Tower Systems welcomes another EDI partner

Tower Systems is thrilled to partner with Sprint3, a mature and respected EDI platform.

Being certified with Sprint3 integration is another point of difference retailers using our Point of Sale software are able to rely on as they seek out new supplier partnerships and more efficient and reliable ways of conducting business.

Using Sprint3 in connection with a range of suppliers retailers will be able to export a purchase order and import an associated invoice. In addition to saving considerable time, the electronic connection will significantly reduce keystrokes and data mistakes.

This latest EDI integration from Tower Systems continues our leadership position in several specialist retail marketplaces.

POS software support small business retailers love

Here are some of the reasons newsagents, jewellers, gift shop owners, bike retailers, garden centre owners and others love the support we offer with our Point of sale software. For a small annual fee they have access to:

  • A friendly help desk staffed 7am through to 6pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am to 3pm on Saturday. Local call numbers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
  • After-hours support available 24/7 through five mobile phone numbers.
  • Free one-on-one training for every newsagency every year.
  • Free new owner training.
  • Mandarin and Cantonese language support for those who prefer this.
  • Free hardware support for all h/w sold by us plus a 3 year on-site warranty for all HP h/w.
  • Weekly free online live training workshops.
  • Access to more than 130 professionally produced training videos for business owners & staff.
  • Free theft check service – we help newsagents uncover possible theft.
  • Free business performance analysis service – we help you see growth opportunities.

This mix of support services is exclusive to us. It’s a reason our customers choose to continue with software support coverage. We don’t force them by stopping their software from working if they choose to not continue support coverage. We think this type of action by a POS software company is unreasonable coercion.

Helping small business retailers under stock turn, ROI and other key performance indicators

In our Point of Sale software we provide retailers with easy access to key performance indicators for their business. While many POS software packages provide access to this information, we take it further by offering training in how tounderstand this information and the business decisions that can flow from such understanding.

By helping our customers understand business terms like Return on Investment and Stock Turn and how such understanding drives more valuable business decisions Tower Systems is delivering practical, bankable, to many small and independent retail businesses.

As experienced retailers ourselves we understand the importance of managing a business based on sound data. We leverage our retail experience for our customers by providing advice they can understand and use to derive more value from their businesses.

Calls to our help desk can be about these business terms as much as they can be about advice on how to use our software. We welcome the opportunity to step outside the common software help desk service and delve deeper into business management training.

How discount vouchers help small independent retailers make more money

The discount voucher facilities being used by retailers enjoying the Point of Sale software from Tower Systems are increasing sales according to retailer feedback.  Just about every day we hear stories from retailers about additional sales they have made as a result of the discount vouchers produced by our software customer receipts.

Retailers moving from old-school points-based VIP card programs to discount vouchers report greater shopper engagement and new positive customer feedback about the vouchers.

Retailers where the vouchers have been in use for some months report measurable bottom line growth directly attributable to the Tower Systems discount vouchers.

Retailer feedback indicates that the discount vouchers are working in a broad range of businesses including jewellers, bike retailers, newsagents, garden centres, gift sips and homewares stores. We are seeing them work with high transaction values as well as low transaction values.

By front-ending loyalty, retailers are able to get shoppers spending more money in the business on that visit. This is vital in the situation where shoppers are not regulars in the business.  Those not using the voucher in the visit most likely will be back within a week. Feedback suggests that 45% of vouchers used are redeemed within seven days of the purchase.

The most common feedback is in the form of an email from a customer using discount vouchers like this one:

Just a quick note to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the discount vouchers. I have been using them for two months now and its like someone turned on the lights. Sales are up and customers are happier. Thank you!

Other customers give us specific examples of how the vouchers are used by customers. we love all the feedback. Some of it has helped us make enhancements to the discount vouchers facilities to extend the opportunity for our retail customers.

We are thrilled to have released such valuable software to our 2,000+ customers.

See inside our POS software company, watch these videos

Tower Systems leads in its various marketplaces in the transparency stakes. Not only are the contact details of our management and ownership readoly available, we have published a series of professional videos featuring interviews with key Tower Systems team members.

These videos show the human side of the company. They also show off our depth of commitment and the extraordinary history help within the company and its team members.

While we’re much bigger than those show in these videos, they do provide an insight into some of our team members.

Enjoy!

POS software helps drive Father’s Day sales for gift shops, garden centres, newsagencies and bike retailers

The catalogue facilities in our Point of Sale software have been helping jewellers, bike retailers, garden centres, gift shops, homewares shops and newsagencies to embrace the sales opportunity of the 2013 Father’s Day season.  They have been able to run special pricing just for the Father’s Day season using date based catalogue tools.

Our POS software has also helped with the creation of Father’s Day hampers and similar gifting opportunities where multiple items are put together to be given as a Father’s Day gift.  The software manages the aggregation of the hamper and the breakdown to single products should it not sell.

These and other tools help retailers make the most from retail seasons such as Father’s Day. We back the tools with free advice and training for retailers using our software.

Retailers love the free one-on-one training from our POS software company

Retailers using our Point of Sale software and who are covered by our Tower AdvantageTM software support package have access to free one-on-one training every year, for years after they install our software. The training can cover any aspect of our POS software.

We have customers who have used the software for ten years taking up the free training to learn more about parts of the software they have never visited. we have others using the training to learn more about our amazing reporting tools.

The training is schedule to suit the timing requirements of our customers. And it is genuinely one-on-one, making it personalised for our customers. This is a bonus where people can get questions specific to their business answered.

To encourage our customers to take up the free offer we have promoted it in our print and email newsletters and through help desk contact. This is a service we want to see used, so that our customers get more from their technology investment.

This free one-on-one POS software training is another point of difference for Tower Systems.

Smart POS software helps retailers beyond the cash register

It’s easy for a software company to claim that they offer smart POS software but much harder to deliver on the promise embedded in the word smart. At Tower Systems we act on our claims, we ensure that we deliver on our promise to continually improve our software to keep it smart and to backup our software with support and services so that our users can be smart.

In recent blog posts here we have been running a series of videos taking people behind the scenes at Tower, letting you meet just some of the real people providing help to our customers. Rather than claim we are of a certain size we’d rather put names and faces to what we do – offering a truth to our pitch.

Here are some other ways we help our users become smarter at using out smart POS software:

  1. Comprehensive video training library. More than 130 videos available to retailers and their staff 24/7. Up to date content.
  2. Free training workshops every week.
  3. More than 200 advice sheets with up to date user documentation. better than a manual.
  4. Free one on one training.
  5. Free business performance analysis service.
  6. Free business theft check service.
  7. Free backup check service.

Our EXCLUSIVE video training library, advice sheets and weekly training workshops offer genuine points of difference. They are a reason for our market position and continued growth.

Sunday small business retailer management advice: embracing being local

Small business retailers compete with national chain stores by doing things which the chain stores by focussing on the local community. Generally a chain store will write a cheque to show local support by sponsoring a sport team or a charity. Real engagement takes more than a cheque, it requires a connection with the local community such that the community wants you to succeed.

Here is some free advice for small and independent retailers from our many years experience serving them with our Point of Sale software. This advice could be used by anyone regardless of the software they use.

1. HONOUR BOARD
Either as a separate promotion or on your notice board have a space to recognise a local hero. Make a award regularly – quarterly, monthly – you choose. Invite brief submissions. Make the decision. Put their photo and story on the board. No prize – just recognition of a local hero.

2. GALLERY
Either on your notice board or separate create a local gallery. Invite customers to provide photos of local happenings. Name the people in the photos. The idea is to create something local people want to look at.

3. AMBASSADORS: EMPLOYEES
Your employees have a HUGE role to place in your local connection. Whenever possible hire locally.
Let your employees in on your focus on being locally connected. Seek their suggestions. Encourage their involvement. Give them guidelines on customer communication but encourage them to find their own words.

4. LOCAL NEWSLETTER
Monthly, quarterly – publish a newsletter for customers about your business and its local connection. Write some local stories. Explain how support for your business helps the local community. Promote local products you carry. Keep it simple – stay away from the slick approach of the chain stores.

5. RECHARGE AND LOCALISE YOUR PROMOTIONS
Make this 100% local: local businesses, owned and operating locally; local sport teams and their results. Local clubs; Local events. Headline the board: YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY BOARD – CONNECTING YOU WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS. Appoint someone in the shop to manage the board and check contents each day. A fresh and well arranged board will attract attention. Do not charge for the service.

6. JOIN IN
Join the Chamber of Commerce, go to meetings, get involved in their projects. It’s a great way for you to influence local government spending in your area and to connect with other independent businesses.

7. INVOLVEMENT OUTSIDE THE BUSINESS
The community needs to see your involvement beyond the walls of your business. Your presence and the presence of others representing your business at local events will prove your connection in a way your corporate type competitors will not be able to match.

8. DONATIONS
Focus your charity donations on local charities. While the bigger charities might complain and say they also work locally, there are charities specific to your area which struggle against the better known charities – just like your business does.

9. LOCAL PRODUCTS
If you can get your hands on local products which fit with your range do so and display them as local products. There is no better way to connect with your local community. If you cannot find any consider looking at local markets. Put a sign up in cafes and other public places inviting product submissions.

10. GETTING OUT
Shop locally yourself. Talk to local business owners. Make sure you know what’s happening in the community.

11. CREATING EVENTS
Make your mark in the community by creating and hosting an annual event. Have fun. Try the annual paper plane contest. The annual burger bake off. The annual local music festival. The local games – potato sack rate, egg and spoon race and so on. Have fun! Work in partnership with other local businesses.

Adult shops benefit from adult shop software enhancements

Adult shops now have access to even better adult shop software thanks to enhancements delivered by Tower Systems to its software. The latest enhancements have been delivered in a software update and include more marketing tools and even better management reporting.

Management reporting is important for adult shop owners as most of them do not work in their businesses on a day to day basis.

The Tower Systems adult shop software also helps adult shops meet regulatory requirements relating to some products they sell.

Small and independent retailers need to overcome their fear of big competitors

Get a group and small and independent retail business owners together and the discussion soon turns to competition from the big end of town.

As a software company specialising in supporting small and independent retailers in several key retail niches – jewellers, bike shops, gift shops, newsagents, adult shops, garden centres and adult shops – we talk with small business owners about these matters regularly.

Our approach is that we refuse to cower to or be worried by big competitors – of our software company and of the retail businesses we own and operate ourselves.

We understand the differences between small businesses and their big competitors. Yes, size can be daunting and challenging. It can also offer excellent opportunities.

Small retail businesses can be more flexible, faster and more locally engaged that their big business competitors. They can make decisions more immediately based on local data.  Indeed, this is where small and independent retailers can shine – in speed on matters and opportunities with local connections.

The key in competitor is to not be afraid of your competitor. This is the hard part for many retailers we encounter. Too often they are too scared to think and act as they need to.

In our work here at Tower Systems we help small and independent retailers as a sounding board, through providing insights to opportunities in their business data and in other forms of practical support.

We believe in small business and the vital role it plays in the economy and in local communities. We encourage small business retailers to resist concerns and fears of big competitors and to focus on what they can do to more effectively compete.  We’re here to help with that.

Software designed for your marketplace is more valuable than software designed for everyone

Tower Systems develops software specifically for garden centres, jewellers, bike retailers, homewares shops, gift shops, distribution newsagents, retail newsagents and adult shops.

Each product we offer to each marketplace is designed for that marketplace. This is specialist software meeting specific retail business needs.

Specialist Point of Sale software is more valuable for what are specialised businesses and independent small business retailers understand this.

A bike shop, for example, pitches that they are better able to help a cyclist make better decisions based on their expert advice. So, too, is Tower Systems better positioned to provide expert advice for a bike shop on how to get more out of their software than a software company selling a generic POS software package that is not designed specifically for a bike shop.

Small and independent retailers understand the value of specialisation and here at Tower Systems we focus on specialisation – encoded in our software we have functions and capabilities that are specific to each of our marketplaces, facilities of excellent value.

Garden centres, jewellers, bike retailers, homewares shops, gift shops, distribution newsagents, retail newsagents and adult shops wanting to more effectively compete in their marketplaces need to rely on software designed for them. This will empower them to achieve more than they could using basic, generic, POS software.

This is the Tower Systems specialisation at work, delivering software designed for specific marketplaces to meet specific needs.

Why do retailers ignore indicators of employee theft until it is too late?

Here at Tower Systems we are experts when it comes to uncovering theft in retail businesses, especially theft by retail employees.

We have uncovered well over a million dollars of theft in recent years. We have been used as expert witnesses in court cases. We have helped police officers gather evidence to allow them to lay charges.

We offer training for our customers to guide them on protecting their businesses against theft. We also offer training on how to identify theft indicators.

It frustrates us when we discover theft that has gone on in a business, costing tens and, often, hundreds of thousands. Too often theft of this size can be avoided – if retailers using our POS software follow our advice, engage in our training and take the precautions we recommend.

We make it easy for our customers by providing them with plenty of free training opportunities as well as plenty of advice. This training and advice is easily accessed. It is also secure – in that we provide the assistance to business owners and people they endorse. We will not share security information with non-owners without checks and balances.

So, why do some retailers not engage with the opportunities we present around reducing the impact of theft in their businesses? Our years of experience in this suggest that it comes down to ignorance. Retailers find it easier to ignore what is happening with theft because some are afraid of what they will discover and some have ignorant and blind faith in their staff – not realising that theft is real and common in small business retail situations.

We are using blog posts like this one to shock ignorant retailers into considering taking a stronger position on employee theft in their businesses.

Small business retailers: put good quality data between you and your retail business decisions

The mantra cash is king is important. Equally important, however, is a much less repeated mantra, data is king.

Look at a small or independent retail business and you most likely see a business that did not manage or use its data. Indeed, it is the failure around data that probably led to cash problems.

Good data management and analysis can forecast cash challenges and help a business avoid them – with good warning.

Here at Tower Systems we believe in good data. We respect it through our Point of Sale software. We train our customers how to gather, cultivate and harvest business data for their profit. We do this not once but continuously.

We have seen businesses crash on the back of poor data management. They have not seen the train wreck headed their way. They have not been able to plan their way out of a dire situation.

Whether it is understanding which stock is moving and which is not or who the best employees are or which suppliers deliver better results for the business – business data from our Point of Sale software can help small and independent retailers to be aware of a challenging situation and to turn it around. This is what we do in our software – if retailers want to engage with us in making them aware of how their business really is performing.

Our call to retailers is to put data between them and any decision they make. Use facts to guide your choices and the business will be better off – always.

It’s not enough for software companies to only develop software any more

Just a retail has fundamentally changed, so has software development. There was a time when all software companies had to do was to develop software. Then there was the push to provide good customer support. Now, we have reached a time when engagement beyond the software, beyond support, is vital to success.

Growing software companies today make themselves useful and valued to their customers and businesses connected with their customers beyond the software itself and beyond traditional software support.

Growing software companies embed themselves within the channels of their customers. This benefits the retailers in the channel as well as the software company.

Tower Systems has been living this model for years, delivering valuable insights and connections with retailers in a range of channels, through embedding itself and helping beyond the software and beyond customer service. Inside our business, this non-software engagement accounts for more than half our channel level engagement.

We work with suppliers, providing advice and support. We cultivate and share data. We explore insights. Plus we help our clients and their suppliers in other practical ways.

The help we provide, beyond the software, helps us as a business and it helps our customers – through the software and outside of the software.

Training retailers to make the most of end of financial year opportunities

Tower Systems has been providing retailers using its Point of Sale software a range of training opportunities in the lead up to the end of the financial year. While the software itself requires no work, there are opportunities for retailers to use the EOFY to build a stronger business in the next year.

The training opportunities include a slew of free live training workshops, free one on one training and assistance, refreshed advice documentation and new training videos.

By providing EOFY advice and guidance in various mediums, Tower Systems is demonstrating a level of customer case and assistance that is fresh and entiticng for retailers.

The EOFY assistance covers stock takes, business planning, past performance assessment and structural change discussion. This list demonstrates a level of engagement between tower Systems and its retail partners way beyond what is traditionally expected of a software company / user relationship, Tower Systems engages at this deeper level as part of its commitment to make a difference to the businesses of its customers beyond the day to day trading through the software.

Adult shop software helps adult shops cut theft

The latest version of our Adult shop software has helped uncover and handle an employee theft situation. Thanks to professional business activity tracking, the software was able to identify employee behaviour that was costing the business a significant cash sum every week.

Retail businesses run under management are prone to employee theft situations. Adult shops using the tower Systems adult shop software are well prepared to track and deal with employee theft.

The software does considerably more than track employee theft – it manages stock, handles sales, prepares business reports and streamlines product ordering. It’s best practice adult shop software.

New POS software training videos from Tower Systems

Tower Systems is adding three new training videos to its Training Academy curriculum from tomorrow. These three new videos further enhance the training opportunities for retailers using the tower Point of Sale software:

  • 30.1 Performing A Stocktake
  • 30.2 Performing A Spot Stocktake
  • 30.3 Stocktake Reports

We will continue to add videos, expanding the training curriculum for the benefit of our customers.

Point of Sale software training opportunities for June

Tower Systems late last month released details of a range of free online online training opportunities in June for retailers using its Point of Sale software.  Here is a list of workshops already scheduled:

  • Getting started with Stock Management Fully Booked 4 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Doing a Stocktake 4 6 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Doing a Stocktake 10 11 Jun 2013, 02:00AM
  • Getting started with Stock Reordering 10 13 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Newsagency of the Future – Cairns 91 QLD 14 Jun 2013, 11:00AM
  • End Of Financial Year Procedures 8 18 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Doing a Stocktake 13 20 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Using Catalogues and Promotions to build your Business 10 25 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Using the new Discount Feature in Retailer and other new features in Retailer 2.5 10 27 Jun 2013, 02:00PM

Feedback from participants in our online training workshops helps guide the settling of future topics. We are grateful to our customers for this feedback as well as for their engagement in the free learning opportunities.

We provide one of our skilled help desk team members to run the sessions and each session includes plenty of Q&A time.

Access to the training opportunities is free to all Tower Systems customers.

Points are old school when it comes to retail shopper loyalty

Tower Systems has supported shopper accrual of loyalty points for many years, delivering to retailers using its POS software excellent tools for shoppers to accrue and spend points. As more and more retailers have turned on loyalty programs, loyalty fatigue among shoppers has set in and what was a point of difference years ago is nothing special today.

Focused on leadership, Tower Systems has been working on alternatives in the shopper loyalty space, alternatives to bring shoppers back and to guide them to spend more than average.  A trial of completely new and fresh facilities is entering its third month and the results are excellent. Through our comprehensive reporting tools we are able to track shopper behaviour down to the transaction item detail and this is providing insights that will be useful when the new tools are commercially rolled out.

The new facilities, unlike anything in our retail niche channels – newsagents, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops, homewares shops – will show off our leadership position and help retailers achieve excellent results by embracing tools that deliver an a competitive advantage. The key is the strong management and reporting tools provided as part of the new suite of facilities.

We keep hearing that retail is tough. Innovative retailers are enjoying success. Good technology can help any retail business innovate.

Free online POS training loved by retail employees

We have started receiving feedback from retail employees who are tapping into the online training we launched last week through our Training Academy. Thanks for letting me learn at home one retail employee said.  This is great, I love the opportunity to develop my skills said another.

In developing the training our goal has been to create training that is accessible by content and by access point. Our content is highly targeted to each task and work area in a retail business. We have specialist training for each of our retail niches too: newsagents, jewellers, gift shops, bike retailers, garden centres etc.  Our content is accessible in that any computer with internet access can access the training.

Accessing the training is free for retailers and their employees.

The training program has been put together and is fronted by Mike Hill – our Customer Service Manager and an expert in the best use of our software in any retail situation.

POS software training website guides access to world class retailer training

A core asset of the new Tower Systems Training Academy launched earlier this week for retailers using our Point of Sale software is the website facilities that guide retailers and their employees accessing the training resources.

Assembled by retail channel and work area within each business, the training materials can be accessed in our recommended sequence, ordered by topic.  The image shows some of the topics covered in Point of Sale training.

each training module, video, is around eight to ten minutes long. We have found this length to be ideal for people genuinely learning what is to be covered.  They can digest this is a brief break at work or at home.  The short videos make training accessible and genuinely beneficial.

This is a world class training platform packed with world class training materials. The whole initiative has been put together internally here at Tower Systems.  It is being made available to Tower AdvantageTM customers for no additional cost.

The data is in, new loyalty facility for retailers drives sales

The completely new loyalty facility Tower Systems started trailing in a new release of its Point of Sale software well over a month ago is proving to be successful at driving shopper engagement.

Breaking free from the traditional and often stale approach to shopper loyalty of using a rewards card and letting shoppers accrue points – which the Tower POS software also offers – this new facility is unique in that it comes with sophisticated yet easy to use levels with which the retailer can guide and encourage shopper behaviour.

Sites using the beta release of the new loyalty facility have been able to see the impact it us having thanks to excellent reporting tools available. In the reports you can see customers responding to the loyalty reward and yu can track the cost of offering the reward down to cents. But best of all, retailers can see the rewards, in sales, of customers engaging with the rewards offered by the new loyalty facility.

The new loyalty facility sets Tower Systems apart in each of our marketplaces. It gives us a competitive advantage but more important, it gives our retail partners a competitive advantage.

Sunday small retail business management advice: motivate your employees

Motivating retail employees can be tough, especially if you take a traditional approach,managing in a traditional way. In our experience working with many retailers in a range niche retail channels we have seen a different approach work – one where retail employees are brought into a deeper understanding of the business and where they participate in growing sales.

Sharing with retail employees the value of their sales in a week while helping them understand the costs of doing business, can see some reach beyond average and start to make a more significant sales contribution to the business.

Our Point of Sale software helps retailers to track employee performance so this can be shared in a motivating ay with employees. Our experience is that it works well at getting employees thinking and acting more like employers. Often, they try and compete with previous sales numbers.

Best practice Point of Sale software customer service wins retailers

Retailers using the Tower software for jewellers, bike shop software, garden centre software, newsagency software, gift shop software, adult shop software, gun shop software and other POS software have access to best practice software support and help desk facilities.

Tower AdvantageTM is the name given to the software support, update and service package offered by Tower Systems to retailers using our Point of Sale software.

Our package of services is so unique that we decided some years ago that it needed to be trademarked. So we registered Tower AdvantageTM with IP Australia and received approval.

Tower AdvantageTM coverage is optional. Retailers using our software can continue to use the software regardless of whether they take out Tower AdvantageTMcoverage.

Customers who do take out Tower AdvantageTM coverage receive at no additional cost:

  • Software updates.
  • Access to software support coverage 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This includes local number support access in Melbourne, Sydney, Birbsnae, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart and Toll Free support for all of New Zealand.
  • Access to more than 200 professionally written and reviewed advice sheets documenting how to use the software.
  • Access to more than 30 training videos.
  • Access to our NEW online training curriculum.
  • Access to face-to-face user meetings hosted in many cities each year.
  • Access to regular weekly online training workshops.
  • Free business health check service which assesses business performance and how the software us being used.
  • Free theft check service checking secret business data to see if employees are stealing from the business.

The total package of Tower AdvantageTM services is unique to Tower Systems and another reason the company continues to enjoy excellent year on year sales growth.