With the Tower Systems POS software you will be all set for less time on paperwork:
We are frustrated with the world is ending type reporting relating to the arrival in Australia of Amazon. More stories have been published recently. Most stories are not reporting. Rather, they are ignorant fear-mongering. Unfortunately, the wrong people are often quoted, like the ever-shrill Gerry Harvey.
We shot this video to provide some thoughts on the arrival of Amazon and to offer suggestions for small business retailers.
As part of our Tower AdvantageTM customer service experience, we help small business retailers using our POS software to continuously enhance their knowledge of how to use our software and how to get the most for their business from our software.
Every business with our software has access to our unlimited free POS software training opportunity.
The training we provide, at no extra cost, is live, one-on-one, on the phone and online. It is the personal one-on-one training that our small business retail customers love the most.
In our weekly customer service email, print newsletter and through the help desk we promote access to free training.
We are grateful to be in a position to offer this free training and to make access easy.
One of the best ways to help small business retailers to compete is to arm them with tools through which they can compete. One perfect too is our software software. Our free training helps them use the software in a best-practice way, so they are better equipped to compete, and win!
The training we provide is done outside the help desk, away from interruption and is focussed 100% on the business being trained. This ensures that our training is purposeful and useful. We know this fo0cus is what delivers loved outcomes.
At our POS software company we actively help small business retailers who use our software to reduce the opportunity of employee theft. We do this in a range of overt and covert ways, through our software and outside off our software.
As we have decades of experience running different types of retail businesses and through our work with, 3,500+ other retailers with our software we have a deep pool of knowledge and experience on which to draw.
Employee theft is something to be managed. By managed, we mean measured, understood and mitigated.
based on our own experiences and those of others we trust, we offer refined, thoughtful, advice on managing employee theft. Here we share it with all as a free community service for small business retailers. Together, we can cut the cost of employee theft in your retail business:
These steps work – based on decades of helping small business retailers to reduce and manage employee theft.
Theft, employee and customer, costs a typical small / independent retail between 3% and 5% of product sales revenue. Management attention can cut this dramatically. It does not take much time. No, it is more about having professional processes in place that everyone in the business follows.
Tower Systems works with more than 3,500+ small business retailers in speciality retail niches including jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, toy shops, gift shops, newsagents, pet shops, adult shops and more. We offer these ideas as our Christmas gift to you.
Christmas is the perfect time to plan for next year. It is the time to do everything possible to leverage bonus Christmas traffic to benefit your business through next year.
Tower Systems offers Point of sale / retail management software tailored for your specific type of retail business. Our software can help you leverage Christmas traffic for year-long benefits.
We provide you with loyalty facilities that are fresh and small-business focussed, loyalty facilities through which you can pitch a point of difference compared to big business competitors.
One of our retail experts can help:
We are frustrated with the world is ending type reporting relating to the arrival in Australia of Amazon. More stories have been published this week. Most stories are not reporting. Rather, they are ignorant fear-mongering. Unfortunately, the wrong people are often quoted, like the ever-shrill Gerry Harvey.
We shot this video to provide some thoughts on the arrival of Amazon and to offer suggestions for small business retailers.
See awesome POS software in Hobart & Launceston.
We are hosting user meetings in Tasmania, showing the latest release of our POS software for: pet shops, gift shops, jewellers, bike retailers, garden centres, newsagents, toy shops, firearms retailers and produce stores.
Tower Systems currently serves more than 100 customers in Tasmania.
We invite you to come to the user meetings to see the software and ask questions about how it may serve their businesses. It’s free.
Helping small business retailers beyond their POS software is a key part of the Tower Systems mission. We share insights, tips and advice with our small business retailer community through our weekly email, knowledge base, one on one advice and more.
This article is part of then Tower Systems difference.
Facebook community growth is as important as shopper traffic growth
Here is one example of advice we have provided our customers on leveraging the facebook opportunity for small business retail.
Growth in the number of likes for your business Facebook page(s) is as important as growth in shopper traffic through your front door.
I see a direct correlation between the two, if you use Facebook well. Of course, if is the important word in that statement.
I have been actively using Facebook for business for many years. It is an excellent platform of reaching new customers and talking with existing customers. It is an important tool in business growth.
HOW DO YOU GET MORE LIKES ON FACEBOOK?
This is simple, provide good content, content that gives people what they come to Facebook for – entertainment, inspiration, a laugh. The more you do this the more your post will be liked and shared. The more likes and shoes the more people you reach.
Growth in likes for your page begins with your content. If your page likes are not growing, look at your content.
While you can ask people to like your Facebook page, resulting likes may not be as valuable as those who like your page of their own accord.
You can also buy likes. That, however, is a waste of money.
HOW DOES A BUSINESS USE FACEBOOK WELL?
Businesses that use Facebook well entertain. This can be by making people laugh, smile, feel emotional or be happy overall. They do it by being human, real and engaged. They do it by not trying to sell. They do it y not being commercial.
Photos are real, not studio shots, showing products in use more so than on the shelves. They show customers, happy customers.
They share something of themselves.
A newsagency uses Facebook well by not writing about products newsagents sell.
HOW DO MORE LIKES OF YOUR BUSINESS TRANSLATE INTO MORE SALES?
Someone engaging with your business Facebook page is similar to someone browsing your shop. Both can lead to sales.
People being on your page and engaging with your page brings them close to you and proximity = sales.
The more people who like your business Facebook page the more people you can pitch and offer to or reach out with an event or product announcement, them more people who will hear what you have to say.
Take Facebook seriously as a key business tool. The benefits are real and valuable.
Retailers switching from one POS software program to another usually want to convert their business data. Rather than saying yes this can be done, our approach is to provide our customers with advice on what can be done and what cannot be done and to explain the processes and the whys.
WHY CONVERT DATA
Converting data from your current software eliminates the need to manually key data into the Tower software. The time saving is considerable. If the current data is good data, the value of bringing that across can be vital to any business.
UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS
Converted data is only as good as the source data.
In other words, if the data in your current system is of poor quality, the quality will not improve in the converted data – unless you clean up the current data prior to conversion.
Simply converting data does not make the data better data. Here is advice on cleaning up the data prior to conversion:
WHAT IS CONVERTED
What we convert depends on the software we are converting from. Some software is restrictive, to lock you into it while other software calculates data such as loyalty points live, rather than storing a number by customer.
Here is a list of what we most commonly bring across in a conversion:
WHAT IS NOT CONVERTED
Due to data complexities here is a list of data we do not convert. We developed this list to ensure we provide to you the best converted data outcome:
A PRE-CONVERSION CHECK
The best way to be prepared for and certain about a conversion is a pre-conversion check. To do this we would need full access to your data well before the installation. This check will help us see any issues and either resolve them or raise them with you prior to the actual conversion. This check is done at our head office by a senior member of our team.
We will advise you of any issues we encounter during the per conversion check.
THE CONVERSION PROCESS
This is done either on site or at our office during or immediately prior to the installation process as it must be done using up to date data as you switch from one system to another.
The conversion is at a moment in time. In other words, you cannot flip from system to system if you want to have accurate data. Once converted, you are on the new system.
Conversions can take considerable time, overnight, or even longer than a day, depending on the amount of data to convert. Therefore, we encourage you to clean up your data prior to the conversion.
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: THE HAND OVER OF CONVERTED DATA
Once the conversion is done and you are advised it is complete it will be important you check the converted data. Check customers, balances, points and other data to ensure you are confident the data you need has been converted.
We say we don’t know what we don’t know as it is true. You know your data better than us, you are better positioned to see mistakes we might otherwise miss – hence our reliance on you checking the converted data.
Once you have the converted data in our software and are happy with it, you will be advised to run a go live. This sees you enter up-to-date account balances. No line items are entered, only the balance.
It is important we know if you want data converted when you order your system from us. We are unable to do the work if it is requested during the installation as we have allocated time for the installation and training only, not for conversion.
What should a small business retailer ask a POS software company as part of your process of considering whether to use their software?
The important part of this question is small business retailer. What small business retailers need differs to what big business retailers need.
What may look good in a video or an online pitch may not be good when you need help or a specific facility or access to an integration to help you grow your business.
Beyond the functionality of the POS software itself there are questions you can ask that could inform a better business decision on what is right for a business.
To help you think about possible questions, we have put together twenty-six for your consideration. Read through these and start to think about questions that could be useful for you.
The answers to these questions will better inform you, they will help separate software companies you are considering. The answers will help you see the software company that is a better fit for your specific business today.
Take your time. The right software company will be a long-term partner of your business.
If your year-on-year sales are not down in your retail business, this advice is not for you.
If your year-on-year sales are down, something must change if you want to turn the situation around, please read on.
Sometimes, when we are asked by retailers how to deal with a year on year sales decline, our suggestions are not taken up and the business keeps doing what it was doing. In doing this, the declining trend will continue.
We appreciate it can be challenging looking outside of the fog of declining sales and worsening business performance numbers. However, if you cannot reach out beyond this fog the survival of the business is at risk.
Here is the most important statement relating to our advice:
If you keep doing what you have been doing, the sales results in your business will be what they have been, the trend is unlikely to change.
It would be a mistake to think that external factors are the sole reason your sales are down.
So, change is necessary – change in what you sell, how you merchandise and how you promote.
It is only from change that the sales decline could be arrested and reversed.
Our advice is to look for u-turn or right turn opportunities, changes you can implement to divert you from your current path.
Suggesting such changes is something we can do through looking at your business performance data for you. Ask us to challenge you. We will first ask to see your year on year data at a detailed level as this will reveal the truth of the situation and from there we can develop change suggestions for your consideration.
Why ask a POS software company? We see data from many different businesses. That perspective can help. We are retailers too and have been for decades. That provides a body of experiences on which we can draw in considering advice we can provide. We will gladly leverage our experiences to help in any situation.
We don’t have all the answers, we will even suggest ideas we later discover are mistakes. However, doing what you have been doing in a situation of declining sales is a bigger mistake.
Can we help?
Another of our customers had their business severely impacted last week with their new National Broadband Network (NBN) connection taking almost the whole week to get up and running.
You would think this would be okay, that they could use their old non NBN internet connection until the NBN was up and running. That smart approach was not the approach those providing their NBN connection facilitated.
At the start of the week their service provider disconnected their internet access as the NBN was about to be turned on. Five days later, after many phone calls and extraordinary business disruption, the NBN was on.
There was no apology, no compensation, no empathy.
This small business was hit hard by not having internet access. They had to spend money on temporary arrangements, which were mediocre at best. Given their location that not only cost money, it also cost time to organise.
The poor handling of the NBN roll out was caused by the Internet Service Provider of the small business. This is where the poor customer experience occurred with them disconnecting internet access prior turning NBN on and then compounding the problem with poor, almost non-existent, customer service.
There were products the business could not sell over the counter, payments they could not take, services they could not provide. Yet their ISP did not help. The biggest challenge was with cash as this business relied on close to half all transactions being cashless and they lost that, without warning, when their ISP cut them off without warning because of the imminent NBN switch over. The agreed plan was switch one off and switch one on. The operational people at the ISP were not told of the agreed plan and once they switched internet access off it appeared to be too hard to switch back on.
We helped where we could with options on lodging a complaint against their ISP and with alternative access options they could acquire. But none of this should have been necessary. Their ISP, which claims to support small local businesses, should have had the entire matter in hand.
While there is a quality issue with the current version of the NBN roll out in our opinion, there is this other problem of poor ISP management of business cut over from existing internet access to NBN access. It should be easy, well managed with easy access contact points in the event of any issue.
Internet access is vitally important infrastructure in small business retail today. This switching over to NBN must be better, faster, for small business retail.
More Australian banks are pulling out of country towns, leaving local businesses and individuals without any over the counter bank services.
In one situation last week, a regional town with a population of 2,000 saw its last bank brand close, leaving locals a forty-five-minute drive to the nearest bank. This means local businesses have a round trip of ninety minutes just to bank business takings, increasing business costs by hundreds of dollars a week as banking, which used to be done locally daily, now must be done three times a week resulting in four and a half hours in the can and at least another hour and a half parking, waiting and more.
It impacts on how a business operates.
While some businesses can operate by promoting cashless trading, in regional and rural towns with an older demographic, cash is preferred.
In not banking every day, small business retailers carry more cash on their premises. This increases the risk of theft. Insurance company representatives have said this could result in higher premiums. The costs resulting from banks reducing their level of customer service cascade, hurting further these vulnerable local businesses that matter to their small local communities.
With more than half of our small business POS software customers in regional and rural Australia, matters such as the closure of local bank branches and agencies matters to us, because it matters to our customers. It is possible that a local bank closure is enough to tip a local business owner to closing their business. The knock-on effect on local jobs, local suppliers and out of town suppliers like us would be noticed.
We think there is a role for government here to offer an operating cost subsidy to banks that maintain regional and rural banks in towns with a lower than agreed population threshold. We think such a policy would not only help small businesses like our clients, it would improve the appeal of the town for new residents as well as improving security for those who use the bank.
Locally owned small business retail is vital in any situation, but more so in regional and rural towns. The retreat by banks is an operational challenge that disadvantages regional and rural Australia and this is bad for the economy.
Tower Systems actively supports calls by small business retailers for government action to provide support for local banking services.
Here is a question we are often asked by retailers:
In a cloud environment what happens when the Internet is unavailable? The offering is for an external cloud provider, can we leverage our own cloud provider? How are hosting charges calculated, i.e. data storage charges?
Here is our answer:
Our POS software system is very configurable. Users have the ability, if they wish, to run without being hosted. This solves any Internet stability questions, particularly for rural/regional Australian where this may be an issue.
The other challenge with cloud is the costs. Our experience is some small business owners are not happy with the monthly hosting cost for a cloud service. However, the customer can choose the approach that is best for their specific circumstances.
These are the reasons we have configured our software to suit whatever situation a customer prefers.
Alternatively, if users want, we can host the system in the cloud, 100% in the cloud. This can be hosted on our secure dedicated infrastructure (additional costs will apply) or on infrastructure of their choosing. We will provide guidance on the configuration so the ideal environment is created.
If hosted on our infrastructure customers are charged on a per user per month basis.
If the user runs in a hosted environment and the internet drops out the user can switch to a facility we call Outpost Mode. OUTPOST mode allows for basic trading, scanning sales, until such time as Internet access is restored.
The level of software access in the event of internet access being down, blocked or otherwise hampered does depend on choices made by the customer. Our customers can be secure in the knowledge that we support multiple choices, we make it easy for them transact if that is the core goal of their business.
Can you continue to trade if the internet is down? Yes!
Crucially, we can train our customers on how to be ready for this in advance of any problem occurring. This is important since customers might otherwise scrambling too get up and running in the middle of a problem could be too disruptive for the business,
Planning ahead of any incident or disaster is important in our view.
Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce are the best e-commerce platforms in the world today for small business retailers. They are well established, regularly enhanced and POS software commented.
Small business retailers don’t need to consider e-commerce platforms outside of Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce
We say this based on years of experience working with e-commerce platforms and deep experience connecting our POS software with e-commerce platforms.
The question is, which of Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce is better? Which should a retail business choose.
The answer depends on what a retail business wants to do with their site.
Here at Tower Systems we agnostic about the choice as we partner and work with all three, linking them seamlessly to our POS software.
We guide our customers who ask for help based on their answers to a structured series of questions about what they want to get out of a website along with their other business needs. Their responses to our questionnaire help guide our suggestion as to the best e-commerce platform for them.
Any of Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce could be ideal. It is unlikely a platform outside of these three would be recommended as it would mean they are not in the best-practice mix. These three are classed as the best POS software connected e-commerce platforms for good reason.
The platforms are different in terms of the data structure depth they support as well as multiple store connectivity they support. They also differ in terms of design flexibility. These are all important factors that need to be considered when determining mining the e-commerce platform for yo0ur business.
A web developer will push you to the platform they like. Some POS software companies only link to one platform and they are likely to push you ton that.
While we have direct and personal experience with Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce, our generic e-commerce link links with any website, so we really don’t mind what retailers using our POS software choose. This is why we say we are agnostic. It is only if a customer wants us to develop a site that we focus on the top three in there world: Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce.
Here at Tower Systems we are grateful for the opportunity its to connect a growing list of Xero skilled accountants and bookkeepers with small businesses using our POS software and especially the POS software Xero link we offer.
We work closely with accountants and bookkeepers to help them better serve their customers. Having a CPA within our company as our CFO helps us provide a level of skill and attention in this area that is not commonly found in POS software companies.
That we use the Xero link to our POS software ourselves in ur own retail businesses also helps. In fact, that is an important differentiator tailor for us, k one we are proud of. Since February 1996 we have owned and operated retail businesses.
We connect small business retailers and Xero skilled accountants and bookkeepers through our participation in Xero events such as the recent Xerocon in Melbourne as well as other events we can access as a Xero partner.
We provide support for Xero skilled accountants and bookkeepers who have clients using our software. Our support for them helps them support their customers. We are grateful to be asked to do this.
We also provide training opportunities cities for Xero skilled accountants and bookkeepers so their skill with our POS software and the POS software Xero link is best-practice.
All of this combines to provide better service to small business retailers who use Xero and that is good for their business and all who rely on their business.
We are glad to help.
Xero is a pleasure to use. We say this as happy Xero users ourselves.
TO ACCOUNTANTS AND BOOKKEEPERS:
We list Accountants and Bookkeepers on our website.
To be included without obligation or cost, please email your details. We want to help retailers find Xero skilled accountants. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your firm name, your name, email, mobile and website URL.
If you have any clients in a retail business in any of the specialty channels in which we serve, we invite you to reach out to one of our sales team. They can arrange to meet with you and your client(s) to learn about the local business needs and see if our software is a match for them.
Each time a small business retailer switches from one POS software package to another there is a cost beyond the software itself.
We understand this because switching retailers to our small business POS software from other software is something we often do.
Retailers switch software because the software they have been using has not kept up with the times, it is no longer supported, the annual costs are too high, the support is poor, the company behind the software is not developing for the future – or a mixture of these things, or, indeed, other factors of personal interest to them.
Regardless of the reason, Tower Systems welcomes retailers who wish to switch software.
Our commitment is to help retailers enjoy a smooth transition. Here is how switching POS software to that from Tower Systems could help your retail business:
We help small business retailers switch to our POS software for better business outcomes. We have many customers who have switched from many different systems who can speak to =their experiences with this.
Retailers who partner with our small business focussed POS software company can rely in us for more than terrific POS software. Every day we offer business help, advice and support, beyond the software itself but using the software as a mechanism for help.
Many calls to our management and help desk team are from business owners not knowing where to turn. We help where we can, based on our experiences, but without providing advice that we are not qualified to provide.
Since we own and operate retail businesses and have done since February 1996 we can draw on considerable experiences when helping our customers.
Like any small business owner, we like to help our friends and we see any small business retailer as a friend.
There are people we help who do not even use our POS software. That is not a requirement at all. Our support is for small business owners and their businesses first. Getting a sale of our POS software is secondary.
The advice and support we can be called on to assist with includes these areas:
There are many areas where we help and discuss beyond these listed here. This list offers a flavour of the types of areas we are asked to provide advice or a comforting ear on. Often, we are able to drawn on our own personal experiences and small business retailers like that.
We are grateful for the trust our c customers show in seeking our advice or listening ear when they have concerns. We do our best, and if we are unable to speak with confidence on a query, we try and point them in a direction of someone who can.
This is all part of the Tower Systems service and assistance to small business retailers. We saw we’re here to help and try hard to live up to that.
Choosing what goes into each update of our small business POS software is a transparent and democratic process at Tower Systems.
We understand that good software needs to evolve as the needs of the retail channel in which it serves evolve.
This is why retailers need to look beyond what software does today and understand what they may need tomorrow. The commitment of their software provider to providing access to software enhancements is key as is their commitment to a structured process for considering and deciding on user suggested software enhancements.
It can be hard to choose a software company based on what they may do in the future as any sales person could make a promise knowing that fulfilment of the promise lies elsewhere in the company.
Here at Tower Systems we promise our POS software customers continuous evolution and improvement of our small business POS software.
Our customers can submit change suggestions.
Our customers can vote on submitted change suggestions.
The more votes, the more attention given a suggestion.
While we ourselves bump suggestions to the top of the list based on how amazing and valuable they are, others we like to see what our customers think.
We take this open and transparent approach to POS software enhancement suggestions to show our customers their active engagement with the direction of the software.
Our approach is unique in that it is highly engaged and inclusive with and for the custoemrs who like that.
The whole POS Software Ideas process is open for even those considering purchasing our software to see. While this gives our competitors a free-kick, we are confident enough of our processes and commitment to leave it as transparent.
We launched shed Software Ideas years ago. None of our vertical market competitors has anything similar. It is a genuine point of difference for us and we like that.
If you are considering POS software for your specialty retail business, make sure that the software company y you are considering will deliver access to relevant software into the future and not just today. Your software company relationship will be long-term. That is why engagement matters.
Local garden shops are wonderful places where you can get local advice, brilliant service and the right plants and products for your own local garden.
Using our garden centre software, garden centre owners and staff can leverage their local knowledge and provide assistance and services that shoppers will not experience when they go to the mass garden retailers.
Our customers can encode in our garden centre software local knowledge and service information such that it is provided to customers on purchase of products. This is more valuable and loved by local gardeners than the less personal experience they are likely to have in a mass retail situation.
Developed specifically for garden centres, our garden centre software has facilities in the software that are specific to the retail channel, tools that help that specific type of business to operate more efficiently a dot better serve the local community. And this customisation for garden centres continues thanks to our commitment to the continuous improvement of our POS software.
From the sales counter to the back office, this software helps you structure your business to improve operational consistency, save time, easily reorder and be confident in your business decisions thanks to easy access to business data.
Our Point of Sale system has excellent stock control, layby, shopper loyalty, business reporting and other facilities.
You can easily scan sales, track business by employees, handle LayBys and reward customers thanks to a range of shopper loyalty options. Receipts can include product care information – offering another level of personalisation of customer service. EFTPOS payments can be done through a terminal connected to your computer.
Every business is different. Our sales approach is to find out about your needs first. We like to understand your business, to see if we can serve needs you have.
Best of all, we have freight options that are important where you truck in items by bulk and sell items by bulk. The facilities in our software truly are tailored for local garden centre businesses.
One of our Garden Centre software experts will talk with you, listen to your needs and show our software. Call the expert nearest you:
Mark Fletcher is the owner of Tower Systems. His mobile phone number is 0418 321 338. His email address is email@example.com. This information is on our website and almost every piece of company literature from our weekly customer email to our print newsletter to marketing literature.
It is rare for a POS software company Managing Director to be so accessible to customers and prospective customers.
We think such accessibility is important as it speaks to trust in the company, its products and its customer service. It shows the Managing Director as having such faith in the business that they are happy for people to know how to reach them directly.
To small business POS software businesses that do not publish this information, that do not make it readily available, we would say what are you afraid of? Why not let people get straight to the top?
A common contact with Mark is from customers who ring or email to say they are happy with an enhancement in the software or to compliment a team member for a service they have provided. Being accessible for this type of contact is as important as being accessible for people who would like to complain about a poor service experience.
Tower Systems is a business about people, small business people. Personal service matters in small business retail as much as it matters in a small business POS software company. It matters a lot. Therefore, we trust the process and gladly share the direct contact details of our Managing Director.
Mark’s background is diverse, meaning he can speak to a range of topics from retail strategy to retail business management to software design to actual use of our POS software. Most weeks he has time behind the counter in one or more of the retail businesses owned by Tower where he gets hands on with the software and with in-store customers. This personal engagement with the software in a regular basis provides personal experiences that not only inform the direction of the software, they also inform the services provided by the company and provide context for some direct contact with customers.