Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: Customer Service (page 1 of 96)

It’s great to see small business retailers growing revenue in Covid impacted 2020

Many small business retailers are enjoying double-digit growth in their businesses, in the middle of the challenges of Covid, contrary to the negative reports we are reading and hearing from plenty of media outlets.

We are heading about the growth from small business retailers using our POS software. Not all are growing, but many are.

The growth in small business retailers is happening in a range of retail channels: newsagents, garden centres, pet shops, toy shops, produce businesses and more.

The retail sales growth is especially evident in small business retailers located on the high street as well as in rural and regional locations. 

Shopping centre businesses are certainly challenged, due to traffic issues.

We mention this, again, today to reflect that there is plenty of good news in the small business retailer world right now, good news that speaks to businesses that are growing – some because of fortune, some because of good moves by the business owners and some that are a mixture of these two and other factors.

The challenge for retailers that are growing in the middle of Covid is whether they discuss this. Retailers we have spoken with are reluctant to speak about it because they do not want to come across as gloating about their good times compared to the awful times others are experiencing.

We’d love more retailers who are experiencing good times to share their good news stories as this could help show others paths that they could take. The good news could also push back against the news media narrative that is, we think, too much based on stories of doom and gloom.

There is no doubt that being online is key to success in this Covid world. Being online representing your existing business as well as representing new product opportunities through which you are seeking to attract shoppers you have not served previously through your business. This is the Covid pivot people speak of, the turn a business makes to attract people they have not attracted previously.

Tower Systems itself has evolved trough Covid, working online more, being more connected through Zoom, Microsoft teams, using our CRM system and leveraging other commercial tech. platforms through which we can be with our customers every day in ways that are useful for them, serving their needs in a timely and professional manner.

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Our POS software doesn’t care about your feelings, it cares about the facts and what they can mean for you and your retail business

No, our POS software does not care abut your feelings.

Not now, not ever.

Feelings in business can divert your attention from important decisions, decisions that matter, decisions based in facts.

Our software cares about the facts.

Facts matter.

Data matter.

Our POS software collects and cultivates data on which you can make business decisions. Fact based business decisions are more likely to better serve your needs and the needs of your family and those who rely on your business for food and shelter.

No, our POS software does not care about your feelings.

  • If a supplier is under performing, our software will reveal this.
  • If a certain hour of the day is dead, we will show you.
  • If a product is not working, not selling, our software will show you.
  • If a customer is not valuable, we will show it.
  • If a staff member is stealing, our software has the tools to reveal this.
  • If one customer is worth more to you than another, we will show it.
  • If your GP% from one supplier is less than a competitor, we will show it.
  • If stock turn for products from one supplier is less than from another supplier, we will show it.

These data points and more are revealed by our software as it works through your data, looking at the performance of your business, offering up access to the results in a way on which you can bank the results, for the benefit of the business and those it serves.

This is why we say that our software does not care about your feelings. No, it reports on the facts because the facts are supported by the evidence and it is evidence that matters tremendously as you work through the decisions that are necessary in your business.

Good data = good decisions. That is how it should flow. It is how we focus on business needs, work on what we can top for businesses to improve their situations.

Here at Tower Systems we help you cultivate good data in your busies through our POS software, training, support and business advice to any who seek it. We will work with you through opportunities, every day, in pursuit of emotion-free business decisions.

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It’s Saturday and we’re helping small business retailers

It’s pouring rain in Melbourne and snowing in Canberra right now. In this kind of weather it’s good being inside, and warm. Oh, and safe, being safe at this point in 2020 is good. In fact, it’s fantastic.

But … we’re focused on what matters to our customers. Today is a business as usual Saturday. We are providing live support for our small business retail POS software customers. Offering help, advice and training.

Like all Saturdays, we’re here, working from home, but here providing the services we promise.

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Small business support through COVID-19 from our POS software co.

Tower Systems is grateful to be able to continue to help Australian and New Zealand small business retailers through COVID-19.

For us, it has been business as usual with no interruption to software development, support and POS software user training.

We continue to offer a full service POS software help desk service, releasing POS software updates and delivering our much-loves free one-on-one training to our retail business owners and their staff.

In offering business as usual, our customers have continuity of service. This helps them have what they need to work on their businesses … as that is what plenty of small business retailers have been doing through COVID-19, working on their businesses, re-calibrating, adjusting and, for some, pivoting. Indeed, we have helped some exciting pivots and we are grateful to have seen this and been part of it.

We are grateful to our own team of software developers, help desk experts, POS software trainers and our back office infrastructure support in that it is this group of people that has delivered for your customers through COVID-19 every day.

With small business retail at the forefront of community support through COVID-19, helloing them serve and grow is important to our customers and to us.

Our customers continue to haver access to a range of opportunities and benefits to help them best run their businesses in this situation.

  1. Free licences for home software access.
  2. Free unlimited training.
  3. No surcharge credit card use.
  4. Free access anywhere reporting tools.
  5. Pivot advice.
  6. Capped price low cost Shopify sites.
  7. Business performance analysis help.

So, here at Tower Systems, it is business as usual and, through this, we are helping our POS software customers achieve a business as usual experience. We know this is comforting to our customers, helpful for their business planning and operations.

But back to the pivot opportunity. We see plenty of this in a range of retail channels. By see we mean in business data. data show pivot opportunities and we can help our retail partners to explore these and consider whether they are useful. 2020 is a terrific year for a pivot and having the right software with flexibility can be helpful.

We hope your 2020 is going well too.

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Live training workshops for POS software users

We are hosting another series of live POS software training workshops for our small business retail customers. These sessions are run through our secure commercial Zoom account and are recorded and packaged for easy 24/7 access by thine unable to make the sessions.

Here is the schedule:

  • Friday, August 21 @ 10am. XchangeIT data fails. How you can avoid these, save money and stop physical returns. This is a newsagent specific session.
  • Monday, August 24, @ 10am. How to identify dead stock – taking a fresh look at this smart report.
  • Tuesday, August 25 @ 10am. How to restructure your stock file to drive better value for you. With stock manager, this is easy if you know how. We will show you.
  • Wednesday, August 26 @ 10am. Shopify / Woo website sync. What to check if you have an issue.
  • Thursday, August 27 @ 10am. How to setup discount vouchers. And how to use them to differentiate your business.

All Tower Systems customers have free access to this training. each session will include Q&A time on any topic.

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8 reasons we’re happy this Monday morning

We love Monday mornings at our POS software company for these reasons and more:

  1. There is the excitement for a new week.
  2. We get to hear good stories from the weekend from our team members and customers.
  3. We set the agenda for the week in terms of deliverables for our customers.
  4. We have a team meeting and catch-cups are always fun.
  5. We welcome our first new customers of the week.
  6. We look for opportunities of change.
  7. Our latest software update is being well received.
  8. Especially today, we have a new team member joining our help desk.

While 2020 is an unusual year, we’re grateful for what it is bringing to us.

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New hire for POS software help desk

We are pleased to have been successful in hiring another person to join our help desk. This is a second net new position for the customer facing side of our business in the last two months. It is a testament to growth in rooftops that we are expanding our head count in times that are seeing reductions elsewhere.

We are glad to welcome new experience and skills that Eric and Matt a month ago bring to our team in service of small business retailers.

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Busy day on the POS software help desk

We had extra people working on our POS software help desk today. It’s a crazy busy time for us, in a good way, as small business retailers are working on their businesses. Add to this plenty of new customers joining our POS software user community and people going live with new websites from us … it makes us busy. So, to manage this we added to our usual Saturday team and it paid off.

We are greatful to our help desk team members who worked today their service was appreciated by our customers and by the rest of the Tower Systems team.

Even on the middle of stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, our service of small business retailers continued, unimpeded. We are glad to have our customers.

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Tower Systems head office remains open through stage 4 lockdown in Victoria

Working in a permitted industry and fulfilling Permitted Roles enables us to maintain our head office in Hawthorn, a suburb of inner Melbourne, open for business.

While we operate the head office with minimal staff in a Covid Safe operation, being open here at the office allows us to provide an enhanced level of service.

The majority of our team members are working from home and have been dong so since March thanks to our VoIP phone tech and our other platforms including a secure commercial Zoom account, a secret commercial Teams account and more.

Given the businesses operating in a hosted environment through data centres we facilitate and other services we provide, some out of our head office, we meet several points of criteria laid down by Justice Victoria. For our customers and the businesses they run, we are here, delivering business as usual services.

To be sure, we have completed the appropriate Department of Justice paperwork. We also have a visible and adhered Covid Safe plan for the office as well as protocols for those who do attend the office.

Here at Tower Systems it is 100% business as usual.

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Helping essential retailers retailers serve customers through COVID-19

As a core business software partner of retailers designated by government as being essential, Tower Systems is proud to be of service to these retailers, ensuring uptime for their POS software and other software we have provided for business management use.

In addition to our POS software, we offer other infrastructure opportunities and services in service of essential small business retailers. This includes cloud hosting, C2B and B2B online transactions, theft mitigation, food chain inventory management and more.

Our POS and other software are at the core of the operations of plenty of specialty retailers classed by governments as essential. Our role in their essential operations is important, something of which we are sincerely proud.

While most of our operation is remote and has been for months through 2020, some services, from time to time, we are office based as needed for infrastructure support and use.

Essential retailers are providing vital and essential services for communities and that is where we play a role as many essential services rely on core infrastructure providers to ensure that their essential services businesses can continue to trade through.

2020 is an odd year with plenty off challenges confronted already and plenty more to come. Here at Tower Systems we have rolled with the challenges, embracing those we can and managing our response as needed to help our customers and help others who rely on us.

Being flexible has been key in the first 7 months of this year and most recent challenges in Australia especially have been complex to confront.

Having customers across all Australian states and territories has helped as has having customers in New Zealand. This along with our placement of Tower Systems team members working across Australia and New Zealand has helped us be balanced in our work and service, especially of essential businesses.

Being a broad-based business that serves locally owned and run independent specialty retail; businesses helps us serve in 2020 in ways that matter not only to these businesses but to those served by these businesses. This is especially true in local and regional communities.

Serving essential businesses is a responsibility we take seriously and with sincere appreciation.

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Covid resources for small business retailers

We first shared these resources with our POS software customers in one of our daily update emails.

  • Click here for the SafeWork Australia Covid resource page.
  • Click here for a No Mask No Entry sign.
  • Click here for a range of poster from the federal department of health relating to covid.
  • Create your own action plan should your business be designated non essential and required to close for a while.
    • Know how to access the software from home.
    • Have a list of what to take from the shop.
    • Re-check your backup arrangements.
    • Run a trial so you can see what works and what does not work – you want to discover this in advance.
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Adding to our help desk team

Today, we welcomed a new help desk team member to our business to fill an additional role. It feels odd to be expanding our workforce while many businesses are contracting theirs. To be cliché, it is what it is.

Here at Tower Systems, the is is that we are grateful to service a diverse and strong mix of marketplaces that are essential every day. Produce, farm, pet, garden, fitness cycling, news … these are all sectors people rely on every day, pandemic or not.

So, today, we welcomes Matt to our help desk team in a new role. He’ll be off the grid for a couple of months learning the software and our processes.

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It’s Sunday…

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Personal local support key to Aussie retailers in POS software selection

Here at Tower Systems, our POS software help desk is Australian based, serving retailers in Australia. We are proud to be local, to offer local support that is delivered by people who live here and understand local business.

Too many POS software companies selling to Aussie retailers do not have local help desk support.

With Aussie retailers pitching buy local to their local communities, we are grateful to be in the position of delivering local service and support to our local retail community.

We support shop local as a company and encourage retailers and others in business to shop local. This is why we pitch today that when you talk with our help desk you are talking with an Aussie, someone who knows local business, local retail and can speak to local needs. Yes, local really does matter.

To keep jobs in Australia and help the Aussie economy to come out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic, shopping local matters. This is why we urge retailers to ask the question abut the location of POS software help desk personnel. While we feel for call centre staff in India, Pakistan and elsewhere, now is the time when local matters.

Now, we do have one caveat for this. We have a help desk team member, an Aussie, living and working in New Zealand. But that’s okay as we have a ton of customers in New Zealand. And, hey, we consider Aussies to be Kiwis and Kiwis to be Aussies

If you are in a local retail business and considering POS software for the business, check out where there trainers and help desk team members are located. Make sure that the company you are considering doing business with is supporting the local economy as much as you want your local economy to support your business. These things matter in terms of the truth of your own shop local pitch.

Shop local and support the local economy. It ripples out from your business to the town to the state and to the country. That is how we see it an how we try and live our lives here at Tower Systems, a proud local Aussie POS software company.

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POS software co – business as usual

We are installing our software for new customers, delivering POS software training, taking support calls, publishing new advice to our knowledge base and bringing more small business retailers online with POS software connected websites.

Here at Tower Systems we are grateful to our customers and our team members for a business as usual experience in a disjointed and strange world.

We have all hands on deck, albeit working at home and safe.

We are thrilled with the beta roll ut of our innovative R3 product as well as the other initiatives launched in recent weeks for our customers. These are busy and exciting times in our world and we appreciate the engagement from our customer community for helping this happen.

Have a wonderful Easter all. We are here on our usual numbers and socials…

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Small business retail advice: using POS software to leverage low margin products

This advice is for businesses that are traffic and margin poor businesses. Such businesses face high-risk businesses as most low margin products and services are delivering less traffic year on year … and therefore face high-risk of financial failure.

In addition to low margin products and services experiencing traffic decline year on year, minimal or no retail price movement see a decline in margin in real terms. Further, too often we see the percentage cut by suppliers for selfish reasons, further diluting the value to the retailer.

In our POS software user community we have access to wonderful advice and inspiration, from a broad range of retailers. We draw on that today, to put together the advice in the article for you.

But it is not all bad news with low margin products and services. If they are generating good traffic, the opportunity is to be proactive in leveraging that traffic. Here is a list of five must-do things to leverage this low value traffic in your business.

  1. Place at least one offer / stand at the door facing people as they leave. If you have room, have one stand / offer either side. Make sure the offer is easily understood and relevant.
  2. Use a portable table for pricing stock and other stock work and place this with a staff member doing the work during busy periods between the door and the destination for most traffic.
  3. For the highest traffic low-margin items, always pitch other products such that these destination shoppers see the other products.
  4. Always have an offer at the counter unrelated to the low margin destination purchase. Get creative as to how you pitch this at the lottery counter if you have Tatts.
  5. Establish a floor unit to guide counter traffic. the right type of unit is best used for holing products people are likely to purchase on impulse while standing in line to make their destination purchase. All sorts of retailers do this, even if they do not have the shopper to warrant such a floor unit.

Our advice is do all five of these things. If you don’t do some or all you are most likely only benefiting from destination business from low-margin high-traffic products and services and there is no upside in that.

For the record, margin poor products and services are those with a GP percentage of less than 50% in our view.

In our indie retail POS software we have awesome tools to help low margin high volume retailers. We’d be glad to help with practical advice.

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Daily updates for our POS software customers

For several weeks now we have been sending daily updates to our POS software customers, at 7am AEST. The updates are short and succinct, offering COVID-19 related advice designed to help our customers through their day. We share links to trusted state and federal government websites as well as help on trading through for the many of our customers permitted to be open.

We have also been running regular web conferences to help retailers connect.

Plus, we have eliminated pricing on software options that make countless and other trading easy in retail.

These moves from our company with is at more than 90% of staff working from home is helping small business retailers.

We are grateful to all who support us.

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Our transition to online POS software demonstrations and training 3 years ago is paying off

3 years ago we established infrastructure to serve online live demonstrations of our POS software as well as line online training for new and existing POS software customers. Today, we are well advanced from those early moves and it is paying off.

Retailers are loving online live demonstrations of our POS software – timed to suit their needs. They love that each demonstration is live for them, about their business and genuinely interactive.

When it comes to remote installations, retailers love that they get to save money, schedule the training as and when they want and can have training recorded for later play back. These and other innovations are standard to the way we serve our Tower Systems POS software user community.

We are grateful to the whole Tower Systems team for helping us adopt this online / video technology years ago and evolve with it over time as it is paying off today as business changes fundamentally.

With people working from home, we remain a connected team, working together, welcoming new customers and serving existing customers. Thanks to a solid tech infrastructure, we are resourced and skilled to help our customers no matter where they are.

Footnote: our reference to online training is different to the weekly online workshops that we have been running for more than 10 years.

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Labour day holiday

Our head office is closed today for the Labour Day (8 hour day) public holiday.  We have other offices open for help desk support – all our usual numbers are live.

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This summer, our POS software help desk is here for you

We’re here helping indie small business retailers while many businesses are closed for the summer break. We take our service of small business retailers seriously and the best way to show that is to be here taking calls, answering questions, providing training and helping resolve any issues that arise.

We make it easy for our customer to contact us by phone, email, text message, chat and social media. This variety is especially helpful over summer when business owners can be away from the shops. We can bring several phones together into a conference call to help answer queries.

Our motto is we’re here to help and especially in this slow summer period we are embracing opportunities to live that.

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Melbourne Cup holiday

While our head office is closed today for the horse race that stops the nation, we are here taking calls and helping our customers. Our after hours numbers are active too as we know that many retailers are open today.

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AFL Grand Final holiday

It is a holiday today in beautiful Melbourne on account of it being the day before the AFL Grand Final. While most of the companies y is closed, our help desk is open and helloing customers with queries.

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New voices on the POS software help desk

We are thrilled to welcome two new voices to our small business POS software help desk. The new new team members, Minh and Rachael, bring wonderful life and technical experiences to our team.

Having shops of our own is useful for them to learn our software in a real life setting. Stru8ctuired training in the office helps provide them with foundational knowledge.

We take customer service seriously. Having a well resourced team its critical. Equipping them with the right tools is vital. Supporting them every day is what we do.

Here at Tower Systems, the best way we can help our customers beyond our software is backing it with helpful, skilled, help desk team members.

Our motto is we’re here to help, and we really are!

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POS software support today, Saturday

Our Hawthorn (Melbourne) office is open right now with our POS software help desk helping small business retailers. There is nothing unusual about this. We have offered office based Saturday support for years. Customers love it.

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Helping retailers through the Telstra outage

Our help desk was busy yesterday afternoon helping small business retailers deal with the consequences of the Telstra outage that cut off access to EFTPOS processing for many.

We helped by ensuring our help desk team members had the facts early, that it was identified as a network issue and nothing to do with our POS software per se, although using the software was affected.

By offering a calm voice about the issue and sharing facts as known helped some retailers realise that they were not alone and that parties responsible were public about the issue and working on it.

Being able to help small business retailers in a situation like this is something we are grateful to be able to do.

We have this morning reminded our customers about the need for a disaster plan in business, something a business can turn to in situations like this. A good disaster plan is a roadmap for all manner of situations., It can provide consistency and calm to an otherwise challenging situation.

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