The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

News from Tower Systems about locally made POS software for specialty local retailers.

CategoryCustomer Service

Our free app makes it easy for retailers to load product photos into their POS software

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The free web app we created for retailers to facilitate fast and easy loading of product photos to our POS software and feeding these to Shopify, Magento, Woo and Big Commerce websites is being loved by our customers. In the year since release many have used it to save time on what used to be a laborious process.

Using this free tool our customers open their phone, take a photo, check that it looks okay and click to share it. The back end software does the rest, including removing the background of the image if you like.

This is another time saving tool created by Tower Systems to help local retailers more easily get new products online.

The photo management and upload app is 100% our tech, designed to serve our 3,000+ local retail business customers. we created it once we understood the frustration of retailers at how long it took to take photos, remove the background and upload them to the software. Removing plenty of steps and making it a 2 or 3 click quick process is helping local retailers get more products online in a time efficient way.

Tools like this can make the tech experience in retail far more enjoyable. We are glad to have helped here.

It all came about from experience we had in one of our shops. We thought there had to be a better and faster way to get good product images into our POS software.

International barcode lookup integration with Tower Systems POS software loved by retailers

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Retailers are loving the international barcode lookup integration in our POS software.

We released our POS software international barcode lookup integration over six months ago and we can see it being used every day to verify data, collect data not available anywhere else and to collect product images.

The integration connects our POS software with a respected worldwide database of product barcodes and provides excellent access to descriptions and much more: improving data accuracy, saving time and enhancing in-store and online product engagement.

Here is how we train our POS software customers on how to use the POS software integrated international barcode lookup facilities:

Like all of our POS software customer training videos, we also provide a transcript for those who prefer to read. It is time coded to match the video. here is an example:

0:00 My next favourite integration with Retailer is Barcode Lookup. Barcode Lookup is an online database of barcodes, their descriptions, their web descriptions or extended descriptions, images, classification information such as brand, manufacturer, dimensions.

0:15 It’s massive. Now over the time that we’ve integrated with Barcode Lookup, it’s grown from 100 million records right through to today at time of publication nearly a billion records.

0:26 That’s massive. So, what can it do? Well, Retailer can integrate with it and pull data down when you create a product or choose to update a product with data from that website.

0:37 Let’s have a look. The very first thing you’d want to know is how to sign up and how to get it working.

0:41 So, you should always read our knowledge base articles. Which will be linked to this video down below and it goes through the entire sign up process and how it works.

0:49 So, just follow the article and go from there. If you want to have a look at the website, we even have a link to the website and this is it here.

0:56 So, you can see right now 978 million people products exist on this site. to give you an example, I’ve got a few items here.

1:05 I’ve got a package of um electrical tape and a box of glasses cleaners to clean my glasses. I’ve done a little search on those and believe it or not, here’s my glasses cleaners and this is the description that it’s going to pull down from the site.

1:17 It will pull down the menu. Manufacturer information and it’ll also pull down this extended description and put that where I choose to put it.

1:25 There’s only one attribute to go with it, which is an MPN or a manufacturer’s product number. And these are all the images that it will pull down with it.

1:33 If we go look at this. The electrical tape pulls down this description one by three meter PVC electrical tape and has a much better description to explain what it comes what it’s all about no classification information with this one and then I’ve got my three pens so we’ve got the the blue tip which

Be sure to watch the video and check out the transcript to the right side of the page.

This video is another from our growing library of freely accessible training videos for retailers using our POS software.

Expensive risk for small business retailers who fail to backup data daily

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We have just completed a project working with customers that we could see were not backing up their POS software data daily.

This is customers not running in the cloud – customers who prefer to run on computers in their businesses. There are plenty of situational reasons where this is required.

Anyway, we did a deep dive and found a group of several hundred not following our advice to backup daily. So, we engaged with each of them, reminded them of the importance of daily backup, offered easy access to automated safe cloud backup and urged them to do something.

The whole project resulted in a different type of engagement with our customers – proactive with us reaching out to them to say hey, things don’t look right here.

Customers loved it.

You don’t want to discover that you need a backup when you don’t have one.

Hardware failures, natural disasters,cyberattacks, accidental deletions, and even power surges can all lead to irreplaceable data disappearing. This can be catastrophic for a business, causing delays, damaging reputations, and incurring significant financial losses.

That’s where daily data backups come in. Regularly backing up data creates a safety net, ensuring you have a recent copy of your information readily available in case of disaster. Here are some reasons why backing up your data every day is crucial:

  • A data loss event can bring your entire operation to a grinding halt. Daily backups allow you to quickly restore lost information and get back up and running with minimal downtime. This keeps your business productive and prevents lost revenue.

  • Ransomware attacks are a growing concern, and businesses are prime targets. By having daily backups, you can avoid paying hefty ransoms to retrieve your data. Simply restore from your latest backup and continue working.

  • Human error is inevitable. Accidental file deletions or system malfunctions can happen to anyone. Daily backups ensure you have a recent copy to restore, saving you the heartache and hassle of data recovery.

  • Disasters can strike at any time. Floods, fires, or even power outages can damage hardware and destroy data. Daily backups stored offsite guarantee you have a copy of your information safe and secure, enabling you to resume operations quickly.

Our advice to any POS software customer is to ensure you are backing up daily.

How Tower systems provides quality POS software customer support when the office is closed

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24/7 support is vital for retailers using POS software like that we offer from Tower Systems. Over an extended break like Easter, which starts tomorrow, we have opportunities in place through which our customers can easily access knowledge and support to answer questions and resolve queries.

Via our website, our POS software customers have access to an enhanced chatbot experience. This chatbot has been comprehensively tested over the last two months with many different queries and scenarios put to it. It passes with flying colours. It has the ability to draw on knowledge from 900+ knowledge base articles and other technical content about the capabilities of our software.

Our customers also have access to our vast knowledge base as well as a large and growing library of training videos.

All of these resources are unique to Tower Systems and its community of POS software customers. Better still, the resources continue to evolve. Take the training videos, we have added more than forty this year already.

Backing all of this leading-edge tech up is our human team, they are accessible too, including through to leadership team escalation.

This is the type of customer service that sets us apart.

Tower Systems prides itself on offering comprehensive support to its customers. This includes after hours service for those times when a critical issue arises outside of regular business hours.

To access support after hours for any urgent issue: call 03 9524 8000 and our phone system will automatically transfer you to the available after hours support personnel.

What we know, though, is that two thirds of all after hours calls can be answered via the website chatbot or a knowledge base search. This self serve access is faster. It also helps users of the software better learn the software and this enhances their efficiency.

By combining after hours support with their self-service options, Tower Systems ensures its customers have the resources they need to get the help they need, whenever they need it. This is POS software customer service in 2024 – providing help for retailers in a cost effective way.

We are grateful to our customers who help us continue to evolve the customer service experience.

Have a wonderful Easter break.

The best customer service is experienced when you get to speak to a human and here’s why

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We’ve all been there. You punch in the numbers based on the menu options they provide, you think you’re at the right place and it turns out you are no, so you have to start again. Or, you say what you are looking for, and the computer on the other end thinks you have said something else. Or, you send an email like they want and there is no response, ever. Or you use their customer service chat bot that provided a response that bears no relation to your query.

Accessing customer service today has become messy as plenty of companies seek to save money on this most vital part of their business.

Real-life situations rarely fit neatly into pre-programmed options that companies dictate.

Real-live situations like we encounter at our POS software company start with a conversation, often some distance from an error message or a description of the actual query.

There is the issue of local slang, too. An Aussie customer service rep, on the other hand, can understand the nuances of your situation, whether you’re having a “shocker” with a faulty product or your internet’s gone belly-up. They can grasp the emotions behind your enquiry, be it fair dinkum frustration or a bit of larrikin humour, and tailor their approach accordingly. This not only gets you the solution you need faster, but it also shows that the company values you as an individual, not just another barbie on the snag.

There’s a certain comfort and level of trust that comes with interacting with a human, especially if they are in the same country as you. A friendly voice with a hint of a Queenslander twang or a broad Melbourne drawl can go a long way. A skilled customer service rep can build rapport with you, crack a few jokes, making the experience more positive. This is especially important when you’re dealing with a complex issue that may not make sense to you. Having someone who can empathise with your situation and actively work towards a fair dinkum resolution makes a world of difference.

The Power of Flexibility and Thinking Outside the Box

While chatbots and automated systems can be great for handling frequently asked questions, they often struggle when faced with unexpected situations. A human rep, on the other hand, has the flexibility to think outside the shearer’s shed and come up with creative solutions. They can access a wider range of information and resources, and use their judgement to find the best course of action for your specific needs. This can save you time and frustration, and leave you feeling like your problem has been genuinely addressed, not just swept under the barbie.

A human on a help desk can agree with out that something does not make sense. A bot is unlikely to do that. A computerised phone system won’t even let you get that far.

Sometimes, a simple apology or acknowledgement of your frustration can go a long way. A human customer service rep can offer that human touch, a sense that someone genuinely cares about your experience, whether you’re a bloke in the bush or a city slicker. This can turn a negative interaction into a neutral, or even positive, one. After all, when you feel like you’ve been heard and understood, you’re more likely to be a loyal customer and sing the company’s praises down the pub, not whinge about it to your mates.

Technology can certainly play a role in customer service. Here at Tower Systems though we make talking with a human easy, in any part of the company. We publish direct email addresses and phone numbers for different team members in the company from help desk, admin, accounts and the leadership team. This is important to us when we are customers, we know it is important to our customers.

It is a differentiator for our POS software company. Access to us is easy and content we publish is fresh. This speaks to our relevance in 2024 we think.

Tower Systems helps small business retailers recover EFTPOS costs with an auto-calculated surcharge

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We make it easy for local small business retailers to accurately apply a surcharge to a purchase based on the type of payment card presented.

With the cost of each card varying and some banks offering card specific costs to businesses, this approach by us makes it more certain for shoppers and retailers when it comes to a surcharge based on the type of card used.

Our POS software talks to the payments processor once the card is presented and instantly a surcharge is calculated and details provided to the shopper. We do this in the way the ACCC requires.

Certain rules apply when a business applies a surcharge to particular cards:

  • the surcharge must not be more than what it costs the business to use that payment type

  • the surcharge can only include costs that are for accepting that particular payment. For example, if a business pays an amount for gateway fees for processing credit card transactions only, the business cannot include this cost in its debit card transactions.

This approach meats with legal obligations of retailers in Australia. It also makes it easier for retailers to cover the cost of card payment, which can be considerable based on the type of card presented.

Using the Tower Systems POS software, local small business retailers can apply a credit or debit card surcharge with certainty, ease and confidence. They can provide good customer service and fully inform shoppers such that they may choose another method of payment.

The rules in Australia for applying the same surcharge for all payment types are that it must not be more than the lowest surcharge they would set for a single payment type. This is from their ACCC website. This is why applying a surcharge based on the actual payment type presented can matter – there is a huge different in payment type costs.

Our POS software makes it easy for small business retailers to apply a surcharge and manage toe collection of this and record keeping associated with it. We take care of business for our customers, make their job easier and provide a safe framework within which they transact with their customers.

How do you know you can trust a POS software company?

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This is a good question from any small business retailer: How do you know you can trust a POS software company?

The answer can be found in the evidence available for any POS software company you consider.

Transparency = trust. A POS software company that trusts its products and support enough to publish the owner’s direct contact details, phone and email, has to be a company you can trust.

Of course we would say that. It’s what we do at Tower Systems. Our owner’s contact details are on this website, all of our customer emails, all of our customer newsletters and plenty of the marketing that we publish.

It’s rare. Check out other POS software comp ties and most do not publish this. In fact, most do not provide direct contact details for most of their leadership team. It’s like they don’t want you top contact a decision maker in their business.

We do it because we trust our software and we trust our help desk team. Also, we trust small business retailers and enjoy serving them.

Now to be clear, here are the details: Mark Fletcher. 0418 321 338. mark@towersystems.com.au.

Personal service is a key differentiator in local small business retail. The same is true for businesses serving local small business retailers. We know that personal service matters. This is why we make it easy for people to contact not only our owner but all members of our Tower Systems community that serves small business retailers.

Whether it is by phone, email, online chat, WeChat, Zoom, Loom comment, social media comment or in some other way, we are accessible and in service of small business retailers using our POS software.

Ease of contact is a useful comparison point when considering different POS software solutions for your business. You want to be sure that if you have a query it will be responded to in a time efficient way, and by the person best positioned to answer the query. Here at Tower Systems we have a triage approach to ensure that we get your query in front of the person most skilled to answer it for you.

Transparency does equal trust when it comes to comparing POS software for your business.

Off to celebrate Christmas

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Our office is now closed until December 27. If you have any urgent need for support, please call any of our office numbers and we will connect you with one of our after hours team members.

Free online marketplace helps local retailers attract more shoppers

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www.findit.com.au, a free marketplace for local independent small business retailers, is helping local Aussie retailers attract shoppers in-store.

Free to Tower Systems POS software customers, the FindIt marketplace is like a live catalogue, an online catalogue, a place where shoppers can find what they want the local retailer who stocks what they want.

There is no cost for retailers and nnjo cost for shoppers. This is genuinely a free platform through which the thousands of retailer susing the Tower Systems POS software can find shoppers for themselves.

FindIt has been live for just under a year and already retailers are reporting success with new shoppers attracted as a result of finding products they want through the FindIt local marketplace platform. Just last week a retailer told us of three new shoppers attracted to their business thanks to the FindIt listings we provided for no cost.

All Tower Systems POS software customers have access to FindIt for free.
We have built FindIt because of the growing importance of being online to in-store retail, and because some retailers are challenged with creating and running their own website. This is a no cost / low cost solution to help you be found online. we are very proud of the tech behind the FindIt local retailer marketplace platform.
We host the website on a large secure and fast server in a remote data centre. We are also doing the backend SEO work to raise the Google profile.
Customers will land on the website from Google. As the ranking of the site increases, products on FindIt will list in Google results. Customers will be able to add items from multiple retailers to a FindIt basket in a transaction.
The FindIt website confirms the order to the customer and provides the retailer with a recipient created tax invoice. Retailers will be able to go to their FindIt vendor panel to download a picking slip.
  

Retailers choose the price of what they sell – it can be their web price or their retail price. In the Tower Systems POS software, retailers choose whether a product is listed online.
Find out more about our Tower Systems POS software at our website, www.towersystems.com.au, where you can also easily watch demonstrations of our software. We only supply independent retailers. Plus, our software is Aussie made and supported.
For a personal demonstration or to discuss your POS software needs:
  • sales@towersystems.com.au
  • 1300 662 957.

Lessons for local small business retailers from the Optus outage

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While the actual cause of the Optus outage on Wednesday has not yet been detailed, the outage itself encourages us to work on our businesses, to ensure we are better protected.

  1. Check your network. Make sure routers are current. Talk to your ISP about a more current replacement.
  2. Check your computers. Dust is a killer. Power off, remove the cover, take it outside and use a can of air to clean.
  3. Document your computer’s and network. List everything you have and who is responsible for each. We often receive support calls for items not supplied by us and not known about by us.
  4. Check your backups. Get the most recent one restored to ensure it is backing up everything you need.
  5. Use a cloud backup service for in-store and offsite storage.
  6. Have a plan. If your network, computer system or EFTPOS is down, what’s your plan? Document it. Train all staff. Make sure everyone knows the plan and where to find it.
  7. Consider redundancies, like a mobile phone on a different network in case your main network is down, a secondary EFTPOS box for payments should that be down.

First responders are good at what they do because they plan and drill, such that responding is muscle-memory. What happened with Optus is a reminder to be prepared in local retail so you are less impacted.

This advice was first provided to Tower Systems POS software customers in a customer support email. It’s good advice any business could / should follow at the very least. We kept it brief to ensure it’s read and actioned. We kept the language simple to ensure it is accessible to all.

For sure we have no real idea what caused the Optus outage. But we do know that following this advice we have shared will better prepare local retail businesses for tech challenges they may face themselves.

The best time to prepare for a disaster, no matter how big or small, is well in advance of the disaster. The steps we have outlined here are simple to follow and achievable in any business regardless of technical skill set.

The number of clicks and the amount of information you have to provide in order to watch a POS software demonstration says something about the ease of access to help with that software

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At our website, www.towersystems.com.au, once you choose your marketplace, you can watch a recent software demonstration immediately, without providing any of your details.

Alternatively, you can, with one click request a personal demonstration lead by the needs of your business.

We believe in easy to access customer service, pre sales, and post sales.

Just as retail is personal, POS software support is personal.

The number of clicks and the amount of information you have to provide in order to watch a POS software demonstration says something about the ease of access to help with that software. See for yourself.

Chat helps retailers get quick and easy access to POS software help desk queries

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While we love talking with our POS software customers and take hundreds of calls for advice, training and support every day, plenty of our customers are loving the enhanced self-serve facilities through our website where many day-to-day queries are answered instantly, without the need to call or email.

The advanced tech behind this innovating is delivering terrific POS software support content to our customers, helping them to get more from our software instantly, when they need it.

Customers using this self-serve access to help desk advice free our people to handle more complex queries on how yo use our POS software.

Our help desk team members don’t follow a script. Each call is a conversation, free flowing, in pursuit of valuable and appreciate answers for our POS software customers.

New free POS software training videos for small business retailers

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We are grateful to have published plenty more POS software training videos to our free to access training library. Each video is on a separate topic and compact in time – to get to the point, cover it and provide customers an opportunity to try for themselves.

We have found these short videos to work very well in training local retailers in the use of our POS software.

Here are some of the new videos we have published:

  • Monthly Sales Comparison – the best report for ay retailer looking to understand and grow their business. 
  • Ranked Sales Report – so many options for discovering what’s working and what’s not.
  • Installing Retailer Updates – how, when, where and what.
  • General Stock Listing Report – for those who like old-school.
  • Supplier Stock Listing Report – when you want to hone in on a supplier.
  • Sales Transaction Log – the guts of sales history.
  • Detailed Takings Report – everything you want to know.
  • POS Touch Screen Advanced Settings – make your POS screen your own.
  • How to access and find knowledge base articles (including using F1) – the easy way to get help when you want it.
  • Access Support – Understanding Priority and Logging Support Tickets – tips for the best customer service experience.
  • Importing a Supplier Stockfile – we make it easy, and certain.

These videos and the many others released this year are designed to help you get more from the software for your business. We are grateful for customer feedback on the videos.

POS software training can be a challenge in a retail business with a staff turnover or a roster of casual staff. Our video training library with, now, around 70 new videos offers a resource set that retailers can use to ensure staff are well trained to get more form their Tower Systems POS software.

In publishing this list of most recent training videos produces by us for our POS software customers, we are showing our commitment to customer service. It would be easier to tell, but we prefer to show. facts matter and this list of training videos is real and fresh training content that our small business retailer customers are telling us they love, and we are sincerely grateful for that.

Public holiday

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Okay so today is a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday. We’re taking a break – but fear not! If you have an urgent query our after-hours crew is there for you.

Tower Systems hosts another POS software user meeting

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We are grateful to have hosted another meeting of users of our software. This was done yesterday, via Zoom – a platform plenty of our POS software customer prefer.

At this meeting we previewed our next software update, sought feedback on some development plans in the pre-planning stage. We also had plenty of time for questions, which is the real value of meetings like this for plenty.

We know that being accessible is important to our local small business retailer community. It’s why we do these sessions regularly, and why they are open to all customers, and why there is no cost whatsoever.

To ensure we can answer as many questions as possible we had people there from development, support as well as senior management.

Back in the day, decades ago, in-person user meetings were a key feature from engages software companies. They still are today, but online, saving everyone time as well as travel costs.

We are grateful to the customers who joined in yesterday and those who watched later on video. Feedback from sessions like this is vital to our future.

POS hardware suppliers, receipt rolls, barcode labels and more

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Tower Systems offers easy access to quality POS hardware suppliers, POS receipt rolls, POS labels and more through its consumables POS hardware and supplies online shop.

Anyone can shop at the online shop, regardless of the POS software you use.

Online at this POS supplies, hardware and stationery shop, retailers can purchase plenty of items, including:

The Tower Systems online shop offers 24/7 shopping access to hardware, printers, barcode labels, receipt printers, receipt rolls POS hardware computer terminals and specialty POS stationery and other supplies.

The website is totally self-serve with easy access, helping retailers stay on top of their stationery and POS consumable requirements.

You can pay by credit card, including American Express as well as Afterpay, Zip and more. we make it easy to choose what you need, pay and then organise shipping.

The Tower Systems POS software stationery, hardware and barcode label shop also makes it easy for retailers to purchase POS software training.

Buying receipt rolls, barcode labels, printer ribbons and other POS software consumables is easy through this Tower Systems retailer services website. We offer this as part of our one stop service for local small business retailers, to help them have the stock of what they need on time to serve that need.

We do so at a modest cost, using products and offering products that we use ourselves in our own retail businesses.

We know that retailers want reliable printer ribbons, barcode labels, receipt rolls and more for the safe and easy running of their business. We do our best to ensure that we have what people need, when they need it and to a quality that they can trust to provide good customer service for threat local retail businesses.

Retailers love our regular POS software user newsletter

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We are grateful for the feedback on our latest Tower Systems POS software customer print newsletter. It’s our third for 2023 and across the pages it is packed with practical advice on how to leverage our POS software for more value in each business using it.

 

The print newsletter is part of a comprehensive comms strategy in serving of our POS software user community. It covers emails, calls, Zoom meetings and personal connections.

The print newsletter is for those who love to hold paper in their hand and read without needing batteries.

We are glad for the opportunity to communicate with our customers through the old-school print medium.

Tower Systems helps small business retailers ensure better security for customer credit card data

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One of the biggest costs of hacking of businesses is the access achieved to data that should not have been stored in the first place, data that was no longer necessary to the business.

Software too often has not been designed to protect the data security interests of shoppers, those folks handing over their data.

In our POS software made for local specialty retailers we now even better protect the customer.

When we found the extent to which customers were storing credit card numbers through our software we felt there was no choice to act. This benefits the customers of our customers and makes our customers themselves less of a target as valuable data like credit card numbers is not available.

We let our customers know about this a while back …

In the past, we allowed you to store customer credit card data for various convenience related reasons. However given recent hacks etc it is no longer feasible to allow you to store this data against customers in Retailer. In version 3.2 this data is permanently deleted as part of loading the update.

If you are still using the stored credit card data you will need to migrate this data to another service that can store this data securely before loading the update.

Our recommendation is that you use Stripe (https://stripe.com/au) We use this service ourselves and have found it to be easy to use and very secure.

Anything we can do to help retailers be less of a target and be less exposed to themselves enabling the stealing of valuable customer data is good in our view.

Too often we see software, especially in big businesses, storing data that is not needed beyond the one off use, data that is valuable to criminals who can either on sell it or use it themselves in fraudulent transactions.

Our role as software developers is to provide tools that are useful and socially responsible. The increased incidence of hacking means we need to be more vigilant than ever, to protect our customers and to enable them to protect their customers.

The work we have done in this area of customer data protection goes beyond what we write about here today.

Tower Systems launches weekly POS software user Q&A session for all

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Tower Systems is grateful to be able to launch a weekly POS software user Q&A session fort all comers, all users of the software, from any business using the software.

This session is a natural progression from our regular live Zoom sessions for customers. It not schedules as weekly’s every week of the year, so customers have certainty that it’s on.

Each session will be open for at least 45 minutes every Thursday. One of more of our POS software specialists will be in the Zoom room to answer questions and share insights. The goal is for open two-way discussion. Having the right people from our team there will drive the value of the sessions. We will demonstrate local retail knowledge and the value of local support compared to offshore call centre support.

We are open to covering POS software training, answering support queries and exploring enhancements in our POS software.

By offering the sessions via Zoom with no cap on attendees we demonstrate, again, our openness and transparency and the ease of accessibility for all of our customers regardless of location, support coverage status and more.

By making this open to everyone, those who like to listen to the queries of others and the answers provided will be satisfied. We think this openness will help us explore topics way beyond what me might set if we were in control of the agenda ourselves.

The goal is an enhanced customer service experience, something unique among POS software companies.

We know the closer we are with our customers the better the experience for them and the better for us. This is why our leadership team will regularly be available for these sessions, as they have been for our other customer Zoom meetings.

These weekly customer meetings will differentiate our Aussie POS software company and offer our customers another free training opportunity that will help them get more from their investment in our technology.

People participating will not have to register or jump through hoops. Accessing the session will be easy, fast and secure.

Tower Systems serves several thousand local retail businesses today. This new weekly customer free training and Q&A meeting initiative is another way we are demonstrating our commitment to engaged and easily accessible customer service.

Tips on common pitfalls retailers make when having websites developed for their businesses

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Too many local small business retailers make common mistakes when having websites developed for their businesses. We see this often when called in to fix issues with a website created elsewhere. Our web dev team provides a thorough honest assessment of websites and lays out a pathway to a better solution for the customer.

It surprises us to see some awful websites, built on plenty of mistakes that stem from poor outlines of requirements.

For what it’s worth, here are the top 7 mistakes we have seen retailers make when setting up a website for their business.

  • Not knowing the target customer. The target customer for a website connected to any shop should not be considered to be the person walking through the r=front door. rather, it should be the person you want to reach, the person who would never walk past your shop. Knowing who they are, where they are and what they could be looking for is key.
  • Making the website a copy of the physical shop. If you copy what you sell in your shop online you are not likely to find new customers and the best website for a shop is one that finds new customers for the business. Nice is best. Niche is appealing and easily found through online searching. Stand for something – not not everything you currently sell.
  • Thinking it is easy and once the site is live you are done. Creating and maintaining a website is hard work, relentless work. Think of a website and a hungry beast, and you have to feed it.
  • Believing a web developer knows what is best for your business. Web developers are not retailers. They may have opinions about what looks good or works well, but do these opinions match the needs of your business. It is best to find a web development who genuine understand your type of business and what you want to achieve online.
  • Failing to understand the total cost of ownership. Paying for a website to be developed is on thing. What is the cost of maintaining it. be sure to have this documented before you begin because once you are into it you are on the hook for future costs. Knowing this upfront is key.
  • Different is good. Too many retailers are lazy, loading images and product descriptions from suppliers. Search engines see this duplication and mark sites down that copy others in terms of content. The more of your own content the absolute better for you and for your business. Sure, this is hard work, but it pays off.
  • Your website is not a destination. Okay, it is a destination for online shoppers, hopefully. But, it is not your online end point. The website will have to evolve and, eventually, be replaced. Go into it knowing it will not be your final online presence, that it is, rather, a stepping stone on a pathway.

Take your time to figure out what you want, but not too long as what you launch will quickly change as change is critical in retail business websites.

Footnote: we know about this because we  have created plenty of websites for our retail businesses and for hundreds of our retail POS software customers. The most useful ones have been those that failed. The successes are terrific. But it’s the failures that are educational.

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