Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: Marketing (page 1 of 6)

Marketing tips for independent toy shop businesses – helping you sell more toys

Today, we share practical no cost and low cost marketing tips designed specifically for independent toy shops – local shops, high street shops, shops that are competing with mass retailers, national retailers and online retailers with big budgets.

We are sharing these tips because we believe in small business, independent business, because we will do everything we can to help local toy shops as they are bread and butter customers for our toy shop software.

When it comes to retail business marketing, we like to keep it simple as we have found simple works best in our own shops. here are our marketing tips for local toy shops:

  1. Run a championship. Choose a simple and fast to play fun game and host a local championship. Like Connect 4 – in a day and a series of heats in-store you could fine a champion and give people a heap of fun.
  2. Run a community noticeboard. A toy shop is a perfect place for a community noticeboard where families can share games and toy ideas with other families and where games clubs can let people know their news. Be an information hub.
  3. Create a community gallery. In a quiet part of the shop, create a gallery where people can share photos of achievements relating to what you sell. Photos could be of a completed jigsaw, a completed craft item, a winner of Monopoly, a completed Lego project and more. The idea is to give people a place to shaw their achievements.
  4. Customer reviews. Include customer reviews of games and toys with products in-store. Personalise and localise your business.
  5. Toy of the week. At the counter, pitch a specific item each week. Make sure the pitch explains why.
  6. Staff picks. Near the front of the store have a shelf or several shelves for displaying staff picks for this week. have a card next to each with an explanation, in their own words.
  7. Leverage collectibles. For those collectible items people will buy regularly over time, offer a reward when they reach a certain number. It can work like a coffee card. It locked them into purchasing from you.
  8. Share your knowledge part 2. People like buying from people who know what they are talking about. You can show off your knowledge through videos, which you have made, on Facebook, videos on your website and in-store.
  9. Share your knowledge part 2. Include product car and use information on receipts. This can be handled easily by your software.
  10. Support community groups. Offer a fundraising deal where group members purchase from you between set dates and they get a discount and the group gets a rebate. Your software can manage this. You help the customer and you help a group they love.
  11. Use loyalty rewards people understand. Any any customer today what 100 loyalty points are worth and they will not have a clear answer in most situations. Ask them how much a $10.00 voucher is worth and they will, for sure, say $10.00. Offer $$ as loyalty rewards and leverage this to get people to spend more than they used to. It’s done easily on your receipts.
  12. Bring them back. Use email marketing tools to thoughtfully invite shoppers back because they bought a particular item or brand or they bought for an annual occasion, like a birthday. Collecting a small amount of data in the sale and having your POS feed data to an email tool can make this email invite easy to achieve.

These are some of the marketing tips we have for local and independent toy shops. We love helping local indie retailers to thrive. We hope these ideas are useful and that they inspire you to create your own.

Small business rocks!

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Driving Halloween sales in small business retail

Through our POS software retailers have access to a range of tools for promoting and leveraging Halloween opportunities. From reminders, to product pitches to advice to special offers served in a targeted way, retailers using our POS software can pitch Halloween in 2020 to leverage the uniqueness of the fun day this year.

For sure, Halloween 2020 will be different. We are seeing this already in businesses we run, where Halloween products are being embraced early, even a month ago. One hit product already is Seeds from the Ty Plushies range.

For that business we made this video 100% in-house and served it using tech to reach new shoppers. We mention this as another example that we are not your usual POS software company.

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

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

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

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

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Click frenzy for Tower Systems POS software small business retailers

Tower Systems is grateful to have customers using websites created by us for B2C activity that they are turning into B2B for a private Click Frenzy opportunity.

We have customers offering other customers discounts off terrific products that they sell direct to consumers.

This click frenzy promotion for 3,000+ retailers in the Tower community offers them the opportunity to purchase gifts at a discount off retail and through this to experience another POS software connected website created by us.

So, our customers save money, they can themselves win new customers too. This is a beautiful win win. That is that the Tower Systems small business click frenzy is all about – helping small business retailers to encourage small business retailers.

We launched the opportunity with an announcement to our customers weeks ago:

Tower customer click frenzy opportunity.
If you have a website, come and join our small business to small business promotion. To promote the websites of Tower customers to other Tower customers, we invite you to set up an offer code – TOWER – in your website to run from July 6 to July 31, giving those who use the code a discount, which you set.

…..

To ensure consistency of information in the list I will share with our customers, please follow this standard.

Our goal here is to help you show off your website and to, hopefully, get more small business retailers buying from small business retailers.

Ours is a diverse small business community. We’d love to see this diversity reflected in the range of websites that join this promotion.

We will only promote it to Tower Systems customers. That is to 3,000+ small business retailers.

Plus…

We will include a list of all Tower POS software connected retailers who send us the above information on our own website. This will be a new page we create: Retail Businesses We Love. That listing will have your business name and web address. We will not publicly share the discount code. The goal of the listing is to give you another backlink.

The idea of the small business click frenzy experience is to shine a light on website marketing and to provide an opportunity for small business retailers new to online to leverage this into what they might do when promoting their businesses outside.

This is another way Tower Systems is guiding retailers with practical help and advice in improving their businesses and finding new shoppers.

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Happy love day

Here is some art from us created for the newsXpress retailers celebrating today, love day.

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Here’s a shop local Christmas video we created for any retailer to use

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Here’s a Christmas we created for any retailer to use

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Tips for small business retailers promoting Halloween

Halloween can be a good season for indie retailers.Success depends on active in-store and out of store engagement.

We do it in shops that we own and run and have evolved it from a low price point everyday halloween offer to a higher end specialty offer that is leveraged by fewer retailers.

Halloween is an excellent opportunity to ramp up traffic and sales leading up to Christmas. It is also an opportunity for the business to play outside its comfort zone. This is great news for any small business retailer.

Here is our advice from seeing Halloween in many retail businesses, advice on ways to promote Halloween to drive the opportunity further:

  1. Make your front window or front of story scary amazing, so shoppers have to step through it.
  2. Maybe host a night, after the shop closes, where people share local ghost stories. have some fun and get known as a place where local stories matter.
  3. Run a series of Facebook posts early in the season. Through these demonstrate your engagement as unique, different.
  4. Have a fancy dress competition on the weekend before.
  5. Mock yourselves in social media and elsewhere about being big kids, scary pants or more. Change how people look at your business.
  6. Run sales connected with people dressing up to access a sale price.
  7. A colouring competition for kids with a prize for the best.
  8. Have candy to give away.
  9. If you’re in a small town organise a Halloween trick or treat party for safe kid fun.
  10. Print a recipe sheet and give this away. Online you can find recipes for eyeball soup, eyeball appetisers, bloody desserts and the like.

Here at Tower systems we are all about small business retail. Anything we can do to help we will do, including providing practical business management advice for retailers on seasons such as Halloween.

Retail is all about entertainment. The more you embrace this the more fun people visiting your shop have. halloween is an ideal season for embracing retrial as  entertainment.

Sometimes, the best way to get from A to B is to take a 90 degree turn.

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POS software loyalty 2.0 for small business retailers

Loyalty systems have been around in retail for decades. Too often, small business retailers copy big business, and fail.

A good loyalty system will get shoppers spending more, doling more than is usual, and doing this at little or no cost to a retail business.

A good loyalty system will be loved by shoppers.

A good loyalty system offers shoppers flexibility.

A good loyalty system has little or no management overhead.

A good loyalty system reveals insights about your business that are helpful, impactful and revealing.

A good loyalty system helps you grow your business, helps you make your business more valuable.

This is about Loyalty 2.0 – a fresh approach to shopper loyalty for small business retailers.

Discount vouchers have been in our POS software for more than six years. They are one of several valuable shopper loyalty tools designed to drive revenue and return shopper visits.

Yet, discount vouchers are the most misunderstood.

Setup is easy. It takes a few minutes. Change is easy, with changes taking effect immediately. Management its easy thanks tp three awesome reports. Pitch is easysince you can call them whatever you like, what is appropriate to your business.

The mistake most retailers make is overthinking. Stop that! Set Discount Vouchers up and see how your customers respond. Adjust accordingly.

In our experience, on average, only 20% of vouchers handed out are redeemed. Those offered with the least rules achieve the best commercial outcome for the retailer.

Remember, the $$$ opportunity on the discount voucher is a good reason to review pricing, to factor in the cost of voucher redemption.

So…

  1. Choose what you want to call them: Discount Voucher; Bonus Bucks; Thank You Gift; Come Back Again Gift; Appreciation Voucher; Pass It On $$$.
  2. Set your settings. Know they can change as you learn more.
  3. We suggest a 28 day expiry.
  4. Have the voucher value show as $$.
  5. Let vouchers be redeemed for as many different products as possible.
  6. Go!

ADVICE ON PROMOTING DISCOUNT VOUCHERS.

Every time a voucher prints, present it to the customer by placing it on the counter facing them with your finger next to the amount and say, while maintaining eye contact, hey you have a voucher here for $x.xx that you can use in store in the next 28 days. Well done.

Make sure that everyone working at the counter knows that the success of vouchers depends on their pitch.

Now, if they complain about the low voucher value have a response like hey it’s appreciation that almost no other business around here will show you.

Guys are more likely to spend the voucher right away.

Girls are more like to collect vouchers and put them together, which we recommend you allow.

What you want to see when you have out a voucher is for them to lift their hear and turn to look back into the shop, thinking of what they could buy.

GOOD LUCK!

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To find out more about our awesome POS software and support fir indie specialty retailers, please reach out…

  1. WA / SA/ VIC: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917.
  2. NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148.
  3. QLD / NT: Justin Randall. 0434 365 789.

Tower Systems is an Australian POS software company serving 3,500+ specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

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We’re excited for the weekend…

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How we help small business retailers

In another part of our business we create awesome and engaging marketing collateral for retailer we work with to use in social media, like this…

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Loyalty marketing in small business retail: How Tower Systems helps retailers get shoppers back sooner

All retailers, want shoppers to spend more in each visit and to come back more often.

Yet most retailers are uncomfortable overtly engaging with shoppers to get spend more in a visit or come back sooner.

Years ago, the thought was that a shopper VIP card or points based loyalty program was the way to go. Today, with such programs commonplace, their value is diluted.

There is talk among shoppers of loyalty fatigue – they are doubting the value of cards and programs where real rewards are not what was first offered.

Change the game: front-end loyalty

Instead of making shoppers accrue points that are then converted for cash at some future stage, why not offer cash-based rewards earlier, from the first purchase?

This approach is called front-ending loyalty. It brings a reward to the front in an effort to engage shoppers in additional purchases sooner.

It’s an approach that can encourage those who do not shop with you to purchase something else right away, to get the value of the cash discount offered.

Regular shoppers can spend the cash discount right away or come back within any time limit you set.

We started trialling this front-end loyalty strategy in February 2013 in several retail businesses. We did it using the Discount Vouchers facilities in the Tower POS software.

Building the basket

From the first day, in my own shop, we saw shoppers changing behaviour.

One customer came in to purchase a specific item. When I handed him the receipt I point out the voucher offering $2.00 of his next purchase. He was not a regular and so spent the $2.00, and more, right away on another item. He received another voucher and so purchased a third item. In all, he spent three times as much as the original purchase – all because of the Discount Vouchers he received.

Around 33% of all vouchers redeemed are used the day they are received. This shows customers building the basket – adding to their purchase that day as a result of the voucher. This makes each visit more valuable to us.

Bringing shoppers back

33% of redeemed vouchers are used within seven days and the remaining 33% are redeemed up to four weeks after issue, bringing shoppers back.

There is real evidence now from hundreds of retailers supporting these claims.

Here’s another real story: A few months ago, a customer came in and used a voucher she had picked up a couple of weeks earlier. She was happy to get $5.00 off a $65.00 item she wanted. This purchase resulted in another voucher so she bought another item for $29.95.

This customer said her friends had been recently talking about VIP cards and how they were useless.  She then told them about us.

Changing how shoppers interact.

In another instance a customer was considering a $250.00 item but decided they could not justify the expense. They purchased some smaller items, spending $25.00.

On receiving a $5.00 voucher they turned around, immediately, and bought the $250.00 item.

We asked what happened. The answer was I don’t know. I needed permission I guess and the $5.00 did it.

This is a true story and there are many more like it in hundreds of retail businesses.

The key about discount vouchers is they change shopper behaviour, usually immediately and valuable for the business.

Indeed, discount vouchers are a game changer for many retail businesses, large an small, city and country.

We love hearing the stories of success from your customers.

You control the business rules

Like any good loyalty program, you need good levers with which to drive shopper engagement and to deliver the benefits to justify the investment.

The Discount Vouchers facilities have this.

You control the amount of each sale you are prepared to give away on the voucher.

You control the products the voucher can be used for.

You control how long the voucher is live for.  I suggest 28 days but I have some retailers setting this at 90 days.

Helping your business

With most retail businesses running a loyalty program using a points based approach and only targeting long-term customers, adoption of this front-end loyalty approach can provide you with a genuine point of difference.

It is easily managed through the Tower Systems software and is backed by excellent management reports. This makes implementation and management easier than the old approach.

I’m confident this fresh approach to loyalty is a game changer for any retail business. The control you have enables you to easily manage the cost and the value you gain from the program.

This really is a new approach to bringing shoppers back sooner and getting them to spend more with you.

The success we have described here continues today, in 2018. Excellent incremental growth, wonderful business rewards, leveraged through shopper rewards.

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The loyalty offer that helps small business retailers compete against big business – in our Aussie POS software

Tower Systems pioneered the pitch of discount vouchers in small business retail. Now, many years on, more and more retailers are singing the praises of this unique and loved small business POS software loyalty offer.

Discount vouchers change shopper behaviour. They are a unique loyalty offer that older how shoppers see a business and how they engage in-store.

What sets Tower Systems apart, beyond the strong algorithm behind the vouchers, is the way we support small business retailers in deploying the voucher tactic in-store. We offer business trade training, so the context is understood at the owner level through to the sales counter level.

Being retailers ourselves and using the vouchers in different retail businesses we can speak from experience and retailers love this. Beyond the vouchers themselves, which are unique, our business engagement and knowledge is unique in software company circles.

Discount vouchers can be called anything you want, too. We have customers in the high end jewellery space calling them a Personal Thank You Gift and finding wonderful shopper engagement.

We are confident that Tower Systems’ Discount Voucher facilities can help you:

  1. Get customers spending more in a visit.
  2. Bring existing customers back sooner.
  3. Attract new shoppers to your business.
  4. Drive impulse purchases at the sales counter.

One of our own retail businesses reported growth of 10% in the three months to June 30, 2015. Much of the success comes down to smart use of Discount Vouchers.

Discount Vouchers don’t need a card – they print on sales receipts and offer an amount customers can spend right away. Our experience and the experience of hundreds of our customers is that Discount Vouchers drive faster and deeper engagement with the business – making a shopping visit more valuable right away.

  1. You name the voucher anything you like and can change this at any time.
  2. You set the rules on how the value of the voucher is calculated.
  3. You set the rules on what the voucher can be redeemed for.
  4. You set the rules on expiry dates.

See the software live. Contact us for an obligation free demonstration: Email: sales@towersystems.com.au. Call: toll free 1300 662 957. SA / WA / VIC: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917. QLD / NT: Justin Randall.  0434 365 789. NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148. Check us out online: www.towersystems.com.au.

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No minimum card transaction promotion

Small business retailers need to be aware of a growing push by credit card companies around a no minimum for card use. When it comes to card use, thanks to smart integration our retailers have plenty of control over how cards are used and any charged applied to their use. Here is one of several promotional videos circulating on this no minimum campaign.

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Retail marketing advice on how to increase items per transaction

Driving shopper efficiency is key for retailers. It is easier to get a shopper in the store to purchase more than to get a new shopper into the store from outside.

In looking at shopper basket efficiency for many different retail businesses we have developed an understanding of basic steps different small business retailers can take to drive shipper efficiency. Here is our advice.

ENGAGE.

Smile, make conversation, treasure your customers.  The more they enjoy shopping in your shop the more they will shop in your shop.  Smile.  Get good eye contact.  Say hello rather than can I help you.  The more personal the experience the more they will remember you.  This is your point of difference. Personal service is the single most valuable way to drive shopper visit efficiency.

WORK THE SHOP.

Standing behind the counter means you’ll serve people who come to you.  The more you are in the body of the shop and engaging with customers the more they will buy.  In busy times work the shop – engage, offer up sells.  Customer service increases revenue in every situation we have seen. Our advice is you locate a workstation on the shop floor.

DEMONSTRATE.

Show how products are used.

THE COUNTER AS A SALES TOOL.

Go to your shop counter and look at it from a customer perspective.  What’s the message?  Is it inviting?  Are you using the counter to drive sales?  Anyone can put product at their counter.  It takes a clever retailer to use the counter to entice customers to buy a product.  Use your counter wisely.

COUPONS.

It’s difficult to offer every customer an up sell.  Instead, use your receipts. Include a $$ off on next purchase.  Point it out. Keep it simple, have an expiry date on the coupon. This is an easy win that will bring back shoppers for sure.

TRAINING SALES EMPLOYEES.

Get your employees on side – explain your focus on growth.  If they don’t support you, replace them.  Respect your employees and ask for their ideas.  Use their ideas!  Train them.  Guide them in providing exceptional service.  They are your front line and need to be your most skilled team members.

TARGET, MEASURE, REASSESS.

Keep track of your success and failures.  Be realistic in your assessment.  Change what is not working and celebrate what is working – keeping your employees informed all the way through the process.

HOT SPOT TARGETS.

Focus on your top, say, 5 items.  Watch where people buying these items go in your shop.  Watch carefully.  Consider what you can do to get them elsewhere in your shop.  This is the key – getting people to shop outside their usual category, breaking their habits.

IN STORE SPRUIKER.

In your busiest time in the week bring in a spruiker for use INSIDE your shop.  Create some buzz and excitement to draw people away from their usual shopping areas.

CHANGE.

A key reason people will stop visiting your shop is that they know what it will be like.  A changing shop can be exciting.  Good changes will make people want to come in and check out new products and other changes you’ve made.

While much of this advice reads like common sense. Too often we see retailers who have missed the opportunity.

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Branding is everything in independent retail

Tower Systems understands the importance of branding in its business serving small business retailers with POS software. We also understand the importance in shops.

We enable beautiful branding opportunities for retailers using our POS software with professional branding of receipts and other customer touch points produced and managed through our software.

It is easy to do this.

Providing retailers with opportunities for concisely pitching branding helps locally run independent retail businesses to be consistent in their messaging.

We know from expert marketing research that multiple touch points for a brand is vital to brand awareness and trust. This is one of several key reasons why independent retailers need to embrace branding opportunities on everyday contact points, such as receipts, customer displays, shelf talkers, barcode labels, outdoor product tags and more.

By enabling beautiful customised customer touch points, Tower Systems helps small business retailers shine a light on their brand. We are proud to do this.

The photo is of a box of receipt rolls. We provide theses with fresh hardware installations by our team and sell them to our customers. Even at this level of our business, professional branding matters.

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Free marketing resources for small business retailers

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 8.10.20 amTower Systems has added to free marketing resources for small business retailers. New digital art is being loaded to our website for small business retailers to download and print and to load into digital marketing platforms.

This latest collateral from our in-house creative team is themed to provide retailers more options for pitching their businesses.

We are grateful to the encouraging feedback from small business retailers – customers and not – who are using the facilities we have created and made available through our website. This feedback is what has encouraged us to do even more.

Tower Systems provides access to these free marketing resources without asking for any details – making the resources genuinely free.

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Small business retailers love optimistic message

We have received a terrific reaction to this graphic that we released a few weeks ago. Developed initially for internal use, we let it drift out with some of our communication and the response has been wonderful. Kudos to the creative folk in our company who created this message. #proud

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Back to School marketing ideas for small business retailers who serve school students and their families

Back to School time is an excellent opportunity to reconnect with existing customers and to attract new customers to your store.

Here are some free marketing suggestions (some mainstream and some left field) designed to help you attract customers and get them shopping your Back to School range. Most of these marketing tips can be tried without spending too much money:

  1. Tell a visual story in-store. Get an old school desk and create a display showing your back to School supplies being used.
  2. Support a local school. Invite current and past students to tell their school stories through a display in your window or in store on a large noticeboard. The stories could be in the form of text on a page, a collage or photos.
  3. School stories. Invite customers, young and old to share their school stories in 50 words or less. Create an entry form. Stick the stories up on a wall for all to read. Offer a small prize for the best story.
  4. Old School Photos. Get customers 25 and over to bring in their favourite old school photo. Offer a small price for the best. Maybe group the photos: 25 to 40; 40 to 60; 60+. This could be an educational display as well as a beacon for nostalgia buffs.
  5. Run a sale for teachers. Consider giving teachers a special discount of anything (within reason) in store. Getting teachers in could help bring the students in.
  6. Discount by value. Offer a discount to customers who spend over a certain amount – respecting their loyalty to your business.
  7. Dress in uniforms. Have a day or two when all shop floor employees dress in school uniform.
  8. Be an information hub. Create a bulletin board of local school events – reminding parents of engagement opportunities. This should be maintained through the school year and done in association with the school.
  9. Host a shopping event. While you still have back to school stock on the shop floor host an event with games and prizes where you have all back to School stock on special. This should be a Back to School themed event and promoted well in advance.
  10. Host a bake sale. Invite a fund raising group connected with a local school to host a bake sale or a sausage sizzle out the front of your store on a couple of days through the Back to School sale season.
  11. Holiday fun. Run a competition for kinder and primary students inviting art entries showing their favourite part of the school holidays. Put the art on show. Offer a small prize. Parents will love the activity opportunity and the entrants will love seeing their work on show.
  12. Teacher gifts. If you have teacher gifts left over from your Christmas sales, put these out as some students may want to get the year off to a good start.
  13. Student gifts. Family and friends may want to give students a nice gift to acknowledge the start of the new year – maybe they are starting at a new school. Create a display of gifts especially for students.

No matter how big or small Back to School is in your store, it is an opportunity to have some fun and strengthen your connection with the local community.

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Small business retail marketing tip: turn your shop into a classroom

Theatre is important in retail if you want to separate your store from an online shopping experience. Retailers need to exploit ways to demonstrate the added value of the physical store shopping experience.

Having products on the shelves or racks is not enough. You have to bring these to life.

Beyond being able to touch and smell and item live, every retail store has opportunities to make the shopping experience more personal and physical.

Supermarkets do this all the time with food sampling and demonstrations. They have someone cooking product nearby where the product can be purchased. These in-store demonstrations are done because they work, the drive sales. The smell and the taste guide the senses to encourage the purchase.

You do not need to be selling food for an in-store demonstration to work. Here are some suggestions from us for other retailers on how they could use in-store demonstrations and other techniques to bring products alive:

  1. Books: book readings, book clubs, author visits, performances from children’s books.
  2. Fashion: Fashion show, a talk by a designer, a talk by a stylist, a dress making demonstration by an expert, a makeup demonstration to go with the clothing you sell, a hairdresser to show the importance of hair to go with what you sell.
  3. Camping: A tent setup competition, tips from a local ranger for safe camping, stories from camping trips – a group discussion sharing ideas, a supplier presentation on new equipment.
  4. Homewares: A dinner party in store showing how a range of dining homewares products look when you have guests over, a stylist speaking about how to style your home, a manufacturer presentation on a new line.
  5. Card shop: A calligrapher to write beautifully on cards purchased in-store, a local writer to help customers with the right words for each card purchased, a card stylist to help shoppers find the perfect card for the occasion, a card maker presenting a talk on what goes into making a card.
  6. Stationery business: Supplier presentations on the latest items for sale, a competition for customers based around clever use of a particular line of items you sell, a recycle class from an environmental expert on how to recycle used stationery items, a presentation on the different brands of printers you sell and how each suits a particular need.
  7. Cosmetics shop: Host a fashion parade showing off how your cosmetics look with the right fashion, run cosmetics classes for different occasions – make up for work, evening wear and weekend fun times, have a manufacturer speak about what makes their products special.

Each of these ideas is about bringing interactivity to your store, going beyond static products on the shelves and bringing them alive. This separates your business from the mass merchants who will have fewer in-store displays and from online retailers as well.

Schedule interactive sessions. Plan them carefully, promote them and make sure that they are covering topics of interest to your shoppers. Ask your shoppers too if they have a presentation idea as they could be a welcome source of new in-store content.

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We are proud of our small business POS software company

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Free social media marketing workshops for small business retailers

In addition to owning Tower Systems I am a Director of newsXpress, a proactive marketing group for newsagents who are transforming their businesses. I am hosting a series of free workshops open to anyone offering access to the newsXpress training on how of use social media to find new shoppers for your retail business.

  1. Discover how to attract new shoppers with Facebook.
  2. Learn the most time-efficient way to post to Facebook.
  3. Look behind the scenes at the best newsagent Facebook posts and learn how to use these ideas in your business.
  4. Find out how to reach beyond those who like your page.
  5. See how to thoughtfully target Facebook posts so they reach those you really want to reach.
  6. Find out how to organise photos for the best possible impact.
  7. Join a discussion about what time of day it is best to post.
  8. Find out which posts Facebook users like the least.
  9. We will do posts live for in the workshop, so you can learn first-hand.

This session will be practical, offering ready to use advice suitable for any retail business. If you want to learn about how to use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in your business this is a good session for you.  The session will also cover using your website to find new shoppers. Bookings now available for:

  1. ADELAIDE. November 9 @ 10am. Rydges South Terrace. Book now.
  2. GOLD COAST. November 10 @ 12 noon. Sofitel. Book now.
  3. MELBOURNE. November 15 @ 10am. Hawthorn Arts Centre. Book now.
  4. SYDNEY. November 16 @ 10am. The Lakes Golf Club. Book now.
  5. BRISBANE. Nov. 17 @ 10am. The River View Hotel Kingsford Smith Drive. Book now.

We will add Perth as well. The sessions will be interactive with plenty of time for questions. Spaces are limited as we want to ensure everyone can engage.

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Tower Systems helps newsagents engage with $150,000 competition

towerreciptWUT150Klong-1Newsagents using the Tower Systems newsagency software were provided coupons for auto-serving on customer receipts to help drive shopper engagement with the Pacific magazines shopper promotion.

We worked with Pacific Magazines on the production of several coupons and provided advice to our 1,750+ newsagent customers on how to include the coupons on receipts to leverage the competition opportunity.

This supplier engagement on behalf of our customers is another way Tower Systems adds practical value to its customer relationships. It is a service we provide suppliers serving all marketplaces in which we have specialist software.

The auto-serving of ads and coupons on receipts is something we have done for many years.

This is another example of the Tower AdvantageTM.

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Marketing tips for small business retailers for election day in Australia

Election day in Australia is a terrific opportunity for small business retailers with a spike in the number of people who are out and about. Smart retailers will embrace this opportunity as well as the opportunity of people standing in line waiting to vote and on their phone.

Here are some tips to get you thinking about marketing opportunities for any small retail business this weekend on election day:

  1. Set the front of the shop so it looks completely different – make the most of the extra people out and about. You want people seeing the shop for the first time ages to be surprised at the changes.
  2. Have a party. Plenty of music, activities, drinks and food. Make the day a celebration – to celebrate the end of the dreary campaign.
  3. Have an election sale – but make it fun. Do better than a straight sale. For example, in good Asssie tradition call it keeping the bastards honest sale.
  4. Setup sale tables in the name of local candidates.
  5. Give a discount to any customer who tells you and everyone in the shop a joke about politicians.
  6. Have a game of pin the tail on the politician in the shop.
  7. Declare the shop an election free zone. Maybe have a fine jar for anyone talking about the election on the day – raise money for a local charity.
  8. Promote your business online all Saturday with a series of social media posts so those out and about in lines waiting can see you are engaged.

All these ideas are about having fun on the day and offering a different shopping experience to usual. We hope they get yo8u thinking of what you could do, thinking of ideas of your own.

Here at Tower Systems we are not your usual POS software company. We are engaged with our customers deeply on a range of fronts to help them enjoy their businesses more and to get more from their businesses every day. In addition to excellent POS software for specialty retail businesses, we provide business management advice and support – way beyond the POS software itself.

Whatever you do this election day, have fun.

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HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS ON BEST PRACTICE LAY-BY

Lay-By is vital to small business retailers, especially gift shops, jewellers, garden centres, toy shops and homewares shops. Tower systems offers structure support for managing Lay-Bys in its POS software. We help small business retailers meet their regulatory obligations, serving the needs of customers and their businesses with a best practice approach.

We offer written advice, video training, one on one training and more to help small business retailers run professional Lay-By services.

Here is a glimpse into some of the professional Lay-By advice provided to our small business retailer community:

Meeting regulatory requirements is vital. For example, if someone cancels a LayBy you must refund their payments less a termination fee. You can set this fee and advise as part of your terms and conditions.

Our advice guides you through key rules and steps to success with Lay-bys.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00.
  2. DATA REQUIRED. Always ensure you are satisfied you know who your customer is. Require proof of ID from a driver’s licence or similar legal ID document.
  3. DEPOSIT. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. AGE. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. DURATION. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early toy sales.
  6. PAYMENT CYCLE. Require payments to be made weekly or fortnightly.
  7. PAYMENT METHOD. Accept any payment form you choose.
  8. Do not allow someone to take home a single item from a group of items on Lay-by together in one purchase. It’s all or nothing.
  9. Have a LayBy termination policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% termination fee. Alternatively, set a dollar amount to reflect the work. Also, consider setting the LayBy to auto terminate if it extends beyond a period of time you nominate. Note that you could equally choose to have no cancellation given that Lay-by product may not be able to easily re-sold.
  10. Decide what you would consider a breach. This has to be something you stand by. We suggest two missed payments without reasonable excuse or rectification. On breach, cancel and charge the cancellation fee.
  11. We suggest a no-exchange policy.
  12. When a customer Lay-bys, print two dockets – one for them to take immediately and one to be placed with the goods. Have your customer sign both copies, accepting your terms and conditions.
  13. Set aside a clean and secure storage location for Lay-bys in your business where locations are coded for easy finding. Place Lay-by goods into a single clear plastic bag per transaction for clean and safekeeping. Staple to this a copy of the Lay-by docket. Let your customers see you do this so there is no doubt when it comes time to collect the products.
  14. Have one person responsible for Lay-bys to ensure product care, track payments and contact customers.
  15. TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Enter these into your software so they are included on every Lay-by docket. Points 2 through 11 above are a good example of what to include in your terms and conditions.
  16. COMPLETE PAPERWORK. To not over complicate things, rely on your software’s Lay-by docket as your complete paperwork / contract. Get that right and Lay-by management will be easier.

These rules and steps may feel complex. They are necessary for the small number of times something goes wrong and you need to rely on them to help you deal with a situation.

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