At Green Expo on the Gold Coast this coming week

We are fortunate to be participating in the Green Expo on the Gold Coast this coming week, a special event for garden centres and nurseries. Our Garden Centre Software will be on show.

Our growing presence in the garden centre space is helping us further broaden the scope of our software as we get feedback from leaders in this business channel. There is no doubt that retail management ideas from garden centre owners and managers is helping us to deliver better quality Point of sale software across our various marketplaces.

Sexy product barcode label from Garden Centre software

One of the new locations using our Garden Centre software is producing a sexy looking product barcode label direct from our software.

Willow Park Nursery is a leading Canberra nursery located in tranquil surroundings at Pialligo. We are thrilled to welcome them as a new client and user of our Garden Centre software.

Being able to produce professional looking labels that incorporate the corporate image of the business is important to us and to our clients. It leverages strong local brands and helps businesses like Willow Park Nursery promote their brand on products after they are purchases.

Our Garden Centre software continues to grow in use among garden centres and nurseries.

Sunday small business retailer management advice: embracing being local

Small business retailers compete with national chain stores by doing things which the chain stores by focussing on the local community. Generally a chain store will write a cheque to show local support by sponsoring a sport team or a charity. Real engagement takes more than a cheque, it requires a connection with the local community such that the community wants you to succeed.

Here is some free advice for small and independent retailers from our many years experience serving them with our Point of Sale software. This advice could be used by anyone regardless of the software they use.

1. HONOUR BOARD
Either as a separate promotion or on your notice board have a space to recognise a local hero. Make a award regularly – quarterly, monthly – you choose. Invite brief submissions. Make the decision. Put their photo and story on the board. No prize – just recognition of a local hero.

2. GALLERY
Either on your notice board or separate create a local gallery. Invite customers to provide photos of local happenings. Name the people in the photos. The idea is to create something local people want to look at.

3. AMBASSADORS: EMPLOYEES
Your employees have a HUGE role to place in your local connection. Whenever possible hire locally.
Let your employees in on your focus on being locally connected. Seek their suggestions. Encourage their involvement. Give them guidelines on customer communication but encourage them to find their own words.

4. LOCAL NEWSLETTER
Monthly, quarterly – publish a newsletter for customers about your business and its local connection. Write some local stories. Explain how support for your business helps the local community. Promote local products you carry. Keep it simple – stay away from the slick approach of the chain stores.

5. RECHARGE AND LOCALISE YOUR PROMOTIONS
Make this 100% local: local businesses, owned and operating locally; local sport teams and their results. Local clubs; Local events. Headline the board: YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY BOARD – CONNECTING YOU WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS. Appoint someone in the shop to manage the board and check contents each day. A fresh and well arranged board will attract attention. Do not charge for the service.

6. JOIN IN
Join the Chamber of Commerce, go to meetings, get involved in their projects. It’s a great way for you to influence local government spending in your area and to connect with other independent businesses.

7. INVOLVEMENT OUTSIDE THE BUSINESS
The community needs to see your involvement beyond the walls of your business. Your presence and the presence of others representing your business at local events will prove your connection in a way your corporate type competitors will not be able to match.

8. DONATIONS
Focus your charity donations on local charities. While the bigger charities might complain and say they also work locally, there are charities specific to your area which struggle against the better known charities – just like your business does.

9. LOCAL PRODUCTS
If you can get your hands on local products which fit with your range do so and display them as local products. There is no better way to connect with your local community. If you cannot find any consider looking at local markets. Put a sign up in cafes and other public places inviting product submissions.

10. GETTING OUT
Shop locally yourself. Talk to local business owners. Make sure you know what’s happening in the community.

11. CREATING EVENTS
Make your mark in the community by creating and hosting an annual event. Have fun. Try the annual paper plane contest. The annual burger bake off. The annual local music festival. The local games – potato sack rate, egg and spoon race and so on. Have fun! Work in partnership with other local businesses.

Tower Systems supports Nursery & Garden Industry Association NSW ACT

Tower Systems is proud to be a sponsor of the NGINA state conference in Terrigal this coming week and to be on site at the conference to offer advice and assistance to garden and nursery business owners and employees in the use of our garden centre software for more efficient business management.

Working with nursery and garden industry associations helps the associations and it helps us as we get to better understand the needs of the retailers and the suppliers. Our garden centre software can be the glue that helps two sides to better commercially connect.

This is another important trade show for Tower Systems in a year filled with trade shows.

Why we believe in small business retail here at Tower Systems

We are often asked why our Point of Sale software company prefers to deal with small business retailers rather than big groups.

To focus only on small and independent retailers is a decision we made when we started this business.  It is a decision we are happy we continue to embrace today.

Here at Tower Systems we have made and continue to make a conscious choice to serve small business retailers.  While our Point of Sale software can be used by retail businesses of any size, it is in the small business retailer community where we are most comfortable.

So, why do we like small business retailers?

This is a question we confronted recently in a business review where we took some time for introspection about who we are, what we do and why we do what we do.

We believe in small business.

Small business retailers play a vital economic role, often punching above their weight in terms of economic contribution.

Small business retailers play an even more important social role, holding, sharing and even adding to the narrative of communities around the world as well as providing practical support for community based endeavours.

Small business retailers help local shoppers with a level of personal service which leads to better buying decisions.

Small businesses support the community and uphold what is important locally.

Small businesses are more likely to share valuable knowledge with shoppers and even browsers than a much bigger competitor.

It is this community connection and support which we feel is vital to the contribution small businesses make to Australia.

We like these points, especially that small businesses and small business retailers in particular are more likely to uphold and carry forward local customs, beliefs and stories.  Small businesses support the local voice.

Small businesses are important because they push back on globalisation and the risk of dilution of the local voice to a whisper.

Whereas with big business retailers shoppers are dealing with a person representing a corporation and focused on the goals of the corporation, in small business you are dealing with the owner or someone very close to the owner, reflecting the personal and connected nature of the business and the local community in which its serves.

We also feel that we can contribute more by working with small business retailers.  We are happy with our track record in this regard since starting in business in 1981.

As of today, we serve in excess of 2,500 small business retailers.  Each is as important to us as the other.  We love their differences, characters and what they teach us about many different retail businesses.

We enjoy serving small businesses and remaining a small business ourselves – yes, we are a small software company when you consider the likes of MYOB.

Being small and focused on small and independent retailers is where we think we can actively contribute and do the most good.

The value of a business is not only about financial performance.  It is also about the social contribution of the business.  In our view, this is more important as it is the foundation of communities.

There was a time when small was almost considered a dirty word in business.  Not anymore.  This is the time of small business.  It is a niche in which many of us choose to remain and make a difference.  It is a place of profitable businesses and businesses making a genuinely valuable economic and social contribution.

In addition to our passion for small businesses, we have a passion for helping retail channels benefit from technology.  We feel that we can help create greater success and enjoyment … but we will leave that sales pitch for another day.

New garden centre software helps businesses grow

The latest garden centre software from Tower Systems for garden centres and nursery businesses is helping businesses grow.

This latest Point of Sale and business management software for garden centres has been developed in consultation with nursery owners, managers, employees and suppliers.

Offering time saving and business building facilities in key business areas, this software is already being enjoyed by nurseries. The areas covered by the software include:

  • Point of Sale counter sales management – assistance indoors and outdoors
  • Customer accounts and LayBy
  • Customer loyalty program
  • Gift vouchers – your own vouchers easily managed
  • Employee roster
  • Electronic invoices including Danks
  • Specialist nursery barcode labels including weatherproof labels
  • A broad range of business performance reports
  • Theft reduction and management
  • Customer marketing facilities
  • Fast integrated EFTPOS

The Tower Systems nursery software includes a range of facilities and services developed specifically for nurseries including a new industrial strength and fast barcode printer.

Small business retailers: put good quality data between you and your retail business decisions

The mantra cash is king is important. Equally important, however, is a much less repeated mantra, data is king.

Look at a small or independent retail business and you most likely see a business that did not manage or use its data. Indeed, it is the failure around data that probably led to cash problems.

Good data management and analysis can forecast cash challenges and help a business avoid them – with good warning.

Here at Tower Systems we believe in good data. We respect it through our Point of Sale software. We train our customers how to gather, cultivate and harvest business data for their profit. We do this not once but continuously.

We have seen businesses crash on the back of poor data management. They have not seen the train wreck headed their way. They have not been able to plan their way out of a dire situation.

Whether it is understanding which stock is moving and which is not or who the best employees are or which suppliers deliver better results for the business – business data from our Point of Sale software can help small and independent retailers to be aware of a challenging situation and to turn it around. This is what we do in our software – if retailers want to engage with us in making them aware of how their business really is performing.

Our call to retailers is to put data between them and any decision they make. Use facts to guide your choices and the business will be better off – always.

You are responsible for how you use our Point of Sale software

Our job at Tower Systems is to develop good business tools, in the form of good Point of Sale software, for use in the small and independent retail businesses in which we serve.

We are not and cannot be responsible for how our software is used, good or bad.

Our customers, the users of our software, are responsible for how our software is used. Like any tool, our software can be abused. It feeds off data. If garbage is entered then garbage is what it will report.

Embedded in the software are power, flexibility and options as requested by our customers. If functions and checkpoints are turned off and warnings ignored then the results may not be what the business wants.

We have not coded our POS software for a police state, controlling how our customers use it for to do so would go against the very ethos of the independent retail businesses we serve.

A business wanting a good business outcome from using our POS software needs to engage with us, take in our training, follow our advice, a watch over those who use the software to ensure that they behave.

But most of all, they need to protect their data and settings. They can best do this through being tight with the system passwords. Being lax can lead to problems for the business, problems for which the holder(s) of the passwords are responsible.

We commiserate with retailers who experience loss or paid as a result of poor use of our software and then we remind them that how our tools are used is a function of good retail management.

Owning your situation is key in business. We own the functionalist and quality of our software. We own the support services that back it up just as we own the training resources and opportunities we provide.  We do not own how well or poorly it is used.

 

Supporting Plants Plus loyalty program

Garden Centres that are members of the Plants Plus group and using the Tower Systems Garden Centre software are set to benefit from the release of integration with the Plants Plus group wide loyalty prigram.

In another expansion of the loyalty facilities delivered by tower systems, the company is releasing support for the Plants Plus loyalty program in a major software update.  This work, done without cost for Plants Plus members, has flow-on benefits for all Tower Systems users looking for more alternatives in the loyalty space. The company will share details privately with customers in the coming weeks.

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.