A busy yet quiet week in retail

Plenty of small business shops are closed this week which makes for a quieter week on the help desk. We have been taking the opportunity to attend to some housekeeping here in the office. It is always good to have time to work on your own infrastructure. This is especially exciting given the plans for 2017. We are excited and 2017 is still a couple of days away.

Today we close at 5pm. Based on past years the help desk traffic will be minimal by this time.

Tower Systems helps bike shop owners leverage their workshop services

The workshop is often the most important part of any bike retail business as it is where their people can make a real difference to the experience of the cyclist.

Thanks to smart management tools in our bike shop software, our retail partners can provide a more complete workshop experience.

from the management of time and parts used through to professional communication with customers, the Tower System bike shop software helps bike retailers leverage their workshop services to provide professional, local and personal service … and to do this with efficiency, accuracy and timeliness.

We are proud to help independent bike retailers win in the customer service experience stakes through their workshop service.

POS software support over the holidays

Even though Christmas holidays are in full swing, the Tower systems customer service team is on deck and helping retailers.

One retailer about to sell their business needed help yesterday to finalise data prior to the settlement with the new owner in less than a week and we were able to help. In this case the help was in the form of business advice more so that POS software specific advice.

We are grateful for the opportunity to help our retail business owner customers beyond the software. It is what we are here for. As a POS software company with practical retail experience, our help often goes way beyond what people expect from a POS software company.

As our motto says: we’re here to help.

All ready for Boxing Day sales in small business retail

BoxingDaySaleA4In keeping with tradition and our help for small business retailers beyond the POS software w develop and support, we are posting here artwork for A4 and A4 Boxing Day sale posters for anyone to use.

Click here for the A4 PDF.

Click here for the A3 PDF.

Boxing day is massive in some states. It can be as valuable as the two weeks before Christmas.

We are thrilled to help small business retailers attract new shoppers through marketing like this.

In retail today

IMG_2339Being Christmas Eve it has been crazy busy in the shops today with last minute shopping.

Since we are a POS software company that owns retail shops we have been personally and practically involved in retail today, behind the counter, using our software serving shoppers with last-minute Christmas purchases. This photo is from our shop at Knox City in Melbourne today before we opened for customers. Thankfully it is the only time of the day the shop was empty.

We are grateful for another busy day in retail and another day of retail experience that inform some choices we make in our software.

Strong retail sales this Christmas

Thanks to our cloud based small business retail BI platform we get to see comparative sales data for a range of independent retail businesses.

Christmas 2016 has been strong from what we see. Good businesses marketing themselves well outside their four walls are seeing good year on year growth.

The BI platform we have developed helps our customers track key performance indicators remotely and easily. This is a wonderful benefit to help these retailers see trends, represented visually.

We are thrilled to be helping retailers achieve this.

The POS software help desk is winding down for Christmas

As is always the way with the last office day prior to Christmas, help desk calls have stopped as retailers focus on selling.

We are calling it a day and switching all support coverage from now until December 28 at 7am to our after hours numbers. Here are our contact points. This is a copy of the card, which we sent to all customers last month by mail and by email:

SupportCardOct16

Tower Systems helps retailers cut the time of a stock take

Stock takes in retail can be a chore, especially if you do them the old school way. Thanks to smart technology in the Tower Systems POS software our retail partners are able to get stock takes done faster.

The new approach leverages facilities unique to the Tower software. The approach is ideal for a business with stock take needs that vary based on product types, categories, suppliers and other groupings.

The custom stock take facility in the Tower Systems software is simple and elegant. Retail employees love it for its ease of use and that it delivers the outcome in much less time than the way too many other POS software programs go abut the stock take process.

This is another Tower AdvantageTM another time saving and benefit for the small business which which we partner.

Thanks to online and other trade stock takes are needed far more regularly than ever before. This is where the tower Systems approach really shines.

Making a difference to small business retailers this week before Christmas

Fast access to POS software support is key this week. Retailers are busy. retail employees are under the pump. Every question to any POS software company help desk this week is urgent. This is why we are all hands on deck, making sure every query is treated with priority and resolved quickly.

From the first calls early in the morning to the last calls late at night, our help desk team is here helping small business retailers have a more enjoyable Christmas trading period. This is part of our customer Christmas gift.

Small business newsagents loving cloud based school booklist software

The cloud-based school booklist management solution from Tower Systems has helped small business newsagents win more school booklist business this year.

Developed with schools as well as local newsagents, the software we launched this year has been built from the ground up, in Australia, for Australian conditions.

We have created a completely self-serve facility that enables schools and newsagents to work together to create a time efficient solution to managing school booklist orders. This helps parents, schools and families. This is important with many booklist requirements being managed this side of Christmas, in what is usually a busy time for everyone involved.

The booklist software is another example of web development leadership by Tower Systems. This is us delivering extensions to our everyday product, through which we facilitate benefits for our customers that help them drive more income from local community relationships.

We love the booklist website. It has been a wonderful time saver for us in what is such a busy season for us. Thank you Tower Systems!

Time saving and empowerment are key to the success here. The software works on both front to deliver a beautiful solution.

POS software Xero link helps retailers cut mistakes and save time

Paperwork is the bane of small business since it is the business owners who most often have to do the paperwork.

Tower Systems helps small business retailers make paperwork a thing of the past.

Our seamless POS software / Xero link frees your time.

It also cuts mistakes.

And helps you see more clearly.

Tower Systems and Xero … helping small business retailers.

Managing the POS software help desk in this busy week before Christmas

The types of calls our POS software help desk receives in the week before Christmas changes. This week, calls will all be about quick resolution, the calls will be about the now rather than with an eye to the future.

Retail businesses will be busier this week than any other week of the year in most situations.

To serve the needs that we know will be unique to this week we have our help desk team focussed and our processes tuned to serve our customers, to provide the best possible outcome as quickly as possible.

We understand time is especially short this week. We have structured our approach to ensure we meet the expectations of our customers.

We have a fully staffed help desk. We back them with our escalation team and senior management.

We want this week before Christmas to be happy and valuable for everyone!

Small business retail marketing advice: protect your business data against disaster

Data is as valuable as cash to any retail business yet many do not treat data with respect. Our advice to small business retailers is to get real about data, to get serious about protecting this important asses.

In terms of protecting your business data against disaster, here is our most important advice:

  1. Backup your business data every day, at the end of the day, without fail.
    1. Better still: use a cloud based backup service that undertakes the backup as the day unfolds without you having to every do anything to backup.
  2. Maintain a separate backup for each day of the week.
  3. Remove the backup from the business property.
  4. Store the backup in a safe, dry place.
  5. Check the usefulness of the backup by restoring and checking the data.
  6. Store original business software in a safe off-site location.
  7. Check the backup every three to six months – to make sure the backup is actually backing us current data and can be read. A backup you cannot read is a waste of time and money.
  8. Change your passwords regularly.
  9. Use hard to crack passwords.
  10. Do not share passwords widely.

Extraordinary results for Tower Systems small business retailer e-commerce sites

Retailers are thrilled with the results of several Tower Systems created, hosted and managed e-commerce sites in the rush to Christmas.

Delivering extraordinary sales, the sites are helping small business retailers find new customers.

The thrill is heightened in regional and rural situations where retailers are able to win sales that are substantially more valuable than they ever see in their out of the way situation.

Call from retailers winning this unexpected windfall business is a wonderful experience for us. We love to hear the stories about the several hundred dollar sale completed online and shipped to a happy customer across the other side of the country.

Tower Systems created a series of sites and managed the marketing of the sites to make them highly sought after, compelling and enjoyable for shopper experiences. This is a 100% in-house project for our retail partners.

We are proud of the technology and even more proud of the commercial outcome we have facilitated for our customers.

Planning for POS software training for 2017

Tower Systems is planning its free weekly live POS software training schedule for 2017. This process includes considering the engagement for 2016, talking with customers about training they would like to see and planning sessions on topics we anticipate will be hot to serve the changing needs of retail.

Training is more important that ever as small business retailers seek to get more value from their technology investments.

We are grateful to all of our customers who have engaged in the free training this year. The 100+ sessions we have run have been a wonderful opportunity for direct customer contact and through which we can add value to the customer relationship.

Our training program is a point of difference for us. But more important, it is a point of difference for our customers since it helps our customers to leverage the training for delivering better outcomes in their own businesses.

Every one of our customers has access to the training. Better still, every one of our customers can guide the development of the training topics – ensuring we serve broad needs and not just those we think are important.

Our fist workshop topics will be announced prior to Christmas.

Tyro flexibility on card fees helps small business retailers

We are thrilled with the announcement from our EFTPOS partner Tyro on the release of their dynamic surcharging facility, a facility that makes it easy for retailers to charge a surcharge appropriately. This is good news for retailers. especially small business retailers where some card fees are a serious post on small margin products.

How often have you struggled with surcharging? The new RBA regulations will make it even more complicated.

That’s why we have upgraded all Tyro EFTPOS terminals with a dynamic surcharging option, it will recommend surcharging rates to you based on the RBA’s regulations and your card transactions in the last 12 months. You can easily review and alter these rates at any time. Check out Dynamic Surcharging and see how it works.

This announcement from Tyro to our customers is part of a broader communication strategy from the company and supported by us in educating small business retailers about greater flexibility thanks to tyro.

Is cloud based POS software right for your retail business?

Our Tower Systems small business POS software can be run on a local PC or in the cloud. You can choose the right approach for your business.

  1. Run local in PCS in your business.
  2. Run in the cloud on your server.
  3. Run in the cloud on a hosted server outside the business.
  4. Run in the cloud on a hosted server outside the business with no need to ever manage software updates.
  5. All these options and more are available to customers at any time.

With the cloud based option, you can choose to be hosted anywhere you prefer or you can go with our full-service hosted option.

We have plenty of customers in each scenario – running locally, self hosted for multiple locations or hosted by us in a full service model.

With our full service model we can shield you from any requirement to update software. All you worry about is the hardware you have running in your business.

Big It companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing the term cloud. They have done this because they know buzzwords sell. The reality is, your software has to run somewhere. It has to be maintained. Whether it is running on computers in your business or in the cloud, the costs are not that different. The key difference is one approach feels sexier than the other, because of the marketing.

Our retail skilled account managers can talk with you to determine your needs and propose a solution that best serves your needs.

We would be happy to share with you details of customer with businesses similar to yours so you can hear first-hand about their operation and how the Tower solution fits.

Our Tower Systems account managers can provide further advice and assistance to help customers make informed choices as to the best approach for their business. They are not incentivised in any way to guide customers to one decision over another.

Tower Systems offers software for the following niche small business retail channels: gift shopsjewellers,  bike shopstoy shopsfishing/outdoors businessesgarden centres/nurseriespet shopsproduce storesfirearms businesses and newsagents.

We are a full service and personal POS software company. To demonstrate this, direct access to our account management team is easy:

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

Helping small business retailers benefit from offering LayBy services to customers

Offering Lay-by services is essential to small business retailers keen to grow sales of higher value items people are prepared to purchase in advance of any actual need they may have.

We see LayBy working well in jeweller businesses, bike shops, toy shops, fishing and outdoors businesses and more.

Our largest customer does thousands of LayBys each year using our smart POS software. regardless of business size, LayBys are easy to setup and manage. the outcome for the retailer and the customer is good.

LayBy facilities can be established in minutes, offering a structure through which retail employees can confidently and consistently offer LayBy services.

Use the software to capture the sale, record customer details, document your terms and conditions, record the deposit, track payments, chase late payments and finalise the sale. Again, to not attempt to do this manually.

Familiarise yourself with LayBy regulation as set by the ACCC: https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/contracts-agreements/lay-by-agreements Also, check the website of your state Consumer Affairs office to familiarise yourself with local requirements. Information there will help you determine your own terms.

Meeting regulatory requirements is vital. For example, if someone cancels a LayBy you must refund their payments less a termination fee. You can set this fee and advise as part of your terms and conditions.

Here is our current advice on key rules and steps to success with Lay-bys.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00.
  2. DATA REQUIRED. Always ensure you are satisfied you know who your customer is. Require proof of ID from a driver’s licence or similar legal ID document.
  3. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early toy sales.
  6. PAYMENT CYCLE. Require payments to be made weekly or fortnightly.
  7. PAYMENT METHOD. Accept any payment form you choose.
  8. Do not allow someone to take home a single item from a group of items on Lay-by together in one purchase. It’s all or nothing.
  9. Have a LayBy termination policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% termination fee. Alternatively, set a dollar amount to reflect the work. Also, consider setting the LayBy to auto terminate if it extends beyond a period of time you nominate. Note that you could equally choose to have no cancellation given that Lay-by product may not be able to easily re-sold.
  10. Decide what you would consider a breach. This has to be something you stand by. We suggest two missed payments without reasonable excuse or rectification. On breach, cancel and charge the cancellation fee.
  11. We suggest a no-exchange policy.
  12. When a customer Lay-bys, print two dockets – one for them to take immediately and one to be placed with the goods. Have your customer sign both copies, accepting your terms and conditions.
  13. Set aside a clean and secure storage location for Lay-bys in your business where locations are coded for easy finding. Place Lay-by goods into a single clear plastic bag per transaction for clean and safekeeping. Staple to this a copy of the Lay-by docket. Let your customers see you do this so there is no doubt when it comes time to collect the products.
  14. Have one person responsible for Lay-bys to ensure product care, track payments and contact customers.
  15. TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Enter these into your software so they are included on every Lay-by docket. Points 2 through 11 above are a good example of what to include in your terms and conditions.
  16. COMPLETE PAPERWORK. To not over complicate things, rely on your software’s Lay-by docket as your complete paperwork / contract. Get that right and Lay-by management will be easier.

These rules and steps may feel complex. They are necessary for the small number of times something goes wrong and you need to rely on them to help you deal with a situation.

Happy Lay-bys.