Featuring on National Retail Federation promotion

nrfTower Systems CEO Mark Fletcher and National sales Manager Nathan Morrison are featuring on marketing material from the National retail Federation for the NRF Big Show that starts in two weeks in New York.

Attended by 30,000+ each year, the Big Show is an extraordinary business conference and trade show for large and small retailers. We have attended for many years.

The event is an excellent networking opportunity with overseas based peers as well as with engaged Australian retailers on matters of technology and retail business management.

The photo being used by the NRF was taken at last year’s event.

POS software help desk quiet between Christmas and New Year

This week between Christmas and New Year is usually the quietest for the POS software company help desk with many retail businesses either closed or busy with post Christmas sales.

Regardless, the Tower Systems help desk has been open for business, taking calls, checking supplier stock files, providing free training, enhancing Knowledge Base content and undertaking installations.

As with other years we have used the opportunity for housekeeping – as have many retailers. We support this with assistance in running housekeeping tasks including sales to quit dead sock and other tasks retailers like to reset their businesses for the new year.

Hence the decision to ensure we have been at full strength and capable of serving any needs expressed by our customers.

Is POS Solutions following us?

We posted this at 6:20am yesterday: http://blog.towersystems.com.au/2015/12/29/massive-fail-in-pos-software-loyalty-offering/ POS posted this at 4:25pm yesterday: http://www.possolutions.com.au/blog/so-why-settle-for-good-when-better-is-available

We think it is funny when we see them write about what we write about here first.

Good software comes from genuine innovation not inly in the software but the agenda-setting through commentary about the software.

Helping out when other help desks are closed

It is in this Christmas / New Year period when software companies that are actually open carry the load for others. We have taken calls that ought to have been handled by others yet could not be as they are closed.

Suppliers to small business retailers are notorious for this – for being closed when they should be open providing the customer service they claim to provide.

While we are happy to help, it is frustrating that lazy suppliers get a free ride from our generosity and the forgiving nature of our customers and their customers.

Helping retailers save time with integrated eftpos

Tower Systems is using the rush of trade for small business retailers at Christmas to reinforce the commercial value of the Tyro integrated eftpos solution we offer. With 1,000 retailers connected through Tyro we have excellent data reflecting time saving, mistake reducing and other benefits for retailers that help at the sales counter as well as in the back office management of the business.

In the middle of the busy trading of Christmas, the benefits of the Tower Systems Tyro broadband eftpos integration are clear and felt on small business retail shops across a range of marketplaces:

  • Fast eftpos processing.
  • Accurate eftpos processing.
  • Reduced keystrokes at the counter.
  • No clogging of the phone line.
  • Streamlined counter management.
  • Happier customer engagement.
  • Better control over possible points of fraud in the business.
  • Reduced cash handling costs.

Massive fail in POS software loyalty offering

A Tower Systems team members was in a retail business recently using POS software solution from another company and experienced a considerable failure of loyalty software. After making the purchase and leaving the store, our team member was called around ten minutes later with the news there was a voucher for them. It turns out this other POS software is slow at producing vouchers, meaning they often are printed minutes after the sale is completed – meaning the opportunity it lost.

Vouchers need to be printed with the sale, instantly, if the business is to leverage the maximum opportunity. This is vital to the success of any loyalty program – pitching to the shopper while they are still able to easily shop. This is what the Tower Systems POS software does – best practice loyalty in our POS software.

Calling a customer after they have left the shop is an epic fail for the POS software and a problem for the retail business.

The experience was a reminder to us that we have not the loyalty offers in our software right in terms of mix, facilities and speed. It also showed us a competitor’s weakness first-hand.

Christmas / New Year POS software support calls

In the first three days of Christmas / New Year most support calls have been from people wanting advice on how to do things they might not have got to through the regular busy trading period. Being accessible has been key to the service we provide – accessibility like regular blog posts here, access by email, access by phone and the continuation of our weekly support email.

POS software update receiving kudos from retailers

Just a note to say thank you for the update. I love it and I love being a beta test site. I can see the hard work that has gone into the software, loving it even more.

We love getting feedback from our customers. All feedback inspires us to work harder for the close 3,500 small business retailers we serve.

The latest update is settling in well, even over the Christmas / New Year period. Wide release will commence shortly with our users having the opportunity to choose when to install.

Sunday retail management advice: how and when to quit stock in your retail business

How do you identify product that is not working? When do you quit a product that is not working? Why should you quit stock? How do you quit the stock? How long should quitting stock take? What if the item does not sell no matter what you do?

These are all questions we will answer here for you in the form of suggestions. What you ultimately do is 100% up to you. Your choices need to reflect your own situation and circumstances.

Identifying product that is not working.

Product is not working if it is not paying its way – paying for the floor space it takes and the time you spend on it. Check your sales, rank all your stock based on sales – look at the bottom performing stock. Your software should have a ranked Sales Report that lets you list all your stock ranked by unit or $$ sales. Use this to create your list of items to consider.

The other way to identify stock that’s not working for you is to check your back room or other storage facility. Stock that is not generating cash regularly has to be considered dead in our view.

When do you quit a product?

You quit, exit, products when they are not paying their way, when a season is done or when you want to exit that category for some other reason.

Let’s say your rent is $1,250 per square metre per year. If your gross profit averages, say, 50%, you will need to sell $2,500 worth of product to pay for a metre of space. However, this is not the complete consideration as you have labour, power and other costs to cover. The suggested rule of thumb is that your retail sales need to be at least three times that necessary to cover the cost of the space. In the scenario covered here, you should be earning at least $7,500 from a square metre of space. If stock is not delivering this, quitting it could be necessary.

Why quit stock?

To keep your shop fresh, to not be weighed down by dead stock to make your shop look more relevant, to stop hoarding.

How to quit stock.

Here is how we quit stock in retail businesses we operate. These businesses are in shopping centres where retail space is limited and expensive. We are necessarily aggressive.

  1. Set a deadline. We’d suggest two weeks for quitting a product or range of products.
  2. Choose your timing. The best time to quit stock quickly is on your busiest trading days. For many this will be the weekend. Consider structuring your quitting program to run from Thursday through Sunday.
  3. Set your initial price. The discount must be compelling. We’d suggest 50% off. A smaller discount in this marketplace will not get noticed. Think about your discount words: in some areas, HALF PRICE works better than 50% OFF. Sometimes, 2 FOR 1 can be even more effective. A $$ price can work better – for example a dump bin with everything priced at $1. People then don’t have to work anything out.
  4. Move the product to a high traffic location. Display it as a line you are quitting – in a dump bin or in open boxes. This must be in a location away from where the product is usually located. Do not make an attractive display. Consider placing the stock somewhere that people almost stumble over it.
  5. Put up a sign that is either black on white or white on read. Nothing fancy. Even a hand written sign is good. Do not make a complex or attractive sign.
  6. Adjust your price. If sales are not strong enough, go harder with your discount. From 50% off we suggest a drop to a $$ price point. It can be challenging selling something you would have sold for $20.00 at $1 but that $1 is better than getting nothing for the product at all.
  7. Give it away. If the products are not selling, consider giving the stock away to a local charity. Getting it out of your shop for no compensation can be better than it taking space and giving off the wrong message about your business.
  8. Keep track of time. If you decide to be out of the stock within two weeks, stick to that and make it happen with your pricing and placement decisions.
  9. Use the bin. If you can’t sell the item and you can’t give it away, use the bin.
  10. An alternative: If you have a large amount of stock to quit, consider hiring a local hall and running an off site sale. Talk to your suppliers about getting extra stock in for this. You could even plan to do this as an annual event. Consider, too, linking with a local charity to drive interest and create a fund raising opportunity for them.

Quitting stock takes strength and commitment. We urge you to do it to keep your business fresh. Product not selling gives shoppers a bad impression of your business.

Take a look at your shop floor and in your back room. Look at what you can get rid of right away to reduce the anchor of dead stock on your business.

Too many retail businesses have old stock gathering dust. One of the best ways to separate your business is to regularly quit stock that is not performing as it should.

Helping out on Christmas Day

While our offices may be closed for Christmas, to give our team members time with their families, our support services are still available – as several customers found out today already. While none of their queries were to do with issues with our software, that we were available to provide advice on internet and other issues was a comfort to them. We are grateful to be of service.

Major POS software update the perfect Christmas gift

Tower Systems is thrilled with the structured professionally managed beta release of a major POS software update. Representing many man-months of software development, this latest update delivers new facilities along with user-requested enhancements, taking our software into new areas and leveraging new opportunities.

The roll out is proceeding well and at the pace chosen by our customers.

Helping retailers leverage Boxing Day sales

Retailers using our POS software and following our retail management advice has had access to terrific tools with which to leverage the Boxing Day / Post Christmas sale opportunity. Our training, support and retail business advice platforms have aligned to help retailers make the most of the seasonal sale opportunity – well in advance of the big day.

Our focus has also included training and guiding new retailers and those who have never undertaken such sales. Owning our retail businesses for years, we have been able to drawn on our own advice to to speak from personal experience, to help those new to the Post Christmas sale opportunity to help it work for them.

From discount facilities to inventory opportunity discovery to targeted marketing tools, our POS software is an ideal platform through which to drive additional revenue this time of the year.

Helping small business retailers manage labour cost

Labour is the second highest cost in small business retail yet it is often among the least managed. Tower Systems helps small business retailers manage labour costs. By manage, we mean keep efficient to ensure they are appropriate to the needs of the business. We have helped small business retailers cut labour costs by 25% without any downward impact on sales revenue. We do this through our smart POS software in a range of ways including:

  • Tracking sales by time.
  • Tracking sales by employee.
  • Employee rostering.
  • Tracking labour cost by hour.
  • Mapping costs against seasons and other important activities within the business.

Busy week before Christmas on the POS software help desk

These last few days before Christmas are proving to be busy for us on our POS software help desk. The type of calls we are receiving reflect a business in retail. This is good news as most of our customers are independent small retail businesses. Their business is important to us.

To ensure we make these last few days before Christmas calm and producing we have all hands on deck assisting customers, providing training and other help so they get the most from their Tower software. By all hands, we mean everyone. Tower is a very flat company with people across the business tasked to provide the excellent customer service for which we are known.

Christmas hours for Tower Systems POS software help desk

We have been advising our small business retail, customers our planned Christmas hours for several weeks:

CHRISTMAS HOURS.
We will close at 12 noon Christmas Eve and reopen 7am December 29. On December 31 we will close at 4pm. we reopoen January 4 at 7am. Our after hours numbers will be available for urgent system down queries.

Retail management advice: beware web developer promises

There are some bad web development businesses out there, charging too much and delivering website solutions that are not what customers sought. Like anything in business, when it comes to web development – you get what you pay for. Caveat emptor.

Our advice when it comes to choosing a web developer is simple:

  • Take your time to work out exactly what you need / want.
  • Put in writing what you require.
  • Get a written contract that is specific as to what will be delivered and when.
  • Pay when you are satisfied.

Sunday small business retail management advice: give people waiting something to buy

candylaneSupermarkets, fuel outlets and convenience retailers nail the candy lane, the floor space in front of the counter where people line and wait to be served. It’s called the candy lane because it’s where candy is often sold. It is a space strategy appropriate to any retailer.

What is it you present to shoppers who approach the counter, any counter in your business? Are impulse purchases by your shoppers growing?

Products need to be easily understood and relevant to your business. They need to be products on which customers can make a split-second decision.

Manage your candy lane for success.

Success is shoppers purchasing items on impulse from display units placed in your candy lane.

Small business retailers offer better loyalty value than Woolworths and Coles

We checked in recently with several retailers running our loyalty software facilities and in each case we found these small businesses offering loyalty programs that were between ten and one hundred times more valuable to shoppers than those run by Coles and Woolworths.

We are proud to play a role in these small business retailers offering valuable loyalty programs that focus on real value for customers.

From points to dollars off to multi-buy to rewards for future purchases, the loyalty programs available through the Tower software are considerable. Their flexibility is excellent as if the commercial benefits to our small business retail partners.

We are confident Tower Systems can help you:

  • Get customers spending more in a visit.
  • Bring existing customers back sooner.
  • Attract new shoppers to your business.
  • Drive impulse purchases at the sales counter.

Helping pet retailers with the Christmas rush

Christmas is peak season for pet shops and groomers with people spending up on their pets and pets of family and friends. Using smart tools in our pet shop software, Pet retailers are able to better understand their shoppers and to entice them back for the next year.

The customer service team at Tower Systems is helping them achieve this by providing extra support targeting Christmas peak opportunities. We are have been doing this without getting in the way of their day to day work load at this busy time of the year.

Pet retail is changing, evolving – and the Tower systems software is able to serve a valuable role through this period of transition.

Helping small business retailers convert from points based shopper loyalty to dollars

Tower Systems is helping several retailers transfer old-school loyalty points balances to cash value for engaged shoppers.

With points based loyalty so damaged from the poor value offerings of major retailers, smart small business retailers are engaging in the switch.

Having POS software with multiple loyalty offerings makes it easy for retailers to make this switch – to leverage the value accused in points and to package this is a more practical offering that shoppers love.

Even though this is the busy Christmas season, we have retailers engaged with this process – to emerge Christmas opportunities even further. With traffic peaking, this is a perfect time of the year to push even further.

Customer reactions to the conversion of points to dollars is appreciated – we are loving the reactions we are reading.