Helping Gift Shops Achieve Sales Growth in 2011

We are working with Gift Shops using our Gift Shop software and helping them leverage opportunities for their businesses in 2011.From improving online sales through to reconfiguring the range of products in the store and reassessing operating procedures, our Gift Shop software is able to help Gift Shop owners expect good things from 2011.

While major retailers in Australia are waging a public relations war against online businesses, especially those located overseas, we have ensured that our software helps retailers to operate an online as well as bricks and mortar business.   The interface we have developed between e-commerce solutions and our Point of Sale software makes it easier for Gift Shop owners to trade in both retail situations.

By knowing exactly the speed with which products move off the shop floor, Gift Shop owners using our Point of Sale software are able to make better quality fact-based decisions.  We have found that many gift shop owners continue to carry certain lines because they look nice.  A nice looking product which does not move withing a commercially viable period of time is of little value to the business.

Beyond the technology, we help Gift Shop owners understand the value of the data they have and how they can leverage this data into growth for their business.

Our software is a means to achieving our goal of helping Gift Shops grow and improve profitability this year.  

Gift Shops are one of the few truly independent and local retail businesses left in Australia. The differences between businesses are considerable.  This uniqueness of each Gift Shop places a considerable burden on Gift Shop owners and managers as they need to rely on data from their business for their decisions.

Gift shop software helps deliver a good Christmas

Retailers using our latest gift shop software are loving Christmas.  Feedback on our enhanced lay-by, special orders, fast eftpos and gift shop management reporting tools is wonderful.

Out in plenty of time for Christmas, our new Gift Shop software is selling well thanks to great word of mouth from existing customers.

Like any retail management software, the real value is unlocked through our personal training, online training facilities and Help Desk support.  We are committed to helping our customers make the most of their investment with us … long after the system is installed.

The latest gift shop software is a result of wonderful feedback from our customers, advice from gift shop suppliers and contributions from our installation team. Our installation team picks up excellent software enhancement ideas when on site and getting deep into a business.

Work on the next release of our gift shop software is well advanced. 2011 is shaping up to be an excellent year.

Gift shop software drives Christmas sales

Smart gift shop software is helping gift shops leverage the opportunity of gift hampers this Christmas.  Thanks to easy to use facilities in the software, gift retailers are able to assemble and disassemble hampers as needed and maintain inventory integrity through the process.

The interest in hampers grows each year and more and more retailers are getting into this space to compete with the hamper specialist businesses.

By educating our customers about hamper related facilities in our Point of Sale software, we are helping our retail partners leverage more business opportunities without extending their IT investment.

Through this work we often see sales take off for items when they are packaged with other items.  While most of this work is with gift shops, we are seeing it in all retail channels in which we work.

Gift store software boosts the gift shop bottom line

Smart gift store software is vital to the profitability of a gift shop.  Indeed, it can be the different between a good year and a great year.

Here are five ways our gift shop software helps our gift retail customers practically and measurably improve their business bottom line.

Customer loyalty.  Our loyalty marketing tools help independent small gift shops compete with bigger businesses by offering a professionally managed loyalty program.

Customer service.  Professional receipts, professional LayBy (Lay Away), faster attention to queries, easier backorders and fewer mistakes all combine to provide a customer experience which shoppers love.

Customer return.  Clever low cost marketing tools like coupons on receipts, email marketing, text message marketing, direct mail marketing, sale counter upsell and customer statement marketing all offer touch points for attracting customer back into the business.

Faster and better value business decisions.  Gift shop owners with access to accurate business performance information are more likely to make better quality business decisions.  Our Gift store software delivers such access and through this guides better quality business decisions.

Elimination of manual processes.  Every manual process in a gift shop is a potential mistake and a user of time.  Our gift shop software helps eliminate manual processes such as product pricing, ordering stock, managing Lay Bys, managing customer accounts and tracking business performance.

In 2010 we have seen some excellent growth achieved by some gift shops.  Typically, the managers and owners of these stores have fully embraced our technology and actively sought out business decisions they can make by using the facilities in the software.

The difference between retailers enjoying growth and those not often lies in their level of engagement with their Point of Sale software.  Here at Tower Systems we guide and encourage our customers to use and embrace all that our technology offers.  We do this through training, documentation and business building workshops.

Helping retailers make the most of Christmas 2010

Christmas is vitally important to retailers, especially Christmas when times are tough like many retailers are finding today.  In gift shops and homewares stores, Christmas can account for between 30% and 50% of annual sales – if leveraged well.

Our Point of Sale software help our gift and homewares customers through a range of facilities which work for their respective marketplaces:

  • LayBys. You can set the terms. It’s easy to manage.
  • Gift cards. Create your own and get the sale if they customer can’t find what they are looking for.
  • Customer loyalty management. Accrue points and offer rewards for loyalty.
  • Targeted customer marketing. Based on what they have purchased from your store.
  • Better buying.  By buying stock based on accurate business data, retailers have less wastage.
  • Faster selling. By being able to cope with the Christmas rush without the need to add to staff, the business can improve profitability per dollar through the season.

Now is the time we are working with our retail customers to prepare for Christmas.  Fine tuning their operation of our software and ensuring that they are properly setup to make the most from the major retail season of the year. This is part of the Tower Systems commitment, to help retailers leverage their IT investment – long after the system is installed.

Helping gift shops prepare for Christmas

Gift shops using our Gift Shop Software are able to use our catalogue management facilities to manage Christmas sales.  By grouping Christmas product together, it is easy within our software to act on price and other drivers to boost business.

Gift shop owners are telling us that flexibility will be important for success this Christmas.  Being able to change price and other factors in seconds rather than hours will make our partner stores more responsive to their own circumstances.

We are educating gift shop owners about opportunities within our Point of Sale software for driving a better Christmas this year.  It is all part of our proactive customer service.

We are also reminding our customers about free marketing tools in the software which will help gift shop owners boost sales from existing traffic.

A successful Christmas depends on a business seizing every opportunity at its disposal.  Our advice to our customers this week, three months out, is designed to help them be aware and engaged well in advance.

Easier business planning for gift shop owners

Thanks to the business reporting tools in our gift shop software, we are helping gift shop owners undertake better business planning.  Using our software they are able to access more accurate business data which can feed into budget models.  This, in turn, drives better business decisions.

While point of sale software is traditionally used to scan items and balance the cash at the end of the business day, our specialist focus is on the commercial benefits we can help gift shop owners extract from their businesses beyond the day to day operational benefits.

Our business reporting tools are delivering to gift shop owners a fresh view on business performance.  Most are used to six monthly or even annual business performance reports.  Using our software, we provide immediate access.

With Gift Fairs and other trade shows so important to the gift channel, we are able to provide data of a quality and accessibility which can see the technology investment pay for itself in next to no time.

Busy Reed Gift Fair in Sydney

sydneygiftfair-2010.JPGWe were busy on our stand at the Reed Gift Fair in Sydney yesterday, day one of the four day show.  We met with a good variety people reflecting a broad cross-section of businesses: jewellers, gift shops, homewares businesses and newsagencies.  This is what we like about the gift fairs, they appeal to almost all retail niches in which we serve.

Like all of our trade show stands, we offered a mix of training and support for existing customers and sales demonstrations for prospective customers.

As the only gift and homewares specialist software company at the fair we had a good stream of people come through.  The next three days should be just as good if previous years are anything to go by.

Preparing for the Sydney Reed Gift Fair

gift-fair.jpgThe latest version of our gift shop software will be on show at the Reed Gift Fair in Sydney in just over a week’s time. We are on stand 1730 at the large Darling Harbour location – as shown on the partial floorplan to the left.

We are well established and experienced participants at gift fairs around Australia and enjoy meeting with customers, suppliers and sales prospects at these events.

We will have more to say about our specific plans for this important trade show in the next week.

Promotion of Tower Systems by GHA

gha_member_benefits.JPGWe were thrilled to see promotion of Tower Systems in the recent member benefits pack sent out by the Australian Gift and Homewares Association.    (See photo)

Our gift shop software is a key benefit for GHA members, delivering access at a special GHA price to excellent business productivity software.

Through the GHA relationship we are able to help gift and homewares business owners improve their businesses and strengthen the overall channel as a result.

Valuable benefits from Tower Systems gift shop software

Our Gift Shop Software is delivering high value benefits to gift shop owners – based on feedback at the recent Melbourne Gift Fair.  Our customers tell us of benefits like:

Greater business enjoyment.  This comes from having less to worry about thanks to our Gift Shop Software taking care of many of the day to day tasks.

Happier working environment.  With sales easier to complete, customer questions easier to answer and mistakes much harder to make, it is only natural that retail employees love their jobs more working in a business using our software.

More money made from the business.  Money is a key measure of success.  Thanks to having accurate business performance data at their fingertips, gift shop owners are able to make more informed, and therefore more financially rewarding, decisions. They are also able to cut labour costs in some parts of the business.

Reduced theft.  Employee and customer theft can have a high cost to any retail business.  Facilities in our software make it easier to track theft and reduce the opportunity for theft.

More time away from the business.  Business owners who want or need time away from the business can rely on excellent facilities which enable remote monitoring and management of the business.

These are the benefits our customers talk to us about most often.  We are pleased to be delivering a solution which helps in such practical ways.

Homewares retail channel strong

Our homewares retail customers and sales prospects are brimming with optimism on the back of good sales results and strong forecasts leading into Christmas.

The same is true for other retailers with a strong homewares niche in their business.

We are been fortunate to participate in some good discussions over the last couple of weeks about why this particular retail channel is strong.  The Master Chef effect appears to be a key reason.  People are investing more time and money in at-home dining experiences and to do this they need and want better homewares products.

For us, homewares is one of those categories which crosses several retail channels.  There are your traditional homewares stores and then there are gift shops with a homewares range or two and newsagencies, yes newsagencies, with a homewares offer.  We are able to draw in experience from multiple channels and help our customers leverage the optimism around the homewares category.

Melbourne Gift Fair wrap up

The Melbourne Gift Fair which ended yesterday was an excellent trade show for us to exhibit at.

We met with a diverse range of retailers from across the country as well as overseas interested in Point of Sale software.  We also met with plenty of our customers.  Attendance numbers were excellent from our perspective.

The areas of our gift and homewares software which interested people the most were: customer loyalty facilities, gift cards, retail theft management, business reporting and sales based replenishment of inventory.

Our sales team will be busy today making appointments to meet with prospects from the fair to understand their business needs and demonstrate our software.

Diverse mix of businesses at Melbourne Gift Fair

At our stand at the Melbourne Gift Fair – we are at the Flemington location – we have met with a diverse group of businesses over the last three days.  We have seen people representing homewares businesses, gift shops, garden shops, jewellers and newsagents.

What is interesting this year is that we are seeing more people from businesses operating in two retail niches.

Just yesterday, we had a regular stream of visitors across the various marketplaces.  It is our ability to offer an off the shelf solution for each which makes us appealing – especially when we encounter sales prospects with two different types ofretail businesses.

As we become better known each year in the gift space and especailly this year thanks to our GHA relationship, the value of the fair is growing.

New marketing collateral for Melbourne Gift Fair

Our talented and energetic in-house marketing team has been busy developing new marketing collateral for our gift and homewares software in advance of the Gift Fair which starts this weekend in Melbourne.

The artwork they have settled on for the banner which will grace the rear wall of our stand, one of two presences we will have at the fair, is:

tsexpobanner.jpg

Evolving how we represent our business is as important as it is for a retailer to evolve their own retail story.  Those visiting the Gift Fair this year will see considerable advances on our presence last year and 2008 before that.

We are enjoying the opportunity of representing the latest in gift shop and homewares store software offerings in our portfolio of retail management products.

The gift and homewares space is exciting, especially in the second half of the year when businesses are usually firing leading up to and following Christmas.  This is when our software really helps in managing supply, pricing and sales.

Coming to GHA Home & Giving Fair Melbourne

Our Gift shop software team has been preparing for the Melbourne Home & Giving Fair in ten days time.  This is an exciting fair based on our experience last year and based on the good sales we have already achieved from the same fair in Sydney just three weeks ago.

We will have the very latest version of our gift shop software as well as our homewares software on show at the trade show … plus an exciting surprise or two.

Trade shows this year are proving to be a successful way to promote our software – and to connect face to face with our customers.

The benefits of good gift shop software

Gift shop software can help turn a gift shop around.  From growing sales to existing customers to helping to attract new customers to helping reduce costs and well as the impact of theft, good gift shop software can genuinely turn around almost any gift shop.

The Tower Systems gift shop software is being used in gift shops ranging from under $250,000 in turnover a year to well over $1 million in turnover a year and from a single store to multiple, networked, stores.

Thanks to rich features and benefits, our gift shop software is racking up terrific kudos from gift shop owners who are seeing financial rewards hit their bottom line.

Beyond developing good software for gift shops, we  provide excellent after sales service to help gift shop owners and managers unlock the benefits which we promise can be accessed through the software.  This after sales service comes in the form of newsletters, email advice, user meetings, online training, trade show based advice and personal business-specific consulting.

Our personal business consulting includes analysis of business performance and the provision of a report outlining suggestions for improving sales, business management and sales margin.

We understand the challenges of retail for any retailer in today’s marketplace.  The goal of our software is to help our retail partners extract better efficiency from every customer contact.  This focus on basket depth is delivering excellent results.

Home & Giving Fair show going well

gha-stand.JPGOur team at the GHA Home & Giving Fair in Sydney has reported good business achieved at the trade show over the weekend.  There are plenty of gift and homewares business owners interested in our Point of Sale software and how we can help improve the performance of their retail businesses.

The show is the first outing for our new trade show collateral for this year.  This fresh collateral includes a new corporate image display unit – at the back of the stand in the photo.

Tower Systems at Sydney Home and Giving Fair

home-giving-fair.jpgTower Systems is proud to be exhibiting at the Sydney Home and Giving Fair in ten days time at two locations within the Sydney Showgrounds venue.

We will have a presence at the GHA partners area of the trade show as well as on our stand on the fair floor.

On show will be the latest version of our Gift Shop software and our homewares software.  We will be showing these products off to retailers as well as suppliers and discussing changes which are adding even more value to the relationships between suppliers and retailers in the gift and homewares channels.

We have been exhibiting at gift related trade shows for several years and have developed a strong new customer base as a result.

If you find yourself at the Home & Giving Fair, be sure to stop by and say hello.

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Helping gift wholesalers and gift retailers improve the supply chain

The supply chain between wholesaler and retailer in the gift channel has challenges. The number and size of businesses on both sides of the supply transaction doing business difficult. More than half of all gift wholesales are small businesses with limited infrastructure. This holds them back from growth.

On the retail side, there is little sales performance data available to help guide the buying decisions of wholesalers.

Tower Systems, through its Point of Sale software, is helping gift wholesalers and gift retailers to resolve these and other gift supply chain issues. We are bringing efficiency, accuracy and consistency to a channel which until now has been dominated by manual processes.

Our retail and wholesale solutions bring to the gift channel better business tools to save time and improve certainty to both sides of the gift supply transaction.

Our software helps gift retailers track sales, track supplier performance, generate replenishment orders for suppliers and feed sales data to gift wholesalers.

Wholesalers can use our software to manage customer orders and create invoices in an electronic form.

By making the gift channel more efficient, we are able to bring greater certainty to the thousands of families which rely on the thousands of businesses in the channel. As more do adopt the industry standard tools we offer, the benefits will grow even further.

Tower Systems is proud to be a partner of the Australian Gift and Homewares Association.

Value from GHA membership for gift shops

Tower Systems is helping gift shop owners extract greater value from their Gift and Homewares Association membership by providing better business analysis tools, valuable supplier links and a suite of marketing tools ideal for gift shops.

As the exclusive and preferred technology partner for GHA, we are working with a number of GHA members on enhancements which will drive significantly better business outcomes.  This is a practical example of the value of the GHA / Tower Systems partnership.

Through our GHA membership, we have access to valuable gift shop channel data.  We are use this along with our own business intelligence, to develop a more finely tuned solution for gift shop owners.

GHA members benefit from gift shop software

As the recently announced preferred software supplier to the Gift and Homewares Association, we have put together a special Gift shop software offer for GHA members.  This offer has been communicated by direct mail and other mediums to help gift shop owners access the exclusive to GHA members deal.

Based on our popular gift shop software, GHA members receive and exclusive discount off any other deal we have in the marketplace.  This is for GHA members only.

Using our gift shop software, GHA members can expect to increase sales, reduce operating costs and earn more from each customer contact.  Our software helps bring structure to the gift shop sales and management process.

In addition to the financial reward, we have been working with the GHA and gift shop suppliers to enhance software facilities to better serve the needs of the marketplace.

Point of Sale software showcase in Hobart

We are hosting a Point of Sale showcase in Hobart on Tuesday June 8.  On show will be Point of Sale solutions for newsagents, jewellers, bike retailers, gift shops and homewares retailers.  We will have technical and business management people in attendance.

This session has a dual purpose: sales for us and a new type of face to face contact opportunity for existing customers – we will be as thrilled to meet with existing customers as prospective customers.

We will be contacting retailers in the Hobart region in the next week with details.

Building a homewares collection the easy way

We have discovered that some customers of homewares retailers and gift shops are avid collectors. They like to visit at regular intervals and collect the next items in their goal collection.

Our Point of Sale software can help manage this process, making it easy for the retailer to remind customers that the next item is ready and tracking who has collected and who is yet to collect.

Using facilities originally developed for newsagents, our putaway (collections) software provides a level of management around customer collections which has not been seen before in the homewares marketplace.

We are thrilled to be helping homewares retailers innovate in this area. It’s a tough retail landscape at the moment and facilities like we have identified for them offer a point of difference opportunity – already in our software.

More and more homewares businesses are embracing our technology since we have demonstrated its value over generic products such as MYOB which is widely used.

While MYOB is good software, it does not offer the specialist facilities which homewares retailers need if they want to leverage their specialist offer and grow their business.

New Gift Shop software

We released an update to our Gift Shop Software users last week which delivered enhancements making the software more valuable to gift shop owners.

This latest Gift Shop software from Tower Systems offers excellent facilities in key areas of Point of Sale, Lay By, business management and supplier electronic invoice support.

The new software has been sent to all Tower Advantage TM gift shop customers.