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:
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.
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.
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.
To find out more about our awesome POS software and support fir indie specialty retailers, please reach out…
Tower Systems is an Australian POS software company serving 3,500+ specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand.
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.
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:
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.
See the software live. Contact us for an obligation free demonstration: Email: email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tower 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
Newsagents 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Every week we get to see many different retail situations through our work with small business retailers. The most exciting shops we visit are those that challenge our perception of that type of retail business. This happens when we go into a shop expecting to see a certain range of products or a certain type of display because of the type of business it is and we actually find something quite different, far more exciting, something that challenges the perception of the business.
Through our work with retailers we share the insights we see, this ideas we pick up and the excitement we feel when we see something unexpected.
So, beyond the POS software and the technical work we do we share good retail, retail we like, to encourage change elsewhere.
We try things ourselves in our own shops, like the greening of the magazine department in our own pop culture newsagency as shown below. Introducing plants to the magazine department has resulted in excellent shopper interaction.
As overseas online businesses compete with local retailers for sales of almost anything, so too do overseas based POS software companies compete with Australian software companies.
Here at Tower Systems, we understand local. We understand our local retail business customers. we understand their shoppers. We understand what being local is all about and why it matters to our customers and the communities in which they serve.
This is what being local is really about, it is about being knowledgable of and engaged with your local community.
Through our POS software and through our customer service we live and breathe the local message. Our actions speak for us through locally focussed software changes and how we serve and connect with our customers.
here is a short video explaining our local pitch. This video serves multiple purposes: it speaks to our in-house video production facilities, it has our owner speaking up for us and what we stand for, it shows our commitment to plain speaking anyone can understand and it speaks to our professionalism that you can trust.
This is the Tower Advantage, our Tower Advantage, offered to you.
Winter can be tough for some people. It can be tough for retail too as traffic is often down. Independent retailers have an opportunity to leverage the season, to make it more enjoyable for you and your customers.
Here are six suggestions to get you thinking abut winter differently:
If your shop is in a really cold area consider an outer door to keep the warmth in. They do this a lot in Europe and the US in Winter.
Winter is a seasoning which you can show off your point of difference and get people seeing your retail business differently.
As a further example of practical help for small business retailers, Tower Systems last week published the following suggestions / tips. This content demonstrates how the company leverages its retail experience and knowledge way beyond what it traditional for a POS software company.
FIVE FUN AND LEFT-FIELD WAYS ANY RETAILER CAN EMBRCE VALENTINES DAY
While Valentine’s Day is an unashamed commercial season, how you embrace it in your business beyond selling Valentine’s Day products can speak to your unique style of business.
Here are ways you can embrace th season without being purely overtly commercial.
Each one of these ideas is designed, of themselves, to increase your sales or foot traffic. They will, however, speak to who you are and what your business stands for in the local community.
While bigger businesses will run overt Valentine’s Day promotions screaming shop here, your focus will be on touching people’s hearts in a meaningful way, rejoicing in this day for heartfelt reasons beyond the cash register.