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.

The best software for bike shops

Your software is the best software for bike shops. Who doesn’t like getting feedback like that? We do!  It’s what one of our bike shop software customers said last week. They love our software for the control it brings their business and they help it provides in guiding the customer experience in-store.

We have spent years refining our bike shop software. Many of the refinements have been developed in response to customer suggestions. bike shop owners, managers and staff are free with ideas on how we can improve the software and its ability to help them. From managing workflow to improving the shopper experience, we embrace opportunities.

It is that our software keeps advancing that our customers like the most. his is where we rely on our customers for advice and guidance. We benefit from their insights and they benefit from improving software. It’s a classic win win … one that comes from true partnership.

POS software online training schedule for April

Tower Systems has released details of the Point of Sale software online training workshops planned for April. The topics cover:

  • Getting more out of the Repairs Module in Retailer
  • Using Retailer to Manage Staff
  • Mandarin session – Processing manual invoice arrivals
  • Best practice for managing Subagents
  • Open Forum – Newsagency’s
  • How to Cut Theft in Your business
  • Mandarin session – How to process Customer Billing & Statements

Our customers can book online through our training portal. They can also add details to their calendar at the training portal.

Access to the training workshops is free.

Pump N Pedals bike shop in Cairns offers best practice products and service

In a recent customer service field trip to Cairns, one of our team got to visit with Pump N Pedals – a bike shop using our bike shop software in Cairns. They loved the opportunity to see a best-pratice bike shop in action and making good use of our bike shop software.

The shop is a stand out among bike shops in Cairns. The photo shops “S-Wall”, showing off Specialized bikes.

Pump N Pedals is a Specialized concept store. The S-wall features the top of the line bikes. These bikes two retail at $10k each.

See the Pump N Pedals Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pumpnpedals to find out more about their business.

We appreciated seeing such a great bike shop.

Helping retailers measure impulse purchases

While retailers using our POS software are able to track the performance of all stock items, we find that there is significant interest in the impulse items strategically placed to engage shoppers on impulse and thereby extend the value of a shopping visit.

By helping retailers to target the performance if items through various reports in our software we can help retailers understand the efficiency of specific products as well as the placement of those products.

It all comes down to easy-to-use yet powerful reporting, reporting that lets the retailers measure what they want and how they want.

As retailers ourselves we use our reports regularly. Our personal experiences better inform our reporting choice.

Professional shelf labels benefit POS software users

Shelf labels are an unglamorous part of what good Point of Sale software provides for a business. they are vital for many retail channels, helping save time, guide shoppers and help retail employees in product placement.

Here at Tower Systems we have provided professional, inexpensive and flexible shelf labels to retailers for decades.

We offer low-cost laser printed shelf labels as well as labels one up on a strip using a thermal printer.  We also support weather-proof labels. Our customers can choose what works best for them.

For something so everyday in retail, shelf labels are vitally important for retailers. We understand this and ensure that what we offer is best practice in each of our marketplaces. While there are high-tech shelf label options, in the marketplaces in which we serve, printed labels continue to offer a best-value option.

we support our customers in the production of labels with written and other advice, training and support.

New online training workshops for March

Following extraordinary engagement with our free online training workshops through february by retailers using our Point of Sale software, we have introduced new topics for March.

In less than a week of the new topics being announced, many sessions were close to filling. Our response is to schedule more.

Our customers love our online training, especially that the sessions are live and interactive. They are also loving the WebEx platform we use … oh, and that access is free.

Here are the new topics launched for March:

  • Best Practice for Retailer Security
  • Creating and Improving Your Touch Screen Layout and Efficiency
  • Building a Successful Loyalty Program
  • Processing Manual Invoice Arrivals
  • How to Process Customer Billing & Statements
  • Best Practice for Magazine Management
  • Best Practice for Magazine Management
  • Using Early Returns Effectively
  • Getting Started with Repairs
  • Building a Successful Loyalty Program
  • Run List Management and Getting Started with HTML Run Lists

This list of new topics and the training delivered in february speaks to our commitment to helping our customers achieve more through their software. We are ensuring that our actions speak louder than our words.

The value of our own retail businesses

We are grateful that own four retail businesses in which we can play with our POS software, in advance of distribution of our beta pool customers.

Having our own different retail businesses in which to play is a commercially valuable point of difference for us, one we exploit to deliver better software to our customers.

For some weeks now we have been playing with new software designed to provide our retail customers with a fresh competitive advantage. We are able to play and tweak, ensuring that what we ultimately deliver is technical, operationally and business bottom-line superior.

Our experience in owning retail businesses for seventeen years is that testing first in our own businesses is bette than relying on the beta release pool of customers.

Smart bike retailers use bike shop software to compete with online

While media coverage talks up the online versus high street battle and favours online in coverage, smart bike retailers are using rd bike shop software to compete with online.

By leveraging in-store knowledge, experience and personal service, a high street bike shop can convert a browser into a shopper.  The keys are attention to detail, memorable personal service and a value proposition. This is where good bike shop software implemented professionally can help.  It can also help drive operational efficiency and thereby give the business the financial means to be competitive.

Bike shop retailers can do this in a range of ways:

  • Sales processes can be structured to drive consistency.
  • A loyalty program encourages your shopper to shop more frequently.
  • A contact follow up program can bring a customer back more often.
  • Marketing can be driven by email, mail and fax.
  • Mistakes at the sales counter, in ordering and in management can be reduced, freeing cash.
  • Selling can be made easier, thereby improving the shopper experience.
  • New marketing platforms are created: on receipts, at the counter and elsewhere.
  • Employees can be rewarded for above average sales – aligning their rewards with those of the business.
  • A common inventory file for an online store and a high street store.

Good bike shop software can help a bike retailer compete with online businesses and prosper in any economy.

Growth begins with deciding that this is what you want for your business. The next step is pursuing it relentlessly.

People looking for their first bike are encouraged by bike shops to talk to an expert. Bike shop owners wanting greater success should, likewise, talk to an expert.

Tower Systems develops and supports the industry standard bike shop software in Australia and New Zealand, the company helps bike shop retailers grow stronger and more valuable businesses.

Free online training workshops for POS software loved by retailers

The new live online training workshops we launched earlier this year from retailers using our Point of Sale software continue to draw excellent numbers and meaningful engagement.

As the screenshot shows, we have sessions booked out well in advance. We continue to add more sessions to serve demand.

These online workshops continue to be a valuable point of difference for us. For years now we have led in our respective marketplaces in the delivery of free training opportunities. It’s easy to announce that you do this and considerable harder to deliver. We’re proud to deliver.

We will soon announce our March program.

The POS software training program this year is proving to be particularly useful to our customers:

  • Getting Started with Laybys
  • Building a Successful Loyalty Program
  • Smart Marketing
  • More Than Just a Receipt

Happy retailers = happy customers

Tower Systems early this month launched a Happy retailers … happy customers campaign, promoting the joy and commercial pleasure that can come from using good POS software to its fullest in a small and independent retail businesses like bike shops, jewellers, gift shops, homewares stores, adult shops, newsagents, garden centres, nurseries and gun shops.

Our core focus as a company is on small and independent retail businesses. We love dealing direct with the owner and enjoy a direct connection. This is rare when dealing with bigger businesses like retail chains.

The core message of our Happy retailers … happy customers campaign is optimism, optimism about retail and about small and independent retail in particular.

Every day we see wonderful success stories. Thanks to our retail community connections we can share these, to help more businesses share the optimism and chase growth.

While we are only a couple of weeks in, this campaign has gained excellent support with prospects across a range of marketplaces growing.

Retailers love our new online POS software training workshops

The new online Point of Sale software training workshops launched for 2013 last week have been a terrific success. We hosted four sessions and customer feedback has been excellent. They love the delivery platform, that access is free, that the content is relevant and that they can easily interact.

Tower Systems proudly leads in the delivery of access to live, understandable and free training for retailers.  We are especially thrilled that we have been able to deliver, on time, new content this year … making our online training workshop program even more valuable for retailers using our software.

Delivering help like this to small business retailers is important to our mission to help this end of the retail space to gain more value from IT.

Indeed, in the online training area, actions speak louder than words.

New POS software training curriculum starts today

Tower Systems is thrilled to be launching today a new training curriculum for for retailers using its Point of Sale software.

Having announced fresh new online training workshops a few weeks ago, more than 80% of available spots have been booked for the free live online workshops.

The new curriculum kicks off today with a session on Using Catalogues and Promotions to Build Your Business:

Catalogue marketing is a very important part of many businesses throughout a year – periods such as Back To School, Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas are all common discount promotion seasons. This training session will teach users how to quickly and easily set up a sale or promotion and how to track its success.

By the end of today, 28 businesses will have participated in the two live online workshop sessions we are hosting. These are businesses from many different locations and in many different businesses.

In addition to the training delivered, the workshops provide an excellent opportunity for the business owners to network and for them to provide us with direct customer feedback.

We are very excited to have this new live training program up and running for 2013 and to have so many of our customers engaging with the training.

The result will be retailers using our Point of sale software to drive more value from their businesses.

Retailers starting 2013 with free POS software online training commitment

More than 150 places have been booked in the last week for the new range of live online training in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software.

The new topics released for 2013 are proving to be a hit with retailers and retail employees as they want to get more from their POS software technology investment.

In developing the new content early in 2013, Tower Systems is providing its retail partners an excellent opportunity to kick off the year with better knowledge and therefore better business opportunities.

Here are some of the practical business topics being covered:

  1. Using Catalogues and Promotions to build your business
  2. Setting up Gift Vouchers in Your Business
  3. Using SMS and Email Alerts in Retailer
  4. Building Your basket Sales
  5. Getting Started with Laybys
  6. Building A Succesful Loyalty Program
  7. Smart Marketing
  8. More Than Just a Receipt

Small retailers using our Point of Sale software love Tyro broadband EFTPOS

With more than 750 of our Point of Sale software customers now using the Tyro broadband EFTPOS solution, we have plenty of feedback from retailers on which to draw. Retailers love Tyro. They love its speed, security, time saving and ease of use.

This past busy Christmas period saw many of our customers enjoy an excellent sales bump. Tyro helped our customers better handle the increase in shopper traffic thanks to its rapid approval time and the elimination of keystrokes thanks to its integration with our POS software.

We love Tyro, we use it to process EFTPOS payments in our software company as well as in our own retail stores. So, our recommendation is based on considerable personal experience with Tyro across a range of business situations.

It’s our operation of a range of retail businesses that sets us apart as a software company and that enables us to provide more practical advice to our retail partners.

Memorable customer service vital for retailers and POS software companies

While Gerry Harvey and some others regularly talk down retail as if they want Australians to believe that retail businesses are struggling because of economic factors, the real reason for most retail failures is that the businesses have not served their customers.

Memorable customer service is the most important point of difference a retail business can have, especially a business which does not make what it sells and therefore could have its products being sold by any other business apple to reach the same pool of shoppers.

We call it memorable customer service because it truly has to be that … memorable. So memorable that it is praised by your customers to others.

Good customer service should be the norm, the lowest hurdle any retail business can jump. Memorable customer service, the level of customer service that makes a shopper talk about the experience to their friends, must be the goal and it is the word of mouth from these customers that is a factor in driving traffic growth.

Memorable customer service is just as vital to Point of Sale software companies as it is for retail businesses. Since we own retail businesses as well as our POS software company we see it, live it and reach for it from both sides.

This is why we continue to work hard to encode the ability to focus on customer service in our Point of Sale software. That’s right, retailers using our software have touch points they can leverage using software which help deliver the kind of memorable customer service we are talking about here.

Memorable customer service in retail, just as in a software company like ours, is experiences which exceed expectations, it delivers benefits outside of what you expect even from a good business.  In our IT company we compete with big IT companies and small, like us, IT companies. While we want our software to be the point of difference customers notice and talk about positively, it is our customer service which is loved and mentioned to colleagues more. Realising this was an epiphany for us.

We focus on building stronger, better and more valuable software. But we also surround this, completely, with customer service experiences which are the very best of the best. This gives us, and our customers, the best of both worlds. And we love it ourselves.

Given that most retailers do not have products unique to their businesses, delivering memorable customer service is critical to the business plan.  Small and independent retailers can do this more easily and effectively than big retailers. From the genuine smile to shoppers to product knowledge to that extra information which helps a shopper get more out of the product purchased than they would have had the purchased the product elsewhere. This added value is the key and it can be delivered in almost any situation and with any product from a stapler through to a high-end road bike.

So, beyond our software and as part of our customer service focus, we seek out opportunities to help our customers deliver memorable customer service.  Indeed, this was one topic we covered in the recent face-to-face user meetings we ran in capital cities and major regional centres around Australia.

Gerry Harvey is wrong to complain about factors outside his business causing poor results. He needs to shop his shops and see that the customer service at Harvey Norman is not so memorable. It is not something people talk in in word of mouth. That’s retail death right there. If people come to your shop just because you are cheap it can be taken from you in an instant. If they come to you because a friend praised the customer service their received you are on the road to winning a regular customer.

As a Point of Sale software company, our mission is to deliver constantly improving retail management software backed with memorable customer service and going beyond this with business insights and assistance which helps our retailers themselves deliver exceptional and memorable experiences to their customers.

Helping high street bike shop retailers compete with online using bike shop software

High street bike shop retailers are facing tough competition from online bike retailers according to news reports and industry talk. It’s a challenge when a business from overseas targets a local market with what can be an inferior products and without local service yet with a price point that is devastatingly competitive.

The doom stories aside, there are retailers, including bike retailers, who are growing stronger, more valuable businesses.

How are these retailers growing?

Growth in retail requires planning and commitment throughout the business.  It is vital that attention is paid to consumer touch points, placing the unique points of difference of the business in the spotlight.

Good businesses grow faster when growth strategies are encoded in business processes from the sales counter to the back room and are at the heart of supplier and employee relationships.

By leveraging in-store knowledge, experience and personal service, a high street bike shop can convert a browser into a shopper.  The keys are attention to detail, memorable personal service and a value proposition.

This is where good bike shop software implemented professionally can help.  It can also help drive operational efficiency and thereby give the business the financial means to be competitive.

There are bike shops doing this today, large and small, city and country.

But how can bike shop software do this?

  • Sales processes can be structured to drive consistency.
  • A loyalty program encourages your shopper to shop more frequently.
  • A contact follow up program can bring a customer back more often.
  • Marketing can be driven by email, mail and fax.
  • Mistakes at the sales counter, in ordering and in management can be reduced, freeing cash.
  • Selling can be made easier, thereby improving the shopper experience.
  • New marketing platforms are created: on receipts, at the counter and elsewhere.
  • Employees can be rewarded for above average sales – aligning their rewards with those of the business.
  • A common inventory file for an online store and a high street store.

Good bike shop software can help a bike retailer compete with online businesses and prosper in any economy.

Growth begins with deciding that this is what you want for your business. The next step is pursuing it relentlessly.

People looking for their first bike are encouraged by bike shops to talk to an expert. Bike shop owners wanting greater success should, likewise, talk to an expert.

Tower Systems develops and supports the industry standard bike shop software in Australia and New Zealand, the company helps bike shop retailers grow stronger and more valuable businesses.

To find out more about the Tower bike shop software, contact: NSW/ACT: Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;  VIC/TAS: Michael Jenkins 0403 189 379; QLD/NT: Paul Slater 0434 365 789.; SA/WA: Tim Batt 0401 833 917; NZ: Phil Daniels 0275 288 491. Website: www.towersystems.com.au

Serial number tracking in POS software helps jewellers, bike retailers and gun shops

The serial number tracking services available through our smart Point of Sale software are proving to be invaluable in a range of retail situations according to customer feedback.

Using serial number tools, retailers are able to track individual items sold to meet regulatory record-keeping requirements as well as track items for the benefit of the customer and the business in terms of warraty and other future activity around a specific item purchased.

Developed with jeweller and bike shop retailers originally, the serial number tracking tools in our POS software have been enhanced to meet evolving needs of retailers. We have ensured that the facilities meet needs of more retail channels, giving them peace of mind that they can track sales at the item level for reporting to authorities, suppliers, warranty providers and customers.

Serial number tracking requires accuracy and focus in serving the needs of the retailer, customer and other parties. Achieving this without negatively impacting the traffic flow at the counter is a challenge we address in our software.

retailers using our software can also find previous sales by searching using a serial number.

In addition to specifically serving the needs of tracking serial numbers of items sold, the software tools also work well in areas with similar needs. The software gives even more flexibility to the overall Point of Sale software package.

How to choose the right POS software for your business

Choosing the right Point of Sale software is vital for any retail business. get it wrong and you can have wasted plenty of money and time. get it right and you can have a business bottom line that is healthier.

Here are some key areas you should research carefully by talking to your prospective POS software company and their customers:

  1. Customer service. What is included in the annual software support fee?
  2. Software access. Does the software keep working if you opt to not take out annual support coverage?
  3. Reports. How do the reports look, are they useful and do they cover what you need.
  4. Speed. Hoe easy is the main screen in the software, the POS screen, to use? Is it fast and intuitive?
  5. Training. What training options are available and what’s the cost?
  6. New staff. how easy is it for you to access training for new employees?
  7. Contact. How easy is it for you to contact senior management in the POS software company?
  8. Customer satisfaction. Is the POS software company happy for you to contact any of their customers?
  9. Price compare. Check to see what others have paid for the software. Some companies charge different prices.
  10. Supplier connections. make sure that the software has current connections for all suppliers of interest to you.

This list is just the start of what you should check when considering a Point of Sale software package. Do your research before you buy and reduce the stress after you buy.

Retailers loving free POS software training from Tower Systems

Even though the New Year is not even a week old, we are already delivering on our promise of free one-on-one training for retailers using our Point of Sale software.

This offer of free one-on-one training is in addition to our group training sessions and our regional face to face user meetings. It offers an opportunity for training specific to the needs of the business.

Tower Systems is known for delivering easy access to excellent customer service. This will continue to win us customers in 2013.

Easy access to POS software training all through the holiday period

Thanks to a large library of training videos, including new titles added just this month, retailers using our Point of Sale software have access to a valuable resource for training of new employees and topping up existing knowledge with a refresh view.

The investment in additional training videos this year has paid off with excellent traffic for our video resources with many being viewed hundreds of times in a matter of days after publishing.

Making videos accessible through our website as well as through YouTube makes it easy for people to access these resources.

Comparing our video suite to others has become a useful way of comparing software companies. Anyone can announce that they have training videos – it takes genuine commitment to deliver an ever expanding library.

Helping retailers with a busy weekend

While many of us at Tower Systems are out and about with Christmas shopping this weekend, we have a team on call for urgent assistance requests from our customers.

With extra staff on and a significant jump in customer traffic, it’s understandable that queries from retailers increase for us at this time.

We’re here and ready to help.  We prepared our customers by sending out fresh copies of our support contact card making sure that everyone has out details in a public place in their businesses.

Point of Sale software companies are service businesses and as such are only as good as the last service contact. Making ourselves accessible is key to the service we deliver to our customers.

Helping retailers manage Christmas cash-flow through POS software

We have been helping our retail customers to better manage Christmas cash-flow through a number of services and initiatives. With Christmas sales volume, and therefore cash, often double and triple the cash-flow of other times in the year, retailers need to make the most of the opportunity.

From sales cash management to broadband EFTPOS integration to tight sales counter controls, retailers using our Point of Sale software are able to impose controls that even casual employees hired for the Christmas season are able to follow. This is most important given the number of casual employees brought in for the season.

Tracking sales and other key data points through a busy Christmas season helps any small and independent retail business to not let the season get ahead of the owners. Good data and management of the data enables the business to ensure it leverages the data for the best possible return.

Tower Systems provides a range of advice and support to retailers to make the most of Christmas and to ensure that the business achieves the best return possible.

Retailers leverage store-branded gift cards this Christmas thanks to smart Point of Sale software

Christmas 2012 has seen more retailers embrace store-branded gift card opportunities thanks to the work we have done in delivering access to quality personalised cards for retailers using our Point of Sale software.

Our assistance with gift cards ranges from providing advice through our help desk to retailers wanting to use gift cards through to designing gift cards from scratch to meet the needs of client businesses and arranging for these to be manufactured.

Our holistic approach to gift cards has enabled more of our retail customers to be ready for Christmas gift card opportunities. This has delivered another POS software value add for the retailers who have embraced the opportunity.

In offering their own store-brand gift card, retailers are able to capture a sale when a customer likes the shop but is not able to choose a gift for the recipient. It locks the sale in.

Key to success is professionally designed and produced gift cards.