POS software blog

About our POS software for local small business retailers

Category: gift shop software (page 2 of 52)

POS software training for people buying a retail business with existing POS software

When you buy a retail business that has POS software already running in the business you will often rely on the existing owner of the business to train you in how to use the POS software

Sometimes, the existing owner of the retail business is too busy with working in the business and the final days prior to the sale  to properly train you prior to exiting the retail business.

Most existing business owners have not been trained themselves in how to professionally and thoroughly train someone in how to use POS software. This is a specialist need. It takes specialist skills.

All this leads to the new owner of a retail business coming into the retail business under trained, under skilled and inadequately prepared too drive the tool that sits at the heart of business success or failure, the POS software.

You don’t know what you don’t know. This sounds cliché, but it is true.

Imagine a situation where a problem has occurred because of the incorrect use of the software, a problem costing money, which you do not discover for weeks or months. The cost could be considerable.

Professional POS software training for anyone buying a business already using POS software is a perfect way to avoid mistakes and to know what to watch out for from others using the software.

Professional POS software training by your POS software company is a perfect way for people buying a retail business with existing POS software to reduce the cost of employee theft.

In one case last year, the new owner of a retail business already using POS software could have saved $50,000 had they been trained by the POSsoftware co., and not by the outgoing owner of the retail business.

In another case, the new owner of a retail business already using POS software was under charging for a raft of products. A simple check could have been undertaken but the new owner had not been trained in how to do this.

There is no substitute for professional training in the use of POS software, by the software company representatives.

This is why Tower Systems offers a complete new owner POS software training solution for retailers buying a business in which our POS software is already in use. This help we provide as we would deliver to a new owner, to help them get the best outcomes possible form the software already in use in the business.

Zippay merchant POS software connection helps small business retail

The thousands of small business retailers using the POS software from Tower Systems have access to Zippay merchant facilities embedded in the POS software. Using these the retailers are able to offer access to the Zip buy now pay later facilities across the counter.

Using the Zippay merchant facilities in the Tower POS software, retailers able able to enjoy a commercially valuable alternative to LayBy. It is better for them and better for their customers. indeed, customers love Zip.

Thanks to a thoughtful and compliant integration, Zippay merchant facilities in the Tower Systems software are proven, valuable and commercially enjoyable in retail businesses of many different types. Tower Systems did the integration early in with Zip, bringing the Zip opportunity to life for the first time in many retail niches.

Using the Zippay merchant facilities, retailers have reporting and other tools for the accurate and prper management of their businesses.

Give your customers the power to pay later, interest free and watch your sales grow. Tower Systems and Zip have teamed up two years ago to provide a seamless, interest free payment solution for your customer, allowing your business to benefit from:

  • Increased sales volume
  • Increased average order values
  • Increased customer repurchases
  • Now, with a seamless integration with Tower Systems, you can accept Zip payments as soon as you are accredited. Simply enter your credentials.

Get started!

Our Zippay merchant facilities are robust, best practice, useful and enjoyable act the counter and in the back offer. They are true total solution for a business wanting to bring to life a buy now pay later option.

Tower Systems is grateful to the folks at Zip for their engagement and encouragement. It’s a partnership relationship that we value and have learned from.

The Zippay merchant facilities integrated with our POS software bring to life opportunities thanks to the way Zip promotes their retail business partners. The Zip community is strong and growing. Zip shoppers love their service and this can help small business retailers to find shoppers they may otherwise not have found. It’s an example of a valuable mutual relationship.

Tower Systems is grateful to offer Zip as part of a quite of integration solutions with its POS software. This suite of integrations is growing in 2021, which is terrific news. More soon…

Using POS software to make 2021 the year of shop local

In 2020, out of necessity, many Aussies rediscovered the value of shopping local.

2021 is our opportunity as local retailers to build off that, to make this the year shopping local is the preference, the year shopping local comes into its own.

We say our opportunity since we are retailers too. In addition to owning the Tower Systems POS software company, we own and run six retail businesses.

We have experienced first-hand the new love of shopping local.

In our POS software you can easily leverage local in ways that can guide deeper baskets and encourage shoppers back sooner.

We have built into our POS software these opportunities and more, to help you shine lights on what makes your business more appealing in today’s circumstances.

You can easily identify and tag locally sourced products.

You can easily share local knowledge and insights.

You can easily ‘make’ your own local products to differentiate from others.

You can easily support and leverage local community group members.

You can easily take your local pitch to the world through a Shopify website.

Our POS software is a start. Our local retail business experience can help you make the most of the POS software opportunities.

May your 2021 be healthyhappy and filled with profitable.

We are a POS software company 100% focussed on serving local small business retailers. Our software is developed to serve niche specialty retailers in selected retail channels. It is make to be fit for purpose for each of these retail channels.

Our specialty approach sets us apart from many other POS software companies. In each of our marketplace specific products you will find facilities, connections and tools that connect us with each in a deep, meaningful and commercially valuable way. This is what being specialty POS softwares is all about.

On top of marketplace specific facilities in our POS software there is our local focus, our local tools and opportunities through with our retail business partners are able to leverage shop local, buy local and support local opportunities.

Beyond the traditional POS software we go deeper into business opportunities, providing platforms from which local businesses can leverage their differentiators to shoppers, to get them spending more and to bring them back more often.

This is smart retail POS software in 2021 … a complete solution backed by training and support to bring shoppers in and guide their connection for the long term.

Comprehensive approach to POS software onboarding helps small business retailers

Aussie POS software company Tower Systems offers a structured, comprehensive approach to POS software onboarding.

Onboarding is the process of bringing on new POS software customers. It involves software installation, setup, tuning and training.

The Tower Systems onboarding approach is whole, complete and solely focussed on helping each small business retailer to achieve their goals for use of the POS software.

Onboarding is the process of installation, training and advice related to getting our new customers up and running with the Tower Systems POS software in your business.

With many new customers joining our POS software community each month, it makes sense that we have a structured process through which we deliver personal and consistent service in pursuit of you happily using our software.

Onboarding includes software installation and training experts at Tower working with you to help you achieve this goal of you happily using our software. It also includes a scheduling expert to be with you at each step of the way.

Our approach to POS software onboarding includes a team of transition experts who will help once the software is setup and the training done. These folks help you transition from high contact training to everyday help desk support access.

As an off-the-shelf software product, the Tower Systems POS software is what it is. By this we mean, it is not bespoke, not written specifically for you. However, there are many options in the software where selections can be made that determine how the software works for you. This is another reason structured onboarding matters.

The pathway we follow to guide you to be live is based on years of experience with thousands of small business retailers like you.

We follow a pathway that works. We understand some of what we suggest may frustrate, especially if you are moving from other software. Please be patient. We are grateful for your joining our community.

While our approach is structured for each specialty retail channel, it is also flexible to ensure we have time to address queries unique to each business. We understand the importance of personal service and seek to deliver a personal and appreciated experience to our customers each time.

The Tower Systems approach to onboarding of new POS software customers is comprehensive, mature and loved by customers.  It continues to evolve, too.

Our locally made POS software for specialty retailers

Sound on. Click play.

January 2021 will be unlike any recent January for Aussie small business retailers

January will not be normal for local Aussie retailers.

January has traditionally played out in different ways for small business retailers in different parts of Australia.

In some parts of the country, retail is usually so slow that many shops close for several weeks. In other parts of the country, towns swell with tourists and trading hours are extended.

What has been consistent about January for small business retail in Australia is that it has been prdictable.

I don’t think January 2021 will play out in a predictable way.

People are not travelling overseas. But, they are motivated to travel, to shake off 2020 and to start 2021 with new memories, from more local travel.

With plenty of annual leave not taken in 2020, I suspect more will start 2021 taking leave.

Businesses will start 2021 earlier than usual, working on new approaches to business, including on-going working from home for some, which will open opportunities locally.

Places that have not seen many tourists over the years are likely to see some. Tourist destinations will fill early, encouraging people to look elsewhere.

In short, the usual January slowdown we have been used to in small business retail in most parts of Australia is less likely in 2021, in my view.

Locals staying local will be looking to embrace optimism about 2021. Local retailers can lean into this, nurture optimism and offer opportunities for engagement with the local community. In our shops we can make January fun and feed into the desire for a good start to the year.

Be ready. Make sure the shop is fresh, that you have new product and that ou provide an entertaining retail experience. Think about your hours. Find ways to leverage the changed situation.

I mention this today so you can plan. January will be different. How it plays for you depends on you.

Supporting shop local with pet soap gift from our POS software co

Two weeks ago, we posted 1,000 gift packs featuring pet soap handmade in Australia. each pack was carefully assembled y us and posted to a thoughtfully collated database of small Aussie specialty retail businesses.

ww bought the handmade, ethically made, soap direct from the maker, in support of their local Aussie small business and to provide a connection for our message that we are a local Aussie business supporting local Aussie businesses.

It is a campaign that we planned several months out. Choosing the right soap was important, as were the words on the locally printed card that we included with each gift pack of soap.

We shared the story about being local, that we liked to support local and that we loved connecting with retail businesses that, too, loved supporting local.

This soap gift pack campaign is our way of practically showing what local can look like.

Interestingly, we sent the free pet soap to businesses outside the pet retail channel. It’s soap pet lovers will use and that is what matters most here.

What local looks like can vary by retail channel. In our POS software, we help small business retailers to pitch local, connect with local and demonstrate support for local in myriad ways. Within our POS software retailers have levers they can pullet pitch local without being overt or shouty with there shop local pitch. For us, in our software, when it comes to supporting local, we help retailers with a show, don’t tell approach. They love it. They love that they have ways they can show their local connectivity without being noisy about it.

Tower Systems is proud to serve more than 3,500 small business retailers across multiple retail channels. We are connected with each of the retail channels in different ways and support each with nuanced software, which is tailored for them.

It’s what we do … develop and support POS software for local specialty retail businesses, serving needs unique to their retail channel.

We are grateful for the opportunity to ourselves support shopping local in the execution of a marketing campaign that has at its core a shop local message.

Next time you look for pet soap, look for a locally made product. Your pet will love you for it.

Shopify POS software solution for small business retailers

Aussie POS software company Tower Systems is grateful to offer a Shopify POS software solution for small business retailers.

As a Shopify partner, the Tower Systems Shopify POS software solution it seamless between the in-store POS snd the online store, with one central dataset for inventory as well as for managing sales – in-store and online.

It’s a complete solution, a proven solution in stores across many different retail niches.

Developed in Australia and delivered first years ago and enhanced regularly since, the Shopify POS software solution is robust and first for purpose for gift shops, jewellers, bike shops, toy shops, newsagents, games shops, pet shops, garden centres and plenty more. This is a robust solution for a range of vertical market businesses.

The Shopify POS software solution from Tower Systems works beautifully both at the sales counter as well as  through the online shopper experience. Tower Systems is grateful to own retail businesses with strong online sales where this Shopify POS software solution has been tested by the business itself.

By walking in the shoes of our retailers we have been able to fine-tune the Shopify POS software solution to ensure it genuinely is a solution. We bring together both sides – the POS software side and all it manages for the retail business and the Shopify side, through beautiful websites that we develop to capture online sales. By building both for our small business retail customers we are able to deliver a wholistic Shopify POS software solution.

As one of the world’s most popular eCommerce platform, Shopify is the perfect tool for selling online. With a customisable template that can be edited with ease, and a powerful backend allowing monitoring of store data, Shopify is optimal for the growth of your business.

Through the Tower Systems Shopify POS software solution link, your business can sell online with very little additional effort. The website becomes a reflection of your physical store, allowing online sales with no change in everyday trading.

We are grateful too be able to help small business retailers transact online in a seamless and data safe way, with one data set, one place to manage critical business data. This ihas been brought about through our Shopify POS software solution, something that is Australian made, for Australian businesses.

Ideal gift shop POS software for local gift shops

More and more gift shops are finding our POS software ideal in serving their gift shop POS software needs. This is fit for purpose POS software, made especially for gift shops.

From a benefits perspective, here is some of what gift retailers tell us they like about this software:

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

Best of all, this gift shop POS software is ideal for retailers who want to differentiate their business from other retailers of gifts. This is software designed to help retailers differentiate on pricing, service, bundling and loyalty rewards. It is smart POS software that any local small business gift shop can use to pitch their differences compared to other gifts retailers.

Gift shops can rent this software easily for a few dollars a day. They can cancel at any time. There is no long term contract.

For a few dollars a day, gift shops get…

  1. Specialty Gift shop POS software developed in Australia.
  2. Software updates as we release them.
  3. Unlimited licences for your retail location. If you need an extra computer, there is no extra software cost.
  4. Shopify / Magento / Woo link. Easily sell online from your POS software.
  5. Xero link. Easing bookkeeping costs and streamlining accounting.
  6. Our OzBiz link – connect to MYOB and Quicken through OzBiz.
  7. Tyro link – safe, fast and easy EFTPOS link for streamlined sales.
  8. PC Eftpos link – easy EFTPOS processing for the major banks.
  9. Easy buy now pay later thanks to Zip Pay and Humm – that Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X and others are using more and more.
  10. Support – help desk access, unlimited training, updates and more.
  11. User documentation. Access to our searchable knowledge base.

With more than 3,500 local retailers in our community, we are grateful for customer recommendations that help drive our success.

If you are a gift retailer, consider Tower Systems. We’d love to talk with you.

Serial number tracking in POS software helps small business retailers better serve customers

The POS software from Tower Systems offers serial number tracking of products sold. This is a powerful point of difference for the POS software as serial number tracking is not common in software.

Using the Tower Systems POS software, retailers can record the serial numbers of all items arriving in-store that have unique serial numbers. These can be tracked at the point of sale. They can also be tracked for warranty, servicing, valuation and insurance purposes. Stores can also record serial numbers only when they sell – when they record, at arrival or sale, is up to them.

The serial number tracking facilities in the POS software become valuable in almost any retail situation in which they are used.

Thera are some retail sectors where suppliers require the tracking of product serial numbers at the point of sale. There are some regulatory situations where tracking serial numbers is key. Doing this through the POS software brings certainty and consistency to retail businesses.

Tower Systems is proud to offer serial number tracking in its POS software. We are grateful to the many suppliers and retailers who have guided us on this over the years, keeping us on top of the needs of all stakeholders in this serial number tracking space.

Serial number tracking in our POS software has been available for many years. Sure, it has been enhanced over time as needs have evolved, but we first started offering it in software we sold close to 20 years ago. Of course, the software we sell today is completely different, made for today, for today’s needs.

Using the serial number tracking tools in our POS software, retailers can also maintain good records that are useful for themselves in their own management of their businesses.

From the moment stock arrives in the business we manage serial numbers, recording each serial number. alternatively, you can enter the serial number of the item when it is sold – the retail business decides on the appropriate time for them to manage the recording of a serial number. This is a local management decision they can make.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve more than 3,500 small business retailers across several niche retail channels – with specialty POS software offering facilities like serial number tracking covered here.

The best POS software receipt in small business retail

We reckon the receipt produced by our POS software is the best receipt you will find for small business retail. Are we biased? For sure. This is our creation, our baby.

The receipt produced by our POS software is  detailed, flexible, easily changed, encouraging, educational, factual, promotional, product supporting and loyalty engaging.

This is a receipt designed to help small business welcome shoppers back sooner.

So much of what is on the receipt is under the control of retailers. So much can be changed, easily.

Product use can care instructions can be included.

A loyalty encourager can also be included, the details of which are 100% under the control of the retailer and can be dynamically determined based on what has been purchased, when and by whom.

This is a smart receipt, a powerful receipt, a receipt designed to help small business retailers to grow their businesses.

This is a receipt for 2020 and beyond in so many ways, beyond what you can see.

There is much more to this receipt than you can see in this image, too. Our POS software offers plenty of tricks and opportunities beyond what is in this blog post.

Here at Tower Systems we are grateful for the encouragement and guidance from our retailer community to evolve the receipt beyond the traditional into something that is of genuine value in many different retail settings.

Retailers using our POS software have teremndous control over receipts, when they print, the detail included and so much more.  Our customers really are in control of the receipts their software prints.

The receipts our POS software produces can go beyond paper, too. There are electronic versions customers can leverage, but more on that another time. Suffice to say, we are innovators of all sorts of receipts, in many formats.

In addition to meeting statutory requirements, the receipts produced by the POS software from Tower Systems are a valuable and appreciated piece of marketing power in a retail business, showing off key differentiators in the business that themselves held;p to drive repeat business. We love that we have been able to do this.

Tower Systems serves more than 3,750 small business retailers across a range of retail channels. Our 40 years in the POS software development and support business have seen us move through generational changes and the old retail receipt is one example of this.

Aussie POS software helping small business retailers win from sale events like Black Friday

Black Friday is this Friday, November 27. We’ve been helping retailers to maximise the opportunity in-store and online.

60 Years of Supercars Mint Coin Set from the Royal Australian Mint

We are grateful to promote 60 Years of Supercars Mint Coin Set through the Mint Coin Shop we built using our POS software and its integration with the Shopify e-commerce platform. What a wonderful mint coin product. Supercars are huge and these mint coins will be a Supercars fan perfect Christmas gift.

The Supercars mint coin set is another awesome gift from the Royal Australian Mint that is available from the online Mint Coin Shop.

Australia enjoys an enduring love affair with Supercars racing, and this year celebrates 60 years of the Australian Touring Car Championship. First held in 1960 at Gnoo Blas NSW, the Mint honours the 60 year milestone with the release of 9 coins highlighting some of the most celebrated race cars of the iconic ATCC series.

This Supercars mint coin set is selling fast.

Gift shops you can shop online

Tower Systems is grateful to bring the local gift shop to your keyboard. Through our gift shop software and the websites we have created for gist shops have plenty of gift shops in our awesome list of gift shops we encourage you to shop for an authentic shop local gift shop experience:

These gift shops and more are part of the quite of local gift shops that Tower Systems has supported in getting online, to sell to Australians and, in some cases, to sell overseas, bringing gift giving opportunities to plenty of people in different situations.

The local gift shop is no longer the shop down the road. No, it is the shop online that you find the you search for the gift occasion you are purchasing for.

In supporting local gift shops with POS software made for local gift shops and with websites created for local gift shops, Tower Systems is able to being these opportunities to life for local communities as well as for local shoppers who who are shopping for niche and specific gift needs. This is where helping gift shop owners to bring to life solutions online and on the high street makes sense.

While people can shop for gifts overseas, our encouragement is that they support the local gift shop because shopping locally delivers the most important value to gift shops that are themselves called on to help the local community in myriad ways.

With a fully integrated POS software Shopify website solution, the local gift shop is able to take online their carefully selected and curated range of gifts too make them available across many location.

As we head to Christmas 2020, our encouragement to everyone when it comes to gift purchases is to shop locally, seek out local gift shops that can serve your gift purchase needs. Local, of course, can be down the road or elsewhere in Australia. This means that a shop online, interstate maybe, that offers locally made gifts could be better than a shop closer to you that sells imported gifts.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve hundreds of local gifts shops with its POS software. This is a terrific marketplace we serve.

Shopify website development for small business retailers in Australia

Tower Systems is proud to offer local, Australian-based, Shopify website development for small business retailers.

We have a team of skilled Shopify web developers, all working from our Hawthorn, Victoria, head office. This is in addition to our POS software developers. Both development teams work together, helping to create valued solutions for small business retailers.

We offer a one stop shop service whereby we offer specialty retail POS software and beautiful Shopify websites connected to this POS software. The connection is safe, fast and seamless. The Shopify websites we develop are made specifically for each retailer customer, to their needs, meeting their requirements, populated with data that is collated through the integrated POS software.

Being a Shopify website developer and a POS software developer in the one business and being Australian based positions us well to serve the needs of local Australian retailers.

We offer more of an end to end Shopify website development solution for small business retailers. Since we are retailers ourselves and using Shopify websites created by us, we bring that experience to life in our own shopper engagement.

Our Shopify website development for small business retailers is done on a fixed price basis. We do this because it is important that small business retailers know exactly what their cost basis will be. We collect information up front to ensure that the fixed price approach serves the needs of our customers, to ensure that the site is the solution our customers are looking for.

handing freight, payment type and other requirements, we help retailers to being to life online their retail businesses or at least parts of their retail businesses. We do this with care from a retailer first perspective. Too often, we see websites created from a tech first perspective and while this is cool for the tech folks, it does not serve the retailer well.

Selling online is a retail activity. It needs to be approached from a retail first perspective. This is what we do. As retailers ourselves we understand this from a unique perspective and through this we are able, we think. to provide our retailers with a Shopify website solution that is fit for purpose with them very much in mind.

An early look at Christmas 2020 in local small business retail in Australia

We are grateful to the many retailers who have shared recent year on year comparative sales data. This has enabled us to a deep dive into shopper traffic, basket depth and product category performance. We have done this to get an early look into what Christmas 2020 in local small business retail might look like.

The headline is that Christmas 2020 looks good in local small business retail.

Local high street retailers are doing considerably better than shopping mall retail. Suburban, regional and rural high street retail businesses, for which we have comprehensive sales data, are doing very well. They are experiencing solid double-digit year-on-year growth. For the dataset of 60+ businesses in our latest analysis, the average year on year revenue growth is 22%.

What is interesting is that the spike in revenue growth is not matched in a spike in shopper traffic. Rather, the revenue spike has come from shoppers buying more in each visit, driving better shopper efficiency. We are seeing average sale value increase by between 10% and 25%.

The dataset includes business across all states and territories except for the Northern Territory. The results are universal. There appears to be no difference between Victoria, which was in lockdown for some of the weeks under analysis and other states that were not in lockdown.

In terms of Christmas specifically, data indicate excellent year on year growth in Christmas card sales. The same is true for Christmas decorations, Christmas-themed home decor and gift wrap. Year on year growth is, again, 20% and more.

Locally made products are doing particularly well. Shoppers continue to engage with supply chain questions. A common question relates to sourcing from China.

Also of note is excellent growth in sales of calendars and diaries. The diaries growth encourages an optimistic outlook on 2021. Smart retailers are pitching it as that and having some fun with putting 2020 in the past.

Back in March, in the early days of Covid in Australia, jigsaws were hot. They sold out fast. Some expected the surge to fade over time. The latest sales data for October and even into the first two weeks of November suggest otherwise. Yes, jigsaw sales remain strong. half of the stores in the latest dataset sell jigsaws and every one of them is reporting year on year growth. The average of that growth is 150%. Key is breadth of range of supply.

In addition to the jigsaw growth, crafts, art, maker kits and similar are all showing strong results.

Comfort gifts are especially strong. Core in this category is plush. Plush is often dismissed as being tired or ho hum. We have seen sales in the plush space up as much as 50% off a strong base. In one local high street retail business in one recent week, for example, they did $1,850.00 in everyday plush, more than double their usual sales. Range, again, is key this this success.

Not reflected in the POS software collected data is anecdotal evidence that people are spending more this Christmas. Many retailers spoke to this. They spoke of shoppers saying they were spending more on loved ones as well as buying gifts for some they would not usually buy for.

There is the wonder as to the role of government stimulus funding on the sales results. While retailers think is is a factor, they do not see it as the key factor. If time does reveal it as a key factor, local small business retailers will respond accordingly. They are an agile bunch.

Considering the sales data and the and the anecdotal comments, Christmas 2020 looks strong. Plenty of retailers are already talking up the first quarter of 2021.

Tower Systems … specialty POS software for specialty retail

(play with sound on).

What if the most important stream of revenue for your business was cut off overnight?

Hundreds of Australian businesses yesterday discovered that China was blocking their exporting of products to that country. According to news reports, Australian wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster are set to be banned from Friday.

This is dreadful news for the businesses, those who work for them and the communities that rely on them for income and purchases. The ramifications across Australia could be extraordinary.

Hearing the news of the move by China, I wondered – what would happen to your business if a key income stream was cut off overnight?

Would your business survive? Do you have a plan B? Can you move quickly enough to recover? Were you too exposed to and too reliant on the key revenue stream?

These are questions you can discuss with clarity with hindsight. Better still, they are questions you can discuss in advance.

I raise the questions today because considering them before you face the challenges being faced right now by Australian exporters of wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster gives you the opportunity today to be less reliant on a single revenue stream.

I get that this can read as a ho-hum topic, something not worth worrying about today. However, I bet there are wine makers, sugar farmers and fishermen who several days ago would have thought the topic ho-hum too.

What if the most important revenue stream to your business was cut off overnight, without notice?

Actions I think anyone reading this could consider include:

  1. Assess income to understand the income category streams on which the business most relies and take immediate steps to broaden these.
  2. Assess income sources. In retail especially most income comes from a shop or physical presence. Broaden this, rely on more than the physical presence.
  3. Assess the importance of suppliers by looking at percentage of revenue attached to each and taking steps to broaden these.
  4. Look at your business finances and consider the impact if any supporting finance arrangement was removed overnight.
  5. Workshop with key people as to what it would mean if any supplier was cut off from you or if any product category or brand was overnight stripped from your business. Those participating in this need to challenge each other.

In terms of the situation that has emerged in China this week, we need to look at our reliance on product from China, especially is we rely on people connected with wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster. For example, if we have customers who work in wine businesses that export to China. How will they feel purchasing product from us that are sourced from China when China has struck so hard at the core of their income source?

What has happened in China is a reason for us to take stock, look more carefully at our businesses, and ensure that we are better structured to trade through unexpected decisions by others.

A personal story: Decades ago, my software company developed software for radiology practices, managing patient accounts and reports on x-rays. I wrote a word processor to make it easier and faster for radiologists to write report. It was a hit, gaining terrific early sales. A year and a half in, an international x-ray film supplier offered radiology practices free software from the US if they contracted to buy their film for 5 years. Our sales stopped overnight. I decided then that my company would never rely on a single customer or a single channel for the majority of business. It’s why we are now in 12 specialty retail channels, why we only sell to sell business retailers and why we will not borrow to fund the business.

How Tower Systems helps small business retailers sell online with Shopify connected POS software

More small business and local retailers are selling online with beautiful websites created by the web development team at Tower Systems, working in close consultation with the POS software development team at the company.

In 2021, having a website, a beautiful website, for online sales is like having a fax machine or a photocopier was all those years ago in retail.

Through a consultative process, the web specialists at Tower help small business retailers using its POS software to discover how they can genuinely differentiate online to attract new shoppers, especially shoppers who are not local, shoppers who may otherwise not know the business exists.

By researching current search engine data as to what people are searching for, Tower Systems has been able to help small business retailers pivot online while using the existing business for labour and other overheads.

While the temptation is for represent to represent their existing physical retail business online, the most success is had by retailers who treat their website as a start-up, a new business. This is where the comprehensive keyword research by Tower can help unlock commercially valuable opportunities.

One small business retailer in Numurkah Victoria created a beautiful baby website, helping that business to expand their baby gifts and products offering and through this to find many shoppers interstate, adding genuine bottom line value. Today, the website for that retail business is one of the best you will see in that category.

All website development is done in Australia by the Tower Systems web team. They have delivered many websites for retailers. They have also delivered five websites through which members of a group sell collectively, to reach an even bigger audience.

While Tower Systems partners with the Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce e-commerce platforms, it is the Shopify platform that is most widely used for small business retailers.

The Tower web experts can offer guidance on shipping, methods of payment, marketing, pricing, product category structure, photos and more. They guide retailers from beginning to going live.

By connecting their website seamlessly to the Tower POS software, small business retailers are able to manage inventory and data efficiently and accurately.

We are grateful for all the retailers engaging with our web strategy and for their pursuit of sales growth through a diverse mix of retail opportunities.

VEND POS software search problems speak to a key challenge for cloud POS software

VEND POS software reported customer, product and sales related search problems on their product status page over the last 24 hours, impacting retail businesses using their POS software. The situation is a reminder of a challenge for cloud based POS software. If the platform is down or experiencing an issue, all customers on the cloud based POS software platform experience the issue.

Here is the information from the VEND cloud POS software website about the recent issues:

While our Tower Systems POS Software can be run in the cloud and is used in the cloud by a bunch of our retailer customers, the majority of our small business retailer customers choose the in-house desktop hosted option, running in their business, 100% under their control. This approach contains any problem to their business in most situations.

While, for many, the benefit of centrally managed cloud hosted POS software is appealing, the risk of network wide outage is challenging. The cost of not being able to search customers or inventory or some sales could be detrimental to a business.

VEND reported another problem to its network a month ago, on Facebook:

It is important that small business retailers weigh up the risks to their businesses when considering cloud hosted POS or desktop POS. We serve either. VEND is a cloud based solution and that’s why the outage reported by them is one that it drawing attention today.

We wish the folks at VEND all the best to resolve the issue in a timely and complete manner. No software company wants to see another software company dealing with tech challenges that are impacting customer businesses, especially the businesses that may be vulnerable or businesses just recently coming out of Covid lockdown.

When we read of the VEND cloud POS tech challenges and the outages being experienced today with customer and stock searches and some sales searches, we took this as a reminder to look at our processes, our checks and balances, our platforms and the redundancy we offer our customers. It is a reminder to all of us to ensure that we actively help our customers run stable businesses using our tech with the least possible downtime.

Operating in a purely cloud hosted environment does put a business at risk, it makes them dependent on their provider to have processes and redundancies in place to serve their needs. This is critical in service of stable and interruption free trading.

If a retailer asks our opinion – cloud hosted POS or in-house desktop hosted POS, we share that we have ourselves run shops with our POS 100% in the cloud and we have run shops with our POS software 100% in-store, on the desktop. For a whole bunch of reasons, today we choose in-house. We like the control it provides and that we are not reliant on the internet and the infrastructure of others to keep the POS software accessible to us.

Tower Systems helps small business retailers with the new normal, the Covid normal

The Sunday Age today has a story from Dominic Powell and Simon Johanson about retail and the new normal. It speaks about how retail has changed through Covid and that many changes will stick:

From smaller shops to major chains such as JB Hi-Fi and Coles, the exodus from Australia’s inner cities is just one of the many effects of the coronavirus pandemic shopkeepers fear could persist well beyond the six to 12 months until the world has its vaccine.

As the article notes, there is no doubt that the surge in online will continue.:

Broader changes, like the rapid acceleration of online shopping, will be widespread and unstoppable. Retailers are already re-assessing their moribund bricks-and-mortar stores and spending millions on online platforms. “Omnichannel” (along with “resilience”) has been the jargon du jour for merchants through the recent corporate reporting season.

There is also no doubt, in our view, that the migration away from malls to the high street and regional, will continue, too.

We think that retail has fundamentally changes. Indeed, we saw this months ago ourselves in sales on our POS software. That surge, especially in niche retail channels and outside of shopping malls was an insight, which was inspiring to us and encouraging, too.

People working from home will want to stay working from home. So many benefit from this, they like it, the flexibility it offers. Businesses, too, like this as it plays well as to operating costs as in other ways in which the business operates.

We are an Aussie POS software co serving specialty retailers with locally made and supported POS software and beautiful connected Shopify websites.

We are grateful to be playing a role in helping small business retailers configure their businesses to adjust to serving these and related changes ion the high street and in regional and rural Australia.

The new normal is a more diverse, a more spread out, country. This is great news for our small business retail community.

We offer a fresh approach to POS software and selling online.

We’re not your usual POS software company. As retailers ourselves – 3 gift / pop culture shops and 6 online businesses – we know how we like to be sold to. we have our approach with our POS software.

Our local small business economic stimulus package suggestion for the federal government

Back in March we pitched a package of stimulus ideas to federal politicians and here with little interest. Today, we pitch a modified version, reflecting feedback from small business retailers in our POS software community of 3,500 businesses.

These are ideas from people living it, not economists. They are immediately and locally beneficial successions designed to serve local communities and retailers in those communities.

Covid stimulus package for local small business retailers and the communities in which they serve.

Small business retailers are nimble and able to lift local economies faster than big businesses and certainly better than online businesses.

Here are six tips for politicians on steps they can take, decisions they can make to help lift retail, especially small business retail, as well as those local businesses with which small business retailers can quickly connect.

  1. Local shops refresh grant. Give every local retail business a grant of at least $25,000 with the stipulation that it is spent locally (at least within the state or territory) on capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. It could be for painting, carpentry, electrical, new aircon, new carpeting, staff training or similar. Proof of local spending in the form of an invoice from a local tradesperson or small business company with and ABN and more than a year of trading as recognised by the ATO – to avoid fraud. The management of this should be online with quick approval and payment. Note: the $25,000 is suggested to provide sufficient local economic stimulus.
  2. Local visual merchandising support. Keeping in-store displays can be a challenge for small business retailers. Fund a network of merchandisers to make a 2 hour call weekly on qualified independent small retail businesses, sub $1M retail product turnover (i.e. not including agency), ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the campaign at six months and then assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. not an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  3. Local artists grants. Offer cash grants to fund buskers for local high streets, to make shopping locally more entertaining. Make the application easy. Focus on local artists entertaining in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of injecting cash locally as well as fostering the local arts. The application process should be online, approval fast and payment immediate.
  4. Direct all politician electorate spending to be with local small businesses. For printing, subscriptions, gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year purchased through a politician’s electorate to be through a a business in their electorate. Have the results assessed independently. Ensure that spending is fair, too, to benefit a variety of local businesses, and not dolled out as political favours. Shop local, shop small.
  5. Run a national shop small shop local ad campaign. Make it educational, smart, encouraging … guiding Aussies on the value to them from shopping local, shopping small. Help to understand the true value of shopping local, shopping small compared to the alternatives. The ad campaign should run regionally across multiple media platforms, giving preference to locally owned platforms with a track record for not managing their business to minimise tax. Yes, Amex does this. We need a campaign that is not credit card supported.
  6. Establish local currency systems. These work overseas on regional towns where local currency has more value than the national currency. It supports shopping local through a smart value structure. the government role could be on the tech back end to manage the currency – taking away capital cost from local councils. To find out more ab9out this, read up on the Bristol Pound.

This list could be much longer. It is offered here as a start, to get people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

Corona is challenging the economy. While we am not economists, we suspect that giving money to people likely to spend it quickly and spend it locally would be good for the economy and at a pace that is helpful to overall economic performance.

This is all about boosting local.

Advice for small business retailers considering a POS software connected website

We have heard from another retailer who has been ripped off by someone for website development. This is happening too often, with small business retailers carrying the cost of the rip off financially and operationally.

In this latest instance, they were promised the world and delivered a mediocre website that is not POS software connected.

Based on years of experience developing POS software connected websites and decades of experience developing POS software, we have advice for small business retailers considering having a website developed for their business and connected to their POS software:

  • Choose a local web developer. Choose a person or business who is local, in the same country (and state even) as you.
  • Be careful. Some businesses may present as local when they are not. Sometimes, an offshore business will use a local agent who comes across as the web developer.
  • Look at recent sites. Ask for a list of websites they have developed in recent months. Look at the sites. Talk to the business owners to determine their happiness.
  • Know what is included. Get a list of exactly what will be delivered with the website and any costs associated with choices you will be asked to make along the way.
  • Be clear about what you want. The site is a key tool for your business. It is essential that you are clear as to your requirements, clear about what you want.
  • Know what you like and don’t like. It can be very helpful if you have a list of websites you like and a list of websites you don’t like.
  • Get it in writing. Ensure that what is agreed is documented, fully documented. Do not sign off to proceed until you have happy with the documentation.
  • Be in control. The website is your shop window. Control your images and text to ensure this window on your business is what you want to see.
  • Pay on completion. While paying a deposit is important and, indeed, fair and essential, holding a portion of payment for completion is important. It keeps the web developer focussed.

Getting the best website for your retail business depends on your level of engagement before starting the project and through. Our encouragement to retailers is that they engage because it is this engagement that will deliver the commercial outcomes you seek.

Tower Systems releases free Covid contact training tool for small business retailers

We have released to our POS software customers today a free contact tracing initiative through our website that enables our customers to easily collect the details of people entering their business in a format useful to health authorities should that be necessary.

We have done this because state and territory governments have not agreed on a consistent approach and because we think manual record keeping is not ideal in times when health authorities will want a fast response.

Using our approach, we collect and securely store customer details and allow our retailers, and only our retailers, to download these based on selection criteria you enter.

We generate a QR code unique to each business. Customers scan this and are taken to a page we create for each business where they enter their name and mobile number. They can optionally enter their email address. We tag this data with the date and time. That’s it. Their visit is tracked. If asked, retailers can show authorities that they have a process in place for collecting this data. For those without a phone, collect the data manually, on a clip-board.

As we gain use experience with this facility we expect to enhance it further.

We have also shared a template document to use at the front of a store, with the sample QR code replaced with the store’s QR code:

We have developed this free QR code based contract tracing tool to help our small business retailer community to be well equipped for helping health authorities should there be a Covid diagnosis that connects with the retail business in some way.

This is another way we can give something back to the small business retail community, a community that is so important to our business.

We have seen with Covid that the ability to quickly track those who may have had contact with someone who tests positive it critical to the public health response.

This contact tracing initiative from our POS software company could be a useful tool. From the outset, we knew we have to deliver this without cost to small business retailers.

We are grateful to those on our team who have brought this to life and our own retail stores where we tested this to ensure its practical usefulness.

With Covid here for a while longer, having tools like this for rapid response is critical for the economy, critical for our small business retail community.

Here’s what life in stage 4 Covid lockdown has been like for our small business in Victoria

Our head office is located in Hawthorn, Victoria, in suburban Melbourne, which has been in stage 4 lockdown since early August.

The gap between the end of the first Covid lockdown and the start of the tougher stage 4 was barely a month.

Back in March, when the impact of Covid became known, we made some decisions about the operations of our business that have meant the changes to restrictions have not impacted our business. These were changes any business could make. Indeed, with hindsight, they are changes we could have made years ago.

Even though our business is considered essential given the nature of our work and the customers we serve, we decided, back in March, to move to a remote operation for 85% of our work force of more than 50.

This meant bringing forward transition to our new VoIP phone system, expanding our Zoom capacity, expanding our Microsoft Teams capacity, providing team members with tech at home and putting in place financial compensation for folks working from home.

The tech changes were implemented over 2 days. They have served us well.

With plenty of our workforce usually in retail every day, helping our customers, we had to fundamentally change the way we worked. You cannot do online what you’d usually do in a shop installing software or training people. We adjusted and our customers adjusted.

Today, we’re almost 100% online in what we do and in our service delivery. If, however, a customer wants us in-store and it is essential to their business, we can do this, in stage 4 and outside of stage 4, and we have done it.

From a sales and marketing perspective the changes have been significant. We used to do at least 16 trade shows a year. This year we have done 1 and next year we have none planned. Instead, we have found new and, indeed, more useful ways to connect with prospects.

The result has been an increase in sales. This is good news for us, our team members and our customers. We are sincerely grateful.

Over recent weeks, we have brought several more people into the office as we have some team changes and new colleagues to meet.

While Victoria waits to hear when stage 4 will end, here at Tower Systems we see no major changes to how we operate through the remainder of 2020 and into the early months of 2021.

This new way of operating is offering team members more time with family, lower out of pocket costs and opportunities for healthier lifestyle choices.

We have learnt plenty navigating Covid, benefiting our business and all who work here. This is the good news story we’d like to see media outlets cover – what we have learnt and the benefits leveraged as a result. There are plenty of good news stories like ours.

We get that stage 4 restrictions in Victoria have been challenging. They have also provided opportunities.

We are optimistic about 2021 as we have a terrific base from this year on which to build … and for this we are sincerely grateful.

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