The school booklist management software newsagents are loving

We are thrilled with the response to the school booklist management software we released for newsagents to use. Newsagents are loving the cloud based software, the subscription model and the evolution of the software since release.

Our new web based school booklist facility is now available live.

Once you have had a look around, if you want to proceed and use Booklist in your business, please sign up for a year access and you are good to go.

Built from the ground up, this facility will provide all we outlined in our earlier email. The cost will be $795.00 (inc. GST) a year.

Using the site you will be able to:

  1. Setup a school.
  2. Setup classes in a school and load all the booklist requirements.
  3. The booklist items could be loaded by a CSV file. You would record item description, price, supplier and supplier stock cost.
  4. You would setup order close dates.
  5. Plus you would have the ability to note when an order is ready for collection.
  6. The site would allow for you not having stock, thereby adjusting the amount to be collected.
  7. Share a link for parents to sign up and add their kid(s) to a class and to either take the whole booklist or select what they want.
  8. The site would allocate logins to parents so they would have access to their order.
  9. Receive payment from the parents.
  10. Alternatively, the site would give the transaction to your Retailer software for payment by the parents in-store.
  11. Export a file of all items required to fulfil booklists, by supplier and by school. CSV you could load into Excel.
  12. Report on total revenue by school and class.
  13. The site would be accessible by desktop, tablet and phone.

In addition to the per year fee there would be a small card processing fee, on a cost recovery basis, for payments made online.

The cloud based appointment facility pet shop and pet grooming retailers are sure to love

The new cloud based POS software integrated appointment facility being released by Tower Systems for pet shops and pet groomers reflects needs expressed by these small business retailers, needs for 2016 and beyond.

How people want to make appointments has fundamentally changed and we found old appointment technology has not kept up with today’s consumer of grooming and appointment based services.

The solution developed by Tower Systems is fresh, appropriate and flexible. We are thrilled with the look and feel and the feedback we have been getting from experts.

The new appointment facility will be on show at the PIAA Conference and Exhibition in a couple of weeks in Melbourne. We are grateful to be at this event and showing off our brand new appointment book software. We are excited to be able to introduce this new software to a broader community.

The highlights of the new appointment facility include:

  1. Cloud based.
  2. Mobile and desktop enabled.
  3. Text message support for customer contact and action.
  4. A beautiful front end from where you can manage appointments.
  5. Easy management not only of the time block but also the people, rooms and resourced needed for appointments.
  6. A design elegance that is relevant to 2016.
  7. POS software integrated.
  8. 100% developed by Tower Systems for Tower Systems customers.
  9. Available stand alone.
  10. 24/7 access.
  11. Flexible.
  12. Serving multiple retail channel needs in the one package solution.

We are thrilled to be bringing this to the market, to realise on the comprehensive consultation and development involved in creating something new and fresh to serve the appointment making and management needs of specialty small business retailers.

Tower Systems is proud to be a major sponsor of the PIAA conference and expo in Melbourne.

Five ways small business retailers are better off using Tower Systems POS software

Of course we would say small business retailers are better off using the Tower Systems POS software. We are Tower Systems and so you would expect us to back our own product.

But our claim is more than marketing spin. The claim has its roots in what we stand for as a business, it has its roots in our relentless support of small business retailers.

We only sell our POS software to small business retailers. We serve well over 3,000 of them. We are growing. Our commitment is in our own numbers.

So, considering these points, here are Five ways small business retailers are better off using Tower Systems POS software … based on what small business retailers tell us they love about our software and about us.

  1. Our help is live, based on a conversation, 100% focused on you and your business.  Too often POS software companies situate their help desks offshore and they run them using scripts that do not allow for conversation about the needs of a business. At Tower Systems you know the real name of the person helping you, the help is based on a plain English discussion of your needs. This ensures a more personal and useful outcome for you.
  2. Our software reflects your needs. We have a transparent software enhancement suggestion process. Two thirds of updates in the last year have come from user suggestions. We love your suggestions, respond to every one and are transparent on the process of inclusion. It is your software after all.
  3. We are retailers too. We walk in your shoes, use the software you use and test everything we offer our users in our own shops. Our experience as retailers ensures empathy software only businesses cannot provide.
  4. We only serve specialty retail. Our software is not designed for all retail businesses. We only serve selected retail channels. If we are not a good fit we wish you all the best and move on. Just as successful retail businesses specialise, so do we.
  5. We are not a start up. The world is full of POS software start ups. The problem with start ups is they serve their venture capitalists ahead of their customers – they have to. In our case we are long-established, debt free, stable and growing. Our growth trajectory gives you confidence we will serve you as long as you need us.

While there are plenty of reasons Tower Systems is a better POS software partner for specialty retail businesses, this list is the top five based on needs small business retailers explain to us.

Small business retail management advice: how to run a Facebook competition

Our small business POS software company helps retailers in many different ways every day. Often, advice is sought on business management needs outside of POS software needs. In one case recently we were asked to provide advice on running Facebook competitions. Here is the advice we provided:

Running a competition on your business Facebook page is a terrific way to drive engagement and attract likes (followers).

Here is our advice on how to do this based on running many competitions on our various pages.

  1. Here is an example of competition text we would use in a store: Win this adorable Herbie Willow Bear. Share and comment on this post to enter. Like our Facebook page for more Willow news. Comp. ends Sept. 21 @ 5pm. Winner drawn at random and announced here. Prize to be collected from the shop.
  2. Run competitions for a short time of between a day and five days. Any longer and it gets lost.
  3. Be clear in your call to action.
  4. Be clear with any rules.
  5. Include either one photo or four with one being rectangular and three being square.
  6. Boost the post for the first day or two days but not for the whole time. Select the audience based on the product you are promoting.
  7. Watch entries and comment where appropriate.
  8. Choose the winner by getting all the entries on the screen and scroll up and down and where it ends is your winner. The choice must be random.
  9. Announce the winner on the post as a comment.
  10. Message the winner. If they don’t respond in a day, message them again and say they have x days to collect.
  11. If they do not collect in, say, seven days, redraw.

Here the most important advice: every competition must have a commercial imperative, a goal for the business in terms of likes, store visits, purchases. Know your goal and measure your achievement once the competition is over.

Competitions are an excellent way to drive engagement on Facebook for any business. Get it right though – otherwise you could do more damage to your brand than you would like. The old adage of measure twice and cut once works here when setting up competitions.

Tyro / Xero / POS software integration best practice for small business retail

Small business retailers integrating their POS software with Xero and Tyro unlock for themselves a beautiful partnership from which they can leverage valuable business benefits.

Tower Systems offers integration from its small business POS software with Tyro and Xero.

We are proud to be listed as partners of Xero and Tyro on their websites. This listing is key to building trust with retailers as it demonstrated respected partnerships.

Whereas software integrations are usually between two software products, the Tower Systems / Xero / Tyro integration leverages all three products into a comprehensive whole of business solution. Many retailers are already leveraging this for their benefit. Indeed, Tower Systems itself leverages the benefits in retail businesses we own and operate.

Our POS software Xero link is best practice offering a seamless integration between our POS software and the leading cloud based accounting solution.

Our Tyro broadband EFTPOS integration is also best practice with an extraordinary number of retailers using it with success and happiness at the time saving and mistake reduction being achieved.

Put the two together and you multiply the benefits considerably as we can demonstrate.

The mission of small business retailers to cut operational overheads and run their businesses to a higher level of efficiency is important as big business competitors muscle up themselves.

Tower Systems offers not only beautiful integrations with Tyro, Xero, Shopify and Magento, the company backs these with personal service and advice and retail smart training based on our own many years of experience as retailers. This is the difference, we speak from current personal experience, making our advice more relevant and understandable in small business retail circles.

The integrations are available in the Tower desktop products as well as the Tower cloud based products that are accessed through software as a service models for retail businesses in a variety of specialty retail channels.

Tower Systems offers specialty software for: gift shopsjewellerstoy shopsfishing/outdoors businessesgarden centres/nurseriespet shopsbike shops,produce storesfirearms businesses and newsagents.

Our sales team can show you our software:

  • SA/WA/VIC – Tim Batt 0401 833 917;
  • NSW/TAS – Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
  • QLD – Justin Randall 0434 365 789.

Managing Director: Mark Fletcher. 0418 321 338.

Massive boost to Xero user numbers

We are thrilled to partner with Xero through our Xero POS software integration. because of the seamless link to the cloud based accounting solution. We are also thrilled because Xero continues to lead the market. here is news out just yesterday:

The dominant player in the Australian market, Xero, saw its Australian subscriber numbers grow 54 per cent to 312,000 in the year to March.

Xero is the product more accounts and small business retailers are preferring.

Free POS software integrated Shopify and Magento workshops start next week

Join Tower Systems for a one of our free seminars in Australia and New Zealand (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)  where we will show our latest Australian developed POS software for specialty independent small business retail.

  1. Discover how to connect your retail business with Magento or Shopify direct from POS software.
  2. Learn how to be found through Google.
  3. Learn about creating beautiful websites for a fraction of the costs some charge.
  4. See the POS software to Magento and Shopify links LIVE with working websites.

This will be a truly interactive learning opportunity for small business retailers, an opportunity to see under the hood of website development, to discover is this is something any retailer could do for their business.

We will show you how to setup up a Shopify store that can be live in hours. Plus, there will be a Q&A opportunity so you can explore your specific needs. Book now by clicking on the city location you prefer.

  1. Adelaide. October 10. 10am. Rydges South Park.
  2. Sydney. October 11. 10am. Kogarah Golf Club.
  3. Brisbane. October 12. 10am. River View Hotel.
  4. Perth. October 13. 9am. Country Comfort Inter City Hotel.
  5. Melbourne. October 14. 10am. Hawthorn Arts Centre.
  6. Canberra. October 18. 10am. Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport.
  7. Hobart. October 19. 11am. Rydges Hobart.
  8. Darwin. October 26. 2pm Mantra on the Esplanade.
  9. Auckland. Nov. 2. 3pm. Novotel, Auckland Airport.
  10. Wellington. Nov. 3. 10am. Intercontinental Hotel.
  11. Christchurch. Nov. 4. 10am. Novotel Christchurch.

We will share our experiences in the small business POS and e-commerce areas and outline what we learned when creating sites for our own retail businesses. This seminar could save you thousands in web developer fees. Book online.

Helping small business retailers cut employee theft in any type of business

Employee theft is a challenge for any small business retailer. The cost of theft depends on how the business manages the theft situation. To minimise the cost of theft, retailers are advised to follow these simple to implement strategies. They have been developed by our small business retail support team here at Tower Systems over many years of helping small business retailers through our POS software.

  1. Pay above award wages. The quality of your employees is up to you. If you’re doing your job you have good employees. Value them. Pay above award. HR and business psychology experts say this will reduce theft.
  2. Talk to them. Ask for their honest comments about the business.       The more they feel, genuinely feel, valued, the less likely they are to steal from you.
  3. No employee bags at the counter.
  4. Clear refund policy. Type the policy up and put it on the wall for customers and employees to see.       Cover, for example, age of transaction, management approval, that you need their name, address, phone number and signature – such requirements will stop abuse.
  5. Offer good discounts to employees. Let employees buy products from you at your cost or just above it. This respects them as part of your team and it reduces the chances of them being tempted to steal what they want from you.
  6. Don’t take cash out of the til yourself. If employees see you take money out for items like a coffee or your lunch they will feel invited to do the same.
  7. Roster mix up. Change your roster regularly. It is common that a roster change will show you a theft problem you never thought was there.
  8. Roster rules. Don’t have friends working with friends if they are the only ones rostered on.
  9. Speed humps. Have a day where you turn on receipts for ALL customers. Then a day where you require that everything is scanned (as opposed to using hot keys and the like). These changes will keep employees and customers off guard and make it easier for you to spot problems. It will also keep you on your guard and that’s good for the business.
  10. Spend more time at the counter. The further you are from the action in your business the greater the opportunity for you to be ripped off. Spend time where the action is – unexpectedly.
  11. Balance the register during the day. Do this every so often. Again to keep people on their toes. It is also good practice.
  12. Don’t let employees ring their own purchases up.
  13. Don’t let employees sell to family and friends.
  14. Your local council. Many local councils offer theft prevention training and help as do some local police.       (Local U.S. police stations are considerably more active in this area.)
  15. Beware of popularity. There is anecdotal evidence that the more popular the employee the more likely they are the one stealing from you.

Helping small business retailers reduce customer theft

Customers of retail businesses steal. Not all of them, not even 10% of them. But those who steal can cost the business a lot of money and time.

Customer theft in retail is something to be managed, for the protection and benefit of the business.

Managing customer theft is important for any retail business. Not only does it save cash for the business but it also helps you improve your management of stock.

Knowing what is being stolen and how often is the important first step.

The best way to know the cost of theft is through regular spot stock takes. Good point of sale software can help you do this in a fraction of time that a manual stock take would take.

Other ways smart Point of Sale software can help you cut the cost of customer theft are:

  1. Scanning what you sell. It can be surprising what you discover when you handle items being purchased by customers – some items fall out or you find that barcodes have been moved. Touching stock at the sales counter can provide a valuable check for the business.
  2. Blocking fraudulent refund requests. It is each to check when an item was sold and thereby catch out anyone wanting a refund or a credit for something they did not buy and for which they do not have a receipt.
  3. Stopping unwarranted discounts. Good POS software will block discounts which are outside the rules you establish for the business.
  4. Seeing theft live. If you have items which are regularly returned to suppliers, POS software can let you know what you should have in stock and this allows you to quickly check against your real situation.
  5. Tracking everything that moves. Scanning everything you sell lets you know what you should have in stock at any point in time. This makes checking movements easy and helps your staff become more vigilant against theft.
  6. Spot stock takes. In a few minutes you can could a section of the shop, upload this to your system and get a report of real stock counts versus what should be there. Knowing the areas which are being hit can help a business better focus resources.

The keys to cutting customer theft are to understand what is happening and to have strong processes in place to reduce this. Once you, your employees and your customers understand zero tolerance, theft will fall.

Tower Systems offers small business retailers a range of advice, support and POS software facilities to reduce the cost of theft in retail.

Personalised loyalty cards help local small business retailers compete

Users of our POS software love the loyalty options in the software including the ability to work with beautiful plastic loyalty cards designed in-house by our marketing team for our customers.

Here are some of the cards we have designed for customers – just four of the many different designs from our creative team.

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These cards are terrific quality with personalised barcodes. They come in a wallet for customer storage if they wish.

The cards are one option of many from the loyalty suite supported by Tower Systems for its small business retail customers.

How we handled the Blueshyft debacle demonstrates our customer service commitment

A couple of weeks ago start-up Blueshyft mishandled communication with small business newsagents – saying POS software companies were responsible that Blueshyft ought be responsible for. The result was many POS software help desk calls that caused use to spend money on calls that were 100% the responsibility of Blueshyft.

Here at Tower Systems we did the work, provided the service. Then, we took a look at what Bluieshyft did and wrote to our customers:

Poor communication from Blueshyft disrespects you and us.
Blueshyft emailed newsagents today asking them to call their POS software company for a file update.

Blueshyft had not told us about the update, we did not have the file, we had not seen the file and could, therefore, not help.

But the support calls came. In huge number. Newsagents calling us because Blueshyft told them to. Some customers were rude to Tower employees, saying we were fools for not knowing about this.

This all happened when Gavin Williams, our COO, and I were on a flight from there Gold Coast back to Melbourne. We had been on the Gold Coast on business.

Our help desk was slammed – all because Blueshyft had kept us in the dark and because some newsagents didn’t believe that we had no knowledge of this new file.

I spoke with Blueshyft CEO Kain Warwick 45 minutes ago and expressed by frustration at what is, in my opinion, appalling communication from Blueshyft and a lack of respect for what Tower Systems does for them.

We get no compensation for any work related to Blueshyft. XchangeIT is paid to do what they do. I suspect Blueshyft pays VANA for their support and kind words. Yet the POS software company with the most newsagents is expected to be mind readers and know about a file we have never seen.

What happened today is ridiculous.

I have told our help desk we will not take calls on this new file. Instead, we have updated our online advice. This has all the instructions you need to load the file. Click here for our advice.

Had Blueshyft been professional, they would have provided the file, let us test it, let us provide them with advice on loading and then communicated with you. Instead, they dumped the heavy lifting on companies like ours for no compensation at all.

But on the file, it has 2,700 stock items. It does not make sense they want to bloat your system with all these but that is a separate issue.

Yes, I am frustrated as it is things like this that divert our attention from providing support individual customers of ours call us for – calls from the businesses that pay for our support services.  Blueshyft is freeloading at my expense and, ultimately, at your expense.

Mark Fletcher
Managing Director
0418 321 338

FREE e-commerce / website seminar for small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand

Join Tower Systems for a one of our free seminars in Australia and New Zealand (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)  where we will show our latest Australian developed POS software for specialty independent small business retail.

  1. Discover how to connect your retail business with Magento or Shopify direct from POS software.
  2. Learn how to be found through Google.
  3. Learn about creating beautiful websites for a fraction of the costs some charge.
  4. See the POS software integration that saves time and cuts mistakes.
  5. See a new approach to loyalty shoppers love and big businesses cannot copy.
  6. See the POS software to Magento and Shopify links LIVE with working websites.

This will be a truly interactive learning opportunity for small business retailers, an opportunity to see under the hood of website development, to discover is this is something any retailer could do for their business.

We will show you how to setup up a Shopify store that can be live in hours. Plus, there will be a Q&A opportunity so you can explore your specific needs. Book now by clicking on the city location you prefer.

  1. Adelaide. October 10. 10am. Rydges South Park.
  2. Sydney. October 11. 10am. Kogarah Golf Club.
  3. Brisbane. October 12. 10am. River View Hotel.
  4. Perth. October 13. 9am. Country Comfort Inter City Hotel.
  5. Melbourne. October 14. 10am. Hawthorn Arts Centre.
  6. Canberra. October 18. 10am. Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport.
  7. Hobart. October 19. 11am. Rydges Hobart.
  8. Darwin. October 26. 2pm Mantra on the Esplanade.
  9. Auckland. Nov. 2. 3pm. Novotel, Auckland Airport.
  10. Wellington. Nov. 3. 10am. Intercontinental Hotel.
  11. Christchurch. Nov. 4. 10am. Novotel Christchurch.

We will share our experiences in the small business POS and e-commerce areas and outline what we learned when creating sites for our own retail businesses. This seminar could save you thousands in web developer fees.

If you have questions, please email mark@towersystems.com.au or call 0418 321 338. If you are in New Zealand, please call toll free on 0800 444 367.

Tower Systems is an Australian small business focussed POS software company based in Hawthorn Victoria with sales and support nationally. Our software is available to run locally or in the cloud and can be purchased, leased or rented for a few dollars a day. Our phone number is 1300 662 957.

If you want to switch from MYOB Retail Manager in your retail business

Tower Systems has a structured process for bring retailers to its POS software from the MYOB retail Manager software.

We start by taking a close look at the business as not all retail businesses are right for our specialty POS software. If a business is a good fit, we next look at the business data to determine its health and usefulness.

Then, we develop a plan of how to switch the business from MYOB. If the retailer likes the plan then we are good to go and we set about converting the data, installing new software and backing this with personal face-to-face training in-store for all who will use the software.

With many MYOB Retail Manager conversions completed we are able to speak with certainty about the process and provide reference sites of businesses that have transitioned to Tower Systems.

Retail businesses need software appropriate to their business needs that is backed with professional and easily accesses support. Here at Tower Systems we take these commitments seriously.

We are grateful for the opportunities of helping small business retailers switch to Tower Systems.

Small business retail advice on how to cut labour costs in your business

The cost of labour is one of the top three costs in any retail business, usually coming after cost of goods and retail space. Yet small business and independent retailers often do not manage labour cost to be a s low as practical.

Based on years of helping small business retailers run more successful and valuable retail businesses. here are out top five tips for cutting the cost of labour in any retail business.

Here are our top five tips:

  1. Put yourself on the roster. Your time is a cost to the business. Be transparent with yourself.
  2. Stop cutting and pasting the roster. Create a new roster every week. This forces you to think about the money you spend.
  3. Is one person enough? Having an additional person on for security could be more costly than having the right person on and working alone.
  4. Know your revenue per rostered hour. This data point will focus your attention on labour costs.
  5. Split the roster. Have one person work up to 4 hours and then someone else for up to four hours and avoid the meal break requirement.

We have plenty more suggestions than these five. They are a starting point of the advice Tower Systems can provide.

Advice like this is provided as part of our weekly advice and assistance to small business retailers.

Helping small business retailers with beautiful gift cards

The marketing team in Tower Systems has helped hundreds of small business retailers with beautiful gift cards. Each new branded set of cards helps a retailer retain revenue that otherwise might have been spent in another retail business.

The plastic gift cards, often supplied in a a beautiful branded wallet, can be sold and loaded by the retailer wish cash provided by the gift giver.

There are a perfect opportunity for any small business retailer to grow sales.

Here are some of the cards we have created for our POS software customers.

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