Here is a video of my experience at a new AmazonGo store on 42nd Street in New York a few days ago. I think sits AmazonGo store and 4 other stores nearby represent an evolution vy Amazon of their convenience offer.
Here is a video of my experience at a new AmazonGo store on 42nd Street in New York a few days ago. I think sits AmazonGo store and 4 other stores nearby represent an evolution vy Amazon of their convenience offer.
The POS software / scales integration undertaken by the development team at Tower Systems is delivering terrific sales for the company among convenience stores and other retailers who sell items by weight.
In addition to produce and confectionery retailers using the scales facilities in the POS software, convenience stores are also embracing it as they too play in the space of selling items by weight.
The photo shows scales in our office purchased for testing.
What is interesting is that some retailers already using the Tower software are loving that they have selling by weight as an option within the software thanks to the diversification plan that has been undertaken by Tower systems over rent years.
We have terrific reference sites for our scales facilities.
The link in our Convenience Store Software to enable the processing of electronic invoices from grocery wholesaler Metcash is all about saving and and improving accuracy of business data.
Developed to meet the specific standards established by Metcash, the link to support Metcash files in our software is available from within our Convenience Store Software for no additional or premium cost.
Tower Systems does not charge extra to any user to access electronic invoices or transact electronically in any way with any supplier. Our position in relation to this provides us with a competitive advantage. We take this position believing that it is unfair to charge customers for such a fundamental function in their Point of Sale software.
In addition to using traditional Point of Sale facilities plus saving time with Metcash invoices and improving stock data, Convenience Store owners and managers are using our software to:
The latest version of our Convenience Store software was released three weeks ago and is now available for in-store use.
Newsagents, convenience store owners and others are using the smart serial number tracking tools in our Point of Sale software to track the sales of physical phone cards. This facility, originally developed for retailers who sell products with unique serial numbers, enables retailers to track phone card sales for later reconciliation against accounts issued by the phone card provider.
These facilities also help the business combat employee theft.
This is another example of how the needs of one retail channel can fit in with the needs of another retail channel.
Our Point of Sale software has many facilities like this which deliver a valuable depth to the software beyond what one expects to see in Point of Sale software.
We have retailers using the serial number tracking tools to track access codes and other numbers which may be unique to a product purchased as well as to track the sale of physical phone cards and the sale of products with serial numbers.
Through our work with Convenience Stores using our convenience store software we are seeing an interesting evolution of the model, where the traditional store is changing to be more broadly based offering new products and services.
Our relationship with our customers and prospective customers in the c-store space goes beyond providing good POS software. We welcome the opportunity to work with our customers beyond what is traditional for a software company. This takes us into boardrooms to discuss strategy and into the offices of suppliers to discuss supply chain efficiency.
We have some exciting developments on the horizon for our convenience store customers on the back of our recent work with key channel participants.
Our convenience store software is winning kudos from convenience store owners and their suppliers thanks to the flow of real time sales data.
In high volume retail businesses, like convenience stores, timely flow of sales data is crucial to the business operation. It facilitates a more efficient supply chain. It also makes tracking the success of advertising easier and well as taking care of some key back office functions.
The Tower Systems convenience store software delivers real time sales data flow from retail stores back to the head office for the c-store group. The data feed is proving to be useful in a range of businesses and is driving some excellent sales for us.
We have further enhancements under development for convenience stores which will add more value to this growing suite within our business.
Launched in July, 2008 at the C-Store & Forecourt Exhibition in Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre, using our years of Point of Sale experience, Tower Systems Point of Sale for convenience stores is made for the local independent c-store but also now used in large groups across Australia.
Convenience store owners like our eziPass phonecard, phone recharge and gift card vending platform. It is a key drawcard, bringing more convenience store owners to Tower Systems to evaluate our Convenience store software.
The integration between eziPass and our POS software enables fast and accurate selling of electronic voucher product with some excellent business benefits:
The latest version of our software for convenience stores is proving to be appealing for the benefits around vending electronic product as well as our c-store software facilities and the ability to bolt on category tools such as magazine management.
Tower Systems, while young in the convenience store marketplace, is committed to a software enhancement program to drive our business as well as the businesses of our customers.
We have moved to the early stages of testing for a new EDI partner for our newsagency and convenience store customers. While the new partner will be of interest to plenty of our customers, the broadening focus on our EDI links is what interests us as it is through these that we can enhance the practical help we can deliver … thereby making our software more valuable without the need to invest more in the software.
Adding EDI links attracts more suppliers and that’s good news for everyone.
In more sophisticated marketplaces this is not big news as EDI is pervasive. In the independent retail channels such as newsagents and convenience stores EDI is still considered by many to be innovative.
Our convenience store software continues to gain traction in the convenience retail space. Beyond the software, fast eftpos transactions, mobile phone top-up integration and easy handing of high cvolume items, our genuine 24/7 support is of particular interest. With so many convenience stores operating 24 hours a day and over public holidays (like this Easter weekend), convenience retailers want to know that their questions will be answered when they need.
In our convenience software we deliver to the single store owner the facilities larger groups use. From stock to sales to management reporting, we deliver a professional solution to drive business efficiency for it is this which us crucial to today’s convenience store.
We are also seeing some newsagents transition to the convenience model. Having software in both spaces enables us to make this transition with them.
I was asked to write an article recently on the reason retailers should consider phonecards given our experience serving more than 1,000 retailers with our eziPass phonecard vending platform. Here is the article which was published last month in Convenience World:
Phonecards present excellent basket-building opportunities for convenience businesses. Too often, however, the opportunities are overlooked in favour of mobile phone top-up revenue.
Just about every customer presenting at the counter could benefit from a phonecard to cut the cost of their calls interstate or overseas. Too often, convenience stores and newsagencies miss these opportunities because there is no call to action.
Thanks to Point of Sale integration, selling phonecards is easier now, removing one barrier to achieving greater sales. From every register, within the point of sale software, you are able to sell many different phonecards quickly and without the need to carry physical store or the need to use a separate terminal.
Here are some reasons to consider engaging with the phonecard opportunity
- Easy to pitch. Most people call others interstate and overseas. Most people like saving money.
- Good margin. The margin on phonecards can be as high as 30%.
- Excellent for cash flow. You only pay for what you sell once you have sold it.
- Value add. Through simple training your staff can identify good sales prospects and make the pitch – easily lifting a drink or snack sale to something more valuable.
- Destination opportunity. By promoting range and speed of selling, you can become known as the go-to phonecard retailer in your area.
- Easy passive pitch. Posters in the window, a counter mat or a wobbler on the register – each of these passive pitches can work to drive sales.
The word phonecard can be offputting to some retailers as there are not necessarily cards involved – most can be sold as vouchers produced by the point of sale software. This means that no stock is required – reduced theft opportunity and more cash-flow friendly.
Retailers using this point of sale software integrated method of selling phonecards are finding it easier to pitch the products to customers as an impulse purchase – for personal use or for a gift.
There are several target customer groups for phonecards, each can be as valuable as the other. Understanding these customer opportunities is key to driving sales.
The tourist / backpacker. This is a big market yet remains often untapped by retailers. Backpacker hostels and many tourist locations sell phonecards to this market. Retailers can make the pitch by identifying the customer and by promoting phonecards near items they are likely to purchase – such as maps. The pitch itself is about saving money.
The migrant. This is also a big market – and easily tapped. Promote phonecards to popular overseas countries near foreign language newspapers if you sell them or next to Western Union if you offer the money transfer service. Train your staff to conversationally pitch phonecards – calls using phone cards will save your customers money when calling relatives and friends overseas.
The gift giver. If someone buys a greeting card and is unsure what to give as a gift, suggest a phonecards. Everyone has friends overseas or in the country – a phone card will give then a gift of conversation. This is a harder pitch to get right as phonecards are often not thought of as gifts.
The keys to making good money from phonecards is to make the selling fast and easy, offer phonecards from reliable providers, train your staff in fast selling techniques and being proactive in promoting the category in-store.
By engaging with phonecards retailers can turn them from a poor-cousin into a hero product which generates good sales with a healthy margin and for little of the risk of usual products in convenience stores and newsagencies.
The Australian phonecard marketplace is worth more than $200 million a year in retail sales. This alone is reason for retailers to engage.
Key to success with phonecards is understanding the various products in the marketplace. This task is made more difficult by a vendor who spends too much time and money telling you that they have the best products. What they claim is the best choice may not always the best choice, especially if they fail to back their offer in the long term.
We have negotiated compelling terms for Tower Newsagents and Convenience Stores choosing to sell the new gotalk Prepaid Mobile prodict from within our software. This is another way Tower Newsagents can add value to their software.
gotalk has committed to a significant marketing & advertising campaign to drive foot traffic into stores. Tower Newsagents should stock up on gotalk prepaid mobile starter kits to meet demand.
Why gotalk Prepaid Mobile?
Our convenience store software solution is growing in popularity as more convenience stores look for business-specific solutions which deliver integrated phone recharge and other electronic vended products, integrated eftpos processing as well as fast selling options for c-store lines.
The synergy between our c-store and newsagency projects is excellent as most c-stores need to properly handle magazines and newspapers. Both benefit from our incolvement with the other. But it is our mobile phone top-up, phonecard and eftpos interfaces which win this business for us.
The swivel base eftpos pin pad we recommend for our point of sale software customers using the Tyro broadband eftpos service is popular. Retailers and customers like its features. The feedback we have received is excellent. We use this swivel base pin pad in several of our own retail shops and so have our own personal experience from which to draw. It sits in the same location on the counter and is easily turned to a customer for PIN entry and back to the staff for processing.
I like this pinpad it for several reasons
These points are important to streamlining the counter, especially since more transactions are being paid for through eftpos. The easier, faster and more accurate we can make eftpos processing the better.
We are about to install the first location of a multi-location convenience store deal which we signed recently. This new business will extend our experience in the convenience store space and help us help newsagents who wish to join others and migrate to the convenience store model.
We are finding our software selected more and more by convenience store operators. We entered this marketplace through newsagents switching to more of a convenience model. Now, we find ourselves selling to convenience operators in their own right. What convenience store owners and staff like about our software is:
While these benefits are available in our software for each marketplace, they are of particular importance to our convenience store customers.
The convenience store channel is growing rapidly if the numbers we are seeing are anything to go by. New stores opening and existing stores expanding. Some stores are switching from other formats to the convenience model. We are seeing this in the newsagency channel particularly. It appears that Australian consumers are embracing the convenience shopping experience in greater numbers.
We entered the convenience channel recently, at the c-store trade show in Melbourne. A key difference between the convenience and other channels in which we operate is the supplier engagement with technology. Convenience suppliers want technology solutions in-store which feed them accurate data on time. We like this as it drives better business outcomes for the small business owners.
Below is a list of some of the changes to be delivered in the next update to our software. I stress some because we are not about to details here changes which others will copy. It has happened and is a reason we are more careful what we publish here.
These changes directly serve needs as put to us by our user community:
The two days at C-Store in Melbourne late last week proved to be very worthwhile. We now have some excellent supplier connections which will benefit our convenience channel customers and our newsagency customers. We also learnt about some aspects of convenience business management which can add value across each of the markets in which we operate.
The show was also valuable internally for us as we sought to pitch our software in a more accessible way than as a pure technoloigy solution. Convenience store owners buy technology differently to, say, newsagents and stationery retailers. The flyer to the left reflects part of the change in approach developed by our marketing department. The more traditional technology pitch is replaced by colours and other elements which connect the offer to the specific channel.
Diversity is important to software companies like us. Beyond learning from one market and applying those learning to other markets, there is the benefit of economic balance. One market may be challenged while another is up. Also, our team have less chance to become stale and even jaded. Serving in a limited number of carefully selected marketplaces benefits is in many ways.
In the photo you can see our corner position with two of our sales team – Tim Batt and Nathan Morrison. Nathan is the one with his new iPhone to his ear.
At our C-Store stand we are seeing newsagents and convenience store owners. We are also getting to spend good time with suppliers to these markets. Being an exhibitor gives us time plenty of valuable discussions over the course of the trade show.
UPDATE (10:30PM): The day ended well for us. More newsagents visited with us as well as some newsagent suppliers. The decision to take a stand was clearly a good one based on the feedback from the first day. The other benefit for us is gaining a first hand understanding of the commercial synergy between newsagents and convenience stores. Some of this will be evident in updates we release over the course of the next year.
The launch this week of our convenience store software has been announced to the world.
Tower Systems Launches Convenience Store Management Software
July 22, 2008 — Tower Systems today announced the imminent launch of retail management software developed specifically for the Australian convenience store channel.
The new convenience store software has been developed in close consultation with Australian convenience store operators and suppliers.
This new software, which is being launched at the c-store 2008 exhibition in
this week, provides fast access point of sale facilities for this rapidly growing retail sector. Melbourne
“Moving into the convenience channel was a logical choice for us” commented Mark Fletcher, Managing Director of Tower Systems. “With more than 2,500 independent retail customers and 1,500 of those newsagents we found ourselves providing many facilities convenience store owners were asking for.”
Tower Systems has packaged its convenience store POS software with a complete hardware kit for an introductory price of under $7,000 including GST.
Proprietors owning more than one location can use Tower Systems’ multi-store version of the software to even more cost-effectively address their IT needs.
In addition to traditional point of sale facilities, the new Tower software provides an easily customisable user interface which enables each store to create hotkeys for the fastest selling items, electronic voucher product without the need for additional hardware and electronic invoice links to key convenience suppliers.
Tower Systems software is already being used at convenience stores in several Australian states.
About Tower Systems
Founded in 1981, Tower Systems serves in excess of 1,500 of
’s 4,600 newsagents and another 1,000 retailers. The company also operates six retail businesses as live development and testing sites. Australia
This week is about convenience for us. On Thursday and Friday we are exhibiting at C-Store 2008 – at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. This is our first trade show for the convenience store marketplace. We will be launching the convenience store version of our point of sale package. There is tremendous synergy between the newsagency marketplace and the convenience marketplace. Already serving in excess of 1,500 newsagents positions us well for this move. If you get to C-Store 2008 be sure to drop by and say g’day.
We have booked to exhibit at C-Store 2008, the Convenience Store trade show in Melbourne in July this year. While this is our first Convenience Store channel trade show, we have our point of sale software running in c-stores with good success. The trade show will provide us with an opportunity to tap into a wider marketplace.
Our recent electronic voucher integrations have helped us further in the convenience marketplace as well as some of our newsagency specific facilities which are useful in the convenience channel.
Convenience says it all when it comes to software for these businesses. If we do not make it convenient behind the counter then the consumer experience will not be convenient either. We have focused considerable attention on speed, accuracy and convenience – we’re proud of our implementation. certainly, feedback from c-store owners is wonderful.
We are finding ourselves selling our retail management software into more convenience stores. Some are newsagencies which have converted to a convenience format and others are c-stores which have opened in greenfield locations where a full service newsagency could not be supported.
That we handle magazines, newspapers, perishables, phone recharge and integrated eftpos all from the one package makes our offer compelling to the convenience space.
Our recently released multi-store facility, seamlessly linking a network of stores, is proving to be particularly interesting to people who own multiple c-stores.
It is our newsagency roots which help us the most in this space since it is the most complex – handling the arrival and return of magazines to stringent requirements of publishers. Products like MYOB and QuickBooks don’t touch this.