Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: January 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Sunday retail management advice: traffic management in high volume retail

On a retail study tour in the US earlier this month some of the Tower leadership team spent time looking at retail store traffic management options, especially for high volume retail. Here is one photo from a Duane Read store in New York – it shows how to manage traffic and continue to pitch products:

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Helping small business retailers cut labour costs

Outside of inventory cost, labour is the #1 or #2 cost of business. Retailers using our smart POS software have access to a range of facilities through which to cut and manage labour costs. These facilities include:

  1. Employee roster management.
  2. Cloud based roster management – a second and unique facility.
  3. Tracking sales by employee.
  4. Tracking sales by time.
  5. Tracking basket value by time.
  6. Viewing business performance by day of week.
  7. Managing employee tasks.

These and other management tools in the software make it easier for retailers to make strategic decisions on employee management with a view to ensuring the most efficient use of this high cost labour investment in the business.

This is good POS software helping retailers run more efficient and successful businesses.


Why local POS software matters to local retail businesses

Tower Systems is a proudly Australian POS software company. We develop software in Australia for small and independent Australian retail businesses.

  1. Our software focus is local.
  2. Our customer service team is local.
  3. Our installation team is local.
  4. Our business planning is focussed on local.
  5. We offer locally focussed facilities and services in our software.

Retailers wanting software to support their local focus ought to look at local POS software companies.

We have built a good strong business by being locally focussed. Yes, today we serve more than 3,500 retail businesses.

We are proud that in many of our specialty retail channels, we are the only locally developed and supported software. This makes us more fit for purpose for those businesses that care about living and supporting local.

As a famous song once goes so beautifully: we’re all in this together.


Fresh faces on our POS software website

We are thrilled to welcome more small business retail customer faces to our website as we show off businesses using our software. The delight of our customers welcoming us into their businesses for the photo shoot has been a joy. Each time we learn more about our customers and their businesses.

This photo is of pet shop software users Macarthur Pets & The Reptile Shop.

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Our POS software company proudly serves only small independently owned specialty retailers in a select group of retail niches, specialist retail channels that can benefit from th specialist nature of the POS software we sell.

Our software for each marketplace in which we serve: jewellers, bike shops, garden centres, pet shops, newsagents, toy shops and more, is unique to each marketplace, developed with and for them, to serve their unique needs. By working with retailers and their suppliers we have developed specialisation that is useful and beneficial to the specialist needs of the marketplaces.

The feedback from the businesses in the marketplaces comes prior to each sale, during the installation and as the system is used deeper and deeper within the business. In fact, years after software is installed a specialty retailer can provide advice that helps us further enhance the experience they are having with the software.

This is what good small business POS software development is all about … continual improvement based on shopper feedback.


POS software for specialty fishing goods retailers including fishing tackle shops and sporting goods retailers

POS software company Tower Systems is thrilled to be serving specialty fishing goods retailers, angling goods retailers, bait and tackle shops and more with fishing shop software. Thanks to the work already completed with several in the fishing products space including bait, tackle, clothing and services, Tower Systems is in a position to offer fishing goods retailers in Australia and New Zealand excellent software tailored to the needs of your specialty businesses.

  1. In addition to excellent POS software, the software also offers:
  2. Repairs management. Serial number tracking.
  3. Warranty support. Scale integration.
  4. Bundling of items together into a package offer.
  5. Special orders. Selling by length.
  6. Selling to fractions.
  7. Handling secondhand goods.
  8. Handling manufactured goods – such as flies and other items you might make.
  9. Age checking.
  10. Xero accounting software integration.

Plus many more features designed to serve the needs of locally owned and operated fishing retailers angling goods retailers, bait and tackle shops and more.

Already in use in businesses, Tower Systems has reference sites for its fishing shop software on which we can draw to serve the needs of our prospective customers. The generosity of existing customers has been wonderful in helping us to serve new prospects.

Typically, fishing retailers are pointed to sporting goods software. While this can be useful, their needs often go beyond sporting goods, as they do considerably more than sell sporting goods. Fishing shops are personal, selling items and offering services you do not see in sporting goods shops. This is why they require specialty software, developed for fishing shops.

Here is what is unique about what Tower Systems offers fishing and relates products retailers:

  1. We are a software company, not a consulting business using software as a mechanism for driving consulting fees.
  2. We are live. Real people you can get to know by name.
  3. We are in your business. Not a contractor we hire, not over the phone, when we install the system we do it in your business, working with you.
  4. Manufactured goods. From concept to manufacture, you can manage and track what you make for whom and when. This is a billing and management asset.
  5. Lay-by. Our Lay-by facilities have been developed in close consultation, making them unique and comprehensive.
  6. We offer more facilities than any other system. These offer you flexibility for driving purchases in the current visit and for bringing shoppers back more often.
  7. You have access to extraordinary customisation through settings, enabling you to represent your business how you want.
  8. Embedded in our software are facilities for tracking how the software is used. This enables us to help you reduce employee theft.
  9. Retail focussed. A challenge of retail is to uncover opportunities early. Smart reports in the Tower software unlock information about opportunities in your business on which you can rely for business planning.

Our focus is on small independent retailers. We serve these businesses best as ours is a local business offering local service. We don’t deal with the big chains with head offices as we have found them to be less concerned about customers. By specialising in small local independent specialty retail businesses we have been able to better serve business needs.

We would welcome an opportunity meet with you in your shop to learn about your needs. We have a professionally skilled team who can meet with you at a time to suit. This could be during the day or after hours.

We are also happy to meet online via Skype, WebEx or some other platform. We often do this in remote situations. Remote meetings like this only allow us to demonstrate our ability to support businesses in remote situations.

Consider calling or emailing the Tower Team member nearest you:

  • SA/WA/VIC – Tim Batt 0401 833 917;
  • NSW/TAS – Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
  • QLD – Justin Randall 0434 365 789.
  • Tower CEO: Mark Fletcher – 0418 321 338.

Tower Systems releases latest newsagency sales benchmark study results

Here is a video we shot to give voice to the results of the Australian small business newsagency sales benchmark study we have just completed:


Locally developed POS software for local Australian small business retail

We are proud to make this pitch:


Open today

Unlike many businesses, we are open today, the day before Australia Day. Some of us are already in and hard at it.


Helping small business retailers leverage POS software through professional communication

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.15.47 amSmall business retailers fall in love with POS software companies for a range of reasons, often layered upon each other to provide a comprehensive view of the software supplier business.

We know from years of experience at Tower Systems what many factors play into the small business retailer relationships on which we rely and that we cherish so dearly. The software is a factor, as is the software support. There are other factors too, such as customer communication.

Our small business retail customers love that we communicate with them across a range of platforms and at different times of the day and days of the week. From the reliable weekly email, pictured, to print newsletters, to training videos, to outbound calls to drop-ins to their businesses to user meetings, we offer touch points of a wide variety and through which our customers can connect with us and what we do, touch points on which small business retailers can rely to leverage their POS software to achieve better business outcomes.

Take the weekend email – pictured – this is sent each Sunday. Our weekly email contains news about the POS software, update information, business management advice and business management training. The weekly email from Tower Systems goes way beyond what retailers are used to from their POS software company. It is a professionally presented email. Brief yet complete, providing links to more information for those who want to explore a topic further. Most important is the contact points we publish in the email – we don’t leave small business retailers with vague information. No, we are specific in our contact points, specific with advice on the names of people they can speak with about software and general business management questions and issues.

We know from customer feedback and engagement that the email is used, shared and relied upon. It is a key differentiator for Tower Systems as we demonstrate personal and committed support for small business retailers across a range of retail channels.

Whereas some software companies rely on customers contacting them for and business to business communication, here at Tower Systems we understand the importance of professional business outcome focussed outbound contact. Our goal is to provide our customers with useful information prior to them needing it. Timely information appropriate to retail seasons. Helping information attuned to changing economic conditions. Target information specific to specialty retail channels in which we serve.

Through decade of service to small business retailers we have learned the value of this timely and professional communication. feedback from our small business retailers encourages us to continue our approach and to maintain our commitment to professional outbound contact and support.

We are careful in our communication to ensure it is not geek-talk. No, we prefer plain English help, aimed at supporting those using computers in business because they know they have to rather than because they love technology. This is where our business management advice is particularly useful – we show how our retailer customers can leverage the technology for practical business outcomes in their business. We do this weekly in the email and daily on the phone through our accessible and friendly help desk support.

We back our communication strategy with engagement on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We are where our customers want us online as well as off line. This is why mail, email, web, social media and other platforms are engaged with by Tower Systems – to reach our customers where they are and not only where it suits us. Sure, it is hard work, relentless work. However, it is rewarding work when we receive feedback fro customers thrilled with outcomes they have achieved as a result of the engagement we have driven through our communications strategy.

The consistency of our communication is a key factor in the bond of trust between Tower Systems and its customers. It drives loyalty on both sides and demonstrates an understanding of customer businesses – as the communication is more than lip-service, more than spin, it is real life action, seeking to genuinely make a difference for the positive in the small business retail businesses in which we proudly serve in Australia and New Zealand.

This is the Tower AdvantageTM. A suite of tools, software, strategies and platforms through which we serve specialty retailers, helping them create better, more enjoyable and more valuable businesses. We trade-marked the Tower AdvantageTM because it deserves it. It is unique to us, unique for our customers. The trademark represents our pride in what we do and those who we serve. It represents the difference we make in the world.


Sunday retail management advice: use a museum piece to drive traffic

IMG_4574A trend in specialty retail overseas is to have a locked and secure cabinet housing a product people may not purchase but will come in to look at and photograph and salivate over.

The photo shows a runner designed by some famous guy. The pair sells for US$9,000. The manager of the store told us they have at least 50 people a day come in a look at the boot and take photos and that enough purchase other items to make the investment in the stock worth it.



Here at Tower Systems we serve real people working in real businesses. They are the heroes, small business owners and team members, working to build local communities and make a stronger economy. This is why we use real people on our website and in our marketing collateral. It is easy to buy photos of pretty models placed in retail situations. We don’t do that. This helps build trust with our customers and those contemplating becoming our customers using our smart POS software.



While many companies in Australia are closed this morn ing Monday, the day before the Australia day holiday, we will be open and at full strength serving our customers and helping them enjoy their POS software.



IMG_3466We are thrilled to be a long term development partner with the Xero cloud based accounting software and listed as this on their website.

The Australian Financial Review recently published a terrific article about Xero, reporting how the company is primed for growth in Australia. We have seen this for some time through our work with Xero and retailers using Xero and their accountants. It is excellent accounting software.

Our experience is Xero is on the move. We are grateful to be part a small of the Xero story.



Being local in retail is more important than ever.

Local can mean different things to different people – it does not necessarily mean proximity. Being local could be about the level of care and attention you provide customers, the additional advice you provide, that you live locally, that you source locally or that you serve the local community personally.

Locally sourced products could be products made in Australia. For example, detailing where a product is made and the family behind it pitches local compared to a similar product imported from overseas.

You can use your Tower Systems POS software to pitch local in a range of ways:

  1. Include notes on receipts. Add product care instructions, use instructions or other useful information automatically on receipts – making your receipt a useful information platform.
  2. Tell people where you source products. For a product made by a family or small business in Australia, include details on the receipt. Shine a light on this local product – provide extra information so your shoppers can feel more locally connected.
  3. Include a SHOP LOCAL pitch. Add an image of a poster or some other promotion of the benefits of shop local to every receipt, reinforcing the value of shopping local. Tower Systems has images you can use for free – in the downloads section of our website.
  4. Thank your customers. Include text personally thanking customers shopping with you. Put our name to the message. Include your mobile. Big businesses do not do this.
  5. Track local product sales. Be aware of suppliers of locally made products and report on the performance of these through various reporting tools.
  6. Thanks for shopping local vouchers. You can use the discount voucher facilities in the software and call them Thanks for shopping local or Local shopping reward. This reinforces a value for shopping with a local business – offering $$ discount off the next purchase based on rules you establish.

It is not enough to tell people to shop local, you need to demonstrate the value of this, you need to live it transactionally in your retail business. The best way to do this is through systems and processes in your Tower Systems POS software.



Tower Systems has released the latest update to its popular POS software. This commercial release followed a comprehensive in-0house quality assurance process and then an extended beta release process.

Our customers can know that the commercial release now announced is at the end of a thorough development, testing and documentation process – resulting in excellent quality software packed with enhancements suggested and voted on by users as well as enhancements developed by us as a result of what we have learned by looking at retail trends overseas.

Tower Systems customers were advised about the commercial release of the software last week – in a formal and thorough announcement with details of the enhancements.


Value from the HP partnership for Tower Systems and our POS software customers

IMG_4686Tower Systems is the only POS software company in each of its marketplaces to attend and meet with senior HP executives at the NRF Big Show in New York this week. The opportunities flowing from the attendance and discussions are valuable to Tower and our customers as we gain even more comprehensive insights we can leverage for our customers.

The value of overseas travel to seek out the best for our customers is evident.



A team from Tower Systems further benefited from participating in the Atlanta Gift Fair last week, networking with small business gift and homewares retailers as well as their suppliers – including suppliers from Australia. Thanks to contact since the show, the benefits are being realised quickly.

This large gift fair – representing 7,300 brands – is attended by thousands of retailers. It is the gift and homewares retailers the industry’s largest event featuring the most comprehensive collection of home décor, furniture and gifts. The venue spans multiple buildings and multiple floors in each building – it is many times larger than the largest gift fairs in Australia. This is what makes it an exciting event for us – a real eye-opener.

The range of products on show is more diverse and the types of businesses attending is equally diverse. This is why attending has been beneficial for the Tower Systems team as they have been able to expand their horizons as to how our POS software can better serves the needs of growing gift and homewares businesses.

We are not detailing takeaways here for obvious reasons.



IMG_4634The National Retail Federation Big Show in New York – their national conference for 2016 – is proving to be an excellent event for our team in attendance.

In addition to valuable networking with suppliers, we are meeting retailers we can serve with our POS software and developing relationships with allied companies we can each support.

The small business sessions on Sunday were right on point for what we do at Tower Systems. The insights and case studies were terrific – a pleasure to absorb and learn from. The trade show, too, has been enlightening and a wonderful opportunity for comparison.

For years Tower Systems has participated in this event along with tens of thousands of retail professionals and every year we gain new insights that are reflected in what we do in the year ahead. The value of mixing with peers from around the world is reflected in the whole of our business.

We appreciate the support of our hardware partner HP towards the cost of attending this wonderful event.


POS software knowledge base enhancements for retailers

Last week we released these enhanced knowledge base articles for retailers using our POS software:

  1. Xero Link Integration With Retailer
  2. Xero Link Integration Setup
  3. Manually Print a Barcode Label for a Stock Item
  4. Manually Print Multiple Barcode Labels

Fresh stock files for POS software users

Retailers using our POS software have access to fresh stock files that we have tested and approve for use:

  • Chocolatier Stock File
  • Henderson Greetings Stock File
  • Lego Stock File


Many retail businesses use scales to weigh products they sell. Pet shops weigh out bulk food and litter, produce stores sell feed by weight, garden centres weigh out soil and many other horticultural products, while supermarkets, whole foods stores, confectionery retailers, home brew shops and others need scales for processing many food products at the counter.

Tower Systems offers automatic scales integration with its specialist retail POS software, aspiring to government standards to ensure your independent business meets all relevant compliance requirements. We developed this feature in the software in response to feedback from our existing customers. Our independent business owner customers regularly provide feedback and feature requests direct to the company; when you buy our software, you’re entering into an equal partnership with us.

Any store selling products by weight can rely on our scales integration for fast and accurate selling. Although there are alternatives to selling by weight such as splitting and pre-packing stock and double-typing prices at the counter, both these methods waste valuable keystrokes and time while increasing the risk of avoidable mistakes that affect your bottom line. Set up your point of sale right with Tower Systems’ scales integration.

Specialist software must demonstrate specialist services and that is what Tower systems does every day through niche and unique facilities such as scales integration.



Too many wholesalers serving small business retailers do not provide invoices in an electronic form. This costs retailers time. It also costs money through mistakes that are easily made in manually processing these old-school invoices.

By preferencing suppliers that provides electronic invoices you reward those businesses supporting you with more efficient business practices.

Tower Systems helps small business wholesalers to produce electronic invoices for their small business retailers.


POS software co. Tower Systems at Atlanta Gift Fair

Some of the leadership team of Tower Systems has been at the Atlanta Gift Fair this week talking with suppliers, connecting with opportunities and exploring best practice gift retail management.

The experience has been invaluable as we have discovered more about our own POS software and opportunities for Tower Systems than expected.

Run over three large buildings with thousands of exhibitors, this fair is a must-attend experience for anyone in gift retail or working with gift retailers. The perspectives gained will be invaluable. As with each of these opportunities in which we invest, we will not share publicly the detail of commercially valuable insights.




Every day can be tough in small business. You can feel like the big competitors are winning and that you can’t climb the mountain to compete. You may not know where to start.

There are green shoots of good news and opportunities in every small and independent retail business. The key is to find these and to leverage them for more success.

A green shoot is a product or a category of products or a supplier performing above average in the business. Often, these successes have gone unnoticed.

We were working with a retailer recently who said business was down by 20% and they did not know what to do. It turned out that the best performing product category in their business was ‘failing’ for six months because they had not replenished stock.

They invested, instead, on new lines that had not gone as well as the successful product.

They, in part, created their own downward spiral and had not looked at their business data to understand that contributed to the problems they were confronting.

Once they realised the situation, they re-stocked the successful range of products and numbers started to improve. More important, their confidence level grew and with this their business decisions improved.

There are opportunities for optimism in every business.

Finding optimism is like mining, you have to look for it, sometimes for a long time. It is there, though, in every retail business.

As soon as you hear yourself talking your business down, STOP. Look at your data, look for the good news. That is what you need to think and talk about.

By looking at your data, we mean looking at year on year, quarter on quarter or month on month comparison data for departments, categories, suppliers or even individual products. Look for growth and once you see growth, think about what you can do with and around the products achieving growth so that you can achieve other growth.

Any product achieving year on year increases in unit sales is a product to be appreciated, nurtured and used to help grow other products that can sell to the same customer.

This is how you grow optimism. Find those small green shoots, leverage them with some small steps and, over time, build more success for your business.

While overall revenue, traffic count and profitability may be down, growth even at the smallest data point, such as for one or two products, could be enough to get you looking at your business differently.

In the Tower Systems POS software, the best initial reports for good news are: Monthly Sales Comparison (department level, category level and / or supplier level), the 10×10 Report, Ranked Sales Report (by units) for one period and then for the comparative period.

We’re here to help you find the good news in your business. Your business data is the key.


POS software co. Tower Systems at CES in Las Vegas

Members of the Tower Systems leadership team were at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, checking out trends, talking to start-up and innovators, renewing business connections and getting a feel for 2016 and beyond.

While our plans for this year were locked in months ago, it has been wonderful to consider these in the context of the latest trends.

There is no substitute for being there, in the amazing halls of CES with close to 200,000 others to see what appeals.

For commercial reasons, the insights of CES will be kept internally within the company for now.

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