New Software for gift and homewares shops marketing collateral

Our in-house creative team has been working on a complete replacement of the marketing collateral used to promote our software in trade journals, brochures and at trade shows. The first airing of the new collateral will come in Gift and Homewares industry publication Giftrap with this advertisement.

This ad is a tease of a broader collateral package representing our retail management software. We are using colours and visual themes which are very current for the age range we are targeting with our marketing.

Too often software companies create advertising which looks like word art from twenty years ago. Our in-house team is showing off their skill by professional representing Tower in a fresh, visual accessible and creative way … like our software.

Contributing to Gift and Homewares advisory site

Tower Systems is set to commence providing technology related business advice for a new blog established by the Australian Gift & Homewares Association.

Thanks to the work we do with gift and homewares retailers and suppliers across Australia we are well resourced to provide advice across a broad range of areas.

We are looking forward to dialogue with more retailers in the gift and homewares retail channels.

Our first blog post will be ready for publishing later this week. It will focus on an issue of vital importance to gift and homewares retailers, an issue which goes to the bottom line of every business.

Seasonal opportunities help gift shops drive sales

Gift shops using our gift shop software are making the most of sales opportunities this Mother’s Day and with every sale, gift shop retailers are building their database of who is buying what and what is selling. This seasonal sales data is then used to better inform the retail businesses about opportunities for the further development of the business.

History has shown that gift shops using software to manage operations and guide business decisions are better positioned for a brighter future. Tower Systems helps drive this by providing gift shop customers with assistance beyond what is traditional for a software company, assistance in the form of business insights, supplier links and other benefits tailored for gift shop owners to help then drive the value they achieve from their businesses.

Mother’s Day is in the top three gift buying seasons of the year. Good software is helping gift shop owners to make the most of the seasonal opportunity.

Gift shop Point of Sale software makes gift shops more competitive

The gift retail space in Australia is highly competitive. This is in part due to broad range of retailers selling gifts. It seems that everyone is in the gift space either all through the year or just for high seasons. Add to this growing online sales of gifts and, yes, you have a robust and competitive marketplace.

From department stores through to micro gift shop businesses, gifts are everywhere.

The Tower Systems gift shop software is aimed at the specialist gift shop, the shop which generates the vast majority of its income from selling gifts … from high end specialist gifts to the simple such as plush for a new baby or a mug for mum’s birthday.

Gift shop software is all about helping the gift shop owner and gift shop employees to make the most of being the retail specialist in the space … and about giving a retail experience which as good or better than that offered by the big department store.

We are seeing gift shops grow sales by embracing the opportunities embedded in our gift shop software. Growth from knowledge about business performance, better customer service, customer loyalty programs, gift cards and a range of other services and opportunities presented in our gift shop management software.

Understanding that the shopping experience builds trust between the shopper and retailer is are the core of the benefits delivered by proper use of our professional and specialist gift shop software.

From the micro gift shop with sales of $200,000 a year through to a multi location gift business with sales into millions of dollars, we have the gift shop space covered. Online and offline. Traditional through to the highly seasonal. It is our broad customer base that informs our software enhancements and helps us to deliver good value adjustments in software updates.

Despite recent news reports talking down retail, we are seeing excellent growth in sales through gift shops and are thrilled to be part of this good new story.

Tower Systems is an Australian software company serving in excess of 2,500 small and independent retailers in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea The Cook Islands and several other countries.  The company also operates several retail businesses, providing it with personal and practical retail experience through which it can better understand the needs of its customers.

See our Point of Sale software at the Home and Giving Fair in Sydney

We are thrilled to be exhibiting our gift and homewares Point of sale software at the Home and Giving Fair in Sydney at the end of this month.  On show will be the very latest software for gift shops and software for homewares stores.  Visitors to our stand will see new software facilities and new access platforms in the way of some exciting hardware ideal for gift and homewares businesses.

We will be located on stand HV16, giving is excellent positioning for plenty of traffic at the important trade show.

2012 will see us continue with a considerable roster of trade show activity.  Trade shows help us find new customers as well as providing excellent opportunities for meeting with existing customers.  We value placing ourselves in front of customers and sales prospects in this way.  We see it as an ideal win win.

Our structured approach to trade shows reflects the structure of our business more widely.  It gives sales prospects confidence that we are true to our word and transparent in our operation.

Helping gift shop owners drive gift sales

Nowhere are the challenges of retail more evident at the moment than in gift shops. The best gift shops are doing well which those which are average or below average are struggling.

One of our missions as a software provider of Point of Sale software to gift shops is to help them lift business performance beyond average, to make the businesses more efficient, more profitable and more valuable.

Gift shop owners are able to reduce their operating costs if they engage fully with our training and embrace the opportunities in our software.

More important is the news that gift shop owners can expect a business wide embrace of our marketing tools to help the business grow sales.

Tie sales growth and a reduction in business expenses and you achieve a healthier bottom line, a more valuable business.

This is achievable thanks to our help, beyond the traditional role of a software support desk. We work with our customers at a business management level, using data curated by our software, helping our customers to tap into the benefits which are led through the software. We have seen gift shops in tough times improve their situation thanks to this type of business help.

This is the Tower Advantage TM, help for business owners beyond the usual from a software help desk, help which genuinely adds value to there gift shop business.

POS software to help Australian gift shops prosper in 2012

Gift shops using our leading Gift Shop Software can expect business success in 2012 thanks to smart business management tools and facilities designed for gift shops.  Tools and facilities for gift shops such as:

  1. LayBy management.
  2. Loyalty marketing.
  3. Theft tracking, management and reduction.
  4. Sales management including end of shift and employee work tracking.
  5. Inventory management including price management, reordering and supplier performance reporting.
  6. Customer special orders.
  7. House brand gift cards.
  8. Customer collection management … for customers adding to build a special collection.

Using our Point of Sale technology, gift shop owners and employees are able to bring greater control to their business as address the one component which has historically been the biggest challenge to manage – stock.  Using our Gift Shop Software, retailers can and do reduce their floor stock without any negative impact on sales.  In fact, the opposite often happens.  Our software is rich with reports which help feed better quality business decisions around buying and floor stock management.

Gift shop software the ideal gift for Christmas

Gift shop owners should treat themselves to the perfect gift this Christmas … the gift shop software from Tower Systems.  Using our gift shop software, gift shop owners will have given their businesses the gift which keens on giving.  There is no doubt about the benefits of the software delivered to gift shops of all sizes…

  • Increased sales.
  • Reduced operating costs.
  • Less theft.
  • Better business decisions.
  • Less wasted inventory.
  • More time with the family.

Our smart gift shop software does deliver these benefits and more.  This is why we say it is an ideal gift for Christmas to any gift shop.  At a few dollars a day it easily pays for itself – just ask any of our many existing customers.

Gift shop members of AGHA save on POS software

Tower Systems is into its second year as a preferred supplier for members of  Australian Gift and Homewares Association.  AGHA members  can access our terrific gift shop management software at a reduced price.

This is one of several preferred supplier relationships, each delivering rewarding access to our software for retailers connected with our partners.

In the case of the AGHA, gift shop owners also benefit from our regular participation in race shows and other industry events.  This demonstrates support for the retail channel and provides us with excellent networking and learning opportunities – both of which are vital to developing better software.

To access the special pricing available to AGHA members, please contact a local Tower Systems sales person.

Presenting at the Australian Sporting Goods Association Conference

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Conference of the Australian Sporting Goods Association yesterday.

We got to meet with suppliers on our trade display stand as well as formally present at the conference.

What made the experience particularly valuable was that the conference was attended by suppliers and retailers.  With our Point of Sale software as the glue which connects the two this was an ideal audience for us.

This was our last trade show for 2011, a year which has been packed with trade show events across a broad range of retail marketplaces.  We appreciate and continue to be surprised by the synergy between the various marketplaces in which we service.  for example, work we will do with some sporting goods suppliers will benefit newsagents.

Loving the Gift Fair

While it’s not over yet, one more day to go, we are loving the Sydney Gift Fair. What a terrific bunch of happy and proactive retailers. Newsagents, gift shop owners, jewellers and others … all upbeat and working on growing their businesses. Not getting caught up in the doom and gloom of others including the Australian media.

This is an excellent trade show for this time of the year. It is delivering excellent business for us. We are thrilled to have the show to ourselves in some of our retail niches.

What is most interesting about this show is the diversity of products on offer. This gets retailers thinking beyond their four walls. It puts their head space into a positive forward thinking trajectory. Some of the discussions we have had about business have been wonderful … valuable.

Excited for Reed Gift Fair in Sydney

giftfairsydsep111.JPGHere is our stand at the Reed Gift Fair in Sydney which starts today at Darling Harbor.  It looks very sexy if we do say so ourselves … as far as trade show stands go.

Our team has done a terrific job building the stand and preparing to present Tower Systems and what it stands for in a professional way.

This stand reflects the substance and thoughtfulness of our company – offering a clear and concise message, backed by sound actions in pursuit of long term and mutually beneficial relationships with our customers.

So, this trade show stand is home for the next four days for some of our team.  It should be fun and rewarding.

Looking forward to Gift Fair in Sydney this weekend

We are so looking forward to the reed Gift Fair in Sydney this weekend. Starting tomorrow we have four days at one of the business trade shows on the Australian trade show calendar. We’re pumped for the opportunity to show off our software to the retailers who will walk the trade show floor.

We are set to see plenty of gift shop owners plus jewellers and newsagents. Indeed, we are likely to see more newsagents at this Gift fair than we have seen at recent newsagency trade shows – we understand that we will be the only software company there with a solution for newsagents as well as gift shops. Sweet.

Terrific Gift Fair in Melbourne

gha-melb-stand.jpgOur stand at the Home and Giving Fair trade show (part of Gift Fair) in Melbourne this week worked an absolute treat for us from sales and customer engagement perspectives.

It was an excellent event: well run, well attended and well supported by companies supplying retailers who sell gifts, homewares and related products. It was also well supported by retailers.

The trade show came to an end with us meeting with plenty of new sales prospects across Australia and New Zealand as well as meeting with a good number of existing users of our software.

What made the event even more valuable was the mix of retailers we got to meet with: jewellers, garden centres, newsagents, gift shops, homewares shops and several other retail businesses. While the efficiency of this mix of retailers is wonderful, the real benefit is the broadening of our knowledge of the marketplaces achieved through talking with more people.

We have uncovered more opportunities to help our retail partners in some channels by leveraging knowledge from other channels. This is a tremendous benefit we derive from an event like the Home and Giving show.

Home and Giving Fair in Melbourne this weekend

hgad.jpgWe are looking forward to the Home and Giving Fair in Melbourne this year. This will be our fourth year at the broader Melbourne Gift Fair event. Each year has been better than the last for us. Excellent sales. Wonderful contact with our customers.

The bonus is that at this one trade show we get to see retailers from all sorts of businesses: gift shops, homewares businesses, nurseries, newsagencies, jewellers … the diversity is wonderful, ideal for the diversity in the software we offer.

In this sense, the Home and Giving Fair is the best value trade show for us each year.

As the specialist software company at this event and as a partner of the organiser, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to not only meet with so many retailers but to also engage in channel wide discussions about retail.

If you are attending the Home and Giving Fair, be sure to stop by and say hello and look at our gift shop software.

Gift Shop Software Leverages Efficiency for Success

While news outlets are quick to report on challenges facing retail, there are wonderful stories of success. We have seen this recently in our work with gift retailers in Australia and New Zealand using our gift shop software.

Thanks to time saving facilities and business decision guiding tools we are helping smart gift shop operators to cut the time they spend managing inventory, record keeping, processing sales and on overall business management.

In an average size gift shop where our software is first installed we often find that we can help them find a labour saving of a least eight hours a week. The is close to four times the weekly lease cost of the hardware and software package installed which facilitates the labour saving.

The financial benefits accessed through our Gift Shop Software go beyond saving labour costs.

With accurate business performance data available at the click of a mouse, our gift shop customers are able to do more of what is successful in their business and less of what is not successful.

This is how smart gift shop owners and managers are creating success which is in a different world to the negative stories which the news outlets like to report on.

Our gift shop software will be on show at the Home and Giving fair in Melbourne in a week’s time. There, we expect to meet with plenty of gift shop owners and share with them wonderful business building opportunities so that they, too, can create good success stories.

Gift Shop Software Enhancements Ready for Christmas 2011

We are completing development of the next release of our Gift Shop software. This next update will be released well in time for preparing for Christmas 2011. Packed with some excellent enhancements, including suggestions from our customers (thank you!) this next update is set make us even more popular in the gift shop marketplace.

Gift retailers are using our software to not only manage retail sales and lay-bys, they are also using it for business planning, supplier negotiation, trade show buying and managing the rewarding customers for their loyalty.

We are seeing good growth in customer numbers for our gift shop software thanks to the continued enhancement of the software and kind words from existing users.

We are also finding ourselves offering our gift shop software to newsagents as some of them evolve their newsagency businesses more into gift shops.

Gift Shop Software Embraced by New Gift Shops

While there is plenty of doom and gloom in the press about retail, we are terrific enjoying growth in installations of our Gift Shop Software.  This is due in part to new store openings. While some of these new stores are first time businesses, others are second or third locations for existing businesses. This is quite exciting, seeing a business model expand from one store to multiple outlets.

Our Gift Shop Software works with these connected small network of retail outlets, enabling easy sharing of data and inventory. Our Point of Sale software is also a useful way of encoding business rules and keeping a watchful eye over the additional locations given that the owners cannot be everywhere at once.

The expansion among our gift shop customer base is welcome and appreciated. We like the gift shop retail channel as it provides quality giftware in local retail situations. This is good for local communities and good for the families which derive economic support from the local businesses.

There is also excellent synergy between our gift shop, homewares, garden centre and newsagency business … and we leverage this to our advantage.

The expansion of gift shops which we are seeing is good news not only for us but for the broader gift shop channel.

Tracking Impulse Purchases in Gift Shops

Key to the success of gift shops is the ability to get shoppers buying items they did not visit the store to purchase. Smart gift shop retailers target impulse buying at their sales counter, in window displays and at key touch points in their businesses.

Our Tower Systems Gift Shop Software helps Gift Shop retailers to track the performance of in-store impulse strategies. This tracking is essential if retailers are to learn from their experiences and improve the commercial outcomes of their decisions.

Our Point of Sale software offers a suite of reporting tools which can be used to track sales success. From fast seller reporting through to smart basket analysis, our software provides retailers with tools with which they can see with certainty the impact of their inventory placement decisions on sales through the register.

Helping Gift and Homewares Suppliers to Connect With Retailers

Our work with gift and homewares suppliers helping them deliver electronic invoices to gift and homewares retailers is delivering time-saving and business-building rewards, rewards which are beneficial to retailers and to the participating suppliers.

Connecting with back office systems from small wholesalers through to some of the largest suppliers to the gift and homewares channel, our work is enabling retailers to save time bringing in new inventory, reducing the cost of pricing errors and saving time on ordering stock.

This tighter electronic relationship between gift and homewares retailers and suppliers is delivering the classic win win.  We are thrilled to be the glue which is facilitating this.  Our work is pro-bono, for the overall good of the gift and homewares channel.

Bringing new suppliers on is easy.  We have a structured approach to data files to serve a diverse range of situations.  We are also able to connect with different back office systems from the small to the large.  Suppliers keen to explore accessing this connection should make contact with our Software Development Manager through our Head Office.

Assessing the Performance of Mother’s Day 2011

Newsagents using our newsagency software have been able to assess the value of Mother’s Day 2011 compared to Mother’s Day 2010 in quite some detail thanks to our innovative Category And Segment Performance Report.

Even right down to the caption level, newsagents using our software are able to assess year on year performance well in advance of any such analysis by card companies.  This enables our retail partners to assess the season while it remains fresh in their minds and based on factual sales data.

In one newsagency for which we have seen data, Mother’s Day 2011 was up 48% on 2010.  Thanks to the report they know exactly where the growth was achiieved.  In assessing thhis they learnt considerably more about their shoppers.

Our new report, which competitors are scrambling to compete with, is valuable for a range of reasons…

  1. The newsagent or greeting card retailer can know more than the card company and sooner.
  2. They can assess the performance of the season immediately after the season and not months later.
  3. The segment and caption data can help expansion into other areas such as gifts.
  4. Smart retailers can learn more about what their customers want.

This report can be produced in no time at all and with little computer skill. It empowers the retailer to make fact based decisions which are right for the business based on what happened in the business. This is vital not only for the next Mother’s Day (or other) season but for the business more broadly. The result will be an increase in sales thanks to better decisions which are based on solid evidence.

The report and associated facilities in our software were developed over two years working with Hallmark Cards here in Australia and the UK.  Many of our 1,700+ newsagent customers now have access to this report and can make good use of the benefits it delivers.

Point of Sale Software Helps Gift Shops Grow Seasonal Business

easter-collateral.jpgDuring the Easter season this year, our Gift Shop Software has been helping retailers increase sales in a range of ways.

Thanks to smart business building tools, gift shops using our Point of Sale software have been able to use the software to drive up-sell promotions, reward loyal customers, track laybys, manage accounts, process the increase in sales without increasing labour cost, track customer purchases for later analysis, compare this year to last year, track fast sellers (and slow sellers), manage catalogue offers, turn customer receipts into marketing tools, use the customer display to promote complimentary products and easily compare business performance to this Easter to last Easter.

The real benefit of our Point of Sale software comes immediately after Easter is over.  This is when gift shop owners can analyse the performance of the season in full and plan for 2012.  We gladly help our customers with this analysis.

Early indications are that Easter 2011 has been a strong retail season for gift shops.

The Value of Reporting Greeting Card Sell Through

Our latest Greeting Card Category and Segment Performance Report is providing retailers with the ability to track caption sell through at the seasonal level.  This is tremendously valuable to retailers who want access to accurate data about the performance of greeting cards in their business.

By reporting on returns percentage along with Gross Profit, Sales, Units Sold and Percentage of Total Sales, retailers using our Point of Sale software have access to powerful software which empowers them in their discussions with greeting card companies.

With floor space and inventory being key costs of any retail business, understanding the sell through at the caption level will enable retailers to better manage product mix.  Analysis for one retailer recently highlighted returns percentages of 26%, 20% and 11% of the top three performing sub categories for one major greeting card season.   In this particular store, there is irrefutable evidence that humor cards perform less than non humor cards.  A good retailer can take this and other information from the detailed analysis and make sound business decisions.

Tower Systems is providing assistance to retailers to ensure that the real value of the new level of greeting card performance reporting is understood and leveraged.  Beyond helping our customers produce the enhanced report, we offer to guide our customers to an understanding of what the report could mean for their business.

Kudos for Greeting Card Integration Work

More greeting card companies have passed on kudos to our development team for their leading greeting card integration and reporting work.  As a result of the work we have done and the standards we have established, it is now very easy for more card companies to provide stock file and invoice data to newsagents, card shops and gift shops in a format which facilitates more meaningful greeting card performance reporting.

While we started with Hallmark Cards two years ago, this project is set to take on wider use as more card companies come on board.  We are keen to facilitate this given the benefits accessible to our customer base.  Our development framework has been created to make access for other card companies quite achievable.

This work with Hallmark has enabled us to introduce MAT or Moving Annual Total reporting to our cards performance report. We are thrilled as MAT reporting is important to use, it’s something we have offered for years elsewhere in our software.

Tower Systems is pleased to have played the leadership role in innovation which is proving to be so valuable to retailers.  We made the investment to demonstrate the value for our customers of dealing with the the company which serves far more newsagents than any other.

UPDATE: It’s fun to watch a competitor scramble to catch up.

Gift Shop Software in New Zealand

Following the launch of our gift shop software at the recent Gift Fair in New Zealand we have been busy visiting New Zealand gift shop owners, discussing their specific needs and showing off the software.

Ready for New Zealand gift shops including handling local GST, EFTPOS, FlyBys and other requirements, our Gift Shop software is ready to serve New Zealand retailers.

Based in Auckland, our New Zealand office is able to arrange in store demonstrations anywhere in the country as well as online demonstrations.  You can email sales leads to Mark McGibbon at mark@towersystems.com.nz.