Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: gift shop software (page 1 of 50)

Website advice for small business retailers

In our work with small business retailers we provide advice on website development, often before the website is created. This advice is based on our own Xperience as well as the experience gained in service of other retailers.

Here is up to date advice for any retailer considering a website for their retail business.

We are not usual POS software company. We are retailers too, with 3 shops. The advice we share here is based on what we have done in one of our small shops, a high street business in Mount Waverley Victoria.

Advice for small business retailer going online.

We received an online order the other day in one of our own retail shops at 1:33pm worth $800.00. It was one of 12 online orders for that business yesterday totalling $1,800 in value.

Each one of these orders that we are receiving right now is a pre-order – fully paid for up front for stock that is another week away from arriving in-store and two months away from being paid for by us. It is the nature of the specific product category that products are released to a calendar schedule.

The specific products are not relevant to what we share here today as what we share below could apply to plenty of products and product categories – in many different retail situations. What we have done in this two and a half year old suburban high street business is what anyone could do and what I know some retailer colleagues are doing to win online sales.

  1. Create your online presence as a start-up business. My recommendation is that you not take your existing shop online under your existing shop’s branding. Big businesses, of course, take their retail brand online as they think shoppers search for them. In fact, shoppers search for product outcomes.
  2. Choose a product niche or category that is sought after, that is being searched for. This could be a brand, a licence, an end use or some other segmentation that makes sense to the shopper.
  3. Look for brands and categories people could be loyal to for some time.
  4. Source key suppliers. Preference suppliers who might work with you on geographically exclusive items.
  5. Register a domain and business name that speaks to the shopper for the chosen category.
  6. Develop your approach to packaging and shipping, remembering that this process has to be delivered as a brand extension. Add value here and you will bring them back.
  7. Create a site that serves the shopper.
  8. Include on the website unique knowledge / information that lifts you up as an expert in the product category field.
  9. Include a chat facility on the site, so you can answer questions from people who do not want to email or call with their queries.
  10. Create a separate Facebook page to support the website. Regularly feed contact to that page, content specifically for that page.
  11. Ask your suppliers to link to your website and appreciate them for any promotion they offer on their social media pages.
  12. Search out other social media pages that reach your target shopper and engage with those communities.
  13. Email shoppers, appreciating their business. Find ways to remain connected with them as this connection can help bring them back.

Our advice for the first step revenue goal with online for any business entering that space has to be 5% (or less) of total revenue. Once there, the next goal is 10%, then 15% and so on. Goals are important. While the ultimate goal will vary by business category, it is vital to have a staring point.

Treat your online business as a start up. Manage it as such. Embrace mistakes and failures as they are the foundation bricks to success – cliché yes, but true.

  • Do you have to stock in your shop products you sell online? No. I say this as many retailers think the answer is yes. Seriously, think of your online business as a start up – doing this frees you to be more open to what you sell.
  • Can I put my existing shop online though? Of course. It’s 100% up to you.
  • Isn’t shipping hard? Offer what enough people want and shipping can be resolved by building it into the price or you looking at online as cream sales, sales from which you can give up some margin.

Our POS  software company develops websites for small business retailers. While what we have shared here does relate to the online success at my high street shop, it is the same advice we provide all retailers who contact Tower Systems querying about website development.

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Staff management tips and advice for local small business retailers

In our work with more than 3,500 small business retailers across a diverse mix of retail channels, we have collected, along the way, a kit of tips and advice for managing staff in retail. We share some of these tips today here as an insight into the help we can provide beyond our POS software, beyond what you may expect from a POS software company too.

We are interested in retail business management, especially small retail business management, as we own and run shops ourselves and have done so since February 1996. We bought our first shop to give us a live test site. It’s grown since then.

Before we get to the tips themselves, we like this selection because it focusses on the management challenge as well as on the financial outcome for the business.

Here are some of the small business retail staff management tips we like:

  1. Set sales goals. In our experience, people perform well when they know the goal. It could be individual goals or a business-wide goal.
  2. Track performance. If not for reward, at least for active management engagement.
  3. Reduce mistakes and theft. Get employee code or number entered for each sale. It works.
  4. Skill your people. Make sure they understand the software and how they can use it to achieve more for the business.
  5. Change the roster. Roster changes can push back against predictability, they can also uncover opportunities.
  6. Set standards. In your POS you can establish standards for data to be followed – product naming conventions, department descriptions and more. The more consistency in your data the more valuable your data.
  7. Stop using the back room. You can’t sell product from the back room. Have staff do all pricing and other usual back room tasks on the shop floor.
  8. Track location performance. Train your staff in the process of tracking the performance of impulse locations. Moving a product could help it find customers. Make sure staff understand what you are looking for.
  9. Share basket insights. Knowing what sells alone and what sells with what can help staff make better decisions as to what is placed where on the shop floor.
  10. Ask them. Yes, ask them what you should / could stock, ask them what think a product is worth. Value their input and they will value more working for the business.
  11. Cut data handling. At every possible point, stop touching data. Having it flow from electronic supplier invoices through the POS to scanned sales through to Xero for accounting can reduce mistakes and possible fraud opportunities.

There are many opportunities for managing staff through and with your POS software. This can improve the business and enhance their experience with your business.

 

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Retail management advice to guide stronger, more valuable, retail businesses

As owners of retail businesses, especially small retail businesses, local retail businesses, know … everyone is an expert, everyone has advice on what to do, what to stock, how to grow the business.

Our retail management advice has been fine-tuned over decades of service of local small business retailers in a range of specialty retail channels. It has come, too, from our own ownership and operating of a range of retail businesses across four different specialty retail channels. We own three online shops and several online businesses today.

The retail management advice we share here is a taste of the support we offer small business retailers beyond the POS software we make, sell and support.

Today, in this post, our focus is on what we consider to be the most important advice for small business retailers. We call it bankable advice, advice you can rely on to add measurable value to your business.

  1. Use your data. Yes, that sounds boring. The thing is, the data curated by your POS software can help you buy better, sell faster, make more from each shopper visit, reduce theft, get more value from employees, make fewer mistakes, cut labour costs … and more. Yes, good data, leveraged consistently, will achieve all this and more.
  2. Connect. At every opportunity, connects your systems and processes from suppliers to your goods inwards to your POS to product returns to your business accounting software. The less you rely on manual processes the better your business decisions and the lower your costs.
  3. Look under the hood. Good POS software gives you eyes in the back of your head, it can show you what you don’t know and may not want to know. Ask what you can find out that may surprise you as it is in these surprises where you may find more value.
  4. Set goals for the business and measure performance. Revenue. Unit sales for key products. Sales by team member. Revenue by supplier. ROI. ROFS. Measure, report, discuss, improve.
  5. Reorder what sells.
  6. Place products next to products they are usually purchased with.
  7. Ensure your staff know how to use the tools you have. Take POS software, too often we see poor use hurting the performance of the business.

Success in small business retail is there for the taking, through management action. Success comes from consistent pursuit of success. Systems helps you consistently pursue success.

Good POS software companies can help you with this, they can help you drive a more successful and valuable retail business. That’s certainly our goal at Tower Systems.

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Small business retail advice: using POS software to encourage shopper efficiency

Shopper efficiency refers to the commercial value a business derives from a shopper, usually from a visit of a shopper, a single visit.

Smart POS software plays a key real in guiding better shopper efficiency. It does this through insights into business performance as tracked and curated through the POS software.

Small business retailers can learn, through smart POS software:

  • What products sell with each other. This is often a dynamic situation and often different to what retailers and those who work in retail assume.
  • What products work better where. This can be insightful as it is usually not where you think.
  • What time of the day products sell. This, too, can be s surprise, especially in online situations where we often see more than half the products selling overnight, when the shop is closed.
  • What occasions products can be purchased for. This data, when it is available, usually surprises as it demonstrates occasion connections that are unexpected.
  • What bundle opportunities can be leveraged to drive shopper engagement with products.
  • How families shop together.
  • What triggers can work best to bring shoppers back sooner.
  • Which are efficient products. This is based on shelf life and therefore sa return on space, inventory investment and more.
  • Which are inefficient products.

Smart POS software is key to harvesting these insights and more for small business retailers, to help them see what they may not have known about their businesses.

Tower Systems develops smart POS software and it backs it with advice, training and support to help retailers make the most of the software, to gain the insights to which we refer here that can show retailers ways they have not expected for their businesses.

We leverage our own retail experience to help;p small business retailers to go beyond the technology and into the realm of business insights so they can find their own business advice, relevant to their businesses, through using the software.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve more than 3,500 small business retailers using its specialty retail POS software in Australia and New Zealand. Through years of service we have built up a deep chest of advice and insights, which we willingly leverage for our POS software user customers.

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Smart POS software helps small business retailers eliminate loyalty cards

Stamping a loyalty card in a coffee shop, gift shop, pet shop, toy shop and other settings can be a thing of the past thanks to terrific tools in the smart POS software from Tower Systems.

Here is a new video we shot a few days ago explaining how to set this up in our software and how to drive sales through it…

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Rental makes POS software affordable for small business retailers

A year ago, Tower Systems launched a new rental solution for acquiring access to its POS software for small business retailers. What this means is that any business owner wanting to access our POS software can do so through a rental offer.

Making our POS software available to rent for a few dollars a day makes it cash flow effective.

There is no finance agreement to sign. No contract to lock in.

Customers can cancel the rental at any time, meaning their rental obligation is no more than 30 days. This makes the cost of accessing our POS software lower than ever.

By renting POS software, small business retailers are able to put this in place quickly and easily without having to invest significant capital, leaving those funds for products and other more practical investments in their businesses.

Included in the few dollars a day rental price is everything on this list:

  • Access to the POS software itself – on as many computers in the business as you need.
  • Help desk access for assistance with use and more relating to the software. This is human based, working out of Melbourne, with one of our team members also working our of New Zealand. Help desk access is through the phone, email, our website and more.
  • Access to more than 600 articles in our online knowledge base – online and searchable documentation.
  • Unlimited access to personal one on one training.
  • Backup check help – where we check your backup to ensure you are actually backing up properly.
  • Theft check, where we look at your data and apply use principles to look for behaviour that could speak to employee theft.
  • Access to professionally tested electronic stock files from suppliers.
  • Help with access to direct connected EFTPOS, like Tyro.
  • Help with everyday support for e-commerce links from the POS software side.

All of these support and assistance tools are built into the low daily rental cost. Making the cost of the software rental valuable and easy for businesses.

POS software rental makes accessing our software easy. From a technical perspective, ur customers can run the software on their desktop computers or in the cloud – the choice is theirs. We are happy to serve whatever need customers have in that situation.

POS software rental is here for the long term. We think it’s what small business retailers want.

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Fixed price website development for small business retailers

If you are in a retail channel with big competitors, we suggest you think carefully before you take your current products online. Do your research and see if you feel you can compete with this online already, especially the big competitors.

This advice from us is especially relevant if your online plans are about attracting shoppers located outside your current catchment area.

Take the pet space. National pet retailers have a strong presence as do several online-only businesses. They own the value space, where people are buying on price, as well as the service space where people need it now. This is especially true with everyday pet food.

You have to ask yourself what is my point of difference? and can I make enough money off this to justify the website investment?

In terms of pet food and unless you are selling products unique to your business, it would be a tough road to find new shoppers outside your current catchment area. If you think about it, what do they have to go on, especially if you are selling known brands. Service and price are the two key factors. The big players will out spend and out service you.

Look at dog food, there are currently 8,800 searches a day in Australia for this. Once you add in the 65,000 variations to dog food related searches in Australia every day you soon hit almost 700,000 search results. That is the pool in which you would play if you are selling dog food. This is data from a respected data tool we subscribe access to.

Click here to see a summary report we ran recently on dog food. Click here to see a spreadsheet of of the first 30,000 keywords relating to this.

This example is relevant to all of our customers, regardless of whether they sell dog food. Each marketplace faces big business online challenges where keywords have been richly and widely mined.

If you are considering going online and want to reach shoppers beyond your current catchment area, your website will need to pitch in a way that differentiates to others.

So, if you are considering online and want to attract new shoppers, what is unique about your offer and is it financially viable.

We can help. We will research keywords for you, before you set on a path for a new or reinvigorated website. If you would like us to do this, feel free to email me direct (mark@towersystems.com.au) with keywords that you are considering. I will check out traffic volumes for you and email a report with data to help guide your consideration.

If the dog food example does not connect with you, let’s look at toys. In Australia right now, there are 40,500 searches for toys. On top of this, there are 528,000 keyword variables relating to toys with 7 million results. Click here to see a summary report based on current searches in Australia for Toys, which we ran recently.

Our core point here is that planning before you go online is critical to ensuring success once you are online. There are many opportunities online. They are often outside what retailers see as their preferred online solution.

Taking your business online is like creating a start up business. Researching before you begin is critical.

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Buy now pay later helps small business retailers replace LayBy

The Tower Systems POS software is integrated with Humm and ZipPay / ZipMoney and have been since they launched. Both offer small business retailers valuable tools for buy now pay later trading in their specialty retail businesses.

Using Humm or Zip, retailers are able to offer easy over the counter purchase to customers who might otherwise have wanted to use LayBy. This way the customers can take their items immediately and the retailer is paid the next day.

There are rules and processes, which are managed by the POS software.

Tower Systems delivered the first POS software integration for Humm, pioneering years ago a solution that has been beneficial for many small business retailers. This was followed by the ZipPay and ZipMoney integration with the Tower POS software.

Offering buy now pay later is particularly helpful in retail situations where a business is supplying one time only shoppers or infrequent shoppers as it helps the business capture sales that the old LayBy approach may not have served for those businesses.

Integration is easy and payment is seamless. Tower Systems helps retailers connect with bot the respected buy now pay later finance companies, delivering beneficial access and providing front line support to serve these business needs.

While our POS software continues to offer LayBy, it is being used less as businesses seek to use less space for then storage of LayBy goods. Also, consumer legislation covering LayBy can sometimes present more onerous challenges for retailers than nis the case for buy now pay later operations.

The Zip and Humm integrations and just two of plenty of integrations delivered by Tower Systems in this space of helping small business retailers offer broader solutions beyond the core POS software functions. Tower has a long track record of working with other businesses, connecting with them and helping small business retailers to leverage these connections for their own operations.

Tower Systems is a vertical market POS software company serving thousands of independent and small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand with fresh and innovative POS software that is tailored to the unique needs of each retail channel in which it serves.

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Helping small business retailers pivot online

All through Corona we have been helping retailers pivot online thanks to our fixed price Shopify website development. We continue to run open, transparent and interactive online workshops for retailers, where we answer questions and provide plenty of examples. Here is a video of one of our recent sessions.

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Shopify website development in Australia

Tower Systems continues to develop beautiful Shopify websites for small business retailers in Australia.

Our Shopify development work is 100% done in Australia, by developers who work for our company, in Australia.  This matters because our team members understand Australian retail. They also understand how to connect the Shopify websites to POS software, like our own POS software.

Our Shopify website development is done on a fixed price basis. We do this in service our our retail business customers, specialty retailers with specialty needs. We provide a comprehensive plan as well as a terrific hand over document that outlines how any retailer can get the most from the Shopify site.

As a partner of Shopify, we bring the latest insights and tools to life in each website that we develop for our our customers. As Shopify evolves, so do we. we participate in Shopify conferences, face to face in Las Vegas and Toronto as well as online, to ensure we are up to date and reflecting the opportunities of their platforms.

Our POS software connected Shopify websites that we develop offer easy access to AfterPay, ZipPay, Humm, PayPal, click and collect, Sendle and more in terms of seamless integrations. These, plus social media integrations, offer true connectivity between our Shopify websites and the retail businesses they bring to life online.

Designed to serve your needs, the Shopify websites we develop are done in collaboration, with regular communication, offering our customers opportunities to learn with us so as to make using and adjusting the site in the future easy and smart of the retail business.

Tower Systems undertakes Shopify website development primarily for small and independent retail businesses. These customers are at the core of our business. The work is done 100% in our website development team, which is based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We have a separate development team for our POS software.  But … both teams work together to deliver seamless connectivity from which our small business retail customers can benefit.

Our fixed price approach to Shopify website development is clear, transparent and thorough. we have a wonderful portfolio of sites delivered already. we’d be glad to share details with anyone interested in Shopify website development for their retail business.

To find our more, please reach out to our sales team at sales@towersystems.com.au.

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Small business retailers benefit from POS software tools made for them

Details matter when it comes to specialty POS software for speciality retailers. Here are some highlights of detailed facilities in our specialty retail POS software:

  • This software doesn’t care about your feelings. It cares about facts and report those facts to you, so you can make decisions based on them.
  • It comes with a free therapist. If our software does hurt your feelings or does something unexpected, we have real Aussies & New Zealanders ready to make you (and the software) feel better.
  • It won’t forget your mates birthdays (or any birthday).  Excellent marketing tools allow you to keep in touch with customers based on previous purchases, special events, and yes… birthdays.
  • This software does not play favourites. If a staffer is stealing from you or misbehaving using the software, it will out them, without emotion.
  • You can your experts. Take product care and use knowledge from your best people and share it with customers on receipts, easily.
  • Stick it to big business. They can’t compete with our awesome loyalty tools.
  • Sell anywhere, any time. Retailer Roam is awesome.
  • The online pivot. We develop websites and awesome POS software.
  • Click and collect. It’s easy, safe and managed.
  • Seasonal reordering. Based on evidence.
  • Pitch local. Consistently, through your software.
  • Age check. Offering compliance check for age restricted products.
  • Getting rid of customer order books. Paperless is faster, safer.
  • Postcode capture. Knowing your reach can amaze you.
  • Product care advice. Selling you and your knowledge can drive sales.
  • Product warning notice. Ensure they understand care of what you sell.
  • Bundling for safer shopping. Bundles / hampers that make shopping easier.
  • Contactless EFTPOS. Integrated. No keystrokes. Great rates.
  • Job service management. Track repairs and jobs from the quote on.
  • Reducing rep contact. Order on evidence and not on their social skills.
  • Serial number tracking. When it matters, it matters.

Tower Systems developed and supports POS software made for specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand. Our focus is only on local, indie, small business retailers, specialty retailers who differentiate by being specialist at what they do, like us.

We are grateful to our more than 3,000 customers who have faith us us every day.

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Affordable POS software for gift shops helps these small business retailers compete

The gift shop POS software from Tower Systems is made specifically for gift shops in Australia and New Zealand. Designed to serve needs unique to gift shops, this software is specialty in nature, as these retail businesses are specialty too.

This gift shop software delivers a range of benefits for easy rental at $72.50 a month

  • Get rid of manual books at the counter for LayBys, special orders, stock you need to order and more.
  • Cut dead stock and re-order based on data facts.
  • Cut theft by knowing what is being stolen.
  • Eliminate LayBy and get you paid sooner with buy now pay later.
  • Make price comparison harder with bundled packs.
  • Easily and consistently pitch locally sourced products.
  • Drive community group member engagement with group pricing.
  • Get one-time-only shoppers spending more with loyalty tools.
  • Bring customers back with reminders on dates important to them.
  • Save money on bookkeeping by integrating with Xero.
  • Leverage your knowledge on receipts and elsewhere. Sell you.
  • Reach beyond your four walls with a directly linked Shopify store.

This list is a taste of the benefits delivered through the Tower Systems gift shop software.

We are grateful to the hundreds of gift shop POS software retailers we serve today for their support, advice and guidance.

Using the Gift shop Point of Sale software from Tower Systems, retailers can expect to:

Cut costs.  Thanks to electronic invoicing, the cost of processing new stock is lower than with manual processes.  This can help cut your labour bill.

Increase sales: reward customers.  A good loyalty program works.  Not like FlyBys which is of dubious financial value to customers.  No, a serious loyalty program which guides your customers to spend more money with you.  I have see stores grow sales by 10% on the back of a well constructed loyalty program,  a good POS software package will run this for you, points and all.

Increase sales: easy lay-by.  Lay-by run properly and using technology can be highly profitable.  The software can manage the rules and ensure that your shop operates as professionally as a national retailer.  You set your own rules and the software manages the paperwork.

Increase sales: market to your customers.  A coupon on your receipts, an email newsletter, a printed newsletter or up-sell script at the sales counter for staff – these are all ways you can use your point of sale system to help guide your existing customers to spend more money with you.

Increase sales: social responsibility.  Connect with a local charity.  Use your gift shop software to make it easy for a local charity to promote your retail business shop and raise money for themselves at the same time.  Each sale earned for you by the charity can be tracked so that you are able to reward them with an accurate donation at the end of the campaign.

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How to take your retail business online, useful advice for people starting out

Here’s a video of another online session we hosted yesterday with several retailers on taking a business online:

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Helping small business retailers offer POS software connected click and collect

Click and collect is now universally understood and embraced as a consequence of corona. This is especially true in Victoria Australia where in metro melbourne there is a 6-week hard hard lockdown in place. Click and collect is a lifeblood for retailers in the large lockdown area.

Here at Tower Systems we have been serving small business retailers with click and collect enabled POS software connected to Shopify and other websites all through this. Indeed, click and collect is something shops working with us have been offering for years.

Through Magento, Shopify and Woo POS software connected websites, our click and collect solution can be for drive by curbside contactless pickup, home delivery and traditional click and collect the flexibility is powerful, appreciated and easy for small business retailers as they play in this now important space for small business retailers.

Click and collect is here to stay and even more important, shoppers and retailers understand it. They understand how it works, the opportunities it brings and the health and safety imperative. It is good news for newsagents.

We are proud to have helped many small business retailers bring the click and collect opportunity to life in their businesses and to do this through a seamless connection between our POS software and their e-commerce site.

We do it ourselves in our own websites, too, offering click and collect in the shops we run, where we use our software and websites that our web team have developed, to show off our tech and business operational skills.

retail has fundamentally changes thanks to corona and wee are grateful to the thousands of retailers who partner with us, embracing software we develop and leveraging the tech integrations that we support in the work we do across a range of specialty retail channels.

While corona is challenging for so many, if we can provide income certainty for small business retailers and those who rely on these businesses then it is one less stressor for them. This is where click and collect plays a vital role, in offering an alternative and safe path to revenue for a retail business.

2020 is a year of massive change with tech being at the core of so much change. It’s not done yet as more changes are coming. Our message to small business retailers is that we are here, we have your back through these changes.

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Specialty retail POS software for specialty retailers

Our specialty POS software offers many specialty retail benefits for specialty small business retailers, including:

  1. Colour, size and style: Easily track sales at a granular level.
  2. Club pricing: Helps you attract community group members.
  3. Repairs: Easily track & manage repairs & communicate with customers.
  4. Sell by weight. Sell by fractions. Yes, this software is integrated with scales.
  5. Smart loyalty. While you can use points, we also have something better. In fact, the software offers multiple loyalty options for flexible and engaging loyalty with shoppers.
  6. BOGO: Increase sales with buy this and get that bundling.
  7. Age checking. Giving you the operational structured protection to ensure your front line people are guided to trade within the rules.
  8. Chemical risk notification by products.
  9. Product care information. This is where you can personalise advice to products and thereby better serve your customers, and differentiate your retail business.
  10. Local location product use information.
  11. Warranty: Track details and leverage this for customer service.
  12. Bring them back: Target market for birthdays, anniversaries and more.
  13. Sell anywhere: Using our Retailer RoamTM sell anywhere app.
  14. Sell anytime: With our Shopify / Magento / Woo integrations.
  15. Image flowing to online websites – flowing from the POS software.
  16. Special orders: Easily manage special customer orders.
  17. Jeweller specific product labels.
  18. Outdoor, weatherproof, product labels.
  19. The ability to design your own product labels.
  20. The ability to design your own receipts.
  21. Awesome loyalty: Guide one-time and regular shoppers to spend more.
  22. Seasonal reordering: Easily reorder inventory based on seasonal sales.
  23. Integrate direct with Xero.
  24. Integrate direct with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, this includes the feeding of images of inventory items to these platforms for easy online selling.

This is not the complete list. Our POS software is packed with specialty tools through which indie small business retailers can differentiate and deliver more useful outcomes to the business, those who work in the business and to customers of the business.

Our goal is to empower small business retailers with tools that encourage and nurture, tools that are at the core of the business, appreciated, loved and respected. Those are our goals for our POS software and the services we offer our specialty retail customers.

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Click & collect easy for small business retailers with Shopify connected POS software

Click & collect is the buzzword retailers are talking about and have been talking about for several years. Too often, the talk is ignorant.

What is click & collect? It is when a shopper makes a purchase online and they travel to a store and collect the item. The online purchase is the click and the in-store pickup is the collect.

Click & collect is fundamental in any retail business today as it enhances the shopper experience and shopper efficiency. It also enables retail businesses to better manage time and resources in-store.

\Also, in 2020, being the year that it is, click & collect makes for safe retail, contactless retail.

In a click & collect scenario, the shopper chooses what they want online, browsing store inventory and making their selection. They pay on line, too. The goods are gathered together and set up ready for the shopper to collect in-store or even through curbside collection arrangement, meaning they might not even have to leave their vehicle. This is the ultimate click & collect situation, the ultimate convenient shopping experience.

Click & collect is something we have offered in our small business POS software for years, thanks to our integrations with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. We have helped many retailers bring this experience alive in their single shop situations as well as their multiple shop situations, where shoppers purchase online and can select, if they wish, the location from where they make the collection.

Click & collect is fundamental in retail today, it is a core service, a core consumer expectation and core to the revenue model of many retail businesses. It can be easily managed from the online purchase through to the back end store management.

Tower Systems is pleased to serve small business retailers in the click & collect space, pleased to help these businesses offer this useful and beneficial service as these businesses trade in evolving and unique retail circumstances.

Click & collect has come into its own in 2020 through the greater need for contactless retail. Making it accessible to and understood by small business retailers has been another part of the Tower Systems small business focussed mission, where we help small business retailers more effectively compete with big business.

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What’s working in small business local retail through the second lockdown in Victoria?

We are grateful to see sales data from a range of different Victorian retail businesses using our POS software. Here are trends from the latest Victorian lockdown:

  • Relaxing products. The jigsaw surge from March and April is back but in an expanded form – adult colouring, art and craft, journaling, cross-stitch, knitting, games and art. Smart retailers are selling these items as well as offering customers opportunities to connect with others doing this.
  • Nesting. This category is surging not only in Victoria but nationally. Nesting includes candles, diffusers, essential oils, rugs, cushions, homewares, pets, cooking and related.
  • Tactile products. We have seen a surge in cuddleable (not a word I know but it best describes it) products. This segment includes plush and other soft toys, pets, rugs, blankets, pillows and similar. With touching and hugging discouraged, it stands to reason that people seek out alternatives.
  • Easy shopping. We have seen retailers gain sales by making shopping easier through packaging items often bought together and having these placed front of store and at the counter.
  • Postable gifts. People are loving that they can easily send a gift to people they are unable to see.
  • Working from home. For some, this is now a permanent arrangement. Many retail channels have offers they can make to those working from home and businesses with employees working from home. The opportunities are usually broader than retailers think.
  • Contactless retail. Having the EFTPOS machine shopper facing and situated for easy tap and having in place arrangements for the lowest cost possible to the business for EFTPOS.
  • Online. Having an online offer matters. While people like the safety of having goods shipped, they also like click and collect and they like to use the website to ensure you have something in stock before they visit the shop.
  • Online events. More retailers are hosting events to show off new products and offer education –  Zoom, Facebook live and similar events. Unboxings, educating on new products meet the maker and more.
  • Christmas has started early. Yes, we are seeing Christmas purchases already in businesses that are offering Christmas stock.

While the pandemic has disrupted business, in that disruption are opportunities. The Victorian situation is a reminder that disruption is not temporary. We think history will show that winners will be those businesses that adapted early and were able to finesse their offering and processes as the market demanded.

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Aussie gift shop POS software helping local gift shops deal with the 2020 retail challenges

The new gift shop software from Tower Systems is delivering practical and everyday outcomes to small business retailers on the high street and in shopping centres as they deal with an unusual 2020 in retail.

Using this POS software for gift shops, small business retailers can tap into many benefits, including these …

  • Get rid of manual books at the counter for LayBys, special orders, stock you need to order and more.
  • Cut dead stock and re-order based on data facts.
  • Cut theft by knowing what is being stolen.
  • Eliminate LayBy and get you paid sooner with buy now pay later.
  • Make price comparison harder with bundled packs.
  • Easily and consistently pitch locally sourced products.
  • Drive community group member engagement with group pricing.
  • Get one-time-only shoppers spending more with loyalty tools.
  • Bring customers back with reminders on dates important to them.
  • Save money on bookkeeping by integrating with Xero.
  • Leverage your knowledge on receipts and elsewhere. Sell you.
  • Reach beyond your four walls with a directly linked Shopify store.

The latest version of our Aussie made and supported gift shop software, released two months ago, is visually and technically fresh. It’s made for Australian gift retailers to help you run a more valuable business.

It is designed for gift shops large and small, on the high street and in shopping centres – specialty and niche and broadly based. Homewares shops, too. This is terrific software designed to help gift retailers land more business locally and thanks to the Shopify link on line too.

Packaged into a small weekly rental price, here is what gift shop retailers get from our gift shops POS software:

  1. Australian developed and supported jeweller business POS software.
  2. Unlimited computer licences for your location.
  3. Software updates as we release them.
  4. Tyro link – fast and easy EFTPOS link – plus access to our least cost fee.
  5. Shopify / Magento / Woo link. Easily sell online from your POS software.
  6. Xero link. Easing bookkeeping costs and streamlining accounting.
  7. Our OzBiz link. This helps you link to MYOB and Quicken through OzBiz.
  8. PC Eftpos link. This offers easy EFTPOS processing for the major banks.
  9. Easy buy now pay later options with Zip Pay and Humm.
  10. Support – help desk access.
  11. Training – unlimited one-on-one training over the phone.
  12. User documentation. Access to our searchable knowledge base.
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Tower Systems helps Australian retailers to promote Australian made

Using our Australian made POS software, retailers can themselves easily promote Australian made in their businesses.  We are proud to offer these facilities and more through with retailers can pitch local with consistency to shoppers.

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Beautiful POS software connected Shopify websites from Tower Systems

We have delivered more beautiful and commercially engaged Shopify websites connected to our POS software for small business retailers. Here are some of the recent new websites launched by our partner retailers:

We have close to fifty new websites currently under development.

Our web development experts are skilled in development using Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce. This is in addition to us developing in native mode using multiple such tech platforms.

From the simple to the complex, the single store to multiple group businesses, we can deliver web based solutions to small business retailers to help them sell online locally, nationally and internationally -in local currency as well as through overseas currency.

Web development here at Tower Systems follows a structured process that is driven by the outcomes sought by the client retail business. We work to serve these needs from the outset, whether it is an information site, an e-commerce site, offering click and collect, delivery or other fulfilment of online orders.

Through consultation, our small business retail clients can imagine their needs and we can help them fulfil these needs and do so on a platform that can evolve as the online experiences of the business evolves. It is an iterative process that works beautifully for small business retailers and their team members.

Click here to access a quick questionnaire that helps you determine your own business needs for a website. Many of our customers have found completing this questionnaire helpful and informative.

To find out more, please speak with one of our experts:

Buying Australian developed and supported POS software for your business and having your business website developed in Australia is good for the Aussie tech sector. The more we all shop local the better.

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Best loyalty software for small business retailers

BRAGGING ALERT! 

We are proud of the loyalty software we have developed for and sell to small business retailers.

Our loyalty software is easy to use, smart, flexible and business building.

Our loyalty software helps small business retailers differentiate from big businesses. It is built for small business retail and offers tremendous flexibility and value.

Why do we say our, loyalty software is the best loyalty software? It is what customers tell us. They tell us they have used other systems, points based systems, card stamping systems and more and they have found our loyalty software built into our smart POS software to be the best loyalty software they have seen. The love it and recommend it.

Jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, homewares stores, gift shops, toy shops, newsagents, pet stores and more all have told us that what we offer is the best loyalty software. We believe them of course. But we do not stop there. Our loyalty software is enhanced, improved and tested in myriad retail situations, to be better and even more loved and useful in helping small business retailers compete with big retail businesses.

What makes it the best loyalty software for retail businesses? Here are the factors that we think matter:

  • Ease of setup.
  • Ease of use.
  • Ease of understanding by customers.
  • Ease of tweaking / adjustment.
  • Flexibility: cash or points based.
  • That you can treat different customers differently.
  • That you evolve it as you need within the business.
  • Strong reporting.
  • The ability to encourage change to shopper behaviour.

That list is a simple list. We could go on. However, these points are the headlines, the reasons why we say the loyalty facilities in the Tower Systems POS software make for the best loyalty software.

Our focus is on small business retailers, niche retailers, specialty retailers who serve specific retail channels. Our software is nuanced as are our loyalty facilities, aiming to help these retail businesses to more successfully and enjoyably serve the needs of retail businesses.

Loyalty software is 2020 is very different to even a few years ago. Today it is smart, engaging, flexible and useful beyond calculating points. Loyalty software is helping businesses drive genuine loyalty, on which they can bank into the future of the business.

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With Reed Gift Fair cancelled for 2020, Tower Systems helps retailers and suppliers connect

With Reed Gift Fair being cancelled for 2020 due to the corona, Tower Systems has been helping more gift and homewares suppliers connect with gift and homewares retailers through our POS software for these and other specialty retail channels.

The Reed trade shows have been an important fixture on the calendar of suppliers and retailers for years. They are key vying opportunities as retailers evolve their product ranges. Retailers looked forward to the Reed gift fair shows to find out about new products and to place orders for existing product that has sold through. The Reed gift fairs have been historically critical.

Tower Systems helps gift and homewares suppliers as well as gift and homewares retailers to connect electronically through:

  • Ordering based on sales.
  • Comparing supplier performance easily.
  • Identifying fast and slow moving stock.
  • Understanding category opportunities that could support additional product.
  • Learning about range gaps and using this data for targeted work on expansion.
  • Supplier stock file integration.
  • Supplier image integration.
  • Sales data feed to suppliers for auto replenishment.

These are just some of the opportunities for retailers and suppliers to work together to deal with this 2020 of the Reed gift fairs being cancelled.

What matters most to retailers is that inventory sells through. This is where our POS software shines, it provides the evidence of inventory performance. Good suppliers want this data, they want to help retailers make fact based, data based, decisions. By connecting the two as we can through our gift and homewares POS software we can help small business retailers thrive in this year with our the Reed gift fairs.

Through our allied work of hosting secure Zoom meetings, preparing collateral and other resources, we are able to help retailers make strategic and appreciated moves that can deliver wonderful benefits to suppliers and retailers. This tighter digital connection can eliminate the mistakes of manual connection. This can fuel certainty and other benefits to both businesses.

While the cancellation of the Reed gift fairs is a challenge, using tech retailers and suppliers can bridge this to mutual benefit. Some will be left behind on both side but that is what it is.

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Why we switched to Xero for our retail businesses

We switched to Xero for our 3 retail businesses and connected it to our POS software. This Xero connected POS software solution is a time saver, mistake eliminator and business planning aid all wrapped into one.

But let’s take a step back and consider why we switched to Xero for our retail business accounting needs.

  • Xero is easy to use.
  • Xero is integrated with our POS software.
  • Xero saves time managing the accounting side of the business.
  • Xero fits retail businesses like a comfortable glove.
  • Xero support is easy to access.
  • Xero continues to evolve.
  • And we will say again, Xero is integrated with our POS software.

We have had experience with Quicken as well as with MYOB. Considering all three, we prefer Xero. Our accountant prefers Xero too as does our in-house accounting team, which includes a CPA.

It is for these reasons that we chose to switch to Xero.

The process itself was straight forward. We were nervous, did a trial run, checked the data and then did it again, this time live. We have never looked back, never worried that we missed out. It was the right move for us in a back office sense and in terms of overall business management. Xero, connected with our POS software, is a good small business retail solution. We like it and thanks too our own experience in our three shops we can recommend it based in. genuinely personal experience.

We have nothing against MYOB or Quicken. Our Xero choice is based on our own evidence, based on our own experiences. We think this matters if we are asked for a recommendation by a retailer. If we are asked, it is Xero. If no one asks, we do not interfere in that our POS software can be connected to Xero directly and MYOB through a third party that keeps up to date with MYOB changes.

Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company. We are retailers too, using our software in our own shops, providing us and our team members with experiences that are truly valuable to what we do and how we do it with and for our customers every day. We walk in your shoes.

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The covid pivot opportunity for specialty retailers that attracts new shoppers

Specialty retailers are specialty for a reason, they go deep into a product category, as you would expect from a specialist.

The challenge for specialty retailers is that their specialisation attracts shoppers interested in and buying for their specialty product category. This is good in the usual world. In this corona world with movement challenged, specialisation can be challenging for local businesses.

This is why we think the covid pivot opportunity for specialty retailers can be helpful. We are not suggesting retailers seek to profit from corona or that they are profiteering. Rather, through a covid pivot, we are encouraging small business retailers to broaden the appeal of their businesses, to make their businesses more attractive beyond the community they currently serve.

A covid pivot could see a business remain the same to shoppers who visit and that it uses the back office infrastructure to serve an online only operation in their covid pivot strategy. This can see the business leverage existing overhead of space, labour and accounting infrastructure to effectively open a new business and through this to find new shoppers.

This type of covid pivot move can make the business more resilient through a time of change or challenge, like corona.

We think a covid pivot is a smart move for specialty retail as it spreads the risk, strengthens the foundations of the business and provides learning opportunities that themselves could help the business further evolve.

Using business data, smart tech and POS software connected websites, a specialty retail business can find, through a covid pivot, new customers, new efficiencies and new energy for forward momentum and this is the core goal … taking those steps ahead.

The whole corona situation is challenging. It would be easy to sit and wallow., and we get that for some that is what they choose. In covid pivot our focus is on pursuing forward momentum and doing this through a data driven and tech implemented pivot for the business for a better back half of 2020 and a solid 2021.

Bottom line: there is good news out there for specialty retailers who are making these opportunities for themselves through a covid pivot. We are sincerely grateful to have seen plenty do this, plenty find new shoppers and plenty learn new skills and categories through to expand what are effectively new start up businesses within their specialty businesses.

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What the second Victorian corona lockdown is showing small business retailers

We are grateful to see sales data from a range of different Victorian retail businesses using our POS software. Here are trends from the latest Victorian lockdown:

  • Relaxing products. The jigsaw surge from March and April is back but in an expanded form – adult colouring, art and craft, journaling, cross-stitch, knitting, games and art. Smart retailers are selling these items as well as offering customers opportunities to connect with others doing this.
  • Nesting. This category is surging not only in Victoria but nationally. Nesting includes candles, diffusers, essential oils, rugs, cushions, homewares, pets, cooking and related.
  • Tactile products. We have seen a surge in cuddleable (not a word I know but it best describes it) products. This segment includes plush and other soft toys, pets, rugs, blankets, pillows and similar. With touching and hugging discouraged, it stands to reason that people seek out alternatives.
  • Easy shopping. We have seen retailers gain sales by making shopping easier through packaging items often bought together and having these placed front of store and at the counter.
  • Postable gifts. People are loving that they can easily send a gift to people they are unable to see.
  • Working from home. For some, this is now a permanent arrangement. Many retail channels have offers they can make to those working from home and businesses with employees working from home. The opportunities are usually broader than retailers think.
  • Contactless retail. Having the EFTPOS machine shopper facing and situated for easy tap and having in place arrangements for the lowest cost possible to the business for EFTPOS.
  • Online. Having an online offer matters. While people like the safety of having goods shipped, they also like click and collect and they like to use the website to ensure you have something in stock before they visit the shop.
  • Online events. More retailers are hosting events to show off new products and offer education –  Zoom, Facebook live and similar events. Unboxings, educating on new products meet the maker and more.
  • Christmas has started early. Yes, we are seeing Christmas purchases already in businesses that are offering Christmas stock.

While the pandemic has disrupted business, in that disruption are opportunities. The Victorian situation is a reminder that disruption is not temporary. We think history will show that winners will be those businesses that adapted early and were able to finesse their offering and processes as the market demanded.

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