Massive boost to Xero user numbers

We are thrilled to partner with Xero through our Xero POS software integration. because of the seamless link to the cloud based accounting solution. We are also thrilled because Xero continues to lead the market. here is news out just yesterday:

The dominant player in the Australian market, Xero, saw its Australian subscriber numbers grow 54 per cent to 312,000 in the year to March.

Xero is the product more accounts and small business retailers are preferring.

Free POS software integrated Shopify and Magento workshops start next week

Join Tower Systems for a one of our free seminars in Australia and New Zealand (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)  where we will show our latest Australian developed POS software for specialty independent small business retail.

  1. Discover how to connect your retail business with Magento or Shopify direct from POS software.
  2. Learn how to be found through Google.
  3. Learn about creating beautiful websites for a fraction of the costs some charge.
  4. See the POS software to Magento and Shopify links LIVE with working websites.

This will be a truly interactive learning opportunity for small business retailers, an opportunity to see under the hood of website development, to discover is this is something any retailer could do for their business.

We will show you how to setup up a Shopify store that can be live in hours. Plus, there will be a Q&A opportunity so you can explore your specific needs. Book now by clicking on the city location you prefer.

  1. Adelaide. October 10. 10am. Rydges South Park.
  2. Sydney. October 11. 10am. Kogarah Golf Club.
  3. Brisbane. October 12. 10am. River View Hotel.
  4. Perth. October 13. 9am. Country Comfort Inter City Hotel.
  5. Melbourne. October 14. 10am. Hawthorn Arts Centre.
  6. Canberra. October 18. 10am. Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport.
  7. Hobart. October 19. 11am. Rydges Hobart.
  8. Darwin. October 26. 2pm Mantra on the Esplanade.
  9. Auckland. Nov. 2. 3pm. Novotel, Auckland Airport.
  10. Wellington. Nov. 3. 10am. Intercontinental Hotel.
  11. Christchurch. Nov. 4. 10am. Novotel Christchurch.

We will share our experiences in the small business POS and e-commerce areas and outline what we learned when creating sites for our own retail businesses. This seminar could save you thousands in web developer fees. Book online.

Helping small business retailers cut employee theft in any type of business

Employee theft is a challenge for any small business retailer. The cost of theft depends on how the business manages the theft situation. To minimise the cost of theft, retailers are advised to follow these simple to implement strategies. They have been developed by our small business retail support team here at Tower Systems over many years of helping small business retailers through our POS software.

  1. Pay above award wages. The quality of your employees is up to you. If you’re doing your job you have good employees. Value them. Pay above award. HR and business psychology experts say this will reduce theft.
  2. Talk to them. Ask for their honest comments about the business.       The more they feel, genuinely feel, valued, the less likely they are to steal from you.
  3. No employee bags at the counter.
  4. Clear refund policy. Type the policy up and put it on the wall for customers and employees to see.       Cover, for example, age of transaction, management approval, that you need their name, address, phone number and signature – such requirements will stop abuse.
  5. Offer good discounts to employees. Let employees buy products from you at your cost or just above it. This respects them as part of your team and it reduces the chances of them being tempted to steal what they want from you.
  6. Don’t take cash out of the til yourself. If employees see you take money out for items like a coffee or your lunch they will feel invited to do the same.
  7. Roster mix up. Change your roster regularly. It is common that a roster change will show you a theft problem you never thought was there.
  8. Roster rules. Don’t have friends working with friends if they are the only ones rostered on.
  9. Speed humps. Have a day where you turn on receipts for ALL customers. Then a day where you require that everything is scanned (as opposed to using hot keys and the like). These changes will keep employees and customers off guard and make it easier for you to spot problems. It will also keep you on your guard and that’s good for the business.
  10. Spend more time at the counter. The further you are from the action in your business the greater the opportunity for you to be ripped off. Spend time where the action is – unexpectedly.
  11. Balance the register during the day. Do this every so often. Again to keep people on their toes. It is also good practice.
  12. Don’t let employees ring their own purchases up.
  13. Don’t let employees sell to family and friends.
  14. Your local council. Many local councils offer theft prevention training and help as do some local police.       (Local U.S. police stations are considerably more active in this area.)
  15. Beware of popularity. There is anecdotal evidence that the more popular the employee the more likely they are the one stealing from you.

FREE e-commerce / website seminar for small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand

Join Tower Systems for a one of our free seminars in Australia and New Zealand (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)  where we will show our latest Australian developed POS software for specialty independent small business retail.

  1. Discover how to connect your retail business with Magento or Shopify direct from POS software.
  2. Learn how to be found through Google.
  3. Learn about creating beautiful websites for a fraction of the costs some charge.
  4. See the POS software integration that saves time and cuts mistakes.
  5. See a new approach to loyalty shoppers love and big businesses cannot copy.
  6. See the POS software to Magento and Shopify links LIVE with working websites.

This will be a truly interactive learning opportunity for small business retailers, an opportunity to see under the hood of website development, to discover is this is something any retailer could do for their business.

We will show you how to setup up a Shopify store that can be live in hours. Plus, there will be a Q&A opportunity so you can explore your specific needs. Book now by clicking on the city location you prefer.

  1. Adelaide. October 10. 10am. Rydges South Park.
  2. Sydney. October 11. 10am. Kogarah Golf Club.
  3. Brisbane. October 12. 10am. River View Hotel.
  4. Perth. October 13. 9am. Country Comfort Inter City Hotel.
  5. Melbourne. October 14. 10am. Hawthorn Arts Centre.
  6. Canberra. October 18. 10am. Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport.
  7. Hobart. October 19. 11am. Rydges Hobart.
  8. Darwin. October 26. 2pm Mantra on the Esplanade.
  9. Auckland. Nov. 2. 3pm. Novotel, Auckland Airport.
  10. Wellington. Nov. 3. 10am. Intercontinental Hotel.
  11. Christchurch. Nov. 4. 10am. Novotel Christchurch.

We will share our experiences in the small business POS and e-commerce areas and outline what we learned when creating sites for our own retail businesses. This seminar could save you thousands in web developer fees.

If you have questions, please email mark@towersystems.com.au or call 0418 321 338. If you are in New Zealand, please call toll free on 0800 444 367.

Tower Systems is an Australian small business focussed POS software company based in Hawthorn Victoria with sales and support nationally. Our software is available to run locally or in the cloud and can be purchased, leased or rented for a few dollars a day. Our phone number is 1300 662 957.

Small business POS software Xero link cuts time and mistakes

The link between our small business POS software and Xero cloud based accounting is helping small business retailers eliminate time-consuming and error prone bookkeeping steps … and this is money in the bank for small business retailers.

Our POS software Xero link runs in the background, delivering data to Xero so it is working for you rather than you being a slave to it as is often the case with older approaches to accounting software use in small business retail.

Using Xero ourselves in our own retail businesses, shops we own as live test beds for what we do here, we know the benefits, we see then and bank the benefits.

We have an in-house accountant who oversees our various businesses and he delights at the time saving from the PO software to Xero link. He also delights over the mistake elimination by cutting out what were manual processes.

This is the key of the link to Xero.

And when you overlay the Tyro broadband banking solution for small business retail you have an even better solution cutting more processes, freeing up more cash and empowering small business retailers for better outcomes.

What is Transferred to Xero?

Sales

End of Shift based department-level sales are transferred to Xero via a sales invoice. Each department can be assigned its own Xero account.

Invoices

Invoices received into Retailer are transferred to Xero at department level. No individual stock items are transferred.

Write Offs & No Sales

These are transferred to individual expense accounts depending on the transaction reason chosen.

Cost Of Sales

An option on sales exporting is to export Cost of Sales. While not a full implementation of COGS it does transfer over the cost price of items sold each day to reduce the value of Stock On Hand in Xero. If you use this option you will export Write offs, not as expenses, but as adjustment to your Stock on Hand. This makes processing stock adjustments for the End Of Month much easier.

FREE SEMINAR: Linking POS software for your type of business with Magento, Shopify and Xero

Join Tower Systems for a one of our free seminars in Australia and New Zealand (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)  where we will show our latest Australian developed POS software for specialty independent small business retail.

See the POS software to Magento and Shopify links that get you online. See the POS software Xero link that saves time and money. See a new approach to loyalty shoppers love and big businesses cannot copy.

We will show you how to setup up a Shopify store that can be live in hours. Plus, there will be a Q&A opportunity so you can explore your specific needs. Book now by clicking on the city location you prefer.

  1. Adelaide. October 10. 10am. Rydges South Park.
  2. Sydney. October 11. 10am. Kogarah Golf Club.
  3. Brisbane. October 12. 10am. River View Hotel.
  4. Perth. October 13. 9am. Country Comfort Inter City Hotel.
  5. Melbourne. October 14. 10am. Hawthorn Arts Centre.
  6. Canberra. October 18. 10am. Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport.
  7. Hobart. October 19. 11am. Rydges Hobart.
  8. Darwin. October 26. 2pm Mantra on the Esplanade.
  9. Auckland. Nov. 2. 3pm. Novotel, Auckland Airport.
  10. Wellington. Nov. 3. 10am. Intercontinental Hotel.
  11. Christchurch. Nov. 4. 10am. Novotel Christchurch.

We will share our experiences in the small business POS and e-commerce areas and outline what we learned when creating sites for our own retail businesses. This seminar could save you thousands in web developer fees.

If you have questions, please email mark@towersystems.com.au or call 0418 321 338. If you are in New Zealand, please call toll free on 0800 444 367.

Tower Systems is an Australian small business focussed POS software company based in Hawthorn Victoria with sales and support nationally. Our software is available to run locally or in the cloud and can be purchased, leased or rented for a few dollars a day. Our phone number is 1300 662 957.

Tower Systems offers specialty software for: gift shopsjewellerstoy shopsfishing/outdoors businessesgarden centres/nurseriespet shopsbike shops,produce storesfirearms businesses and newsagents.

Our sales team can show you our software:

  • SA/WA/VIC – Tim Batt 0401 833 917;
  • NSW/TAS – Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
  • QLD – Justin Randall 0434 365 789.

Managing Director: Mark Fletcher. 0418 321 338.

Helping small business retailers to compete with online through POS software

Bricks and mortar retailers are doing it tough in the fight for sales with online businesses. You are often sought out for face to face advice but lose the sale to an online operation when it comes to price comparison.

We have put together advice for small business retailers, independent retailers, to offer guidance on the future direction and management opportunities where competing with online businesses is a challenge. We offer this advice here for free to any retailer to consider, regardless of the POS software they use.

Given the different cost bases for an online business serving a country or the world compared to a retail shop serving a local community, you can’t win on price, not in the long term.

In working with thousands of small business independent retailers in Australia, New Zealand and other countries over many years we have seen some excellent successes and some epic failures.

Success in competing with online competitors begins and ends with making good decisions based on sound facts and structuring the business for success at every possible point.

This is business

For many retail shop owners, the retail shop is part lifestyle, part sport and part business. This can complicate the decisions that need to be made to make the business successful.

Running your retail shop as a business has to come first. Get this right and you can enjoy the sport and have the lifestyle you want. If business does not come first, the other two will usually not follow.

So, competing with online begins with your headspace, it begins with committing to getting the business right and relentlessly pursuing its success.

In practical terms, this means that every business decision is based on careful consideration of sound data. If the data does not support a business decision, you don’t do it. Simple.

Five ways you can compete with online

Here are five ways you can differentiate your business from online, ways that leverage personal, human, contact.

  1. Track every contact. Treat every contact as a customer. Know who they are. Explain that it’s part of your service – to offer advice and keep in touch. This will qualify them as a customer from their very first question. While it may scare some off, better that you do it early before you give away your expert advice.
  2. Give them a gift for listening to you. Every customer who spends time taking in your advice should be given a voucher for them to spend in-store in a purchase above a certain value. This shows that you value their attention. Presented well it can better connect them with you for the longer term.
  3. Subtly share stories about the risks of online shopping. There are documented stories you can find about people being ripped off – what they ordered is not what they received, credit card fraud and the like. Arm your team with these stories … maybe a story about a customer who bought from you following an expensive rip off online.
  4. Reward loyalty with a front-end approach. Ensure that every purchase over, say, $10, comes with a voucher offering a discount off the next purchase. Factor this into your mark-up model. Cash rewards showing on a receipt can be a powerful lure to bringing a shopper back.
  5. Personalise your service. Arm all sales staff with personal business cards. Place follow up calls or emails to shoppers spending over, say, $100. Host networking events in-store. Connect with and support local clubs. Add value through personal contact at every possible opportunity. Structure regular, value-adding, contact with your customer base.

The difference between a bricks and mortar retail shop and a website selling the same products online is that your business, the bricks and mortar business, is real, it can be visited, it’s personal. Everything you say and do needs to reinforce this and build trust based on this.

Be open about price

Don’t be afraid to say that online businesses can sell for less. That’s because they do less and care less. You could do this too but that’s probably not the business you want to run.

Competing on price really comes down to changing the game. This is where a properly structured and consistently run loyalty program offering an amount of cash off the next purchase based on the current purchase can make a difference for you.

Being consistent

Online businesses through the software behind their websites are consistent if nothing else. This is where good retail shop software can help a retail shop compete. It can drive consistency in the bricks and mortar business on pricing, loyalty rewards, customer marketing, buying, pricing and employee performance tracking and motivation.

Good retail shop software is designed specifically for retail shops to leverage the difference retail shops offer over online retailers. When used to the fullest, it can drive sales and bring customers back more often. It can play a key role on competing with online.

POS software update adds value to small business software

Tower Systems is thrilled to announced the advanced beta release of the latest version of its smart POS software. Developed in-house bbq the Tower Systems retail software development team, this latest release of the Retailer software delivers many enhancements. here are just some of the enhancements:

  1. Enhancements to Special Customer Order Arrivals and Management
  2. Enhancements to Stock Re-ordering processes (Order by Sales and Order Management)
  3. New Improved and expanded Multi-Store ordering and receiving processes
  4. New direct Shopify Integration
  5. New Layby Receipts to match the new POS Receipts
  6. New Layby Notes for collections
  7. New Layby Tourist Refund Scheme compliance
  8. New Customisable Customer Menus
  9. Latest News Corp Route Delivery List Integration
  10. New Bulk Image Import tool for stock
  11. New option to disable receipts for EFTPOS sales
  12. New and more comprehensive ability to manually Edit Customer Loyalty Points
  13. New ability to open Special Customer Order Management screen directly from POS
  14. Enhancements to Linked Items
  15. Enhancements and consistency to Packs (previously Cartons)
  16. Enhancements to Customer Invoice Maintenance Ordering and Re-ordering.

As noted, these are only some of the enhancements to the POS software delivered in the latest update delivered by Tower Systems.

Enhancements are sourced from user suggestions and developed in close consultation with users of the software.

Each update is tested in house, alpha tested in several retail stores and then released to the beta community prior to release to all customers. This process results in stable and enjoyed software.

Tower Systems leftists customers choose when they install any software update. Small business retailers love this.

POS software Shopify integrated websites for small business retailers

The deep and seamless link between the Tower Systems POS software and Shopify e-commerce sites is proving to be popular with small business retailers keen to transact online in a smart and current technology way.

The now released Shopify POS software link is racking up sales as shoppers shop for what they love with product fulfilled from a high street retailer using the link.

Being able to run one stock file between online and offline is vital for retail businesses.

With the Shopify site being live in a few days and using inventory data from the high street store, Tower Systems has devlieverd a best-practice POS Software / Shopify solution that any small business retailer could use.

WHY SHOPIFY?

Shopify is an easy to use e-commerce platform. We think anyone can setup a Shopify site for themselves. Linking the site to our retailer software is also easy. Shopify is a great place for a business to start on their online journey. You can control pages, products, look and plenty more. Shopify is not as complex as Magento and other more comprehensive website platforms.

WHAT TOWER SYSTEMS OFFERS.

For a modest fee, Tower Systems offers a live Shopify site linked to a retailer’s business with plenty of facilities and functionality:

For ease of reference and clarity, below is a numbered list of all work and tasks included in the above quote. This is the complete list.

  1. Shopify account. We would create this for / with you. It needs your credit card. There is a basic Shopify cost, currently US$29.00 a month.
  2. Template / theme selection. We will step you through template / theme options included in the price and with you and choose one for the site. Note: there are some themes (not developed by us) that you can purchase outside our package price for more specialist options. These can cost up to $200.00 extra.
  3. Overall design to be applied to the template selected to customise the look and feel of the site. The design process is not priced to be a back and forth process. We will listen to your brief and provide a design. Minor adjustments can be made within the quote but any diversion from the original brief would add to the cost.
  4. A functioning live website for your business that works and can be accessed from different devices – computer, phone, tablet – with auto detect of the device so the site looks good. With the website to be based on Shopify with the following:
    1. Homepage. Including text, images, button.
    2. Home page links to any business accounts you have for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
    3. A home page feed of your business blog if you have one and it is published through Shopify that allows data feeds.
    4. Admin page for your management of the site. This is not seen by the public. There is a range of settings you can control for proper management of the site.
    5. About page. Where your business is described. You will provide the text for this.
    6. Privacy Policy page listing a good privacy policy we have developed – that you can modify.
    7. Terms and conditions page listing terms and conditions we have developed – that you can modify.
    8. Contact us page showing your location on a map and making contact easy with you.
    9. A shopping cart facility for managing the products you sell. This is the guts of the site, the most important part. This specifically includes facilities you would use to manually load products or import products from Retailer.
  5. The setup of loading of products into the site via a live link to the Retailer software.
  6. Interfacing to one or both payment gateways: Stripe and Paypal.
  7. Defined to Google and Bing so those search engines know about the site and it can be found. This is vitally important.
  8. Embedded SEO. Each page will be developed with appropriate meta tags to encourage easy finding through search engines. We will use our best-practice SEO knowledge to maximise the opportunity.
  9. Training of your nominated person in the management of the site. This is done over the phone and should take no more than two hours. We would suggest two sessions of training for appropriately skilled people.

How Tower Systems settles new POS software users in to enjoy their software

Tower Systems offers a level of personal service to small business retailers installing its POS software. The company has multiple roles in the business focussed on the easy and gentle settling in of the software into businesses using the software. The roles have evolved over time to serve the singular goal of helping retailers get to a happy place with their Tower Systems software quickly.

One of the most important benefits of the Tower Systems approach to new customers is the new customer help desk entry point.

New customers of POS software have different needs to long term customers. We have found that by handling the two are different points on the help desk we are able to deliver a better help desk experience to each.

Our new customer specialists make outbound calls, to get to our new customers ahead of them getting to us, to provide them with intuitive assistance prior to them realising they could benefit from then insights being shared.

By separating new customers out from the everyday support call traffic, help desk resources are better managed and customers more satisfied with the different experiences based on their knowledge and needs.

In additional to personal new customer service, Tower Systems helps new customers settle in with terrific user documentation, training videos, follow up training and business management level insights.

Since we own and operate our own retail businesses using our POS software we are able to speak from personal experience. This is a valuable point of difference for our customers and for us. For example, we can talk about how to setup for easy Xero integration or the ideal product category structure or how to deal with suppliers more efficiently. being able to say this is how we resolve this issue in our shop is a tremendous point of difference our customers love.

There is nothing worse than a help desk person telling you what to do when they do not understand what they are saying in the context of your retail business. Context is everything as they say. We understand the context of POS software in a retail business because we live it. We use this context in helping small business retailers settle into using our POS software.

Lay-By facilities help small business retailers leverage special event sales

IMG_2549 (1)We are grateful for the opportunity of participating is a special collector event last weekend at a business using our POS software.

While many elements of our POS software helped make the event run smoothly, it was our Lay-Bys facilities that shone through with professional management of many large Lay-By transactions.

Lay-Bys are important to small business retailers as they enable them to capture sales they might otherwise lose. For them to work, though, they need to be professionally managed.

Our software professionally manages the Lay-By from sale to tules to deposit to payments to collection to safe storage.

On a day like this special event, Lay-By was important to help the retailer achieve sales they might otherwise have missed. Our software helps drive consistency for the retailer and build confidence for the shopper.

We love spending time in retail and seeing first hand how retailers use our POS software.

Tower Systems POS software featured in XU magazine for Xero users

IMG_2466We are thrilled with the covering of Tower Systems and our POS software across several pages of XU magazine, the magazine sought after by Xero accounting software users.

The latest issue of XU magazine, released at the Xerocon conference in Brisbane this week, is packed with practical business advice and support for small business owners, accountants and bookkeepers. It is a must read for anyone using Xero or connected with the Xero community.

We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this respected publication.

Using our POS software, small business retailers are able to save rostered hours in their businesses, be smarter in selling and marketing and be more informed in business decisions. These benefits are enhanced through the Xero link.

The latest article in XU magazine explains the benefits and presents Tower Systems as the professional software company it is.

What being at Xerocon South means for our POS software co

FullSizeRender-1Being at Xerocon South is proving to be a wonderful experience. Spending all day talking with accountants and bookkeepers who help small business retailers run more successful businesses.

The discussions are detailed about small business challenges and opportunities, specific to specific niche retail channels that we serve such as toy shops, jewllers, garden centres and pet stores.

Talking business, talking Xero and talking smart cloud based software – we are loving it, loving the detail, loving the learning and loving the optimism.

This is an exciting and motivating event, especially for those of us serving the small business retail space.

What this event mean for us is ne connections, with accountants and bookkeepers – people like us who serve small businesses to help them run more successful businesses. This shared goal brings is close together.

We are the only vertical market POS software company here, enabling is top delve deep into our specialisation with accountants to help them be more specialist with their clients.

We took the photo early this morning before the doors opened at 8am. We love the green look.

Day 1 for Tower Systems POS software at Xerocon in Brisbane

We are thrilled to be participating in Xerocon in Brisbane this week. As a parter of Xero, we are among a small group of approved connected POS software companies here at the conference.

Yesterday we met with plenty of accountants, bookkeepers and integrators who stopped by our stand. It was the busiest day at a trade show for us this year.

We are showing off our POS software that offers a SAAS model, cloud based through to desktop models for specialist retailers in a range of small business channels including newsagents, jewellers, got shops, bike shops, produce stores, toy shops, garden centres, pet shops and more.

FullSizeRender 2

The first day of xerocon yesterday was terrific. We are excited for what today will bring.

Small business retail advice: what’s next after Father’s Day?

With Father’s Day being an important retail season in many small business retailers, we ask this timely and important question: What comes after Father’s Day?

This is a question small business retailers should ask along with: What do you have planned for the business from today until Christmas really kicks in? Do you have a plan?

We think retailers need a plan. You should have had a plan a couple of months ago when planning for coming out of a major season for this period before the next major season starts.

Knowing what’s next is vital in retail where the everyday on which you rely is not as strong as it was years ago.

Now more than ever shop floor engagement and out of store marketing are vital to attract new shoppers and we cannot rely on major seasons only to do this for if we do we become like old-style gift shops and they are closing fast.

So: What comes after Father’s Day?

Helping small business retailers engage in targeted marketing

Next week we are hosting a free workshop on targeted marketing for retailers using our specialty retail POS software. This free training is part of our weekly free live training workshop program, training that people can access from anywhere.

Click here for more details on this training and to book.

We are proud to maintain our commitment to training, first established years ago. It is hard work deliver on the marketing pitch. Here at Tower systems we deliver. Plus, we are transparent about it with sessions listed publicly and numbers showing too – so you know it is real.

Small business retailers want certainty from their POS software company. We are committed to providing certainty of access to terrific software backed by accessible and friendly support.

If you are in specialty retail and want to engage in targeted marketing, this free workshop could be ideal for you.

Shopify POS software interface live and helping small business retailers online

The direct and deep interface between the Tower Systems POS software and Shopify is working brilliantly, transacting saves, managing freight, managing replenishment and providing certainty for a retail store with an online website powered by Shopify.

Thanks to meetings with Shopify experts at the Shoptalk conference two months ago in Las vegas, Tower Systems has delivered an elegant integration that enables physical store retailers to engage online using Shopify quickly and easily.

Our own Shopify experience has helped us deliver a better outcome for our customers as we speak from our own real world experience. This is a key Tower Systems difference as we are users of our POS software too. Not too many POS software companies can say that.

Our Shopify integration is another professional integration from our development team, leveraging our experience in retail and tech to create a valuable whole of business solution through which a retailer can discover new shoppers and leverage above average revenue for their type of business.

Beyond the tech itself we are able to guide and assist retailers to understand opportunities, to use the full power of the internet to help people discover the business who might otherwise not have known it existed.

Small business retailers benefit from using tags in smart POS software

More and more of the small business retailers using our POS software are using the tags facilities in the software for more efficient management of inventory data managed by the software.

Tags in the Tower Systems Retailer software provide an easy way to manage stock. In the powerful stock manager facility you can select all items with a tag and then:

  1. Change price.
  2. Change description.
  3. Change department.
  4. Change category,.
  5. Change supplier.
  6. Add to an  an order.
  7. Stock take.

Tags are a terrific tool in your software for managing stock. We encourage you to use them. We can help.

Sunday retail management advice: how small business retailers can compete with a big national retailer

Small and independent retailers often feel helpless when a big national retailer opens up nearby. There is no match for their range, buying power, advertising coverage or even news coverage.

The sheer size of a national competitor is what scares many smaller retailers. This is often enough for them to give up and close the business.

Giving up and running is the easy way out. There is no lesson learned, just an escape from the fear.

The alternative is to find out how to deal with the national retailer.

Here are five tips for small businesses on how to face and deal with a national retailer moving into the area:

  1. Don’t compete. By not talking about the competitor, pricing against them or pitching your business in any way, you separate yourself. While they may have similar products, it is unlikely that they are targeting your specific business so why target them? Focus instead on your own business. Not competing should include not advertising price comparisons, not focusing on the competitor at staff meetings, not expanding your range to sell more of what they sell and not obsessing about them. We were working with an independent retailer recently who decided to offer a product they sold which is also available in a nearby national retailer for 10% less than the sale price in the national retailer. This move gave the independent retailer a margin of 15%. In discussion I discovered that most of the customers who visited the independent retailer were unlikely to shop in the national retailer. So why compete on price? If you know why customers shop with you, you have the opportunity of not giving up margin out of fear.
  2. Run a better business. From the moment you hear about a new national retailer coming to town, look at every aspect of your business for opportunities for improvement. From the back room to the font counter fine tune your processes, employee training, stock buying and the look of the business. Dramatically improve your business from the inside out. This will improve your business health and help you weather challenges which may lie ahead. Too often, independent retailers wait until the national retailer is open to react. This is probably a year or two too late.
  3. Be unique. Look for ways to make your business unique. It could be on product range, operating hours, add-on services or something else. Embrace any opportunity to make your business unique. Even a unique niche range of products can give you traffic a big competitor will not chase. Try and focus on products which require a level of retail skill and knowledge to sell – national retailers have challenges hiring and retaining retail employees with specialist knowledge and skills.
  4. Engage the community. Connect with the community at every possible opportunity. Support local groups, speak at functions, get known as someone and a business who care deeply about the local community. Subtly make the connection that you are fortunate to be able to help because of your local business. Being smaller and independent you are better able to personally engage with the community. You and your team are the business whereas a national chain will always be the corporate. They can throw money around locally, you can throw time, knowledge and more flexible assistance.
  5. Tell your stories. Your retail narrative, your stories, connect you with the local community. Tell these through the people you contact, your own blog, a Facebook page and in the pages of the local newspaper. Tell human stories about your business, the people who work in it and the local stories which connect with it. Your stories could be about local community connection, convenience of shopping, commitment to range, personal customer service, product niche knowledge … there are many different narratives with which an independent retailer can connect. It is important that one you have your narrative you stick to is, that it inhabits your decisions, marketing and public presentation.

By acting early and in advance of a national retailer opening, you better position your business to weather their advertising and PR onslaught. Get in early, build a stronger business and understand that through this the new business in town will not be your competitor.

Tower Systems leverages Tyro and Xero partnership

Thanks to the Tower Systems partnerships with Tyro broadband EFTPOS for retail and Xero and our direct integration with the beautiful Xero accounting software, we are thrilled to support the Tyro Smart Account. This has been outlined to our small business retail customers in this week’s customer email:

Our EFTPOS partner Tyro now offers a fee-free bank account that links to Xero and automates your supplier bill payments? It’s called the Tyro Smart Account, and is available exclusively to Tyro merchants.

If you’re using Tyro and Xero and you’d like to activate your Smart Account (it’s free after all), contact banking@tyro.com. Tyro is also offering complimentary Xero training on batch payments to all merchants who activate. The training is conducted by leading online Xero trainer Jet Convert and is valued at $110.