gain from the program.

This really is a new approach to bringing shoppers back sooner and getting them to spend more with you.

So, which loyalty program is right for your business? That choice is up to you.

Tower Systems provides you with options, some of which are unique to us in our various retail channels.

Thanks to our partnerships and interfaces we provide retailers with a depth of flexibility that is extraordinary.

That you have a choice is vitally important. Better still, that you can move between the options is even better.

Where we are at today in terms of loyalty will be different to tomorrow as change is inevitable. Our commitment is to continue to refresh our software to ensure it and those who use it are competitive.


Sunday retail management advice: cut employee theft with better control

Cutting retail employee theft is easy in our experience. We have worked with retailers, police, investigators and insurance companies for decades and still the most common reason theft occurs is because of poor controls.

Retailers who implement recommended controls will experience less theft. That is our experience.

The controls we recommend are:

  1. Balance your cash at the end of each shift. Make employees responsible for balancing.
  2. Do not take cash out without it being recorded.
  3. Owners / managers spend time at the country unexpectedly.
  4. Balance your banking to your cash takings daily.
  5. Balance your actual GP to expected GP for key departments monthly.
  6. Implement a theft policy that all employees are required to sign.

We work with individual businesses on their situation and will happily help any Tower Systems customer in this area.

Employee theft can be cut and we can help achieve this.


POS software helps independent retailers up-sell

kidssandOur Tower Systems Point of Sale software prompts retail associates when a customer has an opportunity for a better deal. Pitched well to shoppers this can help increase a shopper’s spend in a visit.

An example of this is on show in Australia in the current school holidays. Smart newsagents are selling kinetic sand – in three sizes. The bigger the size the better the value per kilo. Prompting the retail associate with this information during the sale can help them give the customer information that could lead to a larger purchase.

The prompt makes the associate more knowledgable and it facilitates an opportunity that customers could appreciate.

While any POS software can transact a sale, it takes smart POS software to help a retail business maximise every customer contact opportunity.


POS software customer service over Easter

We have an excellent platform of support  in place to serve our retail customers and their use of our POS software over Easter.

While this information has already been shared with our customers we share it here in case any passing by this place have missed it.

Our after hours numbers will be live: 0418 554 963; 0418 528 577; 0419 842 334 as well as management escalation numbers. Plus we will be responding to emails. But most important of all, our Knowledge Base will be accessible all through. Type in your question and access the best POS software support resource.


Why we don’t talk about our most significant innovation here

Competition being what it is, for some time now we have held back on talking here about our most significant innovations.

We prefer to work direct with our customers on innovations ready for delivery well ahead of talking here.

So, there is a lag between us delivering innovation in enhancements and new products and us talking about those things here – if at all.

There are some innovations and new products we do not discuss here at all as we know that actions speak louder than words.

So if you find yourself here looking to find out what we are up to, give us a call or drop us an email. You;re certain to hear about plenty of innovation not being discussed here.


Easter Eggs fuelling the software company

eggsWe’re continuing a decades long tradition with Easter Eggs for our team today. We have this range of speckled eggs and other delicious traditional Easter treats to keep people fuelled for what will be a busy day before the Easter holidays.

This range of eggs is from a client business which specialises in amazing chocolate products. The products are sold through retailers we serve as customers.

If our help desk team sound a but hyper on the phone today you’ll know why.


Helping bike shop owners enjoy bike shop software

While the Tower Systems specialist bike shop software offers a points-based loyalty program, it also offers a more immediate loyalty option that will help your customers spend more each visit.

Called discount vouchers – but you can call it whatever you prefer – this program offers shoppers cash they can spend immediately or within a time period you stipulate.

You can compete with online with immediate rewards for those who shop with you.

Through software settings you determine the value of vouchers and rules around redemption that are best for your business.

You can expect between 12% and 30% of vouchers to be redeemed and up to 30% of redemptions to be on the day of the initial purchase. We have excellent data we can share with you where this is being used today.

If you have customers who visit once only or infrequently, expect discount vouchers to encourage them to spend more in their visit. This is why they are ideal for a bike shop.

We have seen one business increase average customer spend in a visit by 30% as a result of this program. We have seen another increase overall sales by 14% year on year.

Call today for a business discussion on how we can help your business for a few dollars a day for hardware, software, training and support:

  • VIC: Anthony Franklin 0403 189 379;
  • WA/SA: Tim Batt – 0401 833 917;
  • NSW/ACT/TAS: Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
  • QLD/NT: Paul Slater 0434 365 789..

Use discount vouchers immediately love how your customers react.

If you want to grow traffic and sales in your bike shop we can help.


Helping Australian newsagents enjoy their businesses with better software

In 2013 Tower Systems added even more newsagency customers to our newsagency software community. 2014 is also off to an excellent start

Size matters as demands on newsagency software increases. We demonstrate the value of size in our software updates and public advocacy for newsagents, we invest considerable to help the channel.

Here are practical ways we help colleague (we own newsagencies too) newsagents every day:

  1. A friendly help desk staffed 7am through to 6pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am to 3pm on Saturday. Local call numbers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
  2. After-hours support available 24/7 through five mobile phone numbers.
  3. Free one-on-one training for every newsagency every year.
  4. Free new owner training.
  5. Mandarin and Cantonese language support for those who prefer this.
  6. Free hardware support for all h/w sold by us plus a 3-year on-site warranty for all HP h/w.
  7. Weekly free online live and interactive training workshops.
  8. Access to more than 130 professionally produced training videos for newsagents & staff.
  9. Free theft check service – we help newsagents uncover possible theft.
  10. Free business performance analysis service – we help you see growth opportunities.


Call your local newsagency expert to learn more: NSW/ACT: Nathan Morrison – 0417 568 148; SA/WA: Tim Batt – 0401 833 917; VIC/TAS: Mike Hill – 0423 848 482; QLD/NT: Paul Slater 0434 365 789.


Massive interest in shop floor POS solution drives POS software further

handyRetailers are responding with haste to the portable wireless shop floor POS terminal we launched earlier this year and just started talking abut here a week back. They love the portability, ease of use, warranty coverage and price. They also love that they have access to all our software through our Retailer Tablet Licence facilities thanks to our smart software integration.

Being retailers we have been able to test this product in a more proactive way than most software companies.

We are thrilled that retailers can open an additional retail lane easily, sell from the shop floor and undertake more work in the business without being tethered to the counter or back office.

The HP ElitePad is a true Retail tablet. This device is the perfect POS unit perfect for interacting with your customers on your shop floor. Containing an inbuilt 2D barcode scanner and additional battery allows you to work for hours without being tethered to your desk or counter. Included is a full licence and copy Retailer transforming this device into a full service computer allowing you to perform stock takes, invoice arrivals and returns live via your wireless network.


More retailers engaging with our free QRki QR code cloud based platform

qrki-logoWe are thrilled to see more retailers using QRki to generate QR codes and host videos, PDFR files and other content as well as to harvest competition entries and other data from shoppers. We launched QRki last year to give small and independent retailers a platform to use to compete with major national retailers. We made it free as part of our commitment to giving back to small and independent retailers.

Anyone anywhere in the world can use QRki. There is no barrier to entry. No cost. QR codes can be used immediately.

QRki speaks to our creativity as well as our social conscience.


Helping independent retailers deliver better customer service

Independent retailers don’t have the money to spend selling their customer service story like national and bigger retailers do. The only way they can pitch customer service is through better customer service.

Nowhere else in retail does actions speak louder than words thank in delivering customer service – actually, delivering exceptional customer service.

Through our smart POS software, Tower Systems helps retailers deliver consistent customer service. Retailers, through settings in and use of the software, can determine the actual customer service delivered.

Here are some of the customer service opportunities facilitated by Tower Systems software:

  1. Product use and service information included on receipts.
  2. Emailing of receipts.
  3. Sexy receipts as well as regular receipt roll receipts.
  4. Product demonstration videos accessible in-store.
  5. Easy online competition entry.
  6. Points based loyalty.
  7. Immediate cash reward loyalty.
  8. Retail network wide integrated loyalty.
  9. Allied product suggestions while processing a sale.
  10. Packaging location information on scanning an item for sale.
  11. Multiple product label options to serve business and customer needs.
  12. Attracting shelf labels to help customers on the shop floor.
  13. Product placement advice based on shopper behaviour analysis.
  14. Marketing tools to facilitate customer visit follow up.

Our small and independent retailer Point of Sale software helps retailers with these and other tools designed to facilitate more valuable customer interaction.

We use many of these ourselves in our own retail businesses where we play with our software to get the most from it. There is nothing like playing with software you have created to see how you can make it better.


And so starts a crazy two weeks in retail

This week is a short week for many with Easter covering Friday through Monday and then at the end of next week is Anzac Day. It’s not often that we have so many holidays so close to each other at this time of the year so it will be interesting for retailers, challenging too depending on their situation.

It’s at a time like this that retailers are likely to see shoppers who are not regulars. This is where our immediate loyalty engagement tools can be useful to grow spend per shop rather than focussing on the longer term shopper.

One of the beauties of our immediate loyalty engagement tools is that they can be turned off and on at will. For example, a retailer could fire up the brilliant and much-loved discount vouchers for these two weeks targeting infrequent shoppers with a goal of increasing spend per visit.

Sometimes we need to look at the tools we have at our disposal differently. Our discount vouchers facilities can be used in a range of different ways to drive good outcomes for our retail partners.


Sunday small business retail management advice: make sure you have the right friends with whom to discuss business

Who do you talk to about your retail business? Are the sympathetic? Do they challenge your perception of your business? Do they agree with everything you say? Do they offer pity as a response for you explaining your situation?

Good friends will challenge what you say. They will ask tough questions. They will not put up with a victim mentality. They will want to know what you are doing to improve your situation.

If your friends don’t challenge you when you talk about your business consider seeking out others you can talk to who do challenge you.

Owning a business of any size can be tough and lonely. In the business it is rare you will be challenged. In your immediately family, too often, you will not be challenged. This is why you need to seek out those who could and will challenge you. You need to be challenged. Your plans need to be tested through tough questioning.  While some good friend will do this for you many will not.

So, do you need to change your friends?

Seek out people who will give you truthful assessment of what you say, people who will have an opinion and be unafraid to share it. You want people who will actively listen to you and give you their insights.

Seek out people who will want the same from you.  The ideal friendship is one that is equal, open and honest in conversation.  This is what retail business owners need – people who can help them see what they may not be seeing for themselves.


How breaking free from the me-too points based loyalty offer can help your gift shop grow

While the Tower Systems gift shop software offers a points-based loyalty program that any gift shop can easily run, it also offers a more immediate loyalty option that gift shops are loving.

Called discount vouchers – but you can call it whatever works best for your customers – this program offers shoppers cash they can spend immediately or within a time period you stipulate.

Through software settings you determine the value of vouchers and rules around redemption that are best for your business.

You can expect between 12% and 30% of vouchers to be redeemed and up to 30% of redemptions to be the day of the initial purchase. we have excellent data on this which we can share with you.

If you have customers who visit once only or quite infrequently, discount vouchers could be the ideal to encourage them to spend more in their on visit.

We have seen one business increase average customer spend in a visit by 30% as a result of this program. We have seen another increase overall sales by 14% year on year.

Beyond the gift shop POS software, our retail experts work with you on getting the most from our investment – helping you drive sales and return customer traffic.

We are retailers too and draw on this in sharing practical advice with you.

Call one of our team today for a business discussion on how we could help your business for just a few dollars a day for hardware, software, training and support:

  • VIC: Anthony Franklin 0403 189 379;
  • WA/SA: Tim Batt – 0401 833 917;
  • NSW/ACT/TAS: Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
  • QLD/NT: Paul Slater 0434 365 789..
  • NZ: Phil Daniels: 0275 288 491.

You can start using discount vouchers immediately and without the cost of cards and related infrastructure.

If you want to grow traffic and sales in your gift show we are the gift shop specialist company to help you.


Retailers hate compulsory POS software support

It’s our view that only a POS software unsure of the quality of their product or service would force a customer to pay to keep using the software once that customer has purchased the software – whether purchased up front or through a monthly access fee.

Here at Tower Systems, POS software support is optional. We are grateful that many of our customers take up the opportunity.

We add value to support with extra free services such as access to a constantly evolving knowledge base, more than 100 training videos, free top-up personal training as well as free business management assistance. each of these additional services takes our offering beyond the traditional when it comes to POS software support and each gives our customers another reason to engage with us and get more form their software.


Retailers love on-site POS software installation & training compared to a remote service

We are trilled to be winning business in competitive situations recently where on the basis of the live in-store one on one training we provide for our Point of Sale software.

We have several competitors now who only undertake installation and training with retailers remotely – over the phone. While we will deliver this way if a customer prefers, our preference is to provide training live in-store as this means we can see for ourselves what is actually being learned. Plus we can train by moving about the business to locations where the software would be used.

Being in a retail business we pick up things that can help us help our customers. They could be small and incidental or they could be complex. Either way, being there with them we can provide better and more useful service and this helps our customers get more from their partnership with us.

We have no doubt that personal live training is better for us and better for our customers.

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