Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: January 2020 (page 1 of 2)

POS software

POS software is Point Of Sale software. That is, software that a retailer operates at the point of sale, or point of purchase, at the counter, where the cash register used to be.

The thing is, today, in January 2020, POS software is much more than Point Of Sale software. Good software that is. Good, current, smart POS software is about much more than the point of purchase. It is about helping business owners and people who work in retail to better serve customers and through this to earn more business through which the business becomes more valuable.

That is the definition of Point Of Sale software today, in January 2020.

The Tower Systems POS software is smart POS software, portable POS software, shop local focussed POS software.

Accessible from the cloud, the Tower Systems small business POS software helps indie small business retailers compete with big business. It leverages the point of difference of each small business, serving these to the benefit of the businesses using the software.

In addition to the in-store cloud based or desktop versions of the software is Retailer Roam, a truly portent POS software solution that can run anywhere, any time – from a car or truck, a market, a garage or a pop up store.

So, as you can see, the definition of POS software is evolving, just as retail itself is evolving. The inshore and online experiences are merging. Our software serves this from web sales to in store sales to fulfilment to genuine omnichannel solutions. This is what retail needs to offer today.

In 2020, small business retailers want POS software that is flexible, adaptable and capable of helping the businesses better connect locally in ways that are relevant. This is where Tower Systems shines. Sine we only sell, rent or lease our POS software to indie small businesses our retail community is populated with retailers with the local community focus that is differentiating. This helps us help our customers, especially new customers, to serve authentically and deeply.

Good POS software does not stand still. It does evolve. Through regular software updates, Tower systems demonstrates this evolution. We are grateful to our many customers for their suggestions as they offer us a pathway for the continuous evolution of our POS software.

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Helping small business retailers cut employee theft in 2020

Employee theft can be a high cost to indie small business retailers. Different studies in Australia and elsewhere coupled with our own knowledge of theft in indie small business retail indicates that employee theft costs a business around 75% of the total cost of theft.

The quantum of  employee theft is often under considered by small business retailers. We think  this is because of denial. However, given that the amount that can be taken in one hit or in micro amounts over a long period of time can be considerable once toted up.

Employee theft can be traced and as a result of this stopped. Our small business PO software helps retailers do this. We back the theft mitigation facilities in our software with training, advice and even data analysis to uncover possible instances of theft that may have hitherto gone undetected.

We also support our work on employee and customer theft in retail with support and advice to help deal with theft situations once they are uncovered. We do this because we are retailers ourselves and have personal experience dealing with this, experience through which we hope our customers can benefit.

Here is some of the small business retail theft mitigation advice from our POS software retail experienced team:

  1. Track your stock. Receive all stock into your business through your computer system so you know exactly what sock you have.
  2. Scan everything you sell.  Do not use department keys as this makes it easier for employees to steal since they know there is no trackback to stock on hand. Using department keys is an invitation to steal.
  3. Track every sale by employees. Give your employees a card with a unique barcode or have them enter a code – to track every sale they make back to them. Change the code every six months or so.
  4. Do your end of shift through your software and have a zero-tolerance policy on being over or under. Reconcile banking to your computer software end of shift. One business where this was not done was being skimmed regularly for $200 a day.
  5. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One retailer needing to do a banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to discovery of systematic theft.
  6. Change your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One retailer found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  7. Setup a theft policy.Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. See the last page of this advice.
  8. Keep the counter clean. An organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft. It makes detection easier.
  9. Have a no employee bags at the counter policy. This makes it harder for them to hide your cash.
  10. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  11. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.
  12. Do not take cash out for your own use in front of employees. If they see you take cash for a coffee or lunch some will see this as an invitation.
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Claims of a retail apocalypse are grossly overstated

We’ve all seen the headlines, because news outlets are drawn to  the drama of retail closures and challenges. Terms like retail apocalypse and retail armageddon have appeared in stories in recent weeks on the back of a series of challenging news about retail.

These headlines are, in view, inaccurate and unhelpful.

News outlets are quick to run stories forecasting doom and gloom. Often, the stories skate close to the surface without much analysis as to the reasons for closures. This bothers me as understanding the details can be helpful for context, and for mental health for those in retail.

Here are some of the stories already from this year (2020) with notes from usher at Tower Systems  offering context:

  • Harris Scarfe is closing 21 stores. They have been in trouble before. It is a second tier department store with  modest critical mass. It found it hard to be competitive in a marketplace;axe that does not favour depatrment stores. I think their problems are due to department stores overall being in trouble and that they are a small group and therefore less able to weather changing times.
  • EB Games is closing 19 stores as a first step in an international review of physical store retail. I expect there will be more closures. There has been a fundamental shift in how games are sold. {physical stores are not as important as they used to be.
  • Bardot is closing 58 stores. This is a fashion brand that has not maintained relevance.
  • Curious Planet is planning on closing 63 stores. Ever since they list the Australian geographic branding the future has been in doubt.
  • Jeanswest is in administration and is reportedly likely to close 146 stores. Jeanswest sells discount jeans. The biggest group of jeans consumers are looking for more engaged brands than Jeanswest offers. Their differentiation was minimal. They as a business had not kept with the times.
  • Bose is closing 119 stores. They have figured out the commercial benefits of direct online engagement. Offering a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee and costing shipping and other challenges, the company will make more money by closing 199 stores (leases, labour etc) and investing some of that into stronger online marketing.

The Bose move is what we should expect to see more of from international brands consumers trust. They will make more from direct consumer relationships and we think that this has been considered by Bose in their decision making to close physical retail.

Rather than being drawn to the doom and gloom, which is a natural human response on reading reports like these, our time and energy is better spent on ensuring our retail businesses are relevant today.

How do we do that?

Yeah, it is the million dollar question … for which there is no one size fits all answer for every situation.

Here are some tips that we know work from our experiences helping indie small business retailers:

  1. Be the boss. It’s your business. You choose what you sell, who works there, how the business looks and how the business is marketed. Make those decisions like you are in charge.
  2. Be relevant to today’s shopper. It’s likely the shopper is not like you. Too many stores stock what the owners and staff like. That is not a model for the future.
  3. Be different. The more your shop looks like others the less it will stand out.
  4. Provide solutions. It is much harder to convince someone to buy something they do not need, do not like, do not want or do not understand. It is much easier to get them to buy what they like, want, need or understand.
  5. Embrace change. Know that what works today will be different tomorrow.
  6. Treat data as cash. Small business retailers are notoriously bad at managing data. This leads to poor business decisions, which put businesses at risk. Treat data as a valuable asset and make better decisions as a result.

Sure there is tough news out there about retail. There is plenty of good news too.

Tower Systems is a small business focussed POS software company.

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Small business retailers help local communities deal with the challenges of bushfires

Small business retailers across Australia have demonstrated the value and commitment of their businesses in local and regional communities through the challenging time of the bushfires this year.

With most small businesses locally owned and staffed, they have been well placed to offer the practical support and comfort to other locals impacted by the bushfires.

We have seen small business retailers through their businesses open to local support groups, be collection points for practical assistance, be refuges and be places through with local stories can be heard in the broader Australian community and, indeed, around the world.

While big businesses that operate in regional Australia do employ locally, it is the small businesses where owners live and engage locally that carry the local stories and the local community. This is small business in action. It is why government support of small business is vital and more efficient in that a dollar into a local business is far more likely to benefit the local community than a dollar into a big business that is owned in the city or offshore.

Tower Systems only sells its POS software to small businesses, local businesses, independent businesses. This is our community and we are grateful to have seen first hand the good work done by this community through the 2019/20  bushfire season which, we add, is not over yet.

We see many glib marketing pitches about shopping local, so many that we tend to ignore them. It is the actions speaking louder than words that really matters as this is small local businesses serving their local communities, staying open, creating work and enabling local communities of have a semblance of normality. Seeing this is what matters most in fire ravaged areas – a semblance of normality as much as is possible and practical.

It is critical for Australians to shop small business first, to shop local first as much as possible in 2020 to facilitate rebuilding of communities across Australia. This has to be our goal and it can only be achieved through grass roots engagement of all Australians.

Spending local in small local businesses can be as beneficial as donating money to a recovery charity.

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We’re on a break today

It’s the Australia Day public holiday today. While our after hours team is available for urgent calls, our offices are closed and our people are probably heading to family and friends for a day together.

We’re all back on deck tomorrow morning, to serve indie small business retailers using our POS software.

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Grateful

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Local web development advantages local small business retailers

Tower Systems is proud to offer local web development services to local indie small business retailers.

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Benefits of fishing shop POS software from Tower Systems

The Aussie developed and supported fishing shop POS software from Tower Systems offers benefits specifically tailored for local fishing and outdoors retailers.

Constantly evolving, this POS software is a genuine solution for these locally owned and independent retail businesses that serve people who love fishing.

It is rare software too as it is POS software fir fishing shops, made for them, enhanced based on their suggestions and committees to helping them serve their local community.

  • Leverage you and your team. What you know is a differentiator for your business. Leverage this. Include local fishing information on receipts with consistency and automatically.
  • Sell accurately by measure – by whole numbers or
  • Easily sell by weight.
  • Sell by bundles / packs – Sell a rod / reel / line bundle easily. This makes it harder to price compare. It pitches you as offering value.
  • Unpack bundles – You can take bundles and packs purchased from a supplier and break them down to single products, maximising return.
  • Repairs & Job Tracking – Manage repairs, track progress in house or with third parties and notify customers by text when items are ready.
  • Stock Notes – Easily add care as well as local use instructions to any receipt, based on the product purchased.
  • Catalogue Management– run promotions through the system for automatic pricing (ie multi-buys and catalogue items) (buy any 3 lures for $10 or further discounts when purchasing bigger qty’s of bait).
  • Encourage a deeper basket. Use a loyalty program designed specifically to leverage one-time shoppers.
  • Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to you for this.
  • Special orders. Bring product in for a specific customer and have them notified automatically by email or text when the goods are in and ready.
  • Trade pricing profiles. You can set pricing rules based on types of customers.
  • Pre-orders – We make it easy for you to pre-sell a delivery so that when the stock arrives you can manage distribution and billing efficiently.
  • Save time by importing electronic invoices.
  • Sell more with a direct connect to buy now pay later services.
  • Cut mistakes with integrated EFTPOS.
  • Cut accounting and bookkeeping fees with integration to Xero and others.
  • Easily sell online with a direct to Shopify / Magento or WooCommerce link from your POS software.

Fishing shops are unique businesses, they are specialty businesses. It stands to reason that their needs are well served by software specific to their needs. That is where the Tower Systems fishing shop software serves well.

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The evolution of cashless, counter less staff less convenience retail

Here is a video of my experience at a new AmazonGo store on 42nd Street in New York a few days ago. I think sits AmazonGo store and 4 other stores nearby represent an evolution vy Amazon of their convenience offer.

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POS software for fishing and outdoors retailers helps serve local fishing clubs and the local community

The Tower Systems Fishing and Outdoors Business POS software has been made specifically for specialty retailers in this niche and specialist retail channel.

Our training is personal and tailored to the needs of local fishing shops too, making sure that the software does not get in the way of the business.

Beyond your everyday basic POS software, Tower Systems offers a robust and specialty POS software and support package to help local fishing and outdoors businesses serve local community needs.

  1. Connect with suppliers. From electronic invoices to reordering and more, be tight with suppliers and reduce your inventory overheads – freeing up capital.
  2. Sell by weight or length – Easily sell bait by weight or fishing line by length.  Scale integration, approved by the government, makes accurate selling easy and safe.
  3. Sell by bundles / packs– Sell a rod / reel / line bundle easily. This makes it harder to price compare. It pitches you as offering value.
  4. Unpack bundles – You can take bundles and packs purchased from a supplier and break them down to single products, maximising return.
  5. Repairs & Job Tracking – Manage repairs, track progress in house or with third parties and notify customers by text when items are ready.
  6. Stock Notes– Offerspecific product care instructions receipts.
  7. Catalogue Management– run promotions through the system for automatic pricing (ie multi-buys and catalogue items) (buy any 3 lures for $10 or further discounts when purchasing bigger qty’s of bait).
  8. Market to Customers– based on purchases, interests, clubs and more.
  9. Offer Customer Loyalty– Leverage one-time visiting customers. Achieved a deeper basket for more value.
  10. Receipt Coupons–Easily including product specific offers and more. The receipt can be far more valuable than just a receipt.
  11. Reordering– reorder based on min/max or on seasonal sales figures.
  12. Stock Images– images loaded against products can appear at POS and can easily and automatically flow through to your website.
  13. Customer Order Management–Track special orders and print a label with the customers details and sms them when it comes in
  14. Staff Tracking – Track all suspicious transactions, cancelled sales, discounted sales, deleted sales, quantity changes and more.
  15. Gift Cards & VIP Cards.
  16. Website Integration – Integrate from our POS software with Shopify, Magento and Woo. This is easy. Direct. Easy image flow.
  17. Xero Integration – Direct. Easy. Safe. Fast. Connecting your POS software with Xero cloud based accounting software for easy data flow.
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POS software helps firearms retailers safely and accurately serve the community

Tower Systems offers POS software made specifically for firearms retailers. This is software made by us, in Australia, to meet local market and regulatory needs. From the sales counter to the back office, our firearms POS software is specialty in nature and function.

Available for desktop use our in the cloud, this is software made for today’s firearms retailer.

Here are some of the firearms business specific benefits people in businesses like yours tell us they love about our software:

  1. Sell accurately by weight or measure – by whole numbers orfractions.
  2. Leverage you. If your knowledge is a differentiator, leverage it.
  3. Easier record keeping with serial number tracking of items sold.
  4. Ensure compliance with structured age checking.
  5. Easily handle special customer orders.
  6. Repairs tracking and management.
  7. Comprehensive record keeping.
  8. Employee sales tracking.
  9. Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd.
  10. Maximise the basket with easy to use one-time shopper loyalty tools.
  11. Trade and club pricing profiles. Set pricing rules to drive business.
  12. Pre-orders. Make them. Track them. Serve customers accurately and efficiently.
  13. Supplier connectivity. Loading electronic invoices from suppliers.
  14. An automated link to Shopify, Magento and Woo including images.
  15. Xero link. For seamless data transfer to the Xero cloud based accounting software.

For $199.00 a month you can use our Aussie developed and supported Firearms specific POS software in your business. Tower Systems offers a rental option as well as a purchase option. The software runs in the cloud or on a desktop. We believe in customer choice to make life easier.

Beyond the software, here are features of a relationship with Tower Systems…

  • We are local. Local matters in local communities. Tower Systems is Australian owned, developed and supported. Call us and a human answers the phone.
  • Our training is personal, in your business. We think people learn better from face to face training.
  • Unlimited free training. Long after you install the software, ask for free top-up training and all we will organise it.
  • New customer care. All new customers have a separate specialist team with which they connect, to ease settling-in.
  • Customers guide our software enhancement. We offer a transparent, democratic, process for guiding software update content.
  • Firearms business specific.This software is developed for your type of business.
  • In the cloud or in-store.You choose where the software runs.
  • Rent or buy. You choose how to acquire and fund the software.
  • We help with business performance analysis and theft checks, services where we take a deep dive into your data and provide confidential insights.
  • Every customer has the direct contact details for our leadership team for easy and safe escalation of any query.
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Produce and farm supply POS software helps local businesses support farmers

In times of drought especially, local produce and farm supply businesses play a vital roll in community service, helping to keep farms viable and operating in tough conditions.

Tower Systems, through its locally made and supported POS software for farm supply and rural produce businesses, helps these businesses support farmers.

The produce and farm supply POS software from Tower Systems helps rural supply / farm supply / produce businesses with efficient service and support of local farms and community group. Through inventory management, efficient shipping, produce use notes and more, this software helps businesses serve local needs for local conditions.

Developed in Australia with local farm supply and produce businesses, this software is regularly updated with enhancements helping drive efficiency. It is fit for purpose for this specific type of regional / rural business. For example, the most recent update delivers produce business specific accounting solutions to serve the unique and demanding needs of these businesses to better and more accurately account for shipping and related business costs.

Embedded in the produce business POS software from Tower Systems are many benefits, including…

  1. Sell accurately by measure – by whole numbers orfractions.
  2. Sell by weight.
  3. Managing special orders. Bring product in for a specific customer and have them notified automatically by email or text when the goods are in and ready.
  4. Time saving invoicing and account management – manage accounts in a way tailored to yourbusiness. You can easily account for freight, produce picking slips, manage accounts, feed data to Xero and MYOB and do more.
  5. Be accurate with all-weather product labels.
  6. Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to youfor this.
  7. Trade pricing profiles. You can set pricing rules based on types of customers.
  8. Pre-orders – We make it easy for you to pre-sell a delivery so that when the stock arrives you can manage distribution and billing efficiently.
  9. Bagging up feed – Easily manage bagging up a bulk feed delivery into smaller, saleable lots, while keeping accurate stock on hand data.
  10. Making your own feed mix. We help you track managing bulk quantity ingredients and mixing these into saleable packs of your own brand of seed mix. What an awesome point of difference for your business!
  11. Differentiate with informative receipts. These can include care, use and safety information based on what customers buy.
  12. Differentiate with bundles. Selling items bundled together makes price comparison hard.
  13. Market to customers based on past purchases.
  14. Save time by importing electronic invoices.
  15. Sell more with a direct connect to buy now pay later services.

Software made specifically for produce businesses is rare. Tower Systems is proud to serve plenty of businesses in this niche channel and is committed to even deeper and more meaningful engagement in 2020 and beyond.

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Shop local, for a better Australia

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Tower Systems: POS software for small business retailers that supports your dreams

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Small business retail advice: how to deal with the emotional impact of employee theft

Beyond the financial cost and regardless of the size of the theft, employee theft in a retail business can come at a huge cost to the business, those who work in it and the owners.

The impact can be felt for years after employee theft is discovered. We have seen this first hand inn businesses we have worked with and counselled through the process. To be honest, we have seen it ourselves in the early years of owning our own shops.

Often, the person caught stealing from a retail business is a trusted employees. This is where the high emotional cost kicks in. It is not uncommon for them to be a long term employee who has the trust and respect of the business owners. We have seen situations where it has been a relative of the owner or at least someone treated as a relative or a member of the family.

We have seen the impact of the theft flowing in waves:

  1. Typically, the retail business owners blame themselves for the theft or at the very least for not having discovered it sooner.
  2. What follows is the extraordinary feeling of a breach of trust and violation. This can lead to a feeling of overwhelming illness. In some cases, one or more of the business owners have withdrawn from the business – such is the personal hurt and betrayal they feel.
  3. Devastation often kicks in with the owners losing focus on the business, unable to deal with the issues of today.
  4. Depending on the extent of the theft, depression can follow which requires some form of intervention to resolve.

The personal impact on the outlook and confidence of the business owner can be devastating. Unless they are able to accept what has happened and genuinely move on, they could find themselves wallowing in anger, inaction or even depression for long after the crime has bene discovered.

The key, from our personal experience, is to accept what has happened, make a decision on how to deal with it and move on… never looking back.

Discovering an employee theft problem is an excellent first step. The alternative is that it continues unabated. Discovery stops the theft and that is a great first step. It is important to acknowledge the good news of the discovery regardless of the quantum of theft discovered.

Deciding an action plan is the ideal step two. Deciding whether to report the crime or agree on an immediate financial settlement with the employee who committed the crime is the best next step. Only the retail business owner can decide whether reporting the crime is worth it or not. Sometimes, being paid a reasonable sum by the employee is better for the business and moving on than a protracted police investigation.

Talk with the team. Listen. Console. This is a time for grieving about what happened. Either gather as a group or one on one. Ensure that everyone has an opportunity to air their feelings. Business partners especially should take time to do this and explore how they feel. Do not let this process go on too long. Ensure that everyone understands that this is the time of grieving and that when it ends, it ends so that the business and those involved can move on.

Focusing on the business is the fourth important step. Once the employee theft is caught, the action plan re police versus reimbursement resolved, the next focus has to be the business. Difficult as this is, it is important to move forward rather than to stand still and wonder what might have been or worry about the betrayal one feels. Look at business practices and modify these so that theft is harder to perpetrate, implement processes which disrupt the business and make theft easier to detect.

There are excellent government and community resources which can help. Engage and use these resources and benefit from the insights of others.

How a retail business comes out of discovering employee theft is up to the leaders of the business themselves. They set the mood for the team. It is important to reach a point of moving on and not looking back as soon as possible – for the sake of the business, its employees and its customers.

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Small business retail advice: for school leavers joining the retail work force

We have some timely advice for school leavers joining the full-time workforce. It is offered here in the spirit of encouragement, that you grow professionally and serve the needs of the business employing you. This advice is especially aimed at those new to the workforce.

  1. Know the business is tough ands that retail, especially small business retail, is very tough.
  2. The business owners do not get to keep for themselves every cent that comes across the counter. Indeed, they will be lucky to keep even 5 cents in the dollar.
  3. If the business succeeds, you succeed.
  4. The business relies on customers. Every retail employee plays a role in setting how much each customer loves shopping in the shop.
  5. Learn as much about the business as you can in the businessman the job.
  6. Learn outside the business – there are many online learning / training opportunities in retail that can make you more valuable any employer.
  7. If you are not sure of something, ask. Don’t assume.
  8. Work out how to love your job, because if you don’t, working there will not be good for you or the business.
  9. Be as low maintenance as possible. Your employer is not an ATM you can tap every time you feel like sleeping in.
  10. How far you go in a business, and in your career, is up to you. You get out what you put it.
  11. Add value. If you do this a business will want to keep you and that gives you leverage in this job and your next.
  12. Every day, how it goes, what you get from it, the contribution you make … is up to you.
  13. Speak up. If you see a colleague making a mistake, stealing or misbehaving, speak up. You own it to the business to do this more than you owe your silence to a colleague or friend.
  14. Make suggestions. Even new employees have good ideas.Fresh eyes are sometimes the most valuable through which to see business.

If you are a business owner and hiring school leavers, step up to the responsibility seriously. You hire them, train them, manage them and determine their value to the business as as the value of the business to them. Oh, and being their friend is not an ideal step to good management.

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Small business retail advice: on cutting theft by employees

Employee theft continues to contribute more to the total cost of theft in retail theft than customer theft based on data we see. yet, employee theft is easier to track and manage than customer theft.

In our POS software we have hidden tools that help track and cut employee theft. Outside the POS software, we have this practical and useful small business retail advice that we know works on cutting employee theft.

Issue this Theft Policy in your business, have all team members sign it and place it is a place where team members can see it every day. Doing this establishes your commitment on the issue as well as your policy and practices related to the issue. Following through on the policy is key for without discipline in this area the cost of theft in your business will be higher than it should be.

This is the theft policy we recommend to all retailers…

THEFT POLICY OF THIS BUSINESS

  1. Theft, any theft, is a crime against this business, its owners, employees and others who rely on us for their income.
  2. If you discover any evidence or have any suspicion of theft, please report it to the business owner or most senior manager possible immediately. Doing so could save a considerable cost to the business.
  3. We have a zero tolerance policy on theft. All claims will be reported to law enforcement authorities for their investigation.
  4. From time to time we have the business under surveillance in an effort to reduce theft. This may mean that you are photographed or recorded in some other way. By working here you accept this as a condition of employment.
  5. New employees may be asked to provide permission for a police check prior to commencement of employment. Undertaking the police check will be at our discretion.
  6. Cash is never to be left unattended outside the cash drawer or a safe within the business.
  7. Credit and banking card payments are not to be accepted unless the physical card is presented and all required processes are followed for processing these.
  8. Employees caught stealing with irrefutable evidence face immediate dismissal to the extent permitted by labour laws.
  9. Employees are not permitted to remove inventory, including unsold, topped, magazines, unsold cards or damaged stock from the store without permission.
  10. Employees are not permitted to provide a refund to a customer without appropriate management permission.
  11. Employees are not permitted to complete sales to themselves, family members or friends.
  12. Every dollar stolen from the business by customers and or employees can cost us up to four dollars to recover. This is why vigilance on theft is mission critical for our retail store.

PLEASE SIGN AND DATE YOUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

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Small business retail advice: on competing with big business

Small business retailers often express frustration at big business competitors: they have more money for marketing, get better supplier deals and often have lower overheads per dollar of revenue. It is easy to get drawn into envy and get lost in a whirlpool of self pity for the small business situation.

In our experience in owning and running small retail businesses, there is little to be gained from worrying about these things, which we cannot change. There is more to gain from focussing on points of difference we can leverage.

This is important, that we look at the upside opportunities we have rather than the negative of envy about big business competitors. It’s tough to do, but well worth it.

For example, we can bundle items in our small retail businesses to make price comparison difficult or impossible, we can offer a loyalty pitch big businesses will not offer, we can be flexible in how and where we pitch producers while bug retail businesses are structured and, usually, inflexible.

Bundling is particularly useful as you can create a bundle unique to your business, which feels like it is a value proposition unlike anything they have seen to that point. While this is a product by product task, it is in these small steps that you can find success, by changing shopper perspective and winning business more direct competition may have denied.

Bundles can work in gift, stationery, cards, toys, plants, fishing and more. It is easy to use tech to manage and track this.

Big businesses do this. Its is a key reason for their price guarantees – because price comparison is harder and even not possible, ensuring they don’t pay out on the price guarantees.

Our key message today is that you can compete with big businesses in myriad ways, especially through using our small business focussed POS software that is rich in features for doing just this. We give you the tools and provide training and supporting their use, to help you compete as you may not have competed before.

Big business competitors are not going away, they are not fading in size, they are not spending less. This means we have to be smart and engaged to compete.

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Small business retail advice: how to cut the insurance overhead

Insurance is a must-have business overhead. It is critical to have the right level of coverage with a respected insurer.

As retailers, we often look at our overheads. We recently re-negotiated insurance coverage for our 3 retail shops and achieved a 30% cut in insurance costs. We reviewed the needs of each specific retail business and set about discussing these with our insurance broker, the same broker we have used for years.

We went into the discussions armed with facts about the business, accurate stock value data and accurate fixed asset value data.

Here are some of the changes we made to our insurance coverage:

  1. Property Cover – Annual Turnover adjusted to reflect trading, Contents including Re-Fit Costs adjusted, & Stock On Hand levels adjusted; These had drifted over time, adding to our costs inappropriately.
  2. Business Interruption –  Gross Profit levels adjusted; This is high cost coverage.
  3. Money Cover – Level reduced from $20K blanket cover per store to $5K (lower limit); We bank daily so there is minimal cash on hand. Also, more and more over the counter payments are non cash so the level of cash cover was too high.
  4. Glass Cover – Removed for for one store as there now is no glass window as well as no internal/external glass;
  5. POS Equipment Breakdown – Removed; We looked at the actual costs and considered that we had not claimed in our 23 years in retail and then determined that we effectively cover ourselves through the saving.
  6. Excesses – Increased from $500 per claim to $1,000 per claim since we have not claimed, ever.

The critical factor for us was that in all our years in retail we have never made a claim on insurance. Then one time our shop was flooded, we claimed against the builder for the landlord for disruption and inventory damage.

The renegotiation process took an hour. Time well spent for the 30% cut in insurance costs saving achieved.

We willingly share with our POS software customers details of our own experiences like this, in more specific detail than at this blog. We are glad to be able to help our customers in this practical way as every dollar shaved from business overheads is worth considerable more than you consider retail margins.

Yes, insurance cover is important. However, pay for what you actually need.

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We help indie retailers see above the clouds with our POS software

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Tower Systems: awesome pet shop software

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Xero integration with Tower Systems POS software for small business retailers

Our POS software integrates with Xero cloud based accounting software.

Integrating seamlessly with Xero as we do provides our POS software customers with safe and easy access to a beautiful POS software and accounting solution for the whole of the retail business.

Thanks to the POS software Xero integration, small business retailers can:

  1. Save time. Data flow is seamless, safe, secure and fast. No more double or triple handing of invoice details.
  2. Cut mistakes. Every keystroke you eliminate in business is a possible data mistake eliminated. The Xero POS software integration cuts keystrokes.
  3. Make better business decisions. Accurate business data feeds better business decisions.
  4. Reduce accounting and bookkeeping costs. All the data entry work bookkeepers and accounting professionals do can be eliminated thanks to safe and fast data flow between the POS software and Xero.
  5. Drive business value. Data is revealing and this helps you extract more business value.
  6. Enjoy the business more. Data entry is a grind and it can lead to mistakes. Get rid of these challenges and yours enjoyment rises for sure.
  7. Immediate cashflow visibility. With no lag for data, you can see your position immediately.

Small business retailers have been using our Xero / POS software integration fort years. We have been using it ourselves in our own retail shops too – we love it and appreciate the benefits it delivers.

We help you map POS data to Xero, to provide data correctly to the needs of your accountant or bookkeeper.

Our POS software Xero experts can help0 you make the transition and establish a link that is right for your business, a link that serves not only you but those who serve you with accounting and business advice.

As a Xero development partner, Tower Systems is well resourced and skilled to help you get the most of the interface opportunity.

What is Transferred to Xero?

Sales. End of Shift based department-level sales are transferred to Xero via a sales invoice. Each department can be assigned its own Xero account.

Invoices. Invoices received into the Retailer POS software are transferred to Xero at department level. No individual stock items are transferred.

Write Offs & No Sales. These are transferred to individual expense accounts depending on the transaction reason chosen.

Cost Of Sales. An option on sales exporting is to export Cost of Sales. While not a full implementation of COGS it does transfer over the cost price of items sold each day to reduce the value of Stock On Hand in Xero.

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Small business retailers love our cloud based POS software

Here are some questions we are often asked about cloud based POS software. Below each is our answer.

Does your POS software run in the cloud?

Yes.

Is your POS software cloud based?

Yes.

I read that your POS software runs in the clouds. can I run it on the desktop?

Yes.

How can your POS software be cloud based and run in the desktop?

We designed it for both. You choose what is right for your needs.

I have your software on my desktop. can I switch to the cloud?

Yes.

I want to run your software in the cloud but on my own server. can I do that?

Yes.

How long has your POS software run in the cloud?

For many years. We setup our first hosted cloud based POS software more than ten years ago.

We share these answers here for the record, to ensure that our answers are on the record.

Our POS software can run on the desktop or in the cloud. Our small business retail customers choose where and how they host the use of our software. We believe in choice and that is what we offer.

We have many customers running in the cloud. Some run on servers they organise while others use the secure server farms we provide access to.

Retailers who want a 100% cloud hosted POS solution that is fully maintained for them can find satisfaction with our tower systems POS software solution.

Using a Tower hosted cloud based POS software solution means that our customers have automatic, safe and secure perpetual backup,  up to date software, access from anywhere and security with state of the art security measures in please protecting vital business data.

The Tower Systems cloud based POS software solution is supported by one of the most respected server farm operations in the country, ensuring strong protection and fast access for small business retailers of a level and power that is what big businesses expect.

Our approach to cloud based POS software offers our indie small business retailers security, certainty and competitive focus in a competitive retail environment.

If you want to run our POS software in the cloud, the answer is yes – through us or on another server you prefer. The choices are 100% yours to make. We will support you as much as you want.

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Our own support for the bushfire appeal

We are running this donation offer in the shops we own and run. We’ve been doing it since the start of this week.

It costs our customers nothing. The donation comes 100% from us.

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Why small business retail employees love our specialty POS software

The POS software chosen for a small business retail shop matters to the staff, those who work in the business. Too often, however, staff are not consulted as to the POS software chosen for a business yet they are the front line, the people who drive value from the POS software investment.

Tower Systems offers retail staff plenty of learning opportunities with our POS software so that they do not have to rely on retail business owners or managers to learn the software. Our customers can tap into unlimited training. This helps ensure that the front line retail employees can transact with the software accurately, quickly and for maximum benefit for the business.

Front line retail employees tell us they love our software and the support we offer. Collating feedback here are the top benefits retail employees (not managers or business owners) like about our Tower Systems POS software:

  1. That the software is specific to the type of the business, that it is not general software.
  2. Easy to learn.
  3. Easy to get more training.
  4. Friendly and easily accessed support.
  5. Fast at the counter.
  6. The integrations like EFTPOS and other connections that help make the counter more productive.
  7. The structure of processes. There is a commonsense approach that suits live retail operations.
  8. The plain English approach – there are few technical terms.
  9. Fingertip access to information to help make better business decisions.

Any business considering our software and keen for input from front line employees prior to making a decision are welcome to have us demonstrate the software to them, live, using data like you would use in your business. Your staff can process transactions as they would like in the business. This provides you with feedback on the usefulness of the software as assessed by those who work in your retail business on a day to day basis. We think this matters.

If you work in a shop that is considering new POS software, reach out to us. We’d be happy to discuss your needs, to work with you to see if our POS software is a good fit for your business. If it is not in our opinion, we will say so. It starts with you outlining what you are looking for and us demonstrating how our software works to see if we match your needs.

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