Live Saturday help desk support for POS software users

Retailers using the Tower Systems POS software have access to live help desk based support today – Satruday. This is a valuable point of difference for our customers, especially newsagency, gift shop, garden centre, jeweller, bike retail and pet shop customers.

At Tower Systems, in addition to our 24/7 mobile phone based support, we offer office based Point of Sale software help desk support on Saturdays – live support from the office by a skilled team member. So, today, our customers can call and talk with an expert in the office:

  • Melbourne: 03 9524 8000
  • Sydney: 02 9525 6444
  • Brisbane: 07 3136 6888
  • Perth: 08 6317 0207
  • Adelaide: 08 8121 3366
  • NZ TOLL FREE: 0800 444 367

Retailers using other POS software & checking out this blog should call the office of their current software company today and see if they are open.

Rush of suppliers joining our EDI project as we help small business retailers drive efficiency

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software are in for a treat with more suppliers coming on board with our EDI project through which we will deliver access to more time-saving data feeds and opportunities.

Having someone in our company working full-time on supplier relationships is helping us drive a valuable point of difference for our customers, a point of difference through which Tower retailer partners can save time and improve data accuracy.

Hours saved every week benefits the bottom line of a retail business and we are driving that through the EDI project. We;’re not revealing publicly the suppliers we are working with since this is our investment that we want to nurture for the benefit of our customers and our own business.

What we achieve EDI plays well for us competitively and well for our customers. The new round of suppliers to come on board will deliver

Sunday small business retailer management advice: show off your product expertise

One way retailers can demonstrate superior customer service is through product information they share with customers. Using the smart receipt facilities in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software retailers have been able to automatically include product care and use information on receipts for many years.

Garden centres, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops and newsagents are all using these facilities to show off a valuable point of difference through the information provided on receipts relating to specific products purchased.

The more retailers use their POS software to deliver valuable points of difference the more they will be remembered and the stronger repeat business will be.

Storing care and use information by product is easy. Once setup, the software manages the rest – making the business look good in providing professional personal service for customers based on what they purchase.

Helping small business retailers measure ROI

Return on investment is one of the most under utilised measures in small retail businesses. Here’s a good definition:

Return on Investment is the amount of profit or cost saving that will be realized in return for a specific expenditure of money, usually express as a percentage of the original monetary outlay. The ROI ratio compares the net benefits of a project to its total costs.

In the Tower Systems Point of Sale software since we released the software ROI has been one of the KPIs our customers can measure and report on – at a variety of levels. We back this reporting with advice and training on the KPI, what it means and the decisions that can flow from reporting on this.

ROI is not the only important KPI we report on with our software, stock turn, return on floor space, gross profit … they are all there in the easy to read and robust reports in our POS software – all KPIs any smart retailer will want to track and report on for their business.

A difference for Tower Systems is that we help our retail business partners understand the data and the decisions that can flow from such understanding. We happily do this remotely, or one on one face to face. In our business we have retail experienced people to offer insights as well as our own in house CPA.

The Tower AdvantageTM is about much more than great software and great support. We offer valuable business insights.

New POS software training opportunities for small business retailers

Tower Systems has announced details of eight free online training opportunities in february for retailers using its Point of Sale software.

  1. Setting up your own Catalogues 4 Feb 2014, 02:00PM
  2. Using Layby’s in Retailer from beginner to advanced 6 Feb 2014, 02:00PM
  3. How to process Customer Billing & Statements 11 Feb 2014, 02:00PM
  4. Setting up gift vouchers in your business. 13 Feb 2014, 02:00PM
  5. Using Discount Vouchers 18 Feb 2014, 02:00PM
  6. NEW MEETING: Creating Hampers and Package deals 20 Feb 2014, 02:00PM
  7. Using the Marketing Module 25 Feb 2014, 02:00PM
  8. Using SMS and Email Alerts 27 Feb 2014, 02:00PM

Tower AdvantageTM customers can book for these free workshops online – the process is automated.

If you check our website you will see online training workshops scheduled out to the end of May – providing plenty of opportunities for planning.

Ways small business retailers can refresh their view of their business

WARNING: This blog post has some crazy ideas you’d not expect from a POS software company.

In our work with small business retailers we often hear about burnout, retailers being tired and over the grind of opening the shop working all day, closing, getting little sleep and doing it all again. They are often too tired to be innovative in their approach to business.

Call us crazy but we have some ideas designed to help small business retailers reconnect with their businesses. They are unconventional. They are free. They are fun. They are designed to get you looking, hearing and smelling your business differently. They are designed to open your eyes to opportunities you may be missing.

Are you ready? Here are our unconventional ideas for refreshing your views of your small retail business – in the hope that you find opportunities you were not seeing.

  1. Go to your shop at night time. Leave the lights off. Put a chair on the middle of the shop floor. Sit down. Take your shoes and socks or stockings off. Put a blindfold on. Soak it up. What do you smell? What do you hear? Is there any sense of place that you get from being there.  Be still for fifteen minutes or so thinking about this. Breathe deeply. How does your shop smell? Does it have a smell? If not, why not? Then take the blindfold off and look around you for another fifteen minutes. Finally, get up – with your shoes and socks or stockings still off – and walk around the shop. Take in the environment you are in control of. Let the ideas flow. If you want to take it to a deeper level, lie down on the floor on your back and look up and around – kind of up-skirt your own shop while it’s empty!
  2. Get a stool or fold up chair, pack a lunch and spend at least three lunchtimes in a week sitting opposite the entrance to your shop watching customers. Don’t write anything down, just watch. Preferably do this without people noticing you. Wear a disguise if necessary. Watch intently. See where people go, what they pick up, what they buy if possible. Try and predict what they will do. Watch and think. Watch and think.
  3. Get a small desk and a sign for the desk that says CUSTOMER SERVICE. Place the desk near the front door of your shop. Set yourself up at the desk, sitting behind it. Dress formally, old school. Like in a 1950s movie preferably. Sit up straight. Look the part. Sit and wait and see what comes your way. Have fun interactive with customers. The desk should look out of place but it should also look fun. The idea is that your customers, your staff and you will be a bit shaken up by the change. See what comes your way.

We have more crazy ideas. These barely scratch the surface of the crazy idea cupboard. Just ask.

We’re here to help small business retailers create and run successful independent small local retail businesses. Our help goes beyond our software. Were retailers too and love being able to talk retail with anyone.

Tower Systems Garden Centre software features in Nursery & Garden magazine

nursery-garden-newsThe Tower Systems garden centre software features in the latest issue of Nursery & Garden magazine.

Promoting the latest release of our software for garden centres, this fresh for 2014 advertising is part of a co-ordinated campaign to reach out to garden centres and nurseries across Australia, to show off the quality business-specific software we have to meet their needs.

The marketing itself reflects well on the professionalism of our software.

Retailers love the opportunity of video based training in POS software

videotrainingMore and more retailers and their employees are using the extensive library of professional video-based training that we offer for learning how to use and benefit from the Tower Systems Point of Sale software. We track all access to learn about how people engage with the resources we have provided. This access data provides us with valuable insights.

It is a thrill to see new employees to a business using our software follow a thread of learning – it validates our investment in developing the resource and gives us confidence that we have another knowledgeable user in our community.

This access-from-anywhere video based training library is not the only training we offer – our customers also have access to live in-store training, over the phone training and group live online training. They can choose the training delivery method that best serves their needs.

The video training library is another part of our exclusive Tower AdvantageTM program. It is a valuable and appreciated point of difference for us.

Customers loving the 10% POS software support appreciation discount

Retailers using our Tower Systems Point of Sale software can access their optional annual software support and update fee for a 10% discount if they settle the account on time. We are thrilled that many of our customers take up the opportunity. It’s another way we help our customers access more value in their relationship with us.

Retailers who are covered by our software support and update services have access to 24/7 support, free one on one training, an extensive and updated video training library, weekly online training workshops, software updates, theft check service, business performance service and other facilities and services.

We are thrilled to have retailers switch to our software because of the kind words spread by existing customers.

A fresh approach to the shopper loyalty program

underthegableUnder The Gable takes a fresh approach to the shopper loyalty program with this card we designed and created for them and their use of our gift shop software. We love what they have called this: VIP HOME LOVERS CLUB. It’s smart and compelling, different to the usual approach taken for loyalty program offers. It’s a point of difference only a small business could offer, one leveraged well by the Under The Gable team. Kudos to them for their creativity.

The Tower Systems marketing and design team designed the card and arranged its manufacture as an extension of the services we offer our customers.

Retailers loving POS software update

Retailers using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software are responding well to the release earlier this week of a major software upgrade. The update was formally announced in an email to all customers which opened with:

We are excited to announce a new update to Retailer which is completely free of charge, for our supported user community. This update includes 18 Brand New features and over 40 bug fixes, we are thrilled that over half over these new features and fixes have been made possible thanks to suggestions from users via the Software Ideas facility on the Tower Systems website.

In addition to a major new update, Tower Systems has launched a completely new approach to installing updates and a fresh approach to communicating update content.

Retailers love new discount voucher collateral

shopper-loyaltyRetailers using our Point of Sale software are loving the new collateral we released last week promoting our unique and success-driving discount vouchers.

The No paperwork and No points messages reinforce that this is a fresh approach to loyalty – then comes the clincher: Rewards you can use right away.

This collateral, developed by our in-house marketing team, has been made available free of charge. Posters are available in A4 and A3.

In this collateral Tower Systems shows commitment beyond its software, deeper into retail businesses.

Adding value to the retail business management knowledge base

Retail is evolving rapidly as anyone who owns a retail business knows. While it is hard for retailers to keep up with the changes and challenges, it is even harder for POS software companies to keep up, to keep relevant to the demands of retail today.

Here at Tower Systems we not only develop smart POS software, we use it ourselves, in our own retail businesses. This practical experience gives us an advantage that we leverage for our customers and for ourselves.

The latest example of us leveraging our own experience in retail for our customers  and ourselves is the expansion of our POS software knowledge base to include even more business management and related advice – helping our retailer community with more resources for guiding better quality business decisions, even those somewhat removed from our software itself.

In the week since Christmas we have added prepared more peer-reviewed content for our customers, content that goes beyond the use of the software and delves into the management of retail businesses. This expanding knowledge base is being used more and more by our customers as they seek to make more from their businesses.

We enjoy being able to serve our customers beyond what is traditional for a POS software company and appreciate the benefit of leveraging our own retail business experience to present more ideas and suggestions to our customers. We are thrilled with feedback from our customers about their use of the expanding knowledge base.

The knowledge base facility we offer our customers is unique in content and accessibility.

Helping retailers to promote the points of difference of discount vouchers over traditional shopper loyalty rewards programs

shopper-loyaltyTower Systems has released collateral for use by retailers in promoting its exclusive discount vouchers offering.

Pitching the instant availability of hassle-free rewards, this collateral is set to help the hundreds of retailers who have engaged with the Tower loyalty offering.

The No paperwork and No points messages reinforce that this is a fresh approach to loyalty – then comes the clincher: Rewards you can use right away.

This collateral, developed by our in-house marketing team, has been made available free of charge. Posters are available in A4 and A3.

In this collateral Tower Systems shows commitment beyond its software, deeper into retail businesses.

Printing care facilities for plants an important service in Garden Centre software

Clayton ShootRetailers using the Tower Systems Garden Centre Software are able to include plant planting and care instructions on the receipt that also lists the items purchased. This helps the businesses using the software offer a more consistent and structured customer service experience. It also ensures that plants purchased are better cared for since the customers are provided with best practice advice.

This ability to include notes for items purchased on the customer’s receipt has existed in the Tower software for many years. It’s is loved by garden centres, jewellers, bike retailers and gift shop owners.

Providing retailers with opportunities to demonstrate excellent product knowledge and to be able to consistently share this with customers is an important feature of good POS software.

POS software Layaway LayBy features help retailers win this Christmas season

Retailers using The Tower Systems Point of Sale software have had access to LayBy / Layaway facilities for many years and over that time the facilities have been finessed in response to feedback.

Offering excellent flexibility for retailers who want to offer the Layaway / LayBy service, the Tower software handles all accounting and paperwork, making selling, payments and collection easy. It does it in a way that is professional and consistent – two important requirements when offering a Layaway / LayBy service.

It is this time of the year, Christmas time, when the facilities are put to the test with many collections being undertaken of pre-purchased Christmas gifts. Thanks to strong management facilities including excellent reporting, retailers using the Tower software are able to manage Layaways / LayBys with a minimum time investment. This helps the business make more from the opportunity.

The execution of the Layaway / LayBy facilities in the Tower Systems Point of sale software are another valuable differentiation for the company.

Sunday small business retailer management advice: keep it simple

Some retailers think that making more noise works in their favour. In these types of businesses you will see many deals, almost too many to take in. Our advice is that in retail often less is more. One offer or deal well pitched can generate more for a business than many offers.

Our advice for a business owner who  wants to position their business as the best value retailer in their category of products is to have a whole of business value proposition.  One way to pitch this is with one of the loyalty opportunities in our Point of Sale software.

From stand alone points-based loyalty to group wide integrated to small group integrated to our discount vouchers / instant rewards / cash rewards voucher facilities, retailers using our Point of Sale software have choice when it comes to offering a whole of business value proposition. Our software serves retailers with flexibility and power in this area, delivering tools retailers can use to offer a consistent message.

So, to retailers with many discounts and 2 for and 3 for deals, we say switch to a well thought our loyalty value proposition and rely on one message delivered and executed consistently to cut through.

This can be an excellent point of difference independent and small retailers.

Helping retailers understand their Christmas business performance

Tower Systems offers retailers using its POS software a business performance analysis service whereby we analyse business sales and other data and provide a fresh-eyes assessment on the performance of the business.

The service is free to Tower AdvantageTM customers and involves a thorough year on year comparison of business performance.

Christmas is an ideal time for such an assessment since it’s the busiest time of the year, the time a business should be at its best. The higher volume of trade through Christmas enables an even more meaningful assessment of business performance.

Many retailers have appreciated this free service and taken on opportunities to change their businesses as a result.

Tower Systems is proud to offer this and other non-traditional POS software support services to its customers.

Helping retailers reduce the opportunity of theft this Christmas

Tower Systems is sharing practical advice with retailers using its Point of Sale software on how to cut the opportunity of employee theft this Christmas.

Sharing practical advice at the best possible time is an important service we provide our retail partners.

In our software we have excellent theft reduction and theft tracking tools that work well in any retail situation. Our own experience running retail businesses helps us provide retailers with advice beyond what is usual for a POS software company.

The advice we provide is based on our own experience owning and operating retail businesses in several retail channels.

Retailers following our advice can cut theft.

Small business Christmas marketing tips for Christmas 2013

For many years we have published Christmas marketing ideas as a resource for others to use and as inspiration for newsagents to think of their own.  While developed initially for small business newsagents, here are thirty easy to implement simple Christmas marketing ideas as inspiration for small business retailers for Christmas 2014. Our advice is to pick what suits you and create your own.

  1. Promote every day items as gifts within your displays.  magazines work in this situation. Too often retailers focus on items they have sourced for Christmas and then wonder why there is little flow on once the season is over. One way to embrace the opportunity is to pitch everyday products as gifts. This could involve packaging them that’d appropriate.
  2. Pitch magazines for different groups. For example: gifts for guys: create an off-location display of magazines for guys so that those buying christmas cards and gifts in your shop can consider magazines as a gift.
  3. Pitch magazine putaways as gifts. You could offer a title put away for three or six months – something different to subscription lengths.
  4. Make sure the front of your shop, the window our the front facing the street or mall has your best offers. This is what the majors do. If you have an amazing deal, put it on show for all to see.
  5. Use a spruiker once a week at your busiest time to shout out about great items you have. If you can’t afford a spruiker, do it yourself. Go to any weekend market and see how it’s done. Have fun!
  6. Connect with a charity. In addition to products you may sell that raise funds for a charity consider a local charity and promote how every purchase in your store supports the charity.
  7. Have a box for collecting items for a local charity.
  8. Send Christmas cards to your customers – maybe invade a voucher for them to spend in-store.
  9. Give retailers nearby a discount card / coupon / voucher for them to do their own shopping. Consider a special buying night for retailers and their employees given the hours they are working.
  10. Have a crazy competition one day. Something like – come in and sing silent night in a completely fresh and crazy way and the best rendition wins, say, $100. Pitch it right and you’ll draw a crowd. Remember the crowd the now closed gaslight records in Melbourne drew for nude day.
  11. Offer a Christmas party flyer copying discount – half price copying of all Christmas party flyers.
  12. Host a colouring competition. Connect it with Christmas. Display all entries. Leverage an emotional connection through your theme such as: something good you have seen this year or your wish for someone else this Christmas.
  13. Keep it simple. While shops fill to overflowing with products this time of the year too often what you want seen can’t be seen because of the explosion of range and colour. Create space to show off your hero products, consider the less is more approach.
  14. Use stickers and or posters on your floor to show customers where you want them to go. Have Christmas themed basket builders at the counter – priced at under $10.00.
  15. Make an entrance. Create something around the entrance to your shop so that those stepping inside feel as if they are stepping into somewhere different, somewhere special.
  16. Have Christmas themed impulse items dotted next to main customer thoroughfares.
  17. Give every customer a flyer promoting your Christmas offers. Ideally you’ll have a couple of flyers through the season.
  18. Move everyday items elsewhere in the shop during the season – disrupt your regular shoppers.
  19. Dress up. Not just once but several times.
  20. Tell stories on your Facebook page about the season, what you’re doing and the fun you’re having.
  21. Have fun with your team and your customers.
  22. Thank your customers for their support.
  23. Setup a customer interaction board and invite them to post their best Christmas story.
  24. Have promotional days: free stamp Tuesday where you give free stamps with each card to people buying two or more cards; free tape Saturday for people buying two or more rolls or packs of wrap; free wrapping week where you offer free wrapping with every gift.
  25. Use your floor, Stickers and or posters on the floor can guide those customers who look down and not up.
  26. Place gifts / Christmas items in magazines. Your magazine department attracts shoppers to categories they love. leverage this with placement of appropriate items in those areas.
  27. Work the floor. At your busiest times have someone on the flor subtly showing off products you sell.
  28. Give your customers a reason to come back – an offer, a promotion, adiscount voucher.
  29. Tell a story. If space permits, show how a feature product is used. For example, if you’re selling jigsaws, have a table with one half done. Getting shoppers interacting gets them more engaged with your business and engagement = sales.
  30. Love the season. This can be challenging with the extreme business of Christmas trading and the challenges that the season presents. But each day when you step into the shop try and love it as if it’s a fresh start.

Sunday small business retailer management advice: use your software to manage your end of shift

The Tower Systems Point of Sale software has an excellent end of shift management facility. This guides you through the process including counting cash and balancing other payment types. Our recommendation to retailers is that they use our POS software EOS facilities and not a manual process. The more consistent controls you apply to the EOS the more accurate the result.

Retailers love POS software video training curriculum management tools

usertrainingvideosMore retailers are engaging with the online video based training curriculum that is a key part of our online self-serve customer support resource. While the 130+ videos that make up the library are also available on a single title bases directly from our new knowledge base / online help desk facility, we also provide access through a purpose written online curriculum management facility.

The photo shows how one of our customers accessed a stream of videos to complete module of training. our users can a mange access to the videos for an employee – thereby tracking employee learning and engagement.

This is a unique and valuable service offered by Tower Systems, one we are proud of as it presents us with an excellent point of difference for our Point of Sale software customers.

Garden Centre & Nursery software facilitates professional presentation

gardentaxinvoiceThe Tower Systems Garden Centre software offers a range of customer invoicing options including this professional invoice produced directly from the software.

Developed in consultation with garden centre owners and managers, this invoice and other garden centre software invoices, quotes and customer documents help garden centres using our software to represent themselves accurately and professionally – and in a way that meets the specific needs of the garden centre nursery industry.

This is what being a specialist software company is all about – meeting the needs of the niches in which you serve by providing rich facilities tailored to the needs of your customers.

Mobile access to POS software customer service knowledge base sets a new benchmark

know8The new mobile access facilities launched by Tower Systems this week as part of the new self-serve help desk facilities for retailers using our Point of Sale software take POS software customer service in Australia to a new level.

The image shows a screen on a mobile phone where someone is accessing notes on installing a new release of our software. Here our customers can access notes on their phone without having to use the computer on which they may be doing work.

By releasing the entire database of advice sheets, customer service knowledge base and user training videos through mobile devices we have significantly enhanced the customer experience. While our users have had access previously, the new platform significantly improves the user experience thanks to completely new technology now deployed for our customers.