POS software blog

About our POS software for local small business retailers

Category: Ethics (page 1 of 5)

How to spot an out of touch out of date POS software company

Here are some tips on how to spot a POS software company that may be out of touch or out of date and thereby maybe not ideal for consideration for serving your business.

  • Nameless / faceless. POS software businesses that do not provide public-facing access to the names and contact details for their leadership team demonstrate a lack of faith in your business in our view. Retail is personal. The service of needs of retailers its personal. Here at Tower Systems you can see who we are and tap into our contact details easily, quickly. If you are looking at a POS software company and can’t see authentic photos and genuine leadership team contact details, wonder about their commitment to personal service.
  • Fake sales people. Some POS software companies use fake names for sales people. They use a cartoon type image to represent them, too. This should be a warning sign. Not using real names and real images or videos may reflect rapid turnover of sales people. That’s a warning sign right there. You want your POS software sales person to stand by what they sell. they do this by being themselves and sharing their real contact details.
  • Clip Art. if you see that on a POS software business website run, run fast! It’s so 1980s, so out of date … leaving you to wonder if their software is out of date.
  • Free software. You’re in business right?! You understand that businesses need income to exist. Free is not a sustainable business model.
  • Are they on a list of the best? Check it out because it may be a list they paid to be on. If a few clicks you can soon discover this.
  • Fact check. Let’s say, for example, they claim to a partner with, hmmm, Microsoft. You can soon see if this is true. If they are not such a partner you then know they have made an inaccurate claim on their website. Is that what you want from a PSO software company.

We share these tips today as a reminder that not all POS software companies are the same. Do your research. Start with what you need in your business and then focus on the best software that serves your business needs. remember, you are in control. Choose what you want, what you know is right for your business.

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Beware the con of POS software comparison websites

There is a con online that is duping small business retailers. The con is POS software comparison websites … that they do not compare software.

Too often POS software comparison websites do no comparison at all. They will accept any POS software business to be listed through them as long as that business agrees to the fees charged by the comparison website. It really is that simple. Pay the bucks and your business is put forward as one recommended as worthy of consideration.

There is no comparison done by POS software comparison websites. They are an ad platform that POS software companies pay to be listed on.

We know this from first hand experience being signed up to a POS software comparison website for a short time. They didn’t;t compare us, check us out, look at our software or do anything that could be considered an assessment of our suitability.

POS software comparison websites do not comp0are POS software.

Sure, you enter responses to some questions – this is only so they can provide their customers, the paying POS software companies, more information about your needs.

POS software comparison websites are an ad platform plain and simple.

Look at the POS software listed through them and you may not be seeing all of the software options that could be suited to your specific business needs.

There is no substitute to thorough research. You owe it to your retail business to do that. This is why we recommend against using a POS software comparison website – they restrict the businesses pitched to you. They do this without really understanding your business needs.

POS software comparison websites do not compare software, certainly not in our experience at least.

Our opinion is that if your business is serious about its POS software you need to do your own research, create your own short.list and do the work of looking at the software yourself. This way you are pursuing the outcome that is most appropriate to your own business needs, based on your own work and focus. We are certain this approach will give you a better business outcome.

Buyer beware. That POS software comparison website that says it has done the work for you and done the comparison and found the best of the best may have done none off those things.

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Buyer beware: comparison websites may not have compared as they claim

Product and service comparison websites are popular online. If you search for POS software, it is likely that an ad from a comparison website will be the top result. Indeed, depending on the time of day you search, the first three or four results will be be for comparison websites advertising POS software.

What’s wrong with advertising? Nothing, if the claims in the ad are accurate.

Based on our personal experience, comparison websites do not provide the service they suggest they offer. While online the comparison website we worked with claimed to have compared POS software in order to recommend the best, no such comparison was undertaken. Once we saw, first hand, what they were doing we ended our short relationship with them.

Does this mean all comparison websites operate this way, claiming they have compared products and services to bring you the best? No. we can only speak to what we experienced ourselves. However, that experience was enough for us to say, no thank you. We will not engage with sites that claim something they do not do.

We wish the ACCC, state based Consumer Affairs and other authorities would look into the operation of comparison websites, getting behind the scenes, looking at the contracts and understanding the evidence. we think they will find that some comparison websites are an ad platform plain and simple – claiming to compare when they in fact do no such comparison. Shoppers are duped in these situations, thinking they are being recommended the best fit, the best software … when, in fact, they are being pitched software the comparison website is paid to ‘recommend’.

We wish Google would look at this as well as they are making money from the comparison website game being played. these websites pay Google too appear ahead of natural search results. They are profiting from the game being played.

Here at Tower Systems we want our software to be installed by businesses that choose it based on their own research and active comparison with other possible solutions. We want to be authentically chosen for good business reasons and not because we paid to come up first in some fake best of the best search result online.

If you are searching for a product or service and a comparison website advertises to be a top result, our advice is beware, do your research … choose based on what you discover for yourself and not based on what a nameless and faceless website claims is the best of the best. Deep pockets for advertising doe not make a company or product the best.

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Beware POS software comparison websites as they are unlikely to have compared the software they pitch to you

There are websites that claim to be software comparison websites. They claim to have done the work for you, comparing software. They offer to suggest several vetted software companies for your consideration.

In our experience it is unlikely the comparison websites will have compared the software they pitch to you.

It’s our opinion that software comparison websites are purely an ad platform for the businesses that pay to have their software pitched as worthy of consideration by prospective customers.

There is no comparison. We say this based on our own first-hand experience. Our software was not looked or assessed. They wanted money from us per lead. That was it. This makes the comparison website an ad platform plain and simple.

Online they pitch as offering a service, something of value, to the software shopper. The reality is the comparison website businesses offer a commercial service to the software companies – the software companies are their customer.

We dug deeper, presenting as a business looking for software. Sure, they pitched us to three software companies. There was little in the way of filtering. Knowing what we know from when we assessed them as a software business, they charge 3 businesses $100 each for the leads. That’s an easy $300 made for having a slick website that looks like they have done the assessment fork for you when they have not.

Our advice, based on our experience is do not use a comparison website to consider software.

It’s worse than this though and here’s why …

Having considered a comparison website, trying them for a couple of weeks and then saying no thanks, they started paying Google for our business name as an ad keyword. You search for us and their ad comes up. They then contacted us and said he you should do business with us because we have leads for you. These are leads they got by paying Google money to run ads when people type Tower Systems into Google.

Our company lists first in the natural results. The software comparison company and several other similar companies come up ahead us, with ads.

Software comparison website ads claim to offer quotes from leading companies, trusted companies, the most reliable companies. How can they make these claims when they have not themselves assessed the companies? They cannot.

One company claims we compare all the big brands and more. No, they do not.

One company claims that by using them they can provide access to 20-40% saving. No, they cannot as they do not negotiate on price.

One company claims that they let you compare the best-suited products. No, they do not. They don’t look at the software. They have no experience to make an assessment as to what is best.

The only service the comparison website businesses offer from our experience and research is to advertise on Google and provide their partner software companies with leads if a query falls into an area directly or vaguely covered by the software company.

Buyer beware. Comparison websites we have looked at do not compare. They act as a front for ad dollars, being paid for leads they give to partner software companies, that may not offer the best software in their field.

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The scam of best POS software lists

Just about every couple of weeks we receive an email saying we are in the top 10, top 5 or better of POS software companies as determined by some unknown publishing business. They write and say how awesome we are and then ask us to pay for advertising or co-sponsor a feature article.

We are pleased to say we have never fallen for it, never paid to be on such a list. Doing so, in our view, diminishes the participating businesses and, potentially, dupes shoppers for good POS software.

In our opinion, these assessments are not real, not based on evidence. Rather, they look and feel like ad revenue raising campaigns for the platforms and nothing more.

Here is an email we received this morning:

This is typical for this type of ad-revenue you’re a top software company approach. You can tell it is dubious in that the publication is not well known, has never been on our radar, is not aimed at customers who would appeal to us and has content that does not feel it has been written by a journalist. The whole thing feels like PR, paid-for PR.

The only assessment that matters to us is that from customers, people using our software. We serve them. They provide us with income.

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Buyer beware: hidden costs can make POS software expensive

That cheap POS system you might be considering m ay not be as cheap as you think by the time you add the four or five optional facilities that, with our Tower Systems POS software, are included in our everyday transparent price.

Too often right now we are seeing POS software offers, especially from businesses based outside of Australia, where the price quoted and the initial price signed for is not the price you pay foe what you want to do.

The pitch is appealing, hey start here for this price, sure it is cheap wbut it is a perfect place to start.

Soon, though, yonce you try and do what is core to your business, you need extra modules that cost more and, soon, you are paying more than the other software you decided against because it was too expensive. But, since you have invested time in your data, you don’t switch. Then, a year down the track, prices go up and there is something else that is an add-on cost and by then you are paying 50% more than the then price of the other POS software product you decided against because it was too expensive.

Buyer beware, take your time, get all the facts, ensure you understand the full cost, the total cost and the trajectory of the costs and then compare this across POS software packages.

Cheap POS software is not cheap. What may appear to be cheap POS software today will, for sure, be found to not be cheap at some point down the track. We hear this often.

We urge people to shop around, to look at other software, to compare functionality and to compare price. However, this has to be done based on the facts and not marketing spin. It has to be done thoroughly so that you as the customer are not let down. Only the facts matter.

This is why we say, don’t rush into a free trial because, that’s how they get you. They want you to become time and data invested and thereby less likely to actually look around what is genuinely best for your business.

Cheap POS software is like any cheap product, they have either cut corners, paid less for professional work than is the market rate or included less in the product. Its;s business 101. Sure, there is cheap POS software out there, it is not, in our experience, good for most retail.

Buyer beware. The hidden costs of POS software can make cheap POS software look expensive.

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Small business retail advice: 7 principles for navigating the Covid recession

Through our work with small business retailers, we help with POS software and broader management advice. recently, we have been asked for advice about trading in this period of recession.

7 principles for navigating there Covid recession

We get it, Australia is in a recession, a Covid recession brought on by the pandemic and responses to it here and overseas.

Relentlessly, media outlets overload with recession stories, fuelling worry and anxiety and challenging consumer confidence.

It’s tempting to get drawn to the doom and gloom stories, to amplify the woe is me narrative. But that does not help.

Plenty of people in business, especially small business, prefer to look ahead, to focus on the other side of the recession as it is that view of what could be that motivates.

We think a back to basics approach is what is needed to get us through the recession. We think it’s right for our software business, the retail shops we own and for the many local businesses we serve.

The back to basics guiding principles we share here are focussed on this, focussed on providing sure footing today and encouraging optimism for tomorrow.

This is not a list from which you choose what you like. Our advice is that you do everything on this list, because in our experience, together they provide the best chance of navigating the recession well.

  1. Nurture what makes the business money and fix or stop what does not make the business money. Leverage strengths. Fix or eliminate weaknesses.
  2. Embrace ways to broaden the reach of the business.
  3. Make safe decisions, decisions you know will work. For example, buy well. That is, buy what will sell easily, quickly.
  4. Embrace ways you can add value to what you sell without spending more.
  5. Be frugal. Before every spending decision ask 2 questions: do we need this? Will this add value? Review every business expense. Cut those that do not add value.
  6. Your next step is in front of you. Look ahead, not behind. Talk up, not down.
  7. If you feel overwhelmed, take it one step at a time. Every day, do something that makes you happy.

When should you start? Now. But not alone. This is a whole of business project. Involve the whole team and embrace all the points at every opportunity.

How do we know these principles work? We have experience trading through two recessions, one country wide and the other sector wide. We’ve also traded through Covid with excellent results – because we embraced these principles back in early March 2020.

Let’s take a moment to unpack principle #3, make safe decisions. Safe decisions are those you can bet on because they work every time. They may not be exciting, but they are safe. They may not be the best margin, but they are safe. Safe decisions are all about certainty, providing a small step that is stable, sure-footed. Put a few of those in a row and you feel better. Feeling better is key to helping you navigate the Covid recession.

While we understand the value of news, there may be value in consuming less news, staying away from the negative stories. Your success is the most important news right now.

We  provide practical support for local small business retailers.

It is cliché, but …. We are here for you.

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Why you will not see our POS software listed on on top lists

There is a scam in the software business space where software companies are invited to pay to be put on lists of the top software.

Some lists are application specific like POS software while others are retail channel specific like gift shops, jewellers and similar. There is another list going around for top inventory management software and another for top retail software linking to accounting software.

Tower Systems has been approached five times in recent months to pay to be listed on such lists. In one case, the amount you paid determined your position on the list. The fee sought to be on such a faux list of the best has ranged from $2,500 to $15,000.  With between 8 and 15 companies on such a list and the promoters often creating 10+ lists every few months you can get a sense of the financial value, to them, of the scam.

In each case the invitation said they had assessed us and our POS software as being worthy. We checked them out and there had been no assessment whatsoever. Each approach was, in our view, a scam, a commercial operation designed to drive revenue for the business in control of the like by providing a fake ranking that the software companies listed could point to in their marketing – further promoting the fake.

We have never participated in these scams at Tower Systems. We have not and will not pay to have our POS software listed in a list that says we are one of the best.

The only assessment we trust is that of each of our POS software user small business retail customers. The toy shop owners, farm supply business owners, jewellers, garden centre owners, landscapers, pool repairers, newsagents, bike shop owners … these small business owners matter to us.

Paying to be on a list reflects poorly on the software companies on the list in our view. It demonstrates that the software and services provided by any company on such a list were not a factor in determining place.

The next time you see a software company promoting that they are on a list, ask them how they got there, ask them if they paid anything to the creators or promoters of the list. You will not see our Tower Systems POS software there, and for that we are grateful.

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Challenges for suppliers of products sourced from China

Shoppers are keen for Australian made – more so now than at any time we can recall. Our advice to suppliers and retailers is consistent: If your products are Australian made, make sure you are bold in pitching that on the products.

Since COVID hit and more so in recent weeks as tensions with China have escalated in Australia and in recent weeks as democracy in Hong Kong has come under attack from Beijing, shoppers and retailers are more wary of China sourced product. And more recent still is the attack on the international student business.

Is sourcing products from China a long term concern? It’s hard to say. It is, however, enough of a concern in our view that we expect some suppliers are actively working on adjustments to their supply chain so as to not be impacted by anti China sentiments.

We have been discussing the situation internally and with our retailer partners and we feel that it is Beijing’s moves against Hong Kong and the recent war of words from China against Australia that represent the most significant risk to the commercial viability of China sourced products.

Does this mean retailers don’t want to source products from China? No. However, it does mean that it is on the minds of retailers and that they do talk about it with us.

In our own retail businesses, yes, we are a POS software company with our own shops selling gifts and homewares as test sites for our software, we are concerned about the source of what we sell. Where possible we preference locally made, ethically sourced.

What’s happening in Hong Kong showcases suppression of democracy and at some point we anticipate the world will respond to that. What’s being published by state owned news outlets in China against Australia also indicates the challenges and risks ahead for the supply chain.

These are reasons why we hope suppliers have alternatives in development so that supply is not impacted.

As a POS software company we became involved in our customer businesses in many ways. We have written about this topic today as it has come up in several retailer forums we have hosted.

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How our Australian POS software company helps Australian small business retailers to ethically pitch shop local

Shop local is a common pitch from small business retailers. You see it on social media as well as on signs in front of shops. It’;s usually an emotive pitch without substance.

We think such pitches, while well intentioned, fall flat as they offer little evidence of what shop local looks like.

Small business retailers who pitch shop local need to, themselves, look at where they shop for products and for infrastructure. The shop local pitch can fall flat if the business clearly sells products primarily sourced from overseas.

For businesses sourcing products locally, we can help in our POS software with opportunities and tools through which the local Australian made message can be pitched and reinforced, to help shoppers see and feel the local connection at the transaction and product level.

In our Australian made and supported POS software we can help small business local retailers practically and consistently advise customers about locally made products – in-store as well as online. We can help retailers to do this in a way that demonstrates their actions speaking louder than words. We think this approach will have more valuable impact than a social media post calling for people to shop locally.

Sharing information on receipts and through other platforms about locally made product can be the difference in winning a sale or not. Doing it with consistency across the inventory fleet is critical. It can be systemised for consistency of delivery and of wording itself. This is where our Aussie POS software can help small business retailers be smart in their shop local and buy Australian pitch.

We’d love to see more retailers being smarter in their shop local pitches. Of course, it is locally made and supported software that will do best at this for Aussie small business retailers. Our goals are more likely to be your goals when it comes to what is good for Australia and Australians. Yes, this is out pitch to you for POS software – buy locally made and ask what it can do for you to pitch shop local and shop Australian.

Here at Tower Systems we can help with this. Indeed, we’d love to help you with this. We live and breathe shop local.

The more we work together the strong our local communities, the stronger our country.

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Online user forum brings together small business retail POS software users

Today we are hosting an online user forum for independent small business retailers across Australia and New Zealand to talk business.

This free ranging and open forum is another enamour series of facilitating opportunities for small business retailers to talk to each other. That it is online makes it easier for these retailers to connect without a cost or disruption of travel.

Today’s online forum will include discussion on:

  1. Life after the bushfires.
  2. The economy and its impact on local small retail businesses.
  3. The Coronavirus challenge.
  4. Ideas for stimulating your retail business.
  5. The single most effective tool in the POS software to drive sales.
  6. Free POS software training.

Open to any retailer using our software, the meeting will be recorded and made available to all Tower Systems customers.

We are grateful to all who will participate as it is contributions from everyday retailers that makes meetings like this useful for all.

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Our own support for the bushfire appeal

We are running this donation offer in the shops we own and run. We’ve been doing it since the start of this week.

It costs our customers nothing. The donation comes 100% from us.

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Audit tools in POS software help small business retailers find out what they do not know

Secret audit tools in POS software are critical in small business retail for they provide insights into behind the scenes activity in a business that could be harmful to the business. By tracking activities including keystrokes designed to manipulate business data, good POS software is able to help a retail business compare bad behaviour including fraud.

The Tower Systems small business POS software has terrific audit tools that can only be accessed with the most secure password managed by the software, a password only given by the comp0any to business owners.

Using the smart audit tools, we have been able to help retailers to track employee fraud, supplier fraud, customer fraud and what could have been expensive but unintentional mistakes.

The Audie tools and the secret mirror data they have access to represent a valuable asset to any indie retailer as they make the POS software operational smart for and protective of that business.

This area of data curation and management is not often talked abut because it can be construed as a negative given the connection with bad things happening in a business. The reality is that knowing the tools are there creates a positive situation, a comfort, a peace of mind as the POS software is offering a set of eyes and ears watching over the business and providing the business access to insights to help reduce the negative.

The Tower Systems small business POS software provides to indie retailers audit tools that are exemplary in their service of ethical business operation. This is especially useful inn businesses that are run with owners and even senior managers not in a location full  time.

So, in addition to accurately and quickly transacting retail sales, the Tower Systems POS software offers retail business owners access to tools through which they can review data that sheds light on behaviour that could compromise the business. This is what a good audit is about.

Our POS software audit tools have been used in legal cases and by business financial auditors and forensic accountants to track potential misbehaviour. the resulting data can be a body of evidence in criminal or commercial legal action. It is data on which expert evidence can be offered as to actions taken in a business that cold be the matter of such a case.

Our hope is that the audit tools in our POS software do not find misbehaviour and that simply having the tools in a business is the most value achieved. However, should they be needed and should they uncover misbehaviour, the audit tools stand strong and tall for the business and those who own it.

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ATO warns small businesses on sales suppression software

The ABC has reported the ATO is clamping down on small businesses using sales suppression software to minimise tax.

Ms Jenkins said the ATO was also cracking down on the use of sales suppression software that disguised the transactions within a company’s records.

“There is some really sophisticated software out there that is helping people avoid paying the right amount of tax.

“But whether it is cashless payments or whether it is the use of platforms or apps, it means there is really a trace of your transactions.

“We use merchant data and other sources of information to identify where things just don’t look right. Then we go and have a chat to them and say, ‘Hey, can you explain?’

In the mid 1990s there was sales suppression scam operating in the newsagency channel. I became aware of it because my newsagency software company lost businesses because we refused to offer such a facility.

There was a software program into which the retailer could enter a code and then an amount of cash they wanted to take out of the business unreported. A second set of records was maintained for the ATO and another records for the business owner.

I know because the software was demonstrated to me several times, by someone who had worked for the software company that created the software. They had approached me. I did some more checking with newsagents and discovered the facility in the software was being used.

The matter was reported to the ATO. At their then Box Hill office in Victoria they assembled a task force including representatives from the ATO, Federal Police, Federal Attorney General office. Victorian State Revenue and Victorian Attorney General office. Several of us with knowledge were brought in for a demonstration of the software. There were several follow up meetings with the ATO in Sydney.

Eventually, my software company stopped losing sales due to us not having the tax avoidance facility in our software.

Any retailer deliberately and systematically underreporting their income to avoid tax deserves what they get from the ATO and from any suppliers they impact through their actions.

  1. We refuse to help any retailer avoid tax.
  2. We will not code for tax avoidance in o0ur software.
  3. We will report it if we see it.
  4. Retailers and taxpayers need to be able to trust POS software.
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Advice for small business retailers on dealing with employee theft by a minor

This advice is from our vault of business management advice for indie small business retailers. This vault contains advice on many diverse aspects of small business management, often far removed from the POS software we are known for.

Today our advice is about how to deal with employee theft by a minor in a retail business.

If you suspect an employee aged under eighteen of theft from your business you need to be careful as to how you navigate this. It is important to take time to decide the appropriate plan of action before you approach the suspect to even investigate the matter. The wrong approach could have challenging consequences for you, your business and the person you suspect.

Our suggestion is that the moment you have a suspicion, invite the suspect and a parent in for a meeting. Have someone else there as well, as your witness.

  1. Present your evidence and invite their response.
  2. Ensure you are civil, factual and not emotional.
  3. Listen to their response without interruption.
  4. If they ask what you want to do about it, be sure you have a reasonable response ready. If there is agreement on this, move forward.
  5. If there is not agreement on what you propose, or if they deny the theft, you need to be ready with your next course of action. This course of action should be reasonable and focussed on getting to verifiable truth.

If there is agreement that theft occurred and the employee is casual, my suggestion is immediate termination with you paying out what is owed by law. Put it behind you. Never speak of it outside the business. To constantly revisit it, especially outside a major city, can be debilitating.

If there is not agreement, ask they other side what they want to do. It could be that even though they deny it they are happy to walk away from the business. If this is not the case, you could suggest mediation. The Fair Work Obmudsman office could possible play a role here. You could equally suggest that both sides take the matter to the police.

The reality is that once you make a complaint to parents you have to be prepared to follow through, to see the matter to a reasonable end.

My core message today is that handling the suspected theft by someone under eighteen takes care and planning, to ensure that you, your business and the suspect are all dealt with fairly and safely.

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The scam of Top 10 POS Solution providers in APAC 2019

Like what we suspect is a long line of POS software companies, we were contacted last week with advice that Tower Systems was shortlisted for Top 10 POS Solution providers in APAC 2019. Yipee! No, not really. Not at all in fact.

Having read the email announcement and associated details, we reached the conclusion that this is an advertising scam, not worthy of further time investment from us. Okay, scam might be too strong a word. However, it feels like a scam from where we sit, because of what they actually want.

Their email was a request for us to spend money with them to go to the next step. This is why we say their email congratulating us is a scam.

We doubt there is a top ten as such. We doubt that they only emailed ten companies.

Our experience with this Top 10 POS Solution providers in APAC 2019 pitch is that retailer should be aware of claims made by companies about being in the list. If, like us, they got the congratulatory email and other materials, a swift read would have revealed that it was off, odd, feeling and reading like a scam or marketing at best, that the aware is not real.

We, for sure, would not trust the claim of Top 10 POS Solution providers in APAC 2019, for us or any other company on the list based on our experience with this unsolicited call for marketing funds to be spend to get to the next step.

Our advice to, for what it is worth, retailers is to not trust this list or any other top of or best of list. In our experience, you cannot trust the genuine independence of these lists. That we are on this top ten POS Solution list is enough reason for us. We are a specialty POS software company, niche, narrow in focus, only serving specialist retail channels. We should not be on this wide and generic list. We don’t aspire to.

We didn’t get scammed or conned, we didn’t spend any money, we did not. get caught up in what we think is a false and misleading claim.

Our call out to small business retailers is to not get caught up in what is essentially a money-making marketing activity. beware companies that claim to be on the list because we know from experience what they have spent and done to get there.

Transparency matters.

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Bigger, better, more customers – claims from POS software companies to beware.

Facts matter in business. Provable facts, on which you can base business decisions. Too often we see POS software companies make claims without specific facts or that are plain wrong.

A company claiming they are the biggest in a marketplace should be considered with suspicion if a competitor says they have a specific number of customers. One is providing a specific number while the other is making a broad claim. The former, under consumer law, respects obligation while the latter could be claimed as puffery and therefore allow them to get away with it.

Facts do matter in business, especially small business, they end of the marketplace for retailers in which tower systems focusses.

Here, we eschew broad claims. We’d prefer to be specific. For example, we wrote recently that we have 29 firearms dealers using our software. At the time of writing that number was accurate. By the time, you are reading this it is bound to be more because even then we had sales that were yet to be installed. I mention this as a competitor, who makes a broad non-specific claim, seeks to use our honesty to say they have more without being specific.

We see this as a problem for the competitor as their generalisation reflects a flexibility with the facts, maybe dishonesty even. This is a problem as it makes it hard for small business retailers. People like the blood glossy claim if it sounds better. However, the accurate claim with the real number matters.

In many years in this business of POS software for small business retailers, we have come to see the competitors who make the bold and regular marketing claims about having more customers or being the biggest or being the first, they are the ones we believe less.

What really matters is that you verify claims, that you check for evidence and satisfy yourself that you have been told the truth as truth matters in business and in life. If someone lies to get your business then how will they behave toward you once they have your business. Facts matter. That is what we believe and that is what we live by, here at Tower Systems.

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Why you can’t trust POS software Google reviews

Google reviews can hide the truth of POS software support as people can write them for malicious reasons. Take this Google review by Ashley tester posted to our Google page:

I have been using Tower Systems “Retailer” POS system for about 2 years now and if i was able to go back in time i would never had bought it. The system offers plenty of potential but is incredibly buggy with quite a bit of stuff missing from the program. I have had multiple things go wrong with the program and the customer service attitude with it is “we’re working on it” with no communication on progress of fixing the issues. As we speak i am still waiting on a bug fix that currently has my website looking quite messy as product that has been sold from my POS in store is not displaying correctly on my E commerce website. This issue was brought to their attention a week ago, i phoned again 2 days ago and have still heard nothing. I was originally told it was a day to fix the issue. Many more examples like this have happened over the past two years. I would STRONGLY recommend not buying this product. There are better options out there but i am too invested in the software, not only with the initial 11k outlay but the hundreds of hours of data entry that i have done now.

Here is the response from our Managing Director, Mark Fletcher.

My name is Mark Fletcher, I am the owner of Tower Systems. My mobile number is 0418 321 338. My email is mark@towersystems.com.au. What sucks about Google reviews is there is no vetting and no right of reply to a specific review. The review by Ashley Tester is false and misleading. Ashley had an issue with our software that was resolved the day it was reported to the help desk. 100% resolved. However, that is not my core point here. At Tower we have a structured documented and promoted escalation process, because people do sometimes make mistakes. At no time did Ashley tester use our escalation process. Ashley Tester complained here without our knowledge, in an effort to harm our business, and based on false and misleading information. Many people work at our POS software company. They rely on the company for income and professional development. As the owner, I will not abide an unwarranted attack that, by extension, seeks to attack those we serve.

As mark is connected with the page, Google would not publish the response.

Everything published in the Tower response is verifiable by our CRM data records. The claim made by Ashley tester is false and misleading, as he would have known at the time of publishing.

There is another review at the page by a Ryan Farrow:

Overcharge for their product and services, owners are aggressive and unhelpful, and will charge for every single feature that comes standard with most products. System is often down for extended periods with most features essentially in Beta and not working as intended. Staff are uneducated in their own product and charge a premium for lacklustre support.

Ryan is not a customer of Tower Systems and never has been. Ryan is a web developer. he developed a website for a Tower client. Rather than follow our published advice for connecting the website to our POS software, Ryan demanded it be done how he wanted.

As with any engineering where you build a bridge to connect two sides of a river, there are professional processes to follow to ensure the bridge meets in the middle. Ryan did not see it this way.

We can’t change the reviews. What we can do is point to our current 3,500+ customers, our years in business and our transparent engagement. We established a private Facebook page for our customers where they can ask anything any time, where they can provide feedback and do so without moderation by us. This level of customer driven transparency reflects on our commitment. neither Ryan nor Ashley Tester used this customer forum. Instead, they sought to hurt us publicly.

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It is illegal for your POS software to offer tools to avoid tax

The federal government passed ;legislation a while back making it illegal for POS software companies to offer tools that facilitate the hiding of business income for the purpose of reducing your taxation obligation.

Here at Tower Systems we have never offered such tools.

We think it is wrong for any business to hide income for purposes of reducing taxation obligation.

We have participated in several panels with the Australian Taxation Office on matters related to POS software including this area of software compliance so as to not facilitate tax avoidance. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of the conversation that led to tighter rules in this area.

Years ago, we had a competitor that did this, a competitor that facilitated the avoidance of tax by retailers using their software. They promoted it. It was common knowledge in retailer circles at the time. We saw live how a secret facility in their POS software was used to avoid tax. Once we saw it ourselves, we reported the matter to the Australian Federal Police and other authorities. The tax avoidance tools in the software were demonstrated too the authorities.

That experience is not the only time we have seen this. It frustrated us that tax avoidance facilities were being promoted as a differentiator to our software. For sure, it cost us revenue. I sucked then and still sucks today. Those perpetrating the tax avoidance scheme within the software company should have been jailed in our view.

However, we move on.

Today, the message for retailers is that the ATO has a range of tools, benchmarks and more at their disposal that enable the discovery of tax avoidance. Trying to avoid tax is a mugs game.

Retailers are better served focussing on smart engagement and operation, using their software to builds stronger and more successful businesses. This can be done if you use smart software that focusses on new traffic and new opportunities for a brighter future. that is, software that is backed by business advice and professionalism to help retailers achieve excellent results.

Tower Systems helps small business retailers beyond the software to ethically build stronger and more successful businesses. As retailers ourselves it is what we do, with pride and pleasure.

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Beware phone scammers who try to access your computer

There are plenty of scammers who call retail businesses to dupe staff into providing access to computers or business records.

Here at Tower Systems we often get called from retail businesses that have been affected, to help recover computer access once it has been hacked. Through this work we have developed advice that, if followed, will reduce the opportunity of a hack against your business:

  1. Be sure of the identity of anyone you provide with access to your computer.
  2. The tax office will not call you to access your computer.
  3. Your bank will not call you to access your computer.
  4. No government department will call to access your computer.
  5. No customer should be given access to your computer, ever.
  6. Only accept card payment when there is a physical card.
  7. Never let a customer swipe their own card.
  8. Backups should be rolling, though the day and to the cloud.
  9. If something sounds too good to be true it most likely is too good to be true.

Be skeptical. It is healthy and safe. Train all who work in your business to be equally skeptical.

For our part, all our people can be verified easily buy you calling one of our pub listed numbers if you are every unsure.

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We need a Royal Commission into retail shopping centre development and retail tenancies in Australia

We, Australians, small business retailers, suppliers to small business retailers, local towns, all of us need a Royal commission into retail shopping centre development in Australia and the behaviour of shopping centre landlords.

There is enough evidence to indicate that an appropriately skilled and resourced Royal Commission could uncover behaviour that is illegal and harmful to our economy and small businesses and families that rely on the small businesses.

I appreciate that the areas I think the suggested Royal Commission cover are broad and could be better served as two investigations. However, the two issues feed into each other. I think they are best considered together.

WHAT IS A SHOPPING CENTRE?

For the purposes of my proposal, I suggest that a shopping centre is a retail development with fifteen or more shops of any size.

While I am sure there is misbehaviour to consider in smaller centres, for management and focus, a threshold of fifteen tenancies, or similar, is needed. Otherwise, any Royal Commission would run too long and cost too much.

RETAIL SHOPPING CENTRE DEVELOPMENT.

This is the beginning of the issue. Whereas in the US and other countries growth in retail tenancy space is flat or declining, in Australia it continues to grow. Some say we already have far more shops that the population can support.

In regional and rural locations the challenge is that a new centre is usually located outside town and its development can gut the centre of town, diluting or killing off the heart of a small town.

In some cases, mid-size centre development tis driven by competition by the two major supermarkets and aided and abetted by several other anchor tenants and supported by Tatts keen to be in all new centres.

  1. Do we need more shopping centre space?
  2. Should there be controls on approving this?
  3. What is the economic impact of the current growth in retail space in Australia?
  4. What is the social impact of the current growth in retail space in Australia?
  5. What is the impact, specifically on small business retailers of the growth in retail space?

LANDLORD BEHAVIOUR.

Talk to any small business tenant in a shopping centre and they will have at least one landlord story that causes them stress.

There is the landlord who did a handshake deal with a party that was negotiating to buy a business. the landlord squeezed and the family business closed. The new tenant moved in without paying goodwill.

There is the landlord that took too long on centre re-develoopmnent, making decisions that saw a 50% drop in shopper traffic, and refused any compensation for retailers.

There is the landlord that permits one sore to be on a % deal where they pay 9% of turnovers in rent with a shop next door not able to have such a deal and managing and occupancy cost of 32%.

There is the landlord that strong-arms retailers verbally, never in writing, never in a way that can be used against them.

There is the landlord that takes a marketing levy every month and spends this on activities that offer no benefit whatsoever to retailers.

There are hundreds of stories.

The Royal Commission needs to listen to stories, all stories. Tenants need to be able to do this confidentially as the fear of reprisal by landlords is real.

  1. Do landlords act unlawfully?
  2. Do landlords treat retailers differently?
  3. Do landlords act in secret knowingly harming small business retailers?
  4. Do landlords abuse funds they collect from retailers for marketing?
  5. Are landlords fulfilling their obligations in terms of bringing traffic to shops in their centres?
  6. How are the various roles of employees paid in landlord businesses? What are their incentives?

There are many other questions to answer. My goal here is to kick off the discussion.

WHY?

Too many families are losing their businesses, homes and other assets. Too many small business operators are having their personal situations, including health, negatively impacted. Too many small business operators are losing their life. Yes, this issue is that serious.

Small business retailers feel helpless. They want their business. It has been their life’s work. They fear without it they will have nothing. This can see them agree to a lease that is at its very foundation doomed inappropriate for their business.

Landlords have the upper hand. They are in control. Too many people in landlord businesses are bullies and aware of how to bully without being caught.

The best way to resolve this is to shine a light. Only a Royal Commission c an have the authority and power to do this.

I get that Royal Commissions are popular right now. This suggestion, however, is important given that those most impacted are also those most vulnerable – small businesses, run by families. Were are told small business is the business backbone of our country. However, there is evidence to suggest that small business retailers are disadvantaged in terms of shopping centre development and retail teensy negotiation.

Here at Tower Systems we only serve small business retailers with our POS software. In our view, small business matters. This is why we support the push for a Royal Commission into shopping centre development and retail tenancies.

This post first appeared on a blog last week in a post by the CEO of Tower.

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Setting the record straight on the Xero POS software link

We have a competitor, POS Solutions, that has published a claim of constraints, barriers, on the Xero POS software link.

For the record, we note that no such constraints or barriers have been experienced by us in any of our retail businesses or in any Tower Systems client business using our direct Xero interface.

Footnote: the challenges for the competitor could be due to how they connect to Xero. Tower Systems is a Xero partner, listed on the Xero website. The competitor is not. They may be going through anther party.

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Politicians in Australia to small business retailers: don’t do as I do, do as I say

The federal parliamentarian dual citizenship mess in which we have found ourselves here in Australia for months now shows how politicians treat themselves as elite, special, compared to common folk, the voters who vote them in.

While we in small business are highly regulated, subject to audit and penalised for even simple honest oversight, politicians refuse to permit themselves to be subject to the same.

While individuals are highly regulated, subject to audit and penalised for even simple honest oversight, politicians refuse to permit themselves to be subject to the same.

The moment the first dual citizenship question was raised, an ethical leader keen for democracy would have ordered an immediate full audit of the status of all politicians.

We are bereft of leadership for everyday Australians in Australia.

For months major party politicians have spun their wheels on the issue of dual citizenship and refused to agree to the type of audit that is regular for us in small business. For months they have said politicians should self regulate on this issue while at the same time imposing challenging and enforced regulation on small businesses and on individuals.

Shame on us for allowing your politicians to get away with them setting a standard for their own behaviour that is lower than standards they vote to impose on regular people.

The one party that has provided leadership on this issue is the Greens. From the outset they called for an audit. The are right. Yet their call has been mocked, especially by the government side of the parliament. This side of the parliament that is in control, in leadership, has eschewed leadership and instead engaged in puerile games.

They must think we are fools.

There ought be an audit of all federal politicians immediately, no matter the disruption or the cost.

Section 44 of the Constitution is not new. Its provision have been known for decades. It is easy for anyone to determine their status. Whether they do this comes down to how they see themselves compared to how they see the peril they serve.

We the people deserve honest leadership, leadership that is transparent and for all people, leadership that submits itself to the same standards and level of regulation as they impose on those they serve. We do not have this in Australia at the moment.

Every day, we see small business retailers squeezed by regulation, while at the same time right now seeing politicians refuse even basic regulation. This double standard has to stop, for the good of our country and democracy.

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Oxipay and Tower Systems change LayBy forever

Tower Systems is proud to partner with Oxipay to bring interest free payment plans to high street retail, through our POS.

A competitor of ours has sought to denigrate Oxipay, saying this publicly yesterday: Oxipay (which I know little about other then it is in Tasmania).

This statement is untrue. Oxipay is national, generating excellent business for small and larger businesses.

Tower systems is an early adopter partner, delivering Oxipay transactions daily now for many months, in every state and territory.

Our competitor knows this.

Fid out more about Oxipay here.

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Early engagement with regulators as new legislation is drafted

Tower Systems has been engaged with representatives of a federal government agency as it contemplates new legislation that could impact some areas of retail business operation in which our POS software serves.

We have been engaged in discussions, sharing insights and explaining how parts of our software work, so those drafting the legislation can be better informed about the practicalities in retail business operation.

This work with government departments is not new for us. We have been engaged previously in other areas of business operating, helping to inform legislators to their focus remains on a path appropriate to the needs of the small business retail community.

Our first engagement helping government regulators was mack in the early 1990s when several arms of government were investigating fraud facilitated by the use of POS software developed to make such fraud easy. While our software never had such facilities, we were aware of software that did.

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