POS software blog

About our POS software for local small business retailers

Category: Bike shop software (page 1 of 48)

Serial number tracking in POS software helps small business retailers better serve customers

The POS software from Tower Systems offers serial number tracking of products sold. This is a powerful point of difference for the POS software as serial number tracking is not common in software.

Using the Tower Systems POS software, retailers can record the serial numbers of all items arriving in-store that have unique serial numbers. These can be tracked at the point of sale. They can also be tracked for warranty, servicing, valuation and insurance purposes. Stores can also record serial numbers only when they sell – when they record, at arrival or sale, is up to them.

The serial number tracking facilities in the POS software become valuable in almost any retail situation in which they are used.

Thera are some retail sectors where suppliers require the tracking of product serial numbers at the point of sale. There are some regulatory situations where tracking serial numbers is key. Doing this through the POS software brings certainty and consistency to retail businesses.

Tower Systems is proud to offer serial number tracking in its POS software. We are grateful to the many suppliers and retailers who have guided us on this over the years, keeping us on top of the needs of all stakeholders in this serial number tracking space.

Serial number tracking in our POS software has been available for many years. Sure, it has been enhanced over time as needs have evolved, but we first started offering it in software we sold close to 20 years ago. Of course, the software we sell today is completely different, made for today, for today’s needs.

Using the serial number tracking tools in our POS software, retailers can also maintain good records that are useful for themselves in their own management of their businesses.

From the moment stock arrives in the business we manage serial numbers, recording each serial number. alternatively, you can enter the serial number of the item when it is sold – the retail business decides on the appropriate time for them to manage the recording of a serial number. This is a local management decision they can make.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve more than 3,500 small business retailers across several niche retail channels – with specialty POS software offering facilities like serial number tracking covered here.


The best POS software receipt in small business retail

We reckon the receipt produced by our POS software is the best receipt you will find for small business retail. Are we biased? For sure. This is our creation, our baby.

The receipt produced by our POS software is  detailed, flexible, easily changed, encouraging, educational, factual, promotional, product supporting and loyalty engaging.

This is a receipt designed to help small business welcome shoppers back sooner.

So much of what is on the receipt is under the control of retailers. So much can be changed, easily.

Product use can care instructions can be included.

A loyalty encourager can also be included, the details of which are 100% under the control of the retailer and can be dynamically determined based on what has been purchased, when and by whom.

This is a smart receipt, a powerful receipt, a receipt designed to help small business retailers to grow their businesses.

This is a receipt for 2020 and beyond in so many ways, beyond what you can see.

There is much more to this receipt than you can see in this image, too. Our POS software offers plenty of tricks and opportunities beyond what is in this blog post.

Here at Tower Systems we are grateful for the encouragement and guidance from our retailer community to evolve the receipt beyond the traditional into something that is of genuine value in many different retail settings.

Retailers using our POS software have teremndous control over receipts, when they print, the detail included and so much more.  Our customers really are in control of the receipts their software prints.

The receipts our POS software produces can go beyond paper, too. There are electronic versions customers can leverage, but more on that another time. Suffice to say, we are innovators of all sorts of receipts, in many formats.

In addition to meeting statutory requirements, the receipts produced by the POS software from Tower Systems are a valuable and appreciated piece of marketing power in a retail business, showing off key differentiators in the business that themselves held;p to drive repeat business. We love that we have been able to do this.

Tower Systems serves more than 3,750 small business retailers across a range of retail channels. Our 40 years in the POS software development and support business have seen us move through generational changes and the old retail receipt is one example of this.


Repairs / workshop management software embedded in our POS software

Embedded in the Tower Systems POS software is comprehensive repairs / workshop management software.  This software has evolved over the years, initially in service of bike shops and jewellers and now working in a range of specialty and niche retail and service businesses.

Having repairs / workshop management software embedded in the POS software is key for inventory and m=labour management internally, without relying on multiple software packages and opening the possibility of a demarcation dispute between software vendors.

With many businesses in different retail channels already using the repairs / workshop management software in the Tower Systems POS software, the company has a deep well of experience from which to draw, to serve needs of many different retailers.

This is comprehensive software, packed with facilities, including plenty of options through which you can configure settings for the Repairs module such as printing job cards, terms and conditions and deposits, for example.

Here are the various settings within Repair Options of the repairs / workshop management software facilities in the Tower Systems POS software and their functions:

  • Job Card Setup
    • Select job cards to print out (For Repairer, Customer and/or Internal)
    • Select size of job card and which printer to print to
    • Fonts used on the job card
  • Customer Job Card Terms & Conditions
    • Terms and conditions that print on the Customer Job Card
  • Repair Options
    • Hide/Show cost prices
    • Creating and printing invoices when finalizing repairs
    • Fee descriptions on receipts/invoices
  • Calculating Expected Pickup Dates
    • Default date and time for expected pickups
  • Job Packets / A4 Job Cards / A5 Job Cards
    • Details to print on Job Cards
  • Repair Deposits
    • Force a deposit before repairs can be created
    • Set the minimum deposit amount

This is just the start. There are plenty of options that enable a business using the software to tailor settings so that they work well for the needs of the business.

The repairs / workshop management software facilities in the Tower Systems POS software allows you to create and manage repair jobs, an essential component for bike shops and jewellers. Before we start using the feature, however, it is advisable to configure some default options to make the the process more seamless in the future. Once configured, these options will be readily available for selection instead of having to enter everything from scratch each time.

Tower Systems supports this software with training and comprehensive support services.


Aussie POS software helping small business retailers win from sale events like Black Friday

Black Friday is this Friday, November 27. We’ve been helping retailers to maximise the opportunity in-store and online.


Shopify website development for small business retailers in Australia

Tower Systems is proud to offer local, Australian-based, Shopify website development for small business retailers.

We have a team of skilled Shopify web developers, all working from our Hawthorn, Victoria, head office. This is in addition to our POS software developers. Both development teams work together, helping to create valued solutions for small business retailers.

We offer a one stop shop service whereby we offer specialty retail POS software and beautiful Shopify websites connected to this POS software. The connection is safe, fast and seamless. The Shopify websites we develop are made specifically for each retailer customer, to their needs, meeting their requirements, populated with data that is collated through the integrated POS software.

Being a Shopify website developer and a POS software developer in the one business and being Australian based positions us well to serve the needs of local Australian retailers.

We offer more of an end to end Shopify website development solution for small business retailers. Since we are retailers ourselves and using Shopify websites created by us, we bring that experience to life in our own shopper engagement.

Our Shopify website development for small business retailers is done on a fixed price basis. We do this because it is important that small business retailers know exactly what their cost basis will be. We collect information up front to ensure that the fixed price approach serves the needs of our customers, to ensure that the site is the solution our customers are looking for.

handing freight, payment type and other requirements, we help retailers to being to life online their retail businesses or at least parts of their retail businesses. We do this with care from a retailer first perspective. Too often, we see websites created from a tech first perspective and while this is cool for the tech folks, it does not serve the retailer well.

Selling online is a retail activity. It needs to be approached from a retail first perspective. This is what we do. As retailers ourselves we understand this from a unique perspective and through this we are able, we think. to provide our retailers with a Shopify website solution that is fit for purpose with them very much in mind.


An early look at Christmas 2020 in local small business retail in Australia

We are grateful to the many retailers who have shared recent year on year comparative sales data. This has enabled us to a deep dive into shopper traffic, basket depth and product category performance. We have done this to get an early look into what Christmas 2020 in local small business retail might look like.

The headline is that Christmas 2020 looks good in local small business retail.

Local high street retailers are doing considerably better than shopping mall retail. Suburban, regional and rural high street retail businesses, for which we have comprehensive sales data, are doing very well. They are experiencing solid double-digit year-on-year growth. For the dataset of 60+ businesses in our latest analysis, the average year on year revenue growth is 22%.

What is interesting is that the spike in revenue growth is not matched in a spike in shopper traffic. Rather, the revenue spike has come from shoppers buying more in each visit, driving better shopper efficiency. We are seeing average sale value increase by between 10% and 25%.

The dataset includes business across all states and territories except for the Northern Territory. The results are universal. There appears to be no difference between Victoria, which was in lockdown for some of the weeks under analysis and other states that were not in lockdown.

In terms of Christmas specifically, data indicate excellent year on year growth in Christmas card sales. The same is true for Christmas decorations, Christmas-themed home decor and gift wrap. Year on year growth is, again, 20% and more.

Locally made products are doing particularly well. Shoppers continue to engage with supply chain questions. A common question relates to sourcing from China.

Also of note is excellent growth in sales of calendars and diaries. The diaries growth encourages an optimistic outlook on 2021. Smart retailers are pitching it as that and having some fun with putting 2020 in the past.

Back in March, in the early days of Covid in Australia, jigsaws were hot. They sold out fast. Some expected the surge to fade over time. The latest sales data for October and even into the first two weeks of November suggest otherwise. Yes, jigsaw sales remain strong. half of the stores in the latest dataset sell jigsaws and every one of them is reporting year on year growth. The average of that growth is 150%. Key is breadth of range of supply.

In addition to the jigsaw growth, crafts, art, maker kits and similar are all showing strong results.

Comfort gifts are especially strong. Core in this category is plush. Plush is often dismissed as being tired or ho hum. We have seen sales in the plush space up as much as 50% off a strong base. In one local high street retail business in one recent week, for example, they did $1,850.00 in everyday plush, more than double their usual sales. Range, again, is key this this success.

Not reflected in the POS software collected data is anecdotal evidence that people are spending more this Christmas. Many retailers spoke to this. They spoke of shoppers saying they were spending more on loved ones as well as buying gifts for some they would not usually buy for.

There is the wonder as to the role of government stimulus funding on the sales results. While retailers think is is a factor, they do not see it as the key factor. If time does reveal it as a key factor, local small business retailers will respond accordingly. They are an agile bunch.

Considering the sales data and the and the anecdotal comments, Christmas 2020 looks strong. Plenty of retailers are already talking up the first quarter of 2021.


Tower Systems … specialty POS software for specialty retail

(play with sound on).


What if the most important stream of revenue for your business was cut off overnight?

Hundreds of Australian businesses yesterday discovered that China was blocking their exporting of products to that country. According to news reports, Australian wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster are set to be banned from Friday.

This is dreadful news for the businesses, those who work for them and the communities that rely on them for income and purchases. The ramifications across Australia could be extraordinary.

Hearing the news of the move by China, I wondered – what would happen to your business if a key income stream was cut off overnight?

Would your business survive? Do you have a plan B? Can you move quickly enough to recover? Were you too exposed to and too reliant on the key revenue stream?

These are questions you can discuss with clarity with hindsight. Better still, they are questions you can discuss in advance.

I raise the questions today because considering them before you face the challenges being faced right now by Australian exporters of wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster gives you the opportunity today to be less reliant on a single revenue stream.

I get that this can read as a ho-hum topic, something not worth worrying about today. However, I bet there are wine makers, sugar farmers and fishermen who several days ago would have thought the topic ho-hum too.

What if the most important revenue stream to your business was cut off overnight, without notice?

Actions I think anyone reading this could consider include:

  1. Assess income to understand the income category streams on which the business most relies and take immediate steps to broaden these.
  2. Assess income sources. In retail especially most income comes from a shop or physical presence. Broaden this, rely on more than the physical presence.
  3. Assess the importance of suppliers by looking at percentage of revenue attached to each and taking steps to broaden these.
  4. Look at your business finances and consider the impact if any supporting finance arrangement was removed overnight.
  5. Workshop with key people as to what it would mean if any supplier was cut off from you or if any product category or brand was overnight stripped from your business. Those participating in this need to challenge each other.

In terms of the situation that has emerged in China this week, we need to look at our reliance on product from China, especially is we rely on people connected with wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster. For example, if we have customers who work in wine businesses that export to China. How will they feel purchasing product from us that are sourced from China when China has struck so hard at the core of their income source?

What has happened in China is a reason for us to take stock, look more carefully at our businesses, and ensure that we are better structured to trade through unexpected decisions by others.

A personal story: Decades ago, my software company developed software for radiology practices, managing patient accounts and reports on x-rays. I wrote a word processor to make it easier and faster for radiologists to write report. It was a hit, gaining terrific early sales. A year and a half in, an international x-ray film supplier offered radiology practices free software from the US if they contracted to buy their film for 5 years. Our sales stopped overnight. I decided then that my company would never rely on a single customer or a single channel for the majority of business. It’s why we are now in 12 specialty retail channels, why we only sell to sell business retailers and why we will not borrow to fund the business.


How Tower Systems helps small business retailers sell online with Shopify connected POS software

More small business and local retailers are selling online with beautiful websites created by the web development team at Tower Systems, working in close consultation with the POS software development team at the company.

In 2021, having a website, a beautiful website, for online sales is like having a fax machine or a photocopier was all those years ago in retail.

Through a consultative process, the web specialists at Tower help small business retailers using its POS software to discover how they can genuinely differentiate online to attract new shoppers, especially shoppers who are not local, shoppers who may otherwise not know the business exists.

By researching current search engine data as to what people are searching for, Tower Systems has been able to help small business retailers pivot online while using the existing business for labour and other overheads.

While the temptation is for represent to represent their existing physical retail business online, the most success is had by retailers who treat their website as a start-up, a new business. This is where the comprehensive keyword research by Tower can help unlock commercially valuable opportunities.

One small business retailer in Numurkah Victoria created a beautiful baby website, helping that business to expand their baby gifts and products offering and through this to find many shoppers interstate, adding genuine bottom line value. Today, the website for that retail business is one of the best you will see in that category.

All website development is done in Australia by the Tower Systems web team. They have delivered many websites for retailers. They have also delivered five websites through which members of a group sell collectively, to reach an even bigger audience.

While Tower Systems partners with the Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce e-commerce platforms, it is the Shopify platform that is most widely used for small business retailers.

The Tower web experts can offer guidance on shipping, methods of payment, marketing, pricing, product category structure, photos and more. They guide retailers from beginning to going live.

By connecting their website seamlessly to the Tower POS software, small business retailers are able to manage inventory and data efficiently and accurately.

We are grateful for all the retailers engaging with our web strategy and for their pursuit of sales growth through a diverse mix of retail opportunities.


VEND POS software search problems speak to a key challenge for cloud POS software

VEND POS software reported customer, product and sales related search problems on their product status page over the last 24 hours, impacting retail businesses using their POS software. The situation is a reminder of a challenge for cloud based POS software. If the platform is down or experiencing an issue, all customers on the cloud based POS software platform experience the issue.

Here is the information from the VEND cloud POS software website about the recent issues:

While our Tower Systems POS Software can be run in the cloud and is used in the cloud by a bunch of our retailer customers, the majority of our small business retailer customers choose the in-house desktop hosted option, running in their business, 100% under their control. This approach contains any problem to their business in most situations.

While, for many, the benefit of centrally managed cloud hosted POS software is appealing, the risk of network wide outage is challenging. The cost of not being able to search customers or inventory or some sales could be detrimental to a business.

VEND reported another problem to its network a month ago, on Facebook:

It is important that small business retailers weigh up the risks to their businesses when considering cloud hosted POS or desktop POS. We serve either. VEND is a cloud based solution and that’s why the outage reported by them is one that it drawing attention today.

We wish the folks at VEND all the best to resolve the issue in a timely and complete manner. No software company wants to see another software company dealing with tech challenges that are impacting customer businesses, especially the businesses that may be vulnerable or businesses just recently coming out of Covid lockdown.

When we read of the VEND cloud POS tech challenges and the outages being experienced today with customer and stock searches and some sales searches, we took this as a reminder to look at our processes, our checks and balances, our platforms and the redundancy we offer our customers. It is a reminder to all of us to ensure that we actively help our customers run stable businesses using our tech with the least possible downtime.

Operating in a purely cloud hosted environment does put a business at risk, it makes them dependent on their provider to have processes and redundancies in place to serve their needs. This is critical in service of stable and interruption free trading.

If a retailer asks our opinion – cloud hosted POS or in-house desktop hosted POS, we share that we have ourselves run shops with our POS 100% in the cloud and we have run shops with our POS software 100% in-store, on the desktop. For a whole bunch of reasons, today we choose in-house. We like the control it provides and that we are not reliant on the internet and the infrastructure of others to keep the POS software accessible to us.


Tower Systems helps small business retailers with the new normal, the Covid normal

The Sunday Age today has a story from Dominic Powell and Simon Johanson about retail and the new normal. It speaks about how retail has changed through Covid and that many changes will stick:

From smaller shops to major chains such as JB Hi-Fi and Coles, the exodus from Australia’s inner cities is just one of the many effects of the coronavirus pandemic shopkeepers fear could persist well beyond the six to 12 months until the world has its vaccine.

As the article notes, there is no doubt that the surge in online will continue.:

Broader changes, like the rapid acceleration of online shopping, will be widespread and unstoppable. Retailers are already re-assessing their moribund bricks-and-mortar stores and spending millions on online platforms. “Omnichannel” (along with “resilience”) has been the jargon du jour for merchants through the recent corporate reporting season.

There is also no doubt, in our view, that the migration away from malls to the high street and regional, will continue, too.

We think that retail has fundamentally changes. Indeed, we saw this months ago ourselves in sales on our POS software. That surge, especially in niche retail channels and outside of shopping malls was an insight, which was inspiring to us and encouraging, too.

People working from home will want to stay working from home. So many benefit from this, they like it, the flexibility it offers. Businesses, too, like this as it plays well as to operating costs as in other ways in which the business operates.

We are an Aussie POS software co serving specialty retailers with locally made and supported POS software and beautiful connected Shopify websites.

We are grateful to be playing a role in helping small business retailers configure their businesses to adjust to serving these and related changes ion the high street and in regional and rural Australia.

The new normal is a more diverse, a more spread out, country. This is great news for our small business retail community.

We offer a fresh approach to POS software and selling online.

We’re not your usual POS software company. As retailers ourselves – 3 gift / pop culture shops and 6 online businesses – we know how we like to be sold to. we have our approach with our POS software.


Our local small business economic stimulus package suggestion for the federal government

Back in March we pitched a package of stimulus ideas to federal politicians and here with little interest. Today, we pitch a modified version, reflecting feedback from small business retailers in our POS software community of 3,500 businesses.

These are ideas from people living it, not economists. They are immediately and locally beneficial successions designed to serve local communities and retailers in those communities.

Covid stimulus package for local small business retailers and the communities in which they serve.

Small business retailers are nimble and able to lift local economies faster than big businesses and certainly better than online businesses.

Here are six tips for politicians on steps they can take, decisions they can make to help lift retail, especially small business retail, as well as those local businesses with which small business retailers can quickly connect.

  1. Local shops refresh grant. Give every local retail business a grant of at least $25,000 with the stipulation that it is spent locally (at least within the state or territory) on capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. It could be for painting, carpentry, electrical, new aircon, new carpeting, staff training or similar. Proof of local spending in the form of an invoice from a local tradesperson or small business company with and ABN and more than a year of trading as recognised by the ATO – to avoid fraud. The management of this should be online with quick approval and payment. Note: the $25,000 is suggested to provide sufficient local economic stimulus.
  2. Local visual merchandising support. Keeping in-store displays can be a challenge for small business retailers. Fund a network of merchandisers to make a 2 hour call weekly on qualified independent small retail businesses, sub $1M retail product turnover (i.e. not including agency), ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the campaign at six months and then assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. not an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  3. Local artists grants. Offer cash grants to fund buskers for local high streets, to make shopping locally more entertaining. Make the application easy. Focus on local artists entertaining in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of injecting cash locally as well as fostering the local arts. The application process should be online, approval fast and payment immediate.
  4. Direct all politician electorate spending to be with local small businesses. For printing, subscriptions, gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year purchased through a politician’s electorate to be through a a business in their electorate. Have the results assessed independently. Ensure that spending is fair, too, to benefit a variety of local businesses, and not dolled out as political favours. Shop local, shop small.
  5. Run a national shop small shop local ad campaign. Make it educational, smart, encouraging … guiding Aussies on the value to them from shopping local, shopping small. Help to understand the true value of shopping local, shopping small compared to the alternatives. The ad campaign should run regionally across multiple media platforms, giving preference to locally owned platforms with a track record for not managing their business to minimise tax. Yes, Amex does this. We need a campaign that is not credit card supported.
  6. Establish local currency systems. These work overseas on regional towns where local currency has more value than the national currency. It supports shopping local through a smart value structure. the government role could be on the tech back end to manage the currency – taking away capital cost from local councils. To find out more ab9out this, read up on the Bristol Pound.

This list could be much longer. It is offered here as a start, to get people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

Corona is challenging the economy. While we am not economists, we suspect that giving money to people likely to spend it quickly and spend it locally would be good for the economy and at a pace that is helpful to overall economic performance.

This is all about boosting local.


How does the Tower Systems POS software compare to Vend and Lightspeed

How does your POS software compare to Vend?

How does your POS software compare to Lightspeed?

We get these questions a bit. We think it is because both companies advertise extensively, attracting good leads.

We don’t know their software and cannot compare our software to theirs. But … we are happy to compare, function for function, in front of anyone. Anyone looking at vend or Lightspeed and Tower Systems can com[pare the systems next to each other.

They can comp[are importing supplier invoices, handling sales, workshop management, integrating with payment platforms and more.

This type of comparison serves the customer best, which is key, since the decision has to be theirs 100%.

Considering comparing Tower Systems and its POS software with vend and Lightspeed, we’d note this about ourselves:

  1. We are and Australian POS software company developing and supporting POS software for Australian businesses and NZ businesses.
  2. We serve more than 3,500 customers.
  3. We make all the software we sell. We are in control.
  4. The leadership team of our company can be contacted by any customer – all of our customers have direct mobile numbers and email addresses.
  5. Our software is updated regularly with most update content coming from customer suggestions.
  6. We train our customers. We do not outsource this.
  7. We run our own help desk. We do not outsource this.
  8. Our software can be run in the cloud or on a desktop in the business.
  9. Our software can be rented for a few dollars a day.

Our software is not right for every business it is considered for. We will gladly say we are not right for someone. It really does depend on their business needs. Understanding those is our starting point.

Is our POS software better than that from Lightspeed or Vend? seriously, we do not know. We have been serving specialty retailers for decades with software that evolves. Early in 2020 we released new software, fresh, innovative, visually current and technically advanced. This new software is gaining excellent traction, for which we are sincerely grateful.

If you think we could be a good fit for your retail business, take a look for yourself. reach out to us for a personal demonstration and, if you would like, a function vy function comparison with vend or Lightspeed or both.

There are other competitors, but these two are the most energetic we see.


Advice for small business retailers considering a POS software connected website

We have heard from another retailer who has been ripped off by someone for website development. This is happening too often, with small business retailers carrying the cost of the rip off financially and operationally.

In this latest instance, they were promised the world and delivered a mediocre website that is not POS software connected.

Based on years of experience developing POS software connected websites and decades of experience developing POS software, we have advice for small business retailers considering having a website developed for their business and connected to their POS software:

  • Choose a local web developer. Choose a person or business who is local, in the same country (and state even) as you.
  • Be careful. Some businesses may present as local when they are not. Sometimes, an offshore business will use a local agent who comes across as the web developer.
  • Look at recent sites. Ask for a list of websites they have developed in recent months. Look at the sites. Talk to the business owners to determine their happiness.
  • Know what is included. Get a list of exactly what will be delivered with the website and any costs associated with choices you will be asked to make along the way.
  • Be clear about what you want. The site is a key tool for your business. It is essential that you are clear as to your requirements, clear about what you want.
  • Know what you like and don’t like. It can be very helpful if you have a list of websites you like and a list of websites you don’t like.
  • Get it in writing. Ensure that what is agreed is documented, fully documented. Do not sign off to proceed until you have happy with the documentation.
  • Be in control. The website is your shop window. Control your images and text to ensure this window on your business is what you want to see.
  • Pay on completion. While paying a deposit is important and, indeed, fair and essential, holding a portion of payment for completion is important. It keeps the web developer focussed.

Getting the best website for your retail business depends on your level of engagement before starting the project and through. Our encouragement to retailers is that they engage because it is this engagement that will deliver the commercial outcomes you seek.


Tower Systems releases free Covid contact training tool for small business retailers

We have released to our POS software customers today a free contact tracing initiative through our website that enables our customers to easily collect the details of people entering their business in a format useful to health authorities should that be necessary.

We have done this because state and territory governments have not agreed on a consistent approach and because we think manual record keeping is not ideal in times when health authorities will want a fast response.

Using our approach, we collect and securely store customer details and allow our retailers, and only our retailers, to download these based on selection criteria you enter.

We generate a QR code unique to each business. Customers scan this and are taken to a page we create for each business where they enter their name and mobile number. They can optionally enter their email address. We tag this data with the date and time. That’s it. Their visit is tracked. If asked, retailers can show authorities that they have a process in place for collecting this data. For those without a phone, collect the data manually, on a clip-board.

As we gain use experience with this facility we expect to enhance it further.

We have also shared a template document to use at the front of a store, with the sample QR code replaced with the store’s QR code:

We have developed this free QR code based contract tracing tool to help our small business retailer community to be well equipped for helping health authorities should there be a Covid diagnosis that connects with the retail business in some way.

This is another way we can give something back to the small business retail community, a community that is so important to our business.

We have seen with Covid that the ability to quickly track those who may have had contact with someone who tests positive it critical to the public health response.

This contact tracing initiative from our POS software company could be a useful tool. From the outset, we knew we have to deliver this without cost to small business retailers.

We are grateful to those on our team who have brought this to life and our own retail stores where we tested this to ensure its practical usefulness.

With Covid here for a while longer, having tools like this for rapid response is critical for the economy, critical for our small business retail community.


New $185.00 a month Bike shop software helps local bike shops compete

The new Bike shop POS software from Tower Systems is proving to be a hit among bike retailers.

“We launched new bike shop software in March this year,” commented Mark Fletcher, Managing Director of Tower Systems. “It delivered a fresh look and feel, a new database engine, new functions and more connections for things like selling online”.

“Since March, we have delivered two more updates thanks to advice from bike shop owners and staff on how we can help them in a rapidly changing marketplace and economy.”

This bike shop software has been built in Australia to serve Aussie bike shop retail, workshop and business management needs. It also helps bike shops leverage club and community group relationships.

In the workshop, this software tracks all parts and labour used in a service or repair job, without needing external software to get the job done.

Serial number tracking tools in the software let bike shops accurately track items with serial numbers. This also helps with insurance and warranty work.

The electronic supplier integration tools make loading electronic invoices and stock files from suppliers easy.

The customer relationship tools help bike shops understand and leverage the lifetime value of customers, a value metric that is quite different to any other retail channel.

Embedded in this bike shop software are facilities through which bike shops can leverage their intellectual property for competitive advantage and tools for serving and leveraging cycling club members.

“We are a proud Australian software company serving local Australian retailers and grateful for Australian retailers buying local and supporting local tech jobs,” commented Gavin Williams, Tower Systems Chief Operating Officer.

The Tower Systems Bike shop software costs $185.00 a month, for access on as many computers as a business runs in a location. The $185.00 capped pricing approach makes accessing the software cost effective for bike retailers.

There is no credit check and no long-term contract to sign.

Already in use in 350+ bike shops in Australia and New Zealand, the latest update is set to expand this.

Using this software, bike shop staff can also manage online sales, colour / size / style, insurance claims, warranty tracking, marketing, linking to Xero, links to suppliers and selling online and through Bike Exchange.

This software also offers and genuinely different loyalty tools that are tuned to the needs of bike shops and shopper engagement patterns in bike shops.

Bike retailers can share knowledge through the software, too, better connecting their business with local riders, demonstrating the value of shopping local.

Linked to Shopify and Magento, selling online is easy, too.

This software costs $185.00 for each 30 days, which includes software, help desk support and access to updates.

Find out more: www.towersystems.au/bike

If you have not seen the Tower Systems bike shop software this year, you need to see it to know what it can do.

Organise a safe online personal demonstration for your business.

VIC / SA: Tim Batt 0401 833 917 tim@towersystems.com.au;

QLD / NT / WA: Justin Randall 0434 365 789 justin@towersystems.com.au;

NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148 nathan@towersystems.com.au.

If you are not ready for a demonstration, find out more online: www.towersystems.com.au/bike


Here’s what life in stage 4 Covid lockdown has been like for our small business in Victoria

Our head office is located in Hawthorn, Victoria, in suburban Melbourne, which has been in stage 4 lockdown since early August.

The gap between the end of the first Covid lockdown and the start of the tougher stage 4 was barely a month.

Back in March, when the impact of Covid became known, we made some decisions about the operations of our business that have meant the changes to restrictions have not impacted our business. These were changes any business could make. Indeed, with hindsight, they are changes we could have made years ago.

Even though our business is considered essential given the nature of our work and the customers we serve, we decided, back in March, to move to a remote operation for 85% of our work force of more than 50.

This meant bringing forward transition to our new VoIP phone system, expanding our Zoom capacity, expanding our Microsoft Teams capacity, providing team members with tech at home and putting in place financial compensation for folks working from home.

The tech changes were implemented over 2 days. They have served us well.

With plenty of our workforce usually in retail every day, helping our customers, we had to fundamentally change the way we worked. You cannot do online what you’d usually do in a shop installing software or training people. We adjusted and our customers adjusted.

Today, we’re almost 100% online in what we do and in our service delivery. If, however, a customer wants us in-store and it is essential to their business, we can do this, in stage 4 and outside of stage 4, and we have done it.

From a sales and marketing perspective the changes have been significant. We used to do at least 16 trade shows a year. This year we have done 1 and next year we have none planned. Instead, we have found new and, indeed, more useful ways to connect with prospects.

The result has been an increase in sales. This is good news for us, our team members and our customers. We are sincerely grateful.

Over recent weeks, we have brought several more people into the office as we have some team changes and new colleagues to meet.

While Victoria waits to hear when stage 4 will end, here at Tower Systems we see no major changes to how we operate through the remainder of 2020 and into the early months of 2021.

This new way of operating is offering team members more time with family, lower out of pocket costs and opportunities for healthier lifestyle choices.

We have learnt plenty navigating Covid, benefiting our business and all who work here. This is the good news story we’d like to see media outlets cover – what we have learnt and the benefits leveraged as a result. There are plenty of good news stories like ours.

We get that stage 4 restrictions in Victoria have been challenging. They have also provided opportunities.

We are optimistic about 2021 as we have a terrific base from this year on which to build … and for this we are sincerely grateful.


Helping to train new retail business owners

We understand the stress of taking over an existing retail business. There is plenty to learn. It usually needs to be learnt quickly. Too often, the folks selling the business move on without providing the level of training that is needed, especially training in POS software.

This is why we have created a special new owners package – for businesses recently sold where our software is running. It offers new owners a new installation trying experience, offering the best outcomes for them to learn the software and review data structures to ensure are they are perusing good business outcomes.

This enhanced new business owner training package is another way we are adding value to small business retailers who use our POS software.


A marketing tip small business retailers can leverage into additional revenue, easily

Use this unique facility to drive sales in any retail business and nurture optimism in the business and among customers.

It’s a bold claim. A true claim though in that we have the evidence to show that what we talk about here works, and works well, in hundreds of retail businesses.

Loyalty points are dead. Big businesses killed them, made them useless.

While our specialty retail POS software has a loyalty points program you can use, it is our smart discount vouchers that retailers in our community of 3,500+ retail; businesses love. Discount vouchers are part of broader loyalty tools we offer.

Note, we call them discount vouchers – you can call them what you like. The facilities give you leverage that you can employ to encourage shoppers to spend more and shop with you sooner.

Here’s a video from June this year in which we show how vouchers work and provide examples of the value they offer the business for little or no cost.

Here is a video we shot in August this year where we look at discount vouchers in more detail and explore what it looks like inside the business.

We use discount vouchers in retail businesses we operate and have done so since we first released the functionality in February 2013. They work a treat, delivering net beneficial value at no cost to the business.

The fundamental question for any retailer is do you want to grow your business? The answer, of course, is yes. Discount vouchers provide the means through which you can do this. It starts by changing the conversation, by offering something your competitors do not offer and, most likely, cannot offer.

By changing the conversation you drive a different shopper expectation and that helps shoppers see your business through a different light.

People like being rewarded for doing what they would do anyway. Through fine-tuned levers, you are able to nudge their engagement to go beyond what they would do and you can factor the cost of nudging into your pricing.

Across plenty of retail channels, discount vouchers deliver commercial benefits for retail business. Plus, they offer a community group connect that further enhances their value to the business as well as to the local community.


Tower Systems is encouraging retailers on POS software screen design

Using our POS software, small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand have plenty of control over the design of their main POS screen. Changing this is easy. No coding is required. Our customers are proving to be creative in tailoring the screen to their unique business needs.

To celebrate some awesome POS software screen designs, over a week ago we announced a POS software screen design competition for our customers. We are giving away 6 bottles of wonderful champagne.

Our goal was to encourage folks in our retail business community to inspire each other, to show what is possible and to share how they have improved their businesses by embracing design change opportunities in our POS software.

Today is the day of judging. We are excited to have had so many retailers engage with this. The entries are terrific. Our customers are innovative, creative. They have shown a real love for our POS software.

Here is what we announced in our regular customer service email a week back:

Win a bottle of champagne.

Hey, Retailer 3 users, share your POS screen design to get in the running to win one of 6 bottles of Heidsieck And Co Monopole Gold Top 2010 champagne. We will choose 6 well-designed R3 POS screens as winners, each receiving a bottle – sent to you, free.

To enter, post a photo of your POS screen on our private customer Facebook page. Or, email support@towersystems.com.au with the subject – POS Screen competition. We will post it to the private Facebook page for you. Now, if you want to play with your design, this video may help: https://vimeo.com/387825075

We will keep this competition open for a week, until 9am Monday October 19, 2020. We will choose 6 POS screen designs as the winners and send a bottle of this champagne as a price.

Why are we running this competition? Because we are seeing some awesome POS software screen designs, designs that we think could inspire others to create better POS software screens. You have excellent flexibility in the software. We hope seeing the designs inspires you.

Here is what you could win: Heidsieck And Co Monopole Gold Top 2010. Heidsieck and Co Monopole are one of the oldest Champagne houses in the Champagne region. Gold Top 2010 is balanced and pleasing with hints of roasted and dry fruits, hazelnut, reminiscent of honey with a gingerbread dominance. This is a nice drop.


Practical advice for small business retailers in going online with a POS software connected website

We received an online order recently in one of our shops at 1:33pm worth $800.00. It was one of 12 online orders for that business that totalling $1,800 in value.

Each one of these orders was a pre-order – fully paid for up front for stock that is another week away from arriving in-store and two months away from being paid for by us.

The specific products are not relevant as what we share below could apply to plenty of products and product categories. What we have done in this two and a half year old suburban high street business is what anyone could do and what we know some retailer colleagues are doing to win online sales.

  1. Create your online presence as a start-up business. Our recommendation is that you not take your existing shop online under your existing shop’s branding.
  2. Choose a product niche or category that is sought after, that is being searched for. This could be a brand, a licence, an end use or some other segmentation that makes sense to the shopper.
  3. Look for brands and categories people could be loyal to for some time.
  4. Source key suppliers. Preference suppliers who might work with you on geographically exclusive items.
  5. Register a domain and business name that speaks to the shopper for the chosen category.
  6. Develop your approach to packaging and shipping, remembering that this process has to be delivered as a brand extension. Add value here and you will bring them back.
  7. Create a site that serves the shopper.
  8. Include on the website unique knowledge / information that lifts you up as an expert in the product category field.
  9. Include a chat facility on the site, so you can answer questions from people who do not want to email or call with their queries.
  10. Create a separate Facebook page to support the website. Regularly feed contact to that page, content specifically for that page.
  11. Ask your suppliers to link to your website and appreciate them for any promotion they offer on their social media pages.
  12. Search out other social media pages that reach your target shopper and engage with those communities.
  13. Email shoppers, appreciating their business. Find ways to remain connected with them as this connection can help bring them back.

The first step revenue goal with online for any business entering that space has to be 5% (or less) of total revenue. Once there, the next goal is 10%, then 15% and so on. Goals are important.

Treat your online business as a start up. Manage it as such. Embrace mistakes and failures as they are the foundation bricks to success – cliché yes, but true.

  • Do you have to stock in your shop products you sell online? No. We say this as many retailers think the answer is yes. Seriously, think of your online business as a start up – doing this frees you to be more open to what you sell.
  • Can I put my existing shop online though? Of course. It’s 100% up to you.
  • Isn’t shipping hard? Offer what enough people want and shipping can be resolved by building it into the price or you looking at online as cream sales, sales from which you can give up some margin.

Our POS  software company develops websites for small business retailers. While what we have written here does relate to the online success at my high street shop, it is the same advice we provide all retailers who contact Tower Systems querying about website development.


Ideal bike shop POS software for Trek and other bike retailers

We were recently asked for information about our bike shop POS software and its suitability for Trek bike retailers. Here is our response:

Tower Systems serves in excess of 3,500 small business retailers across 9 specialty retail channels. We serve 300+ bike shops with software made for them. Our most recent bike shop software update was two months ago.

We are an Australian company providing Australian developed POS software, which is backed up with Australian based support.

Below, we answer your specific questions.

  • Pricing. Our software is available for rental. It’s $185.00 a month, as noted on our website. There is no locked-in contract.
  • Additional computers. The one $185.00 per month rental cost provides access from as many terminals as a business has in a location.
  • Setup and training. We charge $2,750.00 (inc. GST) for installation, training, setup and data conversion. This includes an allocation of 2 days dedicated to the site.
  • Lead time. This varies through the year. We are able to help with urgent installations. Usually, we are booking 3 to 4 weeks out.
  • Integrations. We have done more than 100 integrations across multiple specialty retail channels. The scope of integrations depend on the tech available at the supplier end. For bikes, we have the fully functional Specialized integration as one example and years of work with Sheppard Industries in NZ prior to that.
  • Payment processing. Yes, we directly integrate with Tyro and have 1,000 of our customers using this. We were the first Aussie POS software company to integrate with PayPal. We also integrate with Humm and Zip Pay. Plus, we integrate with PC Eftpos (linkly) among others.
  • Customer orders. We offer comprehensive tracking. To fully understand what we do, though, it is best to demonstrate this.
  • Text / email to customers. We offer this at various touchpoint in our software including for special orders as well as repairs and workshop jobs.
  • Foot traffic. We did work in the foot traffic space but have found retailers disinterest in this as other more important metrics are relevant today.

Our bike shop POS software is accessible on the road, through our Retailer RoamTM App. We also offer business performance insights through a cloud based data representation app.

We are grateful to bike retailers for their support of our bike shop software. This is an important and appreciated marketplace for us.


Website advice for small business retailers

In our work with small business retailers we provide advice on website development, often before the website is created. This advice is based on our own Xperience as well as the experience gained in service of other retailers.

Here is up to date advice for any retailer considering a website for their retail business.

We are not usual POS software company. We are retailers too, with 3 shops. The advice we share here is based on what we have done in one of our small shops, a high street business in Mount Waverley Victoria.

Advice for small business retailer going online.

We received an online order the other day in one of our own retail shops at 1:33pm worth $800.00. It was one of 12 online orders for that business yesterday totalling $1,800 in value.

Each one of these orders that we are receiving right now is a pre-order – fully paid for up front for stock that is another week away from arriving in-store and two months away from being paid for by us. It is the nature of the specific product category that products are released to a calendar schedule.

The specific products are not relevant to what we share here today as what we share below could apply to plenty of products and product categories – in many different retail situations. What we have done in this two and a half year old suburban high street business is what anyone could do and what I know some retailer colleagues are doing to win online sales.

  1. Create your online presence as a start-up business. My recommendation is that you not take your existing shop online under your existing shop’s branding. Big businesses, of course, take their retail brand online as they think shoppers search for them. In fact, shoppers search for product outcomes.
  2. Choose a product niche or category that is sought after, that is being searched for. This could be a brand, a licence, an end use or some other segmentation that makes sense to the shopper.
  3. Look for brands and categories people could be loyal to for some time.
  4. Source key suppliers. Preference suppliers who might work with you on geographically exclusive items.
  5. Register a domain and business name that speaks to the shopper for the chosen category.
  6. Develop your approach to packaging and shipping, remembering that this process has to be delivered as a brand extension. Add value here and you will bring them back.
  7. Create a site that serves the shopper.
  8. Include on the website unique knowledge / information that lifts you up as an expert in the product category field.
  9. Include a chat facility on the site, so you can answer questions from people who do not want to email or call with their queries.
  10. Create a separate Facebook page to support the website. Regularly feed contact to that page, content specifically for that page.
  11. Ask your suppliers to link to your website and appreciate them for any promotion they offer on their social media pages.
  12. Search out other social media pages that reach your target shopper and engage with those communities.
  13. Email shoppers, appreciating their business. Find ways to remain connected with them as this connection can help bring them back.

Our advice for the first step revenue goal with online for any business entering that space has to be 5% (or less) of total revenue. Once there, the next goal is 10%, then 15% and so on. Goals are important. While the ultimate goal will vary by business category, it is vital to have a staring point.

Treat your online business as a start up. Manage it as such. Embrace mistakes and failures as they are the foundation bricks to success – cliché yes, but true.

  • Do you have to stock in your shop products you sell online? No. I say this as many retailers think the answer is yes. Seriously, think of your online business as a start up – doing this frees you to be more open to what you sell.
  • Can I put my existing shop online though? Of course. It’s 100% up to you.
  • Isn’t shipping hard? Offer what enough people want and shipping can be resolved by building it into the price or you looking at online as cream sales, sales from which you can give up some margin.

Our POS  software company develops websites for small business retailers. While what we have shared here does relate to the online success at my high street shop, it is the same advice we provide all retailers who contact Tower Systems querying about website development.


Staff management tips and advice for local small business retailers

In our work with more than 3,500 small business retailers across a diverse mix of retail channels, we have collected, along the way, a kit of tips and advice for managing staff in retail. We share some of these tips today here as an insight into the help we can provide beyond our POS software, beyond what you may expect from a POS software company too.

We are interested in retail business management, especially small retail business management, as we own and run shops ourselves and have done so since February 1996. We bought our first shop to give us a live test site. It’s grown since then.

Before we get to the tips themselves, we like this selection because it focusses on the management challenge as well as on the financial outcome for the business.

Here are some of the small business retail staff management tips we like:

  1. Set sales goals. In our experience, people perform well when they know the goal. It could be individual goals or a business-wide goal.
  2. Track performance. If not for reward, at least for active management engagement.
  3. Reduce mistakes and theft. Get employee code or number entered for each sale. It works.
  4. Skill your people. Make sure they understand the software and how they can use it to achieve more for the business.
  5. Change the roster. Roster changes can push back against predictability, they can also uncover opportunities.
  6. Set standards. In your POS you can establish standards for data to be followed – product naming conventions, department descriptions and more. The more consistency in your data the more valuable your data.
  7. Stop using the back room. You can’t sell product from the back room. Have staff do all pricing and other usual back room tasks on the shop floor.
  8. Track location performance. Train your staff in the process of tracking the performance of impulse locations. Moving a product could help it find customers. Make sure staff understand what you are looking for.
  9. Share basket insights. Knowing what sells alone and what sells with what can help staff make better decisions as to what is placed where on the shop floor.
  10. Ask them. Yes, ask them what you should / could stock, ask them what think a product is worth. Value their input and they will value more working for the business.
  11. Cut data handling. At every possible point, stop touching data. Having it flow from electronic supplier invoices through the POS to scanned sales through to Xero for accounting can reduce mistakes and possible fraud opportunities.

There are many opportunities for managing staff through and with your POS software. This can improve the business and enhance their experience with your business.



Retail management advice to guide stronger, more valuable, retail businesses

As owners of retail businesses, especially small retail businesses, local retail businesses, know … everyone is an expert, everyone has advice on what to do, what to stock, how to grow the business.

Our retail management advice has been fine-tuned over decades of service of local small business retailers in a range of specialty retail channels. It has come, too, from our own ownership and operating of a range of retail businesses across four different specialty retail channels. We own three online shops and several online businesses today.

The retail management advice we share here is a taste of the support we offer small business retailers beyond the POS software we make, sell and support.

Today, in this post, our focus is on what we consider to be the most important advice for small business retailers. We call it bankable advice, advice you can rely on to add measurable value to your business.

  1. Use your data. Yes, that sounds boring. The thing is, the data curated by your POS software can help you buy better, sell faster, make more from each shopper visit, reduce theft, get more value from employees, make fewer mistakes, cut labour costs … and more. Yes, good data, leveraged consistently, will achieve all this and more.
  2. Connect. At every opportunity, connects your systems and processes from suppliers to your goods inwards to your POS to product returns to your business accounting software. The less you rely on manual processes the better your business decisions and the lower your costs.
  3. Look under the hood. Good POS software gives you eyes in the back of your head, it can show you what you don’t know and may not want to know. Ask what you can find out that may surprise you as it is in these surprises where you may find more value.
  4. Set goals for the business and measure performance. Revenue. Unit sales for key products. Sales by team member. Revenue by supplier. ROI. ROFS. Measure, report, discuss, improve.
  5. Reorder what sells.
  6. Place products next to products they are usually purchased with.
  7. Ensure your staff know how to use the tools you have. Take POS software, too often we see poor use hurting the performance of the business.

Success in small business retail is there for the taking, through management action. Success comes from consistent pursuit of success. Systems helps you consistently pursue success.

Good POS software companies can help you with this, they can help you drive a more successful and valuable retail business. That’s certainly our goal at Tower Systems.

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