Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Month: February 2020 (page 1 of 2)

We love the weekend…

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How the Tower Systems gift shop software helps retailers trade through tough economic times

The drought, bushfires, floods and coronavirus have all impacted retail sales. Local independent gift shops are challenged. Through its specialty gift shop POS software, Tower Systems helps locally owned gift shops trade through and grow.

Here are some of the ways our gift shop POS software can do this.

By engaging with the marketing and management tools in the gift shop POS software, retailers can expect to cut costs, increase sales and drive bottom-line profit. Let’s take a moment to look at these…

  • Cut costs.  Thanks to electronic invoicing, the cost of processing new stock is lower than with manual processes.  This can help cut your labour bill.
  • Increase sales #1: reward customers.  A good loyalty program works.  Not like FlyBys which is of dubious financial value to customers.  No, a serious loyalty program which guides your customers to spend more money with you.  I have see stores grow sales by 10% on the back of a well constructed loyalty program,  a good POS software package will run this for you, points and all.
  • Increase sales with buy now pay later.  Buy now pay later is flexible and loved. In our gift shop POS software it is integrated.
  • Increase sales: market to your customers.  A coupon on your receipts, an email newsletter, a printed newsletter or up-sell script at the sales counter for staff – these are all ways you can use your point of sale system to help guide your existing customers to spend more money with you.
  • Increase sales #5.  Connect with a local charity.  Use your gift POS shop software to make it easy for a local charity to promote your retail business shop and raise money for themselves at the same time.  Each sale earned for you by the charity can be tracked so that you are able to reward them with an accurate donation at the end of the campaign.
  • Make better business decisions.  Bu buying only stock which works for you or seeing exactly what customers buy with what you are able to make business decisions which are more likely to drive better business results.
  • Cut mistakes.  Mistakes in retail can be expensive.  By using smart retail management software, you can and should expect to cut mistakes.  This is because it takes fewer keystrokes per sale.  This reduces the opportunity for mistakes.  The saving could add as much as a full percentage point to your bottom line.
  • Cut theft.  Theft in retail in Australia was running at between 3% and 5% of turnover.  Thanks to tight controls around employees and better tracking of stock theft, you can expect to cut the cost of theft.  Every $1 cut in theft is a $1 on your bottom line.

It is easy to get drawn to the doom and gloom of the times and through this to lose focus on your business.  This trap must be avoided at all costs … for the sake of the business and all who rely on the business from customers to employees to owners.

By using tools freely available in your gift shop POS software you can find sales, find time and find margin which may have eluded you to this point.

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A gift shop POS software Q&A from us

Here are our answers to part of a recent Q&A about our gift shop POS software.

Why focus on local gift shops?

They are unique, local specialist and appreciated. these businesses are important. They need software specific to their needs, software that helps them differentiate themselves from the retail noise. We like their level of specialisation and that we can specialise in tech for them.

Why focus on independent small businesses?

We like that by working with small businesses we work directly with the business owners every day. We like that this business is personal. We think that as a small business ourselves we are better placed to serve small businesses.

How many customers use your software?

3,000+ Operating on 10,000+ terminals and processing close to 900,000 transactions a day.

How many gift shops use your software?

More than 400.

What facilities do gift shop owners and staff  like are in your software?

  1. Easy to use yet structured and professional Lay-By. Plus the opportunity to replace LayBy with buy now pay later.
  2. Customer special orders with TXT message when stock arrives.
  3. Professional gift cards with your logo and proper management of balance.
  4. Easy to produce gift vouchers.
  5. Gift receipts that can be wrapped with a gift (no pricing).
  6. Intelligent receipts with product care information.
  7. Easy handling of hampers and bundled offers.
  8. Supplier performance comparison.
  9. Employee performance management and rewards.
  10. Importing electronic invoices from gift shop suppliers. We work with for you.
  11. Linking to your website to manage a common stock file.
  12. Loyalty options including traditional points as well as front end loyalty to drive infrequent shopper engagement.
  13. Inventory management to guide you to a more efficient inventory level.
  14. Theft reduction tools to reduce the opportunity of employee theft.
  15. It’s easy to use.
  16. It’s regularly updated based on user suggestions.

What do you think makes your gift shop software different to others?

We develop the software ourselves here in Australia in close consultation with gift shop owners and employees – as well as with gift shop suppliers. This is truly specialist software created for your type of business.

What makes Tower Systems different as a supplier of gift shop software?

Our service is personal, professional and accessible. You have access to the entire Tower Systems team to not only learn how to use our software but also to how to make more money in your business by using the software.

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The cloud based Tower Systems gift shop POS software … $145.00 a month

The gift shop POS software from Tower Systems runs in the cloud or oil the desktop. You choose what is right for your situation.

We offer a rental pricing option that makes our Gift shop POS  software available for $145.00 a month. For this you get…

  1. Specialty Gift shop POS software developed in Australia.
  2. Software updates as we release them.
  3. Unlimited licences for your retail location. If you need an extra computer, there is no extra software cost.
  4. Shopify / Magento / Woo link. Easily sell online from your POS software.
  5. Xero link. Easing bookkeeping costs and streamlining accounting.
  6. Our OzBiz link – connect to MYOB and Quicken through OzBiz.
  7. Tyro link – safe, fast and easy EFTPOS link for streamlined sales.
  8. PC Eftpos link – easy EFTPOS processing for the major banks.
  9. Easy buy now pay later thanks to Zip Pay and Humm – that Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X and others are using more and more.
  10. Support – help desk access, unlimited training, updates and more.
  11. User documentation. Access to our searchable knowledge base.

The $145.00 is charged per 30 days, in advance. Access can be cancelled at any time. You can also choose to purchase the software outright.

We have a structured and personalised on-boarding process, done in your business. The up-front on-boarding fee is $2,999.00 (inc. GST). This includes:

  1. A pre-installation training and information pack to help you be ready in your business and with hardware.
  2. Pre-installation planning. A structured phone meeting to plan the installation and to go over the training, ensuring we cover what matters to you and your team.
  3. On-site installation and training. On-site installation of and training in the Tower software anywhere in Australia for up to two days incl. travel.
  4. Data conversion. Conversion of all data possible (within reasonable time constraints). This is a two-step process:
    1. Pre-conversion. With your permission we extract data to be checked for layout and consistency.
    2. The conversion itself. This is done as part of software installation.
  5. Personal priority support. New user priority support through a specialist area of the new customer help desk.
  6. Personal post-installation follow-up. A separate structured call to check knowledge and use processes.
  7. All travel costs to and from the installation.

Save $1,000.  You are welcome to have the installation done remotely, with our installation expert located at one of our offices and working with you over the phone. This would reduce the on-boarding fee by $1,000.00 (Inc. GST).

Here are some of the benefits people in businesses like yours tell us they love:

  1. Say goodbye to LayBy With our buy now pay later options.
  2. Customers will love your product use and care instructions on receipts.
  3. Make more money offering special orders that you can easily track from the counter and notify shoppers by email or text when the goods arrive.
  4. Get one-time-only shoppers spending more with an awesome and differentiating loyalty facility.
  5. Sell online easily, direct from your POS software.
  6. Bring customers back with reminders on dates important to them.
  7. Save money on bookkeeping by integrating with accounting software.
  8. Make more money from the one time only shoppers.
  9. Save time, load electronic invoices from suppliers.

We are local. Tower Systems serves 3,500+ specialty businesses.

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How the Tower Systems gift shop POS software benefits local gift shops

The gift shop POS software from Tower Systems is made for local gift shops. It is rich in benefits that are bankable for these businesses.

Being locally made for local businesses, this gift shop POS software is focussed on delivering to local needs. We are proud of this, and proud that the software continues to evolve. No standing still here.

Here is a list of some of the benefits of our gift shop POS software:

  • Get one-time-only shoppers spending more thanks to an easy to pitch loyalty system embedded in the software.
  • Leverage you. If you believe your knowledge is a differentiator, offer it through structured opportunities in the software.
  • Encourage customer happiness by serving product care info. on receipts.
  • Say goodbye to LayBy – with integrated buy now pay later options.
  • Easily handle special customer orders. Bring product in for a specific customer and have them notified automatically by email or text when the goods are in and ready.
  • Easily sell online with a direct to Shopify / Magento or WooCommerce link from your POS software – including image flow.
  • Go cashless if that is your goal – we make it easy and affordable.
  • Save time with electronic invoices from suppliers.
  • Use tags to get a fresh perspective, side-view, on stock performance.
  • Bundle items together to make price comparisons harder and thereby increase sales.
  • Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to you for this.
  • Trade and club pricing profiles. Set pricing rules based on customer type.
  • Make money from pre-orders – Easily pre-sell a delivery so that when the stock arrives you can manage distribution and billing efficiently.
  • Differentiate with informative receipts. These can include product care, use and safety information based on what customers buy.
  • Track who sold what.

This gift shop POS software works for you in so many ways, on so many levels. It can help you differentiate your business easily and consistently.

We only sell this software to independent retailers as we are a small business focussed POS software company serving already more than 3,000 retailers.

We’d love to help you run a more enjoyable and more successful gift shop.

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How Tower Systems gift shop software helps small business retailers compete

The gift shop POS software from Tower Systems is benefits rich helping indie gift shop owners run more successful retail businesses. It is made for this. Made in Australia. Made for local gift shops that serve local communities. Made to help these local small businesses connect with local shoppers for in-store and online sales.

The gift shop POS software from Tower Systems is already used by hundreds of gift retailers. here is what they tell us they love.

  • Easy selling. From the sales counter. From the shop floor. From local markets. From parties in homes. From online. This software helps you wherever you sell, whenever you sell. Flexibility is key here.
  • Easy payments. By integrating with EFTPOS as well as buy now pay later, shoppers have choice and this makes selling easy, accurate and fast. In retail, getting paid is critical. We make that easy for you.
  • Encouraging more purchases. This is what shopper loyalty is all about right?! … getting shoppers to buy more. The Tower gift shop POS software guides this through cool and unique loyalty tools that shoppers love. And, we have data to back this up, data that can guide deeper engagement by you to drive better results.
  • Guiding consistency. The more efficient a retail business the more profitable it is. Our purpose built gift shop POS software helps you run a for consistent business, even when you cannot be there yourself. Customers love consistency. Staff members, too, as it guides them in workflow.
  • Competing. We all hate big businesses right?! Well, most big businesses at least. Our gift shop POS software helps you compete by differentiating your business from the big businesses. We help you set yourself apart in clever and appreciated ways.
  • Being local. here it is. here is what matters most to indie local retail businesses. being local is challenging yet it is everything. For many of us who own local retailers, shops, being local really does matter. In our gift shop POS software you can pitch local in clever and consistent ways, differentiating ways.

Tower Systems offers awesome gift shop POS software made specifically for gift shops. We can help you run a more successful, valuable and enjoyable local gift shop. We can help you build a brighter future for your business and all who rely on it.

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Thank you for shopping local

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We are proud to support local communities

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More POS software connected Shopify sites live

We are grateful for the opportunity to deliver more POS software connected Shopify websites to our community of indie small business retailers. Our work has continued apace through the Aussie summer, bring more sites live and helping retailers to leverage the online opportunity.

While we have skills with PHP development as well as WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify, it is our Shopify work that is delivering terrific rapid results for indie retailers.

From pet shops, to jewellers, to garden centres to produce businesses to gift shops and more, our POS software connected Shopify sites are delivering solutions to our retail business partners that they leverage into new shopper traffic opportunities. At core here is our focus to help our customers make more money, to make their businesses more valuable.

The Tower Systems web development team is skilled in WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify. The company has plenty of sites it can show in a live portfolio of successful e-commerce sites, serving shoppers in Australia and internationally.

Small business retailers can benefit from the retail management experience at Tower Systems experience that helps deliver a more retail focussed solution.

The Tower web team is also skilled at SEO and SEM services that help raise the website rankings in key search engines, ensuring the site is found ahead of others.

But best of all, Tower Systems provides professional advice and guidance to small business retailers keen to build their online presence. Our commitment is honest transparent advice on which any small business retailer can rely.

Shopify is one of the easiest ways to setup and run an ecommerce store.  We think it provides you with the ideal place to create you first website and gain experience in the world of ecommerce.  You have complete control over the look and feel of your online store and can instant access fantastic look themes to reflect the personality of your business. For more information visit

The Retailer POS software to Shopify Link uses the Tower Advantage Link platform to allow our Retailer POS software to connect directly to your Shopify store.  The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the Shopify API.

The link works by using the Tower platform platform to connect to the Shopify API and synchronise your data.

Retailer is your master stock database.  You flag what stock items you want to appear on your shopify store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your titles and descriptions in Shopify. Newly flagged products are automatically added and if you edit items in Retailer you have field level control over how these are handled in Shopify.

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Tower Systems produce business POS software at the AIRR trade show last weekend

We are grateful to the folks at AIRR for the opportunity to be at their trade show last weekend, to pitch our POS software, especially our produce and farm supply business POS software.

When it comes to produce business POS software, we are specialists, serving a range of businesses in this space including many AIRR members. We are established and our software is proven, serving their specialty business and accounting needs well. This is in part thanks to wonderful support from our customers, who are giving of their time and insights to help us create better software.

From the delivery trucks to the back shed to the counter to anywhere, our produce and farm supply business management software is robust and capable, serving needs that are diverse and business critical.

The produce business specialty software we offer today is different to what we offered last year. Today’s software has new features, plenty created just for produce  and farm supply businesses.

Produce businesses need produce business software.

  • Produce store specialty POS software does more.
  • Produce store specialty POS software delivers more benefits.
  • Produce store specialty POS software saves more time.
  • Produce store specialty POS software cuts more mistakes.
  • Produce store specialty POS software supports what is different in your business compared to everyday retail.

Last year, we updated our software to include: Pending Invoice Processing – allowing stock to be invoiced in prior to physical invoice being received from the supplier; Extensive Freight Processing – allowing Freight Invoices to be processed with much great clarity and control; Variants (Colour, Size & Style); Supplier Ordering Improvements to better handle Order Numbers from suppliers and back order processing; Bulk Price Changes expanded for more control and ease of use.

We have released  new Accounts Management tools, a complete reengineering of our customer accounts facilities – easier to use, more flexible, an accounting solution accountants and bookkeepers will love. These new tools go way beyond everyday POS software. They will be a real treat for produce businesses that run customer accounts.

These produce business specific enhancements have been delivered to customers as part of our structured, texted, software update process.

We appreciate there are cheaper solutions out there, non-produce business specific solutions. As with most things in the world, you get what you pay for. We would love to show you the produce business specific facilities in our software and let you see, first hand, the extraordinary investment we have made and are making for businesses like yours.

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Australian newsagents prefer our POS software over any other

Recently, independently verified, Tower Systems serves more newsagents with newsagency POS software than any other POS software company.

While the newsagency channel has challenges, there is plenty of good news … growth stories, transformations, good wins and new owners.

This is a retail channel in the midst of extraordinary opportunistic transformation.

Switching your business to the industry standard Tower Systems newsagency software is not expensive. If you have current hardware, the cost can be as low as $2,400 a year thanks to interest free finance from us for 3 years.

11 more newsagents chose the Tower Systems software in the last 3 months. We are grateful for their support of our newsagency software. We serve more than 1,750 newsagency businesses.

We help newsagents evolve their businesses into new products, through awesome loyalty tools and online.

We offer low low EFTPOS rate. One newsagent is $200.00 a month better off while another, in regional Australia, is more than $250.00 a month better off.

We continue to own and operate newsagency businesses ourselves and have done since 1996. This helps us make better software for you.

  • Compliant with industry standards, using our software you can meet criteria for getting onto the no physical returns program with Ovato.
  • Electronic invoices are a breeze.
  • Selling online is easy and sell more regardless of your local population.
  • Offer buy now pay later with Humm, Zip Pay.
  • Our innovative front-end loyalty facilities help you differentiate your business, drive deeper baskets and bring shoppers back sooner.
  • Training long after you install is easy to access and free.

Our software can work with you as you evolve your product mix. Whether it is into hospitality, services, produce, repairs, online or more, our software has facilities that help make your business more relevant to today’s shopper.

Integrations can also help you cut operating costs, such as bookkeeping fees. We can help you eliminate double and triple handling. We link direct to Xero, for example.

Switching is not expensive. Included is …

  • The latest Tower Systems newsagency software.
  • On-site installation and training by a newsagency business expert.
  • Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  • Software support for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Software updates for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Unlimited over the phone follow up training for the first three years.
  • Access to an awesome online knowledge base with articles & advice.
  • Access to weekly group live online training workshops.
  • Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss any topic.

Tower Systems is grateful to the many newsagents in its community.

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Bait and Tackle POS software helps local retailers serve

The Bait and Tackle POS software from Tower Systems is purpose made POS software for these specific retail businesses.

Bait and Tackle businesses have some unique needs when it comes to business software, needs that are usually not met with traditional POS software, needs through which they can grow their businesses.

This Bait and Tackle POS software from Tower Systems is proudly and locally made for them. We are grateful to our user community in this retail channel for their encouragement and advice in enhancing the software.

Here are some of the benefits of the Tower Systems Bait and Tackle software.

  • Advise local fishing conditions on receipts.
  • Share local fishing related knowledge on receipts.
  • Include locally tailored product knowledge with product details on receipts.
  • Differentiate with bundles. Selling items bundled together makes price comparison hard. For example, a rod and reel kit ready to go.
  • Sell accurately by measure – by whole numbers or sell by weight.
  • 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.
  • Time saving invoicing and account management – manage accounts in a way tailored to your You can easily account for freight, produce picking slips, manage accounts, feed data to Xero and MYOB and do more.
  • Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to you for this.
  • 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.
  • Bagging up product – Easily manage bagging up a bulk delivery into smaller, saleable lots, while keeping accurate stock on hand data.
  • Making your own product 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.
  • Market to customers based on past purchases.
  • 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.

Local Bait and Tackle shops can depend on this solution from Tower Systems to continue to evolve to the needs of the marketplace.

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Time for action by indie retailers on shop local since lazy social medias posts don’t cut through

Social media pitches from small business retailers calling for people to shop local tend to be tiresome clichés, serving the needs of those who post rather than those they want to reach.

Too often you can see a business calling for people to shop local not shopping local themselves.

For me, the shop local issue comes down to the adage of actions speak louder than words.

In these early months of 2020, on the back of an awful bushfire season, sustained rounds, now, floods, and the coronavirus, shop local management is important and timely. I say management because that has to be our focus.

  • Wherever possible, source products made locally where locally can mean in the local community, within the state or territory or at least within Australia. This is hard but rewarding work.
  • Source the services your business uses locally, at least within Australia. Just because a company has a local rep it does not mean they are local. Ask.
  • Focus any giving locally.
  • Systemise your local engagement. On receipts, show locally made items. Have tis information shared with shoppers automatically.
  • In store, indicate Australian made and locally made with curated displays that pitch this.
  • On social media, talk about your support for local groups and why. Don’t be oh look at how good we are. Rather, be grateful about finding local products and appreciating customer support for them.
  • Use your loyalty program to support local charities where shoppers have the opportunity of donating the loyalty reward they have earned to a local charity you partner with. In my own Tower Systems POS software this is easy. I have used it my own businesses with success.
  • Use local music play lists.
  • Leverage local talent for music out the front of your store in physically appropriate.

This is all about being patriotic without being a show off, without being a hollow bell. You strengthening your local engagement strengthens the local economy and all businesses (and people) in the local economy benefit from that.

Where this all starts is with your next buying decision of products or services. Ask the question. Be sure of where the dollar you spend goes.  This is more valuable and useful than posting lazily on social media calling for people to shop local.

Asking people to shop with you is not enough of itself. You need to demonstrate that you are living and acting locally.

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Thank you for shopping local

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Our POS software TV commercial

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Happy love day

Here is some art from us created for the newsXpress retailers celebrating today, love day.

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We are Tower Systems, an Aussie POS software co success story

Tower Systems is an Australian software company that develops, sells and supports POS software for selected specialty marketplaces including pet and produce businesses.

We only serve independent retail businesses.

Our mission is to help retailers run more successful businesses. Our definition of success is a business that is making money, where the owners and employees enjoy what they do and where suppliers enjoy transacting.

Good software can play an important role in nurturing business success as it sits at the heart of the business: transacting sales, managing stock, tracking customer activity and shining a light on business opportunities.

What makes us different is how we engage. We go beyond what is traditional software company.

  • We welcome working with your suppliers to create data links that save you and them time, data links that improve data accuracy, data links that feed more accurate business reports.
  • We provide business insights based on data cultivated through the software – to business owners who ask. This is a free service.
  • Our help desk provides context for advice. Rather than the turn it off and turn it on advice, our help desk team members explain the why, why from a business perspective the advice they are providing matters.
  • Our software updates contain enhancements suggested and voted on by customers. You can have a direct say in the evolution of the software.
  • Our communication is in plain English. While we are a company of IT geeks, when talking with customers we keep it simple. We know technology scares people. We don’t want it to scare our customers.
  • We are accessible. You get to talk with real people all the time, including our leadership team.

At a store level, here are some of the benefits you can expect from using the Tower Systems software in your business:

  • Fast, accurate selling.
  • Easy management of customer accounts.
  • Identifying of shopper and employee theft.
  • Tracking of stock movement.
  • Handling of customer loyalty – points and discounts.
  • Easy reordering based on sales.
  • Easy handling of multiple price levels for items.
  • Easy handling of multiple sale pack sizes (or volumes) per product.
  • Seamless transfer of sales and invoice data to Xero or MYOB.
  • Easy performance reporting comparing trading periods, supplier performance and other key business performance metrics.
  • Security over business data.
  • Security over business settings blocking changes that could compromise the business.
  • Peace of mind thanks to consistent processes established through the software for managing stock, customers and other aspects of the business.
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Fishing shop POS software helps serve small business retailers

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 specialty business POS software is a genuine solution for these locally owned and independent retail businesses that serve people who love fishing.

This POS software is rare software too as it is for fishing shops, made just 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.

You can rent this fishing shop software for $185.00 a month. For this you get…

  1. Australian developed and supported fishing & outdoor POS software.
  2. Software updates as we release them.
  3. Unlimited licences for as many computers as you need.
  4. Shopify / Magento / Woo link. Easily sell online from your POS software.
  5. Xero link. Easing bookkeeping costs and streamlining accounting.
  6. Tyro link – safe, fast and easy EFTPOS link for streamlined sales.
  7. Easy buy now pay later thanks to Zip Pay and Humm.
  8. Support – help desk access, unlimited training, updates and more.
  9. User documentation. Access to our searchable knowledge base.
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Produce and farm supply business POS software helps support farmers and rural communities

In times of drought especially, local produce and farm supply businesses play a vital rollin community service, helping to keep farms viable and operating. They are cornerstones of local communities.

Here at Tower Systems we are grateful to be able to support local and independent produce and farm supply businesses. Through our software and through our support services.

Our produce and farm supply POS software, which is made locally, helps rural supply / farm supply / produce businesses with efficient service and support of local farms and community groups. Through purpose-built inventory management, efficient shipping, produce use notes and more, this software helps businesses serve local needs for local conditions.

The software helps you serve your local community.

The most recent update to this produce business POS software 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. 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.
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Advice from our POS software co. on how local retail businesses can be more local

Being local in retail is more important in 2020 than ever.  The challenge is how to be local authentically.

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

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

Small business retailers can use the retail POS software from Tower Systems to pitch local in a range of ways:

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

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

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We are proud to support local small business retailers

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We test our POS software rigorously, for you

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Newsagency sales benchmark study results

We are grateful to all the newsagents who shares their sales data for inclusion in this important benchmark study.

Growth opportunities on show in 2019 vs. 2018 full year newsagency sales benchmark study results.

SUMMARY
Newsagency businesses in the benchmark study data pool focussed on new traffic generators fared well in 2019 compared to the performance of traditional newsagency businesses. 4 of the 5 traditional categories experienced year on year declines while all of the new product categories delivered growth.

Newsagencies focussed on change through new product categories are the future of the channel. New product categories usually offer a significantly better margin, better sell-through rate and better basket efficiency compared to traditional newsagency lines.

New product categories will evolve, too. What is strong today will be challenged by another category tomorrow. Change, substantial change is the new normal in retail.

THE DATASET
This newsagency sales benchmark study represents a comparison of sales data from 161 newsagency businesses for the 2018 and 2019 calendar years. These businesses are representative: city and country, high street and mall, banner groups and independent. The only thing connecting the businesses is that they use the Tower newsagency software. Note: Each data point below is the average, mean, of all data for the data point.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE METRICS.

  • Transaction count. Down 3.5%.
  • Sales revenue. Down 5%.
  • Basket depth. Down 3%.
  • Basket dollar value. Down 3%.

CORE PRODUCTS.

  • Newspapers. Over the counter unit sales. Down 10.5%.
  • Magazines. Over the counter unit sales. Down 12.5%.
  • Greeting cards. Revenue. Down 3.5%.
  • Stationery. Revenue. Down 9%.
  • Lotteries. Revenue. Up 23%.
  • Tobacco. Revenue. Down 19%.
  • Agency. Parcels, gift cards, betting account top-up. Down 4%.

SPECIALTY PRODUCTS.

  • Gifts. Revenue. Up 11%.
  • Toys. Revenue. Up 7%. Includes puzzles.
  • Plush. Revenue. Up 6%.
  • Collectibles. Revenue. Up 5%.
  • Craft. Revenue. Up 3%.
  • Coffee. Revenue. Up 17%.
  • Books. Revenue. Up 6%.
  • Calendars. Revenue. Up 6%.

Despite there being plenty of bad news at the department and category level, this latest study reveals plenty of good news. It encourages confidence around pursuing change, embracing new product categories and leveraging these to help redefine the focus of the business.

While the newsagency shingle remains for many businesses in our channel, movement away from what that shingle has stood for is key to the future.

Print media is a problem.
With margins slim – 25% for magazines and around 12% for papers for many – the impact of the continuing decline in sales is significant. The only to make papers and magazines work is to reduce costs associated switch carrying these products – retail space and labour. Changes here can encourage further decline. This is why more newsagents are wondering when they might quit print.

Unless there is a change to margin percentage and an improvement in magazine cover prices, I suspect more in newsagents will exit print, unfortunately.

The growth categories.
Looking at the product categories for which there was growth – gifts, toys, plush, collectibles, craft, coffee – less than half the businesses in the dataset offered more than two of these. Even with the easy category of gift, more than a 25% of those reporting do not offer gifts, which shocks me.

City vs. Country.
Regional and rural businesses continue to perform better. This is across the board. It has always been thus. I think this is due in part to a lower retail space cost, stronger local shopper support and less competition.

Upside opportunities.
Toys, crafts, coffee, gifts, books and plush offer upside, as has been the case for several years. The best success comes from dealing with suppliers who do not usually supply the newsagency channel. That said, what each of these category labels mean varies significantly between businesses.

The role of online.
While there has been growth in the contribution of online, in an average business it accounts for less than 4% of non lottery revenue. There are some achieving more than 10% but they are small in number. Too many newsagents and missing out on the online opportunity.

Is a newsagency a good investment? 
My answer to this question continues to be yes. There is traffic value remaining in core products and opportunity to leverage this in other product categories.

The success of any newsagency business is more reliant on the retailer than on the channel itself. A poor retailer will run a poor newsagency. A good retailer will run a more successful newsagency.

New traffic, better margin, genuine growth in business valuations all come from focussing on products not recently traditionally aligned with our channel.

I own three newsagencies. I am glad I do. I am pleased with their performance.

Mark Fletcher.
Email: mark@towersystems.com.au  Website: www.towersystems.com.au  Blog: www.newsagencyblog.com.au
M | 0418 321 338

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Advice from our POS software co. for small business retailers on reducing the opportunity of a ransomware attack

Ransomware / malware can come in many forms. Every computer connected to a network in any way is at risk.

There is no guaranteed protection but there are important steps to take. This advice provides advice designed to reduce the risk to your business.

A ransomware attack is where money is demanded to unlock your computer. Often, the computer is not unlocked even after a payment is made.

You can reduce the opportunity of being hit by an attack by taking care with emails. If you are not sure of the sender, ignore the email. Tell everyone who has access to your email. Lay out your ground rules and demand discipline.

Here is our best-practice advice to protect against Ransomware:

  1. Ensure you use professional, up to date, virus protection.
  2. Ensure you have a good firewall with strong settings.
  3. Do not click on emails or attachments unless you are sure of the sender.
    1. Be particularly wary of ZIP files in emails.
    2. The ATO will not email you.
    3. Your bank will not email you.
    4. Australia Post will not email you, not like the example I have posted.
  4. Ensure all passwords you use are strong.
  5. Consider using an email filtering facility.
  6. Do not allow remote access to your computer unless you are certain of the person accessing.
  7. Ensure you have strong passwords. A strong password should include: some CAPS, some numbers and at least one special character. Check your password at: https://howsecureismypassword.net
  8. Change your password regularly.
  9. Run an up to date operating system.
  10. Have rules on computer use: no games, no online gambling, no porn, no personal emails.
  11. Have an overarching rule: do not open any email or go to any website unless you are certain.
  12. Use a cloud backup service like the Tower backup service. This provides the fastest recovery.
  13. Have multiple backup devices for additional protection.
  14. Do not use automatic file replication programs / facilities such as Dropbox or Google Drive. If a file is encrypted with malware / ransomware it will upload to the account and infect other files.

Most ransomware attacks can be avoided by careful scrutiny of your emails and websites you visit.

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Advice from our POS software company for small business retailers facing a cashflow challenge

We are asked regularly for business advice by small business retailers. It comes with the territory of being a small business focussed POS software company. It also comes with us owning and running retail businesses ourselves.

We draw on 0ur own experiences as well of those we serve in providing advice.

A question we have had recently is about how yo manage a cashflow challenge in a small retail business, a tough challenge, one that could end the business. Here is our overall advice for that situation:

The common approach we have seen from business owners is to hide from those to whom you owe money. That only serves to harm your business and put you under more pressure. It is not a smart move.

  1. Understand the problem. Know if it is short term or long term. Be certain about the role you have played. If you don’t understand the problem your fix may be inappropriate.
  2. Own the problem. It is personal. It is about leadership. Fixing this is on you.
  3. Develop a plan and document it succinctly:
    1. To borrow if appropriate.
    2. To put more of your own money into the business.
    3. To cut overheads: labour, rent.
    4. To convert more stock to cash.
    5. Work our what free cash you have availabke from your weekly trading.
    6. Ensure all creditors receive payments, no matter h0ow small. Regular payments reflect your commitment to goodwill. They also show you are not playing favourites.
  4. Talk to your creditors, apologise, outline your plan, ask for help.
  5. Act. Every decision, every action you take must work to addressing the cashflow challenge. If you have created a plan(point 3 above) act on it immediately. This is not a time to overthink things.
  6. Invest. If your cashflow challenge is because of a decline in traffic, not spending money chasing traffic will only make the problem worse.

If your cashflow challenge is more serious than a short to medium term plan could resolve it could be that your business is insolvent.

Company directors have a legal obligation to not allow their businesses to trade while insolvent.

Many have been in this situation. You can come out the other side by acting sooner, with commitment and with transparency to your creditors.

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