It’s not enough for software companies to only develop software any more

Just a retail has fundamentally changed, so has software development. There was a time when all software companies had to do was to develop software. Then there was the push to provide good customer support. Now, we have reached a time when engagement beyond the software, beyond support, is vital to success.

Growing software companies today make themselves useful and valued to their customers and businesses connected with their customers beyond the software itself and beyond traditional software support.

Growing software companies embed themselves within the channels of their customers. This benefits the retailers in the channel as well as the software company.

Tower Systems has been living this model for years, delivering valuable insights and connections with retailers in a range of channels, through embedding itself and helping beyond the software and beyond customer service. Inside our business, this non-software engagement accounts for more than half our channel level engagement.

We work with suppliers, providing advice and support. We cultivate and share data. We explore insights. Plus we help our clients and their suppliers in other practical ways.

The help we provide, beyond the software, helps us as a business and it helps our customers – through the software and outside of the software.

Garden centre software on show at nursery and garden industry conference

Garden centre software company Tower Systems is thrilled to have been the only software supplier present and participating in the NGIQ conference in Brisbane last week.

Sharing insights into the use of technology in growing stronger and more valuable garden and nursery businesses, Tower Systems outlined how today’s garden centre can better compete with best-practice software developed for garden centre and nursery businesses.

the presentation included an outline of the options for handling loyalty with the Tower garden centre software offering three distinct approaches and a fourth to be released in July. It’s this approach to flexibility that appeals not only to retailers but to their partner suppliers.

Garden centres are in a competitive marketplace and the need best-practice tools with which to actively compete. This is what Tower Systems delivers.

Training retailers to make the most of end of financial year opportunities

Tower Systems has been providing retailers using its Point of Sale software a range of training opportunities in the lead up to the end of the financial year. While the software itself requires no work, there are opportunities for retailers to use the EOFY to build a stronger business in the next year.

The training opportunities include a slew of free live training workshops, free one on one training and assistance, refreshed advice documentation and new training videos.

By providing EOFY advice and guidance in various mediums, Tower Systems is demonstrating a level of customer case and assistance that is fresh and entiticng for retailers.

The EOFY assistance covers stock takes, business planning, past performance assessment and structural change discussion. This list demonstrates a level of engagement between tower Systems and its retail partners way beyond what is traditionally expected of a software company / user relationship, Tower Systems engages at this deeper level as part of its commitment to make a difference to the businesses of its customers beyond the day to day trading through the software.

Tower Systems to present at NGIQ conference next week

Tower Systems has been invited to present at the Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland professional development conference next week in Brisbane. The one day event – NGIQ Business Improvement Forum – includes a valuable session from tower Systems for garden centre and nursery owners:

Retail Management – how retailers are driving better business outcomes – Mark Fletcher, Director, Tower Systems.
Overseas and Australia experience shows how quality business data can help keep your business on track.

This session is on the back of similar business development sessions offered by Tower Systems in other garden centre industry conferences and forums recently. It extends our support of this vital retail and wholesale channel.

New POS software training videos from Tower Systems

Tower Systems is adding three new training videos to its Training Academy curriculum from tomorrow. These three new videos further enhance the training opportunities for retailers using the tower Point of Sale software:

  • 30.1 Performing A Stocktake
  • 30.2 Performing A Spot Stocktake
  • 30.3 Stocktake Reports

We will continue to add videos, expanding the training curriculum for the benefit of our customers.

Point of Sale software training opportunities for June

Tower Systems late last month released details of a range of free online online training opportunities in June for retailers using its Point of Sale software.  Here is a list of workshops already scheduled:

  • Getting started with Stock Management Fully Booked 4 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Doing a Stocktake 4 6 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Doing a Stocktake 10 11 Jun 2013, 02:00AM
  • Getting started with Stock Reordering 10 13 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Newsagency of the Future – Cairns 91 QLD 14 Jun 2013, 11:00AM
  • End Of Financial Year Procedures 8 18 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Doing a Stocktake 13 20 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Using Catalogues and Promotions to build your Business 10 25 Jun 2013, 02:00PM
  • Using the new Discount Feature in Retailer and other new features in Retailer 2.5 10 27 Jun 2013, 02:00PM

Feedback from participants in our online training workshops helps guide the settling of future topics. We are grateful to our customers for this feedback as well as for their engagement in the free learning opportunities.

We provide one of our skilled help desk team members to run the sessions and each session includes plenty of Q&A time.

Access to the training opportunities is free to all Tower Systems customers.

Discount Vouchers provide small business retailers a whole of business experience

The new Discount Vouchers facility released by Tower Systems in its Point of Sale software is proving to be genuinely unique. A recent functional comparison showed a considerable difference between the solution from Tower and one claimed by another to be similar.

While we have no trademark on the term Discount Vouchers, we do own then intellectual property that is the Discount Vouchers facility within our software.

Comparing the facilities, flexibility, reporting and critical business levers, the Tower software shines, it’s unique and through this, in our view, is far more valuable.

One reason that our solution would stand out as better 1s we’re retailers ourselves. We developed this facility using some of our retail businesses and live guinea pigs.

We leverage our ownership of retail businesses regularly to play secretly as we develop leading edge facilities for our retail customers.

The Discount Vouchers facility shows off the value of the Tower approach. Those who compare will see it too.

Helping retailers do a stocktake using Point of Sale software

The Doing a Stocktake live free online training workshop Tower Systems has been running this year for retailers using our Point of Sale software continues to attract excellent numbers of attendees. Indeed, bookings are so strong that even additional sessions scheduled fill up – leading more to be added.

Our 2,000+ retailer community has embraced the live online workshops as an ideal means for delivering access to training and we are happy to oblige with more and more training opportunities.

As the leader in delivering access to online training in our respective marketplaces, we have established a benchmark not only in terms of numbers of sessions but also in topic diversity. Plus we show customer care by adding repeat sessions for the most popular topics.

To see the free online training immediately available for booking please click here.

Wow! factor drives sales success with new approach to retail shopper loyalty program

The most consistent experience from retailers engaging in the new Discount Vouchers facility released now in the latest Point of sale software from Tower Systems is the wow factor, the pleasure and excitement from shoppers happy with a fresh approach to rewards for loyalty.

Embedded in the wow response is a boredom with points based loyalty programs. Retail shoppers are tired of accuring points of different value and having, too often, to jump through hoops to access the points.

The time was ripe for change and Tower Systems has delivered change with its new Discount Vouchers approach.

While still supporting the decades-old approach to points based loyalty / VIP cards, the new Discount Vouchers facility delivers a genuinely fresh approach that is getting shoppers engaged beyond what is traditional – spending more and sooner and this is vitally important in retail today.

Tower Systems has delivered access to the Discount Vouchers facility to all Tower AdvantageTM customers without additional cost.

Tower Systems shows value of POS software support coverage for small business retailers

The Discount Vouchers facility released in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software two weeks ago is an excellent example of the value of retailers being covered by a software support agreement.

Tower Systems included the completely new facility in the software for no extra charge – even though it could have charged since this was a completely new facility- separate to existing VIP and loyalty facilities in the software.

Adding value like this, delivering completely new functionality, is not what software companies usually do. It reflects on the tower commitment to genuinely add value without costing its user community anything extra.

Tower AdvantageTM customers have access to the Discount Vouchers facility and other enhancements in the software for not additional charge.  In addition to the Discount Vouchers facility itself there is documentation on how the use the facility, personal setup support and other facilities for making the best use of the new tools in your own retail business. Tower is taking a whole of business approach to introducing Discount Vouchers.

This is an excellent and appreciated point of difference for Tower Systems customers. It provides retailers using other software another reason to make the switch.

Garden centre POS software on show at Green Expo Sydney

The Tower Systems garden centre software is on show this week at the Green Expo Sydney, an event of the Nursery & Garden Industry Association of NSWACT.

We are honored to be a silver sponsor of the association and this important event.

On show will be our new software for garden centres and nurseries.  Trade show attendees will get to see fresh software designed for their particular business niche, software developed in close consultation with their colleagues.

We are looking forward to feedback that will help up enhance our garden centre software event further – trade shows are an excellent opportunity for this type of networking and learning for our sales and software development teams.

The image shows a flyer we have produced to promote our participation in and location at the trade show. It’s been sent to all garden centres and nurseries in NSW and ACT over the last week.

We’re excited for what is expected to be a terrific event.

Tower Systems updates Point of Sale software to reflect TRS GST refund changes

The latest release of Point of Sale software from Tower Systems, released today, delivers support for the recently announced changes to the Tourist Refund Scheme announced by the government.

Specifically, the POS software is being enhanced to reflect the following:

  • Duty Free purchases can be made up to 60 days; previously 30 days.
  • Travellers Statement is updated with new rules.

The TRS website has details on the latest changes.

In developing these enhancements, Tower Systems reinforces its commitment to maintaining the currency of its software.

Jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops, homewares stores and garden centres will all benefit from these latest changes to the Tower software.

Tower AdvantageTM customers will receive access to the update for no additional cost.

Garden centre software benefits from new facilities driving shopper loyalty

Garden centres and nursery businesses using our very latest Garden Centre software are enjoying our new shopper loyalty facilities.

Developed with a couple of proactive garden centres, these new facilities work a treat at bringing shoppers back into the business.  The facilities take a unique approach to encouraging shopper loyalty, an approach that is proving to be successful.

The development of these new facilities is another example of Tower Systems adding value to its software long after a system is purchased an installed. It is also an example of the company offering choice in addressing a need.  Too often, retailers and given one way to address a need – loyalty for example. The Tower approach is to serve multiple approaches.

The latest garden centre software update from Tower Systems also have other facilities developed for this retail channel, beyond loyalty.

Garden centre / nursery software helps manage customer deliveries

The Tower Systems garden centre software is helping garden centres better manage customer deliveries thanks to strong delivery tools available from the sales counter or wherever customer orders are taken.

Being able to accurately record and track customer deliveries is vital in a busy garden centre and having this covered provides Tower Systems with an advantage.  The work done to serve deliveries through garden centres is benefiting other retailers using the Tower POS software.

Serving around seventy garden centres already, 2013 is proving to be a terrific year with some high-profile garden centres taking on the Tower software and enjoying the facilities they now have access to.

Tower Systems will be demonstrating its software at the Green Expo in Sydney soon.

Points are old school when it comes to retail shopper loyalty

Tower Systems has supported shopper accrual of loyalty points for many years, delivering to retailers using its POS software excellent tools for shoppers to accrue and spend points. As more and more retailers have turned on loyalty programs, loyalty fatigue among shoppers has set in and what was a point of difference years ago is nothing special today.

Focused on leadership, Tower Systems has been working on alternatives in the shopper loyalty space, alternatives to bring shoppers back and to guide them to spend more than average.  A trial of completely new and fresh facilities is entering its third month and the results are excellent. Through our comprehensive reporting tools we are able to track shopper behaviour down to the transaction item detail and this is providing insights that will be useful when the new tools are commercially rolled out.

The new facilities, unlike anything in our retail niche channels – newsagents, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops, homewares shops – will show off our leadership position and help retailers achieve excellent results by embracing tools that deliver an a competitive advantage. The key is the strong management and reporting tools provided as part of the new suite of facilities.

We keep hearing that retail is tough. Innovative retailers are enjoying success. Good technology can help any retail business innovate.

Free online POS training loved by retail employees

We have started receiving feedback from retail employees who are tapping into the online training we launched last week through our Training Academy. Thanks for letting me learn at home one retail employee said.  This is great, I love the opportunity to develop my skills said another.

In developing the training our goal has been to create training that is accessible by content and by access point. Our content is highly targeted to each task and work area in a retail business. We have specialist training for each of our retail niches too: newsagents, jewellers, gift shops, bike retailers, garden centres etc.  Our content is accessible in that any computer with internet access can access the training.

Accessing the training is free for retailers and their employees.

The training program has been put together and is fronted by Mike Hill – our Customer Service Manager and an expert in the best use of our software in any retail situation.

World first: exclusive training curriculum for retailers and retail employees in POS software – by retail channel

Tower Systems has released the most comprehensive and most accessible training ever produced for small business retailers and their employees.

Launched as the Tower Systems Training Academy, Tower customers have access to a customised online facility through which they can access fresh, relevant and easy to follow training for their particular software.

In a WORLD FIRST for newsagents, gift shops, jewellers, bike retailers and other POS software users, business owners and employees using the Tower software can learn how to use the software when and where they want without having to pay extra for the privilege.

Separate curriculums have been developed for each retail channel, delivering retail channel specific specialist education.  The total training content available per retail channel is between seven and ten hours.

The training helps ensure new employees learn the software properly and it provides existing employees the ability to refresh knowledge and learn more.

With retail changing and demands on business owners and their employees growing, good knowledge is vital to efficient and profitable newsagency management.

This new training resource is the most comprehensive ever from any supplier in the various retail channels to address this vital training need.

This exclusive new training resource includes more than 100 training videos for each marketplace. each video is brief, allowing comfortable digestion of the content.

Covering all key aspects of the software, this training is comprehensive and accessible to retailers using the industry standard Tower software from anywhere and at any time.

Professionally produced in-house by Tower Systems and peer-reviewed, this training program is accessed through curriculum platform just released on the Tower website.

Through the Tower website facilities newsagents can create a profile for their business and each employee. This enables employees to follow the curriculum that is appropriate to there area of work in the business.

Access to this new training resource is free to all Tower AdvantageTM customers.

The content in the training program will be updated to reflect changes in the software. New modules will also be added in response to customer feedback and suggestions.

Anyone undertaking the video based training can use the resources of the Tower help desk to have any queries answered. They can also participate in any of the regular weekly live online training workshops hosted y the company. They can also attend face to face user meetings and explore queries.

Thanks to Tower Systems, Tower customers and their employees can learn what they want and need, when they want, where they want and as often as they want.

The training program has been produced by Mike Hill, Tower Systems Customer Service Manager.  Mike has excellent knowledge of the Tower software. He grew up in a retail environment and worked in both distribution and retail businesses. His multi media degree provided him with the production skills to deliver professional grade training packages.

This is a genuine first from Tower Systems. While we have had training videos in the past, we have not offered complete curriculums with this much content and with the ability for a business owner to register employees and track progress.

This is a truly wonderful resource that will bring more retailers to the Tower communities of newsagents, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops, homewares stores, adult shops, garden centres and gun shops.

Retailers will switch to Tower Systems for a fresh approach to shopper loyalty rewards

Two months ago we quietly released new shopper loyalty facilities to a select group of our Point of Sale software beta release sites. The comprehensive data gathered through the trial shows that these new facilities are guiding changes in shopper behaviour, increasing the value of participating shoppers.

While we already offer a more traditional points based loyalty program, we wanted something completely different and genuinely fresh. Our new facilities, to be offered as an option with our software, do just that.

Our customers are able to provide shoppers with a reward to spend in-store right away. They can control the value of the spend and the items it is used to purchase. This is where the new facility is very clever.

Shopper feedback at trial sites indicates that this new loyalty program, as opposed to the traditional points offering, will get got shoppers making a conscious choice to purchase from the business what they may purchase from a supermarket or elsewhere.

The new loyalty facilities are backed up with excellent reporting tools, enabling retailers to manage the program with little time involvement and to track shopper behaviour.

The features of the new facilities are:

  • No shopper sign-up necessary to get them started.
  • Immediate rewards on offer fro first purchase – but accessed on next purchase.
  • Easy local settings available to newsagents to drive what is important to them.
  • No extra card for shoppers to carry.
  • Targets shorter term loyalty engagement – that visit or soon after.
  • Easy management of breakage.
  • A whole of business offer – i.e. not just targeting magazines or cards.
  • Hard for majors to replicate.
  • Easy harvesting of shopper contact details at point of redemption.

Data from beta sites indicates that these new loyalty could be a game changer for our current and future customers, especially in locally competitive situations.

The new facilities are in version 2.5 of our software.  This is expected to be commercially available late next week.

The data is in, new loyalty facility for retailers drives sales

The completely new loyalty facility Tower Systems started trailing in a new release of its Point of Sale software well over a month ago is proving to be successful at driving shopper engagement.

Breaking free from the traditional and often stale approach to shopper loyalty of using a rewards card and letting shoppers accrue points – which the Tower POS software also offers – this new facility is unique in that it comes with sophisticated yet easy to use levels with which the retailer can guide and encourage shopper behaviour.

Sites using the beta release of the new loyalty facility have been able to see the impact it us having thanks to excellent reporting tools available. In the reports you can see customers responding to the loyalty reward and yu can track the cost of offering the reward down to cents. But best of all, retailers can see the rewards, in sales, of customers engaging with the rewards offered by the new loyalty facility.

The new loyalty facility sets Tower Systems apart in each of our marketplaces. It gives us a competitive advantage but more important, it gives our retail partners a competitive advantage.

Sunday small retail business management advice: motivate your employees

Motivating retail employees can be tough, especially if you take a traditional approach,managing in a traditional way. In our experience working with many retailers in a range niche retail channels we have seen a different approach work – one where retail employees are brought into a deeper understanding of the business and where they participate in growing sales.

Sharing with retail employees the value of their sales in a week while helping them understand the costs of doing business, can see some reach beyond average and start to make a more significant sales contribution to the business.

Our Point of Sale software helps retailers to track employee performance so this can be shared in a motivating ay with employees. Our experience is that it works well at getting employees thinking and acting more like employers. Often, they try and compete with previous sales numbers.

Best practice Point of Sale software customer service wins retailers

Retailers using the Tower software for jewellers, bike shop software, garden centre software, newsagency software, gift shop software, adult shop software, gun shop software and other POS software have access to best practice software support and help desk facilities.

Tower AdvantageTM is the name given to the software support, update and service package offered by Tower Systems to retailers using our Point of Sale software.

Our package of services is so unique that we decided some years ago that it needed to be trademarked. So we registered Tower AdvantageTM with IP Australia and received approval.

Tower AdvantageTM coverage is optional. Retailers using our software can continue to use the software regardless of whether they take out Tower AdvantageTMcoverage.

Customers who do take out Tower AdvantageTM coverage receive at no additional cost:

  • Software updates.
  • Access to software support coverage 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This includes local number support access in Melbourne, Sydney, Birbsnae, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart and Toll Free support for all of New Zealand.
  • Access to more than 200 professionally written and reviewed advice sheets documenting how to use the software.
  • Access to more than 30 training videos.
  • Access to our NEW online training curriculum.
  • Access to face-to-face user meetings hosted in many cities each year.
  • Access to regular weekly online training workshops.
  • Free business health check service which assesses business performance and how the software us being used.
  • Free theft check service checking secret business data to see if employees are stealing from the business.

The total package of Tower AdvantageTM services is unique to Tower Systems and another reason the company continues to enjoy excellent year on year sales growth.

Garden centre software helps with the autumn rush

The garden centre and nursery management software from Tower Systems is helping garden centres to leverage the opportunity of seasonal change with the transition from summer to autumn.

Thanks to customer marketing tools and other facilities, the software is helping garden centre owners to reach out to customers with season specific offers. This can be done using the information held by the business about prior activity during the autumn season and then relying on shopper data to reach out by email, txt and mail.

This is where POS software reaches beyond transacting sales, helping retailers to leverage customer data for more sales and to show the business as offering good customer service.  We are glad to be of help to our growing garden centre customer base with this work.

Smart garden centre software helps at the counter, the back room, on the grounds of the nursery and throughout supplier and customer relationships – strengthening the business and helping it to grow beyond expectations.  We are grateful of the opportunities to serve some fine businesses in this retail space. We are especially grateful of the advice they provide us.

It’s easy to sell items without a barcode using POS software

Accurately selling inventory items without a barcode is easy with the Tower Systems Point of Sale software. A good example of where this is important is in the selling of single sheets of coloured paper and cardboard in newsagencies, stationery shops and craft shops.

While a retailer could put a barcode on the sheets, the adhesive could damage the product. So, being able to sell the items without a barcode is important.

Using the Tower Point of Sale software, retailers can easily sell items without a barcode thanks to clever touch screen setup. They can sell to whatever level they want including, in the case of cardboard, brand,colour, size and the like. This flexibility is very important for craft shops that want deep level stock control in their business. It speaks to the wonderful flexibility in the software.

Retailers of all types use the flexibility in the POS screen for selling items that cannot have a barcode for one reason or another.

Garden centres move from POSIMS software to Tower Systems garden centre software

We have just switched another large garden centre to our garden centre software from the POSIMS software. With each business we move from POSIMS to our software we learn more not only about the software switch but also about the garden centre business.

We are grateful for the opportunity to immerse ourselves in such a diverse range of garden centre and nursery businesses in the country and the city from community run businesses to commercial businesses.

The insights are helping us to further enhance our software to help lead garden centres to greater efficiency and closer relationships with their customers.

It’s a delight to us to be working with people happy to be in their businesses and serving their customers.

We are loving the garden centre channel.

Helping retailers measure impulse purchases

While retailers using our POS software are able to track the performance of all stock items, we find that there is significant interest in the impulse items strategically placed to engage shoppers on impulse and thereby extend the value of a shopping visit.

By helping retailers to target the performance if items through various reports in our software we can help retailers understand the efficiency of specific products as well as the placement of those products.

It all comes down to easy-to-use yet powerful reporting, reporting that lets the retailers measure what they want and how they want.

As retailers ourselves we use our reports regularly. Our personal experiences better inform our reporting choice.