The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

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

CategoryGame shop software

POS software integration for international barcode lookup saves time for small business retailers

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Retailers are loving the international barcode lookup integration in our POS software. This connects with a respected worldwide database of product barcodes and provides excellent access to descriptions and much more: improving data accuracy, saving time and enhancing in-store and online product engagement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POS software ChatGPT integration helps retailers generate awesome product descriptions to drive online sales

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Here’s an example of the awesome training videos we provide POS software customers. This one explains the ChatGPT POS software integration and shows how it can be used.

Now, if you’d rather read what is covered in the video: there is an awesome transcript provide on the righthand side. This is broken down by timing in the video. here’s an example:

0:01 Using ChatGPT to generate web store descriptions is by far my favorite tool in Retailer at the moment. It makes it really easy to get nice cool descriptions that work really well and you can even customize how it actually functions.

0:14 So first and foremost there’s going to be a link to the advice sheet on ChatGPT and using it. So here it is on the Tower Systems website.

0:22 I highly recommend you read it because it does change when there are things that occur with ChatGPT that change. For an example I will be addressing this particular point in this video where Yep.

0:33 Default model selected in Retailer doesn’t work, but long story short read the advice sheet, follow it. It’s going to be really good. 0:40 I’ll give you a brief rundown on doing it. So first you need to sign up to ChatGPT. I’ve already done that and then you need to create an API login key.

0:50 The next thing you should also do is make sure you do put in some payment details in there because it will not generate any API details if you don’t have payment details in there.

0:59 Why? Well they give you $5 worth of credit to start off with, um but they won’t actually generate anything if they’ve got nothing to pay.

1:05 Pay for later when you run out of that credit to top it up. So you’ve got to put some billing details in there. 1:11 Anyway, step one. Let’s get a API key. So we get to the chat GPT website and here on the left.

1:19 I’ve got API keys in here. If you can’t see it, just bring your mouse over to the very left side and API keys will be there and we need to create a new secret key. 1:26 So I’m just going to call this retailer. It’ll then ask you to verify that you’re a human and you just do a little puzzle.

1:33 It’s a nice fun one. Make the object here point in the direction of the hand. Love it. And you then have your key.

1:42 Now you get your key, you copy it and inside retailer, we go to setup API connection. Scroll on down to open AI.

1:53 Which is about halfway down and you put your key. In there. Save it. That’s step one of the steps in retailer.

On the page with the video you can see the whole transcript.

Xero POS software helps retailers save time and cut mistakes

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The Tower Systems Xero POS software is POS software designed to integrate with the awesome Xero accounting software.

Made is Australia and supported by a wonderful and knowledgeable Australian help desk team, this POS software helps local retailers save time thanks to its Xero accounting software integration.

The Tower Systems POS software Xero integration reduces time spend on bookkeeping and accounting thanks to the seamless, neat and accurate data flow from the POS software to Xero. This also reduces the opportunity for employee fraud.

There is no additional cost for the Xero POS software integration from Tower Systems.

It is easy to get up and running thanks to a wonderful training video, excellent knowledge base articles as well as live, one-on-one support and more from the Tower Systems POS software crew. This content and support for easy use of Xero POS software is exclusive to Tower Systems.

Tower Systems developed this integration with Xero many years ago. It have been enhanced as the Tower software and as Xero have been enhanced – to ensure the software is current for the needs of today.

We use Xero ourselves in our own retail businesses, our advice comes from this place of personal experience. This enables us to provide practical advice on how to benefit the most from Xero and our POS software working together.

Connect the Tower Systems POS software with  Xero in minutes and keep everything in sync. Simply connect the tow and map your accounts. Our crew of retail experts can help;p you do this.

Once connected, your Tower systems POS software will upload your chosen key financial data to Xero – saving time on admin and cutting data mistakes.

This is an ideal local retail solution from Tower Systems that genuinely cuts keystrokes, saves time and protects retail businesses against fraud thanks to less touching of business data.

Tower Systems is a unique Australian based and supported POS software company. In addition to serving 3,500+ small business retailers, we own and operate several retail businesses as live test sites. Our in-house CPA manages the accounts for these retail businesses.

You’re welcome to see the Xero POS software link any time, to see if it could be a good solution for your business.

Local small business retail advice: how to partner with local community groups to better serve the local community

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Talk about a win, win, win. This tip helps local retailers win new local customers, your customers save money and a local community group raise funds. Engagement is measurable, so you can assess the return on your investment.

Find a locally loved and trusted community group in need of funds, a group that has a reasonable number of members who do not currently shop with you.

Offer the community group a percentage from each purchase made by members of the group and their family members.

Offer each member a discount for each purchase.

The amounts offered need to be considered in the context of your business, your margin and the value of the anticipated additional purchases.

Consider a timeframe for the offer. For example, it may be useful to trial the offer for a limited period so you can assess engagement and then adjust as appropriate. It may also be an offer only open to certain days of the week, your quietest days.

Consider the products to be included in the campaign. It may be appropriate to exclude products categories where your margin is not enough to justify inclusion.

To manage the offer, see if your Point-of-Sale software can help. I know the software from my own software company can manage this. You give each community group a member a card, which when scanned ensures they get the discounted price and the donation to the community group is tracked.

The card becomes valuable itself, something talked about, sought after.

The commercial goal of this campaign has to be net new shopper traffic for the business delivering revenue the business would otherwise not have achieved. If this is the case, a discount off the usual margin achieved is acceptable as it is effectively a cost of acquiring the additional business.

Key to the success of this campaign is the active engagement of the community group in rallying members to visit the shop, to encourage them to support you so that you support the group they love.

Make an event of handing over the donation to the community group. Get photos. Talk on social media about being grateful for the local support that has enabled you to make the donation.

Share stories on social media about the activities of the group as your support of them can encourage their support of you.

We love the campaign outlined here as it represents the circular nature of the local community: people living locally, shopping locally, enabling local shops to thrive locally and support loved local community groups.

Tower Systems makes POS software for local retailers that helps facilitate what we have described here.

Retailers loving the 1% EFTPOS fee rate offer

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Many of our local retail business POS software customers have jumped on the 1% EFTPOS fee rate. This is an optional rate with the choice entirely up to our POS software customers.

Here at Tower Systems we do not require our POS software customers to use any particular EFTPOS or payments platform. We leave the choice to them without any cost or penalty applied. This is a difference we are proud of, that we do not charge customers based on the EFTPOS platform they use. There is no penalty, no demand they use a particular platform.

The 1% EFTPOS cost offer for Tower Systems customers is another way we have sought to reduce operating costs for our small business retail customers.

Customers are loving it.

We also make it easy in our POS software for our customers to pass on actual EFTPOS costs to their customers, making EFTPOS cost them nothing at all in their businesses. That they are passing on a low cost is another way they can differentiate their business.

This 1% EFTPOS cost is for a solution integrated with our software. This means a bunch of benefits, such as:

  • Reduced keystrokes.
  • Reduced mistakes.
  • Reduced accounting and bookkeeping overhead.
  • Faster sales processing.
  • Better sales counter workflow.
  • Lower business costs.
  • Easy refund management.
  • Easier customer query handling.
  • Single point takings balancing for the beguines.
  • Reduced employee fraud.

There are plenty of benefits of this POS software integrated EFTPOS solutions beyond the low 1% EFTPOS cost to businesses.

Local retail business management benefits from integrated solutions. They do save time, and they reduce operating costs. That the financial costs are low is a loved benefit too.

We are proud to have been able to leverage this 1% EFTPOS fee rate for our Tower Systems customers, all of whom are local independent retail businesses, small businesses. It’s another way we have been able to help these small businesses get benefits that are often only available to big and national businesses.

Tower Systems is a small business focussed POS software company developing, and supporting POS software for niche specialty retailers. Jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, toy shops, produce businesses, farm supply businesses, fishing shops, pet shops, charity businesses, landscape gardening businesses, antique shops, sewing shops, haberdashery businesses, newsagents and more benefit from this software.

If your shop is quiet this week here’s a perfect use of spare time: reduce the dead stock weighing you down

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We showed a retailer that more than 25% of the stock in their business was underperforming to the point that it was seriously loss making. There’s a tab on our insights dashboard that shows this.

This first week of the year is a good time to check it, to see if you have dead stock in your shop.

You don’t have to run a report or analyse data in any complex way. Click on the tab and it’s there for you, good or bad.

In the business mentioned above, the dead stock represented more than forty thousand dollars, $40,000, sitting, waiting, doing nothing, failing.

Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company. Sure, we show how to use the software. But, we also offer advice from a business management perspective – how to use the software to drive value for the business and its owners. We do this from the position of being retailers ourselves. We can speak to our experiences in our shops.

We own and run shops where we use our software ourselves.n We provide practical advice to our POS software customers based on our own experiences.

That’s what we do in this dead stock situation. Plus, we draw on decades of practical help to other retailers.

Our advice is to look at dead stock / the age of stock every 3 months. You soon learn the value of buying based on data evidence in the business and being cautious when exploring new product lines.

Your software can guide you to make decisions more likely to work, and less likely to result in dead stock.

We have been working with retailers for many years and continue to be surprised at the disinterest of many retailers in the extent and cost of dead stock in their businesses.

When we bought a retail business a few years back we had written into the contract a cascading discounts for existing stock based on its age beyond 6 months. In that business, more than half the stock had been there for 6 months.

Dead stock costs the business today, and when you come to sell.

In our POS software and thanks to our personal training we help retailers reduce the cost of dead stock in their businesses.

Have you got stock hiding in boxes in your retail shop? It’s time to put it to work or let it go

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Have you got piles of stock tucked away in boxes, gathering dust in your garage or under shop tables? If so, you’re not alone. But if you’re serious about making a profit, you need to get that stock out on display where customers can see it.

It seems obvious to write, but some retailers still don’t understand this basic principle of business: stock that’s hidden away isn’t going to sell. If you’ve got stock sitting in boxes because you don’t have room to display it, it’s time to re-evaluate your purchasing decisions.

Think about it this way: every dollar you spend on stock is money you could be using to pay bills or invest in your business. So, before you buy any more stock, ask yourself:

Do I really need this stock?
Do I have room to display it?
Can I realistically sell it within a reasonable timeframe?
Is having this stock in my shop going to be valuable for the business?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, then don’t buy it.

Some retailers buy stock to impress sales reps or make their shops look busy. Others buy stock to make themselves feel better about their businesses. Some retailers buy stock because they are lonely. These are all the wrong reasons to buy stock.

There are even some sales reps who know they’re selling stock to businesses that don’t need it. Shame on them for putting their own financial gains ahead of the well-being of their customers.

If you don’t know the value of the stock in your business, it’s likely you have too much stock. A good but very basic rule of thumb or starting point of s=consideration at least is that stock should not be more than 20% of your total annual revenue from those products.

If you have boxes of stock that you haven’t opened in six months or more, you have too much stock. And if your back room, garage, or under-display table space is filled with boxes, you’ve got a big problem.

The best way to deal with an overstock of inventory is to stop buying new stock and focus on selling down what you already have. Don’t get emotional about it – just make a plan and stick to it.

If you don’t address the issue of overstocking, it will eventually overwhelm you and your business. Don’t let that happen. Take control of your inventory and watch your profits grow.

Yes, we’re a POS software company. We own and run shops, which is very rare for any of our competitors. Our daily experience in retail helps us better serve our customers in the software we make and the support we provide.

Christmas marketing tips for local small business retailers

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It’s November 1. The countdown to Christmas is well and truly under way. The next 8 weeks are probably the most important weeks of trade for most retailers.

Here are some free tips to help you make the most of the opportunities, to help you separate your business from the Christmas noise.

Over the next 8 weeks most retailers will pound hard Christmas products, sales and opportunities. Many will be loud, screeching for people to look at them. In local retail businesses it’s hard to compete with the noise of national retailers.

The best advice we think we can give local retailers is to have fun, enjoy yourselves, help customers enjoy themselves.

In your social media posts, focus on having fun and sharing joyful stories.

In your window, be local, shine a light on local talents from kids to retirees. have your shop software people want to visit to see their friends and neighbours and themselves reflected.

In your shop be sure to keep it light, relaxed and fun.

We could give you a list of things to do. Not this year. This year we think you’ll get more value from a relaxed and fun-focussed Christmas season. let the others do the heavy lifting with Christmas noise. In your shop let people relax and catch their breath.

Being calm and relaxing will separate your shop, get it known for being this place rather than the shrill and bustle of Christmas retail elsewhere.

Make it easy, too. People often talk about how hard Christmas is. Be the business that makes it easy. The ways to do this are have bundled gifts ready to go, pre-bagged or wrapped, with some card selections that are relevant, offer easy payment options including buy now pay later, free wrapping, better shop floor help, guide buying advice or tips on perfect gifts no one else will think of. Consider making Christmas easy as being a key part of your messaging.

You could also help your shoppers help others. Setup a whiteboard or sheets of butcher’s paper, yes keep it simple. Get customers to write gift suggestions under different age/gender groups. For example: Girls 18 – 25, Boys 55+. Encourage your customers to help each other.

Stand out this Christmas by being different, calm, relaxed, fun. Shoppers will notice this, and appreciate what you have done.

Have an awesome run up to Christmas!

Helping retailers quickly and easily load product images to their online store

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The free web app we created for retailers to facilitate fast and easy loading of product photos to our POS software and feeding these to Shopify, magenta, Woo and Big Commerce websites is being loved by our customers.

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

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

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

Game store POS software helps local game shops thrive

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The game store POS software from Tower Systems helps local game shops thrive by nurturing:

  • Better and more valuable business decisions.
  • Connecting with and serving local clubs.
  • Reducing dead stock.
  • Accurately and easily managing sales.
  • Bringing shoppers back sooner.
  • Guiding more items each purchased each visit.

This POS software made for game shops has facilities that go deep into the unique needs of game shops.

Game shops are unique and special businesses. Here are some of the ways our game store POS software helps local game shops leverage their uniqueness:

  1. Rare visit loyalty.  We are told that customers visit a game shop infrequently. Our software offers subtle loyalty tools that encourage more value from each visit.
  2. Pre-orders. Easily manage selling products before you have them in-stock. Collectors love these facilities. It works really well for items that are hard to find.
  3. Buy Now Pay Later and LayBy. Through our software you can have both.
  4. Club / collector marketing and support. Leverage clubs and collectors with offers and pricing. Nurture the love of gaming and connecting to this community, and growing the size of the community.
  5. Special orders. With some items ordered in for a customer request, managing these types of orders helps the business to manage opportunities and to capture revenue in advance.
  6. Consignment selling. For customers who ask you to sell their items, you can track this inventory and any sales.
  7. Sell online. It’s easy with our Shopify integration.

Our Australian made and supported game store POS software does much more than this.

We are grateful to the game shops already using our software for their advice and feedback is key to helping us to continue to evolve this game store POS software.

Here’s what’s included in the monthly rental cost: software licences for unlimited computers in the location, help desk support (by phone or email) 6 days a week (including Saturday), access to a comprehensive support knowledge base, after hours support call access for urgent system down queries, access to our Shopify, Xero and other integrations, access to our supplier invoice import tools.

Of course, the game shop POS software from Tower Systems offers much more than this.

Customisable thanks to many user-selectable options, this software helps game shops differentiate from big box retailers. It helps retailers highlight their difference, leverage their specialty knowledge and compete in unique and proven valuable ways.

This POS software is not average POS software that you’d see widely used. It really has been made for local specialty retail, like game shops, to help them leverage being specialty.

Advice for small business retailers on the best value approach to decision making

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How decisions are made in local independent retail businesses can determine the value of those decisions, the consequences on those decisions.

Too often in our work with small business retailers we have seen decisions based on emotion rather than evidence.

The POS software we make for specialty small business retail collects and curates business data that can inform decisions. New have seen wonderful and valuable success flow in retail businesses that make decisions based on evidence is this data.

A common situation of poor decision making is buying stock. Too often we see small business retailers buying because they like a sales rep or because they like the look of something when their own business data indicate that buying that stock is not the right move for their retail business.

In our POS software we make it easy for local retailers to access this data about stock performance, we make it easy for them to have the evidence of their own data to better inform decisions they are considering. retailers who do this, who rely on the evidence in their own business data, tend to run more successful and valuable retail businesses. They tend to enjoy their businesses more too.

Buying stock has to be black and white: will this decision make money for the business in the time that the business needs? As a retail business trades using POS software like ours it builds up knowledge in its trading, knowledge that can be accessed, analysed and understood by the POS software itself to make it easy to see the right stock buying decisions to make.

We upset a retailer a while back when they happened to mention that products from a supplier were not working for them. They were unhappy when we showed them their own data that disagreed with their opinion. It turns out that their opinion was based on a dislike of the manager of the supplier business. They were letting their emotion get in the way of facts. The situation turned out well, the business made more money as a result.

If you are in retail to be successful, we urge you to make decisions based on your business evidence. Our POS software can help. We back its facilities with terrific training and customer support materials that are easily accessible.

We love helping local small business retailers make good decisions. It’s something that makes us feel good.

We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 local and independent small business retailers here at Tower Systems. Our POS software community is diverse and very much appreciated by us for their support and feedback.

The advice we share here comes from our years of engagement with them and our own experience as engaged retailers ourselves.

It’s stocktake season and Tower Systems is helping small business retailers be ready

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Our advice to retailers re stocktake is first and foremost: never pay an outside party to do your stocktake and never do a stocktake outside of your POS software.

The most accurate stocktake result for any retail business is doing it yourself, using your POS software. The Tower Systems POS software offers easy to use and reliable stock facilities and workflow.

Last year (2022), we got together with one of the stocktake experts at Tower Systems to discuss this and answer common stocktake questions we are asked. Here’s the video.

Our help goes beyond this. We have written advice, and we offer personal training. We make stocktaking easy and reliable for local samall business retailers.

Advice for local small business retailers confronted by big business competitors

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Small and independent retailers can sometimes 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. It can feel overwhelming.

Here at Tower Systems, all of our customers are local small business retailers, indie retailers, because that is the community we seek out.

Here are 5 practical 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.

Know why you are different and lean more into that, and, it’s likely that price is not a significant difference in your mind.

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 front 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. Like, really engage. 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.

Local indie retailers can compete against with any big business by not acting as a big business would. This is the key. Be yourself. Have faith in yourself. Sell yourself.

Now, why is a POS software company sharing something like this? That’s easy – we care about our customers, we care about local indie retail. We’ll embrace any opportunity to help local indie retailers shine.

5 ways retailers can use the POS software from Tower Systems to pitch value to shoppers

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Plenty is being written about the economy at the moment and it is negatively impacting consumer confidence. There are things you can do with the Tower Systems POS software to show your business offering value to shoppers, and thereby nurturing more value for you.

And here in this post, value means the value shoppers perceive in dealing with your business. You could also use the term savings.

While value can be about price, it is often not as straightforward as that. Something could cost more but it could last longer or you might get more pieces than if you pay a lower price or there may be some other add-on that drives value.

While our POS software offers many ways retailers can pitch value to shoppers, here are 5 ways retailers can use the POS software from Tower Systems to pitch value to shoppers:

  1. Discount vouchers in Retailer are a perfect way to pitch value. A dollar amount discount is better understood than points. You can set the vouchers up in a way so costs are covered by benefits. Show your shoppers what they can save.
  2. Offer to fund raise for local charities, community groups and clubs. They could give their members a card that gets them, say, a 5% discount off purchasing from you while also earning for the charity a 5% donation. The goal here is to bring new shoppers into your business.
  3. Offering a coffee card type discount of, say, buy 9 and get your 10th free for habit-based purchases, like coffee, pet food, cards, magazines, fertilizer etc. can help nurture shopper stickiness to your business.
  4. Bundling products together into something that only your business offers can pitch a value proposition unique to your business.
  5. Volume pricing, where the cost of an item decreases as the quantity purchased increases, can help shoppers save and you sell more.

Your software offers more ways of pitching value to shoppers than these, and it helps you systemise pitching value. Being consistent about this is key to it working for you.

Consider this list of 5 a starting point, a jumping off point for exploring other ways for your business.

Tower Systems offers business management advice like this to all of its POS software customers, taking the POS software help desk experience beyond the technical and onto the shop floor, to help our local small business retailer customers to themselves get more value from their use of our POS software.

Free POS software

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If you are looking for free POS software, Tower Systems is not the right company for you.

We don’t offer free POS software.

Typically, free POS software comes with payment made in other ways, such as being required to use a particular EFTPOS platform or service or being committed to some other cost in the business.

So, you can see, free is not really free. There is no such thing as free POS software.

What any retail business really wants / needs is the best POS software for their business. The best POS software will provide benefits in time and money that make the POS software truly valuable for the retail business.

Now, to be clear, we don’t know if our Tower Systems POS software is the best POS software for your needs. Only you can know that by comparing what our software does to what it is you need from POS software.

Our message today is buyer beware. Don’t get suckered in by a claim of free POS software because, for sure, it will not be free, and it may not be best for you.

We mention this today as we see many retailers in Australia searching for free POS software. It is worrying because every bad experience someone has with POS software.

Here at Tower Systems we want relationships with value at the core. We want to partner with customers we value, and who value us. This mutual respect helps both businesses prosper and if we do prosper then it’s the classic win win. That can’t happen with free as the starting point.

Software developers and help desk professionals cost money. And, you want that because you want good outcomes for your business. These good outcomes flow from good POS software that ids backed by good customer service.

If you look at it from a retail business perspective, you want people in your shop prepared to pay money for what you have on offer. If they don’t have money they are not customers you want. If their wage growth is flat their capacity to spend more is non existent.

All of this feeds into what is a circular economy.

But on price, we are fair, with a modest cost, which has not changed since 2019. So even though we do charge for our POS software, it’s modest and reflective of what we think the good businesses in our target marketplaces can afford.

Here’s an easy local small business retailers can better connect with their community

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Community connection is vital in local small business retail, authentic community connection at a level that is loved by folks in the community.

Back in the day, sponsoring a local sports club, donating prizes for a raffle or helping the local Rotary or Lions were the go to ideas for retailers. And while those ideas continue today, there are another local small business retailers can engage in providing community support that is funded buy the community itself.

Through our loyalty tools and, in particular the discount voucher tech we offer, local small business retailers can reward shoppers and they can offer in store a way for these shoppers to pay it forward, to support a local charity or community group organisation.

The Grill’d burger chain was an early adopter of something similar with their bottle caps and giving customers the caps to vote for one of three local charities the store would donate cash to.

Our suggestion is to invite shoppers to donate their discount voucher to one of several local charities in your business, which you could have every month or so, accruing the value of the vouchers for a gift card donation to the charity, or you making a cash donation of a portion of the voucher value to the charity.

It pitched well this could see people who support the local charity shopping with you so that funds are raised for the charity.

We know form years of data that around 20% of all vouchers handed out to shoppers are used by those shoppers within 28 days. This means there are other vouchers that expire unused. A nuanced campaign in-store connected with loved local charities and community groups could drive engagement, do good in the community and show the business as community connected in a fresh and loved way. That is the goal here.

Of course, the execution will be different in each location. Our job as a tech company is to provide opportunity. Our job as retailers ourselves is to share what we have seen work well, and what we have learned.

Your job as a local small business retailer is to make decisions that are right for you and your situation.

Using the discount vouchers generated by the software in this way, to support loved local community groups and charities, could be the reset you want, the engagement driver the business needs. The beauty of it is that it is low cost, self funding and truly community focussed.

We are grateful to the feedback from our customers and this has guided our own activity in this space of local community group connection.

6 best-value insights that will benefit any local small business retailer

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Retailers in local small business shops can feel alone sometimes when working on their business. They can sometimes get lost in a cave of thoughts without seeing a way out.

We thought about this and considered the thousands of different retailers in our POS software user community, and we developed the Insights Dashboard in our POS software, to deliver easy access to local small business retail insights that any retailer could leverage, regardless of size, location, specialty area or setting.

We wanted to ensure that what we delivered would be useful regardless of level of business management literacy and financial management literacy. We wanted to deliver the insights without the retailer having to seek them out. We wanted to genuinely add value to what a local small business retailer could gain from using our POS software.

So, via the Insights Dashboard in our POS software, we provide insights in six broad areas – with the insights delivered visually.

Where Are We Today 

Gives you a snapshot of the overall sales & liabilities as it stands today.
 
You can access additional options by clicking the … symbol next to Todays Sales.
  1. Date Range – Expand the sales period covered by changing the start & end dates.
  2. All Locations – Multi-store locations can use this option to include/exclude other locations from the sales figures.
  3. Show Gross Profit Values – This option will show / hide GP values in the Daily Sales Dashboard, which you can access from the Point of Sale screen by pressing [Ctrl] + [D] on your keyboard.

What’s Not Selling 

This gives you a visual understanding of what is not performing in your business.  Deadstock in any business is lost cash.  This report gives you the ability to make decisions on this underperforming stock whether it be discounting or other stock reductions strategies to unlock this lost cash.  
 
You can click any stock item listed to show a graph of sales of that item broken down by month.
There are a number of options available to filter the stock items that appear in the list:
  1. Date Range – Limits the list to stock that has not sold in the amount of time specified.
  2. Listing Bottom – Maximum number of items to list.
  3. Rank By – Determines the order that items appear on the list in.
Click the … symbol for additional options:
  1. Departments – Select between showing stock from all departments or tick the desired departments from the list.
  2. Suppliers – Select between showing stock from all suppliers or tick the desired suppliers from the list.
  3. Exclude Recently Added Items – Exclude stock items that were added to your system inside the time period chosen in the drop down box.

What Am I Missing Out On 

This give you a list of items that have sold out and potential missed opportunity. The visual sales history will assist in ensuring the right items are restocked to ensure future revenue is not missed out on.
 
You can click any stock item listed to show a graph of sales of that item broken down by month.
There are a number of options available to filter the stock items that appear in the list:
  1. Date Range – Limits the list to stock that has sold more recently than the amount of time specified.
  2. Listing Bottom – Maximum number of items to list.
Click the … symbol for additional options:
  1. Departments – Select between showing stock from all departments or tick the desired departments from the list.
  2. Suppliers – Select between showing stock from all suppliers or tick the desired suppliers from the list.
  3. Exclude Recently Added Items – Exclude stock items that were added to your system inside the time period chosen in the drop down box.

What Sells With What 

This gives you an insight to consumer basket analysis. Through this you will see exactly what stock items sell with other stock items and from this you will be able to leverage upsell opportunities, co-location and promotion opportunities.   This also shows the sold alone percentage so you can see item upsell efficiency.
 
You can change the period of time in the Date Range to limit the data to the period chosen. The ten items displayed are the ten best selling items by quantity for the selected time period.

Is Theft An Issue 

This provides a in-depth visual overview of all the retailer audit log records by reason, number of occurrences by time day. This will assist in identifying staff theft/training issues that may need to be addressed within the business.
 
You can change the date range to limit the data to the time period chosen. Changing the time increment alters the lengths of time each day is broken up into.
You can view more complete records by using the Audit Log directly. Please contact Tower Support for help using the audit log.

When Are We Busiest & Quietest 

This is a visual overview used to detect any quiet or peak times in your business by displaying over the week as well as detailed by hour.
 
You can change the week ending date to see data from other weeks. Next to chart value type, you can choose to measure by sales value or number of sales.The top graph shows sales broken down by day of the week. You can change the type of graph used to display this data by clicking the diagram type in the bottom-right. The bottom graph shows sales broken down by time of day. You can change the type of graph used to display this data clicking the diagram type in the bottom-right. You can also view this data as a table by clicking the table symbol in the top-right.

Small business retail advice: how to deal with challenging trading circumstances

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Here at Tower Systems we get to work with and learn from many local small business retailers across many different retail channels who use our POS software. Here’s a list of some of the advice we have provided to retailers facing tough times. It’s offered as a resource for any in need. we also offer personal assistance based on specific circumstances.

  1. Know your truth. If you run a computer system, analyse the data it collects. If you don’t know how to do this, find out. Look for surprise information in your data, things you did not know about your business. For example, look at the top selling items. If there are surprises there they could inform other decisions you make to urgently address your situation. Talk to your computer software company, ask for their assessment. Knowing your truth is key to owning your situation.
  2. Quit dead stock. If you have stock on the shop floor which is old – ‘old’ can vary between product categories – and for which you have already paid, quit it. However, stock that is greater than six months old is a reasonable guide – then take action to sell this at a substantial discount. Move the stock off display units. Line it up to look like clearance stock – stacked up on tables. Setup plain and simple signs indicating the discount prices. Create signage to show it as clearance stock. If you have enough clearance stock in your business, consider signs across your front windows. Give your sale a name that is unrelated to your situation. Here are some suggestions: MEGA SALE, FIRST EVER MARCH SALE, AUTUMN SALE, SMALL BUSINESS MIGHTY BIG SALE. Give it a name you can theme around.
  3. Run a loyalty offer. Immediately setup and run a loyalty program rewarding shoppers with dollars off their next purchase. The most successful loyalty offer in recent times is discount vouchers whereby vouchers are included on receipts offering an amount which is cleverly calculated by your software based on the items in the purchase. The goal has to be encouraging shoppers to purchase again soon based on the offer on the receipt for items they just purchased.
  4. Move things around. If your business is in trouble it is possible that it has not changed much in recent years. Change it. Move departments around, shake things up so your customers trip over things they did not think you sold.
  5. Review prices. Look at the common items you sell, consider a small increase in your prices. It could be a small increase will not hurt sales volume yet will add profit to your bottom line.
  6. Upsell well. At the counter, work to extend the basket for every sale possible. Do this with clever counter product placement and witty and engaging banter with customers offering upsell products. You goal has to be to make more from each customer.
  7. Stand for something. What is different about your business? What is special about it? What makes people want to come back? If you don’t know the answer to these questions you’re in trouble. If your answer is we’re the only shop of your type nearby you’re in trouble. If the answer is people have always shopped here you’re in trouble. You need to have a difference that people want and will talk about to others. It could be a product or a service. However, it cannot be a product line that is traditional to your type of business as that will not add value to your shingle in the way you want or need. What do you stand for?
  8. Different retail options.
    1. Consider becoming an outlet shop selling items from a supplier keen to quit bulk items.
    2. Rent space in your shop to another retailer.
    3. If you have higher priced items consider offering employees commission on sales.
    4. Maybe become an outlet for local artists taking on items on a consignment basis.
  9. Stop unprofitable behaviour. If you are doing things in your business which lose money or do not contribute to a good future for the business, stop doing them. Regardless of history or what your business might stand for, continuing with unprofitable activity only makes your situation worse. If you know something to be unprofitable and yet you say you can’t stop it, think carefully about that, about why you can’t stop losing money.
  10. Get suppliers to help. Suppliers often have old stock themselves which they want to quit at a substantial discount. Buy items you have not stocked before, negotiate good prices and put the stock out with a healthy margin but still at a discount to what others would be charging. Negotiate to pay once you are paid by customers.
  11. Trim employee costs. Cut employee hours and work more in the business yourself if you are not doing so already.While this can have a significant personal cost, the less you pay others the more be business benefits in financial terms.
  12. Trim overheads. Cut everything you can: cleaning, power usage, insurance, freight, banking. Look at every supplier relationship you have and see if you can negotiate a better deal to cut your operating costs. However, do not turn off lights as darkness is death in most retail businesses.
  13. What assets can you sell? Do you have computers, retail fixtures, vehicles or other assets you no longer use in the running of the business? If they are not being used, turn them to cash as quickly as possible.
  14. Get a job. If you have a partner in the business with you and the business can run with one partner, one of you should get a job outside the business. This is especially helpful in a husband and wife situation where the family income can benefit.
  15. Talk to your landlord. A good landlord will prefer a good business to stay rather than have then close down and a new tenant having to be found. Talk to the landlord, be honest with them about your situation. Given the landlord all of the information they need to make the decision you need them to make. This information will include sales figures, expenses and margin information.  Usually, the more transparent you are with the landlord the more they will support your business.
  16. Talk to your bank. While banks tend to not get involved in lending to businesses that are struggling, it may be that they have contacts that can help you navigate to a solution. Maybe talk to another bank.
  17. Talk to colleagues. If you have nearby business colleagues in the same line of business, they might have stock they are happy to provide you for free or at a discount to give you stock to move for a good price.
  18. Refresh the business. Make the business look, smell and sound fresh. Beyond the products you sell and where tings are located, change the environment itself using scents and sounds. Too often when a business is struggling, those involved let standards slip and the business does not look attractive to shoppers. Avoid this laziness at all costs.
  19. Deliver amazing customer service. When serving customers be the perfect shop assistance and not the owner of the business facing closure. Keep your mind on the job at hand and not the cliff you’re worried might be a few steps ahead.
  20. Whoever is pressuring you the most to close or contemplate closing, talk to them. If it’s a supplier, the tax office or some other organisation or individual pressuring you about debts, be upfront with them, lay out for them your plan detailing the action you will take to turn your situation around, be clear about what you are doing and outline a timeline step by step for them. Seek their support.
  21. Set a timeframe. Decide where you want to be in a week, four weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks. Set realistic goals. Measure yourself against those goals. Know what you will do if you fall short.

No situation is impossible. No business is dead until the doors are closed for the last time.

Never give up. Fight hard and fight smart to turn your business around.

Facing tough circumstances in retail can be like the deer in the middle of the road facing an oncoming vehicle. Don’t freeze. Take action to mitigate your situation. A series of small steps could be the difference between closure and trading out of the problem.

The last thing retailers want then they call the POS software help desk is to speak to someone in an offshore call centre

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There are POS software companies selling into Australia that support their POS software via an offshore help desk.

We think local Aussie and Kiwi retailers want locally based POS software support. Our Tower Systems POS software help desk people work from two countries: Australia  and New Zealand, with the vast majority in Australia, where the vast majority of our customers are located.

Here’s why we think local retailers would not want to speak with a POS software help desk located offshore:

  1. They don’t understand local retail.
  2. They have no reference point for your type of retail.
  3. They are less likely to have a conversation and more likely to run you through a structured Q&A script;
  4. They are likely managed per call, making calls about numbers, and not about customer outcomes.
  5. They are disconnected from the POS software development team.
  6. They can’t look out the window and comment on the weather.
  7. What they are paid does not add to the local economy.
  8. Offshore help desk employees tend to not have retail experience.

Here at Tower Systems we think local support matters for locally used POS software in the indie small business retail space.

Our help desk is run by people with retail experience, Aussie retail experience. They do not operate with a script. A typical call starts with them listening to your explanation of the reason you called. Next, is two-way conversation, in pursuit of a solution for you. If need be, they will speak to people from the software development side of our business.

Good POS software support is all about understanding the query and core to this is understanding retail and in particular, the specific type of retail – because not all retail is the same.

When you call a POS software help desk, your call is about your business, it is about you. Too often, we hear that offshore POS software help desks are about the software with little consideration given to the retailer business itself.

Retail is personal. Good POS software support is personal. This is what we understand, it’s what our customers tell us matters to them.

While an offshore POS software help desk is considerably cheaper for the POS software company to run, the money saved does not translate as a better situation for the retailers who call.

Here at Tower Systems we are proud to offer a locally based help desk service for the thousands of retailers using our locally developed POS software.

11 reasons why POS software from Tower Systems is worth considering by Aussie local retailers

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  1. Aussie made. We make our POS software here, in Australia, for local specialty Aussie retailers.
  2. Aussie supported. We support our POS software through our help desk team members, who work here in Australia. We have one in New Zealand, too. We have customers in NZ. Everyone on our help desk works for us. We don’t use an offshore help desk.
  3. Aussie supplier connected. Our POS software connects to many Aussie suppliers through easily loading their stock files, loading their electronic invoices and providing them with sales data for auto replenishment – with these connections all controlled by our retail business owner customers.
  4. Aussie accounting connected. Yes, we provide data to Xero and MYOB.
  5. Aussie words used. Terminology matters, especially in local retail. We’re not American software using American terms or UK software using UK terms.
  6. Real people serving you. Call us, a human answers. Email us, a human answers. no bots. No AI. No offshore call centre. Authentic, like local specialty retailers want.
  7. We’re retail experienced. We own and run shops and have done for many years. Almost everyone working in our Aussie POS software company has retail experience.
  8. Our software is for specialty retail, not everyone. That’s right, our software is not right for everyone. By not chasing everyone, we handle the specialist retail requirements that we do handle well, with maturity and depth of functionality.
  9. 100% local small business focussed. We don’t provide access to our software to mid-size or big retailers. Our focus is 100% on local small business retail. Those are the businesses that matter to us. You will never get lost in the crowd with Tower Systems
  10. This POS software continues to evolve. We regularly release valuable updates that enhance the capabilities of the software. his year, in 2022 so far, we have released 3 significant updates.
  11. It covers unique needs. Serial number tracking, dispatch management, selling by fractions, scale integration, serial number tracking, age checking, supplier integration, integrated loyalty … these specialty retail needs are more are core to our POS software.

There are more than 11 reasons to consider POS software from Tower Systems, many more, including facilities it may offer that are unique to your business. You would only know of this match or connection if you look at the software. that’s obligation free. Call 1300 662 057 or email sales@towersystems.com.au and set it up. we’d love to learn about your needs and show what we offer. Then, you can decide if we’re a match.

We will never pressure you.

Have a wonderful day …

Game shop software Q&A

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Here are answers to some of the questions we have been asked about our Game Shop POS Software over the years

When you are ready, we’d love to show you our Game Shop POS Software and through that show you answers to other questions you have.

Does the software handle club member pricing? Yes, this can be a great marketing tool, getting local community or other group members support the business and fundraising at the same time.

Can I track sales to all members of a game club? Yes.

Can I manage second-hand goods with this software? Yes, you can track the details of the seller and maintain accurate records.

Can the software manage special orders for customers? Yes.

Can I pre-sell items? Yes.

Can I group reporting of sales by licences and other categories? Yes, in our software you can use tags for this.

I have multiple shops, does the software handle this? Yes.

Can I sell gift cards for my business? Yes.

I sometimes sell away from the shop at events, can the software do this? Yes, our Retailer RoamTMoption manages selling from anywhere.

Does the software have a facility for encouraging infrequent shoppers to spend more? Yes, it’s proven to work well at achieving this.

Does the software produce WAS / NOW price labels? Yes.

Does the software manage time-based catalogue pricing? Yes.

Can I include product use instructions on the receipt? Yes.

I have similar items from several suppliers. Can I compare suppliers? Yes.

Does the software handle LayBys? Yes.

Can you reach back out to customers based on past purchases? Yes.

Does the system handle account customers? Yes, you can setup and manage customer accounts.

Does the system produce invoicing and statements? Yes, these can be printed or emailed.

Can I manage stock by colour, size and style? Yes.

Can I integrate the software with my suppliers? Yes. We have many customers importing stock files and invoices. If you want to provide a supplier a data feed of sales of their product, our software can do this too.

Does the software connect with my website? We partner with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce and offer direct links to these.

Can I email receipts? Yes.

Can I track where my customers come from? Yes.

Do I have to pay for software on additional computers in my business? No.

Can I connect with my EFTPOS terminal? Yes. We have a direct link to Tyro and through Linkly we connect to all major banks.

Can I use my existing hardware? Yes, as long as your hardware meets our minimum standards.

Can I use my existing data with the software? Yes. We’d like to check your data to be sure. We will advise what can be safely brought across.

Does it integrate with Xero? Yes.

Find out more at www.towersystems.com.au/game.

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