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About our POS software for local small business retailers

Category: newsagency software (page 1 of 61)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The best POS software receipt in small business retail

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

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

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

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

Product use can care instructions can be included.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Supercars mint coin set is selling fast.

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Shopify website development for small business retailers in Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tower Systems … specialty POS software for specialty retail

(play with sound on).

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POS software integrated with TheLott from Tabcorp making selling lottery tickets easier and more accurate for small business retailers

Lottery retailers are excited for the integration between the Tower Systems POS software and lottery ticket sales using terminals from Tabcorp’s TheLott. With this proven integration, retailers benefit from reduced keystrokes, thus improving data accuracy and business outcomes.

Having passed comprehensive acceptance testing ages ago and proving the genuine business value of the integration, Tower Systems is grateful to help lottery retailers with this POS software integration and to do so at no cost to lottery retailers.

This is a good news small business retail story, delivering good outcomes for lottery retailers in jurisdictions where TheLott operates the local over the counter lottery product sales through retailers like newsagents and others.

Already serving close to 1,800 retailers in this space, Tower Systems is well established serving lottery retailers and newsagents with its POS software. bringing lottery sales / POS software integration to life adds value to these relationships. It helps these businesses in terms of counter workflow, sales achievement and overall business data integrity. This is good news all round.

We are grateful to have made a contribution to delivering this solution to small business retailers as part of our structured POS software enhancement program, delivering commercial outcomes for retailers, especially small business retailers.

Following standards set by Tabcorp, the Tower Systems POS software development team delivered a POS software integrated solution that cuts keystrokes and delivers a fresh in-store lottery customer experience. This helps small business retailers to better understand the broader value of lottery product shoppers and to do this without undertaking additional management or data collection work. The data curated through the integration will help engaged small business retailers to further drive outcomes for their business.

Tower Systems has a track record of delivering sound integrations for retailers using its POS software. We work with suppliers and retailers to deliver outcomes that serve all parties to transactions and to do this in a technically professional way, without losing site on small business retailers being our customers and the most important people at the table on projects like this.

Newsagents and lottery retailers using the Tower Systems POS software have access to this new integration, along with all other integrations, through the Tower Systems enhancement and update program.

Every day, this POS software evolves to be of more service to small business retailers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actions I think anyone reading this could consider include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The top 5 reasons our newsagency software is loved by newsagents

Australian made. Australian supported. $185.00 a month.

We are grateful to serve close to 1,800 newsagency businesses with our newsagency software, double all other software companies combined.

We’ve owned and run newsagencies since 1996. With that in mind, we thought about what matters to us in our businesses…

  • Being current matters. We meet all the supplier standards including Epay, theLott integration, XchangeIT, Tyro, the banks, Newspower catalogues, GNS stock files, Xero and more. We help you save time, cut mistakes and cultivate better business data.
  • You can bank on loyalty. We help you to encourage people to spend more each visit and to come back sooner. We do this in a fresh way shoppers understand and like.
  • Safe decisions make for a better P&L. While following your gut can see you catch wins, safe decisions, those based on the data, are bankable. From data feeds from suppliers through your POS to accounting software, we help you nurture data for the safe decisions.
  • Not every shopper will walk past your door. A smart and seamless connection between your software and a website can help you sell to people you will never meet. It’s easy, certain and financially rewarding.
  • You are a key asset. You and the people in your business are a differentiator to big business competitors. Too often we see local newsagents not leverage themselves, not leverage what is unique about their business. Our software helps correct this … because you and your knowledge are an asset.

We also do the quarterly newsagency sales benchmark study and have done for 18 years. This is a valuable benchmark helps you see the future.

Our software costs $185.00 a month.

That’s right, $185.00 a month. For on as many computers as you need in the business.

There is no extra charge on top of this for support or updates. It’s all included.

How can we do this? We serve more newsagents than all other software companies combined. We leverage our size to save you money.

Included with our installation package is:

  • The latest newsagency software.
  • Remote, safe, installation & training by a newsagency business expert.
  • Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  • 24/7 software support. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Software updates – released regularly. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Unlimited over the phone one-on-one training.
  • Access to an awesome online knowledge base with articles & advice.
  • Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss any topic.

We are grateful to serve Aussie newsagencies with Aussie made and supported POS software.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is all about boosting local.

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Advice for small business retailers considering a POS software connected website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Helping to train new retail business owners

We understand the stress of taking over an existing retail business. There is plenty to learn. It usually needs to be learnt quickly. Too often, the folks selling the business move on without providing the level of training that is needed, especially training in POS software.

This is why we have created a special new owners package – for businesses recently sold where our software is running. It offers new owners a new installation trying experience, offering the best outcomes for them to learn the software and review data structures to ensure are they are perusing good business outcomes.

This enhanced new business owner training package is another way we are adding value to small business retailers who use our POS software.

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A marketing tip small business retailers can leverage into additional revenue, easily

Use this unique facility to drive sales in any retail business and nurture optimism in the business and among customers.

It’s a bold claim. A true claim though in that we have the evidence to show that what we talk about here works, and works well, in hundreds of retail businesses.

Loyalty points are dead. Big businesses killed them, made them useless.

While our specialty retail POS software has a loyalty points program you can use, it is our smart discount vouchers that retailers in our community of 3,500+ retail; businesses love. Discount vouchers are part of broader loyalty tools we offer.

Note, we call them discount vouchers – you can call them what you like. The facilities give you leverage that you can employ to encourage shoppers to spend more and shop with you sooner.

Here’s a video from June this year in which we show how vouchers work and provide examples of the value they offer the business for little or no cost.

Here is a video we shot in August this year where we look at discount vouchers in more detail and explore what it looks like inside the business.

We use discount vouchers in retail businesses we operate and have done so since we first released the functionality in February 2013. They work a treat, delivering net beneficial value at no cost to the business.

The fundamental question for any retailer is do you want to grow your business? The answer, of course, is yes. Discount vouchers provide the means through which you can do this. It starts by changing the conversation, by offering something your competitors do not offer and, most likely, cannot offer.

By changing the conversation you drive a different shopper expectation and that helps shoppers see your business through a different light.

People like being rewarded for doing what they would do anyway. Through fine-tuned levers, you are able to nudge their engagement to go beyond what they would do and you can factor the cost of nudging into your pricing.

Across plenty of retail channels, discount vouchers deliver commercial benefits for retail business. Plus, they offer a community group connect that further enhances their value to the business as well as to the local community.

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Tower Systems is encouraging retailers on POS software screen design

Using our POS software, small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand have plenty of control over the design of their main POS screen. Changing this is easy. No coding is required. Our customers are proving to be creative in tailoring the screen to their unique business needs.

To celebrate some awesome POS software screen designs, over a week ago we announced a POS software screen design competition for our customers. We are giving away 6 bottles of wonderful champagne.

Our goal was to encourage folks in our retail business community to inspire each other, to show what is possible and to share how they have improved their businesses by embracing design change opportunities in our POS software.

Today is the day of judging. We are excited to have had so many retailers engage with this. The entries are terrific. Our customers are innovative, creative. They have shown a real love for our POS software.

Here is what we announced in our regular customer service email a week back:

Win a bottle of champagne.

Hey, Retailer 3 users, share your POS screen design to get in the running to win one of 6 bottles of Heidsieck And Co Monopole Gold Top 2010 champagne. We will choose 6 well-designed R3 POS screens as winners, each receiving a bottle – sent to you, free.

To enter, post a photo of your POS screen on our private customer Facebook page. Or, email support@towersystems.com.au with the subject – POS Screen competition. We will post it to the private Facebook page for you. Now, if you want to play with your design, this video may help: https://vimeo.com/387825075

We will keep this competition open for a week, until 9am Monday October 19, 2020. We will choose 6 POS screen designs as the winners and send a bottle of this champagne as a price.

Why are we running this competition? Because we are seeing some awesome POS software screen designs, designs that we think could inspire others to create better POS software screens. You have excellent flexibility in the software. We hope seeing the designs inspires you.

Here is what you could win: Heidsieck And Co Monopole Gold Top 2010. Heidsieck and Co Monopole are one of the oldest Champagne houses in the Champagne region. Gold Top 2010 is balanced and pleasing with hints of roasted and dry fruits, hazelnut, reminiscent of honey with a gingerbread dominance. This is a nice drop.

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Newsagency software rental of $185.00 a month preserves capital for these small business retailers

In Mid 2019, newsagency software company Tower Systems released a rental option for its software. For $185.00 a month, newsagents can rent the Tower newsagency specific software.

The newsagency software rental option is available without a long-term or lock-in contract. It is for the full newsagency software including newspaper and magazine distribution. It includes access to the software on as many computers as a business needs in its location, for no additional charge.

The Australian made and supported Tower Systems newsagency software serves home delivery, sub agent and retail management requirements. The software continues to evolve, with updates released every few months. It integrates with TheLott, Epay, Tyro, Xero, MYOB, Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, the banks, ZipPay, Humm, XchangeIT and more.

The software also includes access to the federal governments debit card as Tower Systems is a long-standing member of the trial software panel, involved early on in that project.

1,750 newsagents already use the Tower newsagency software in Australia.

Using the Tower Systems software, newsagents are able to comprehensively track business performance at the category, individual product, staff member and supplier level.

It is at the supplier performance level where the software can help guide valuable commercial outcomes. For example, one business recently overhauled their card department based on data captured and curated by the Tower software. Several months on, card sales are up 30% year on year while at the same time space allocated to cards was cut 20%. This move freed space for a new product category, which itself is driving traffic and revenue.

Rental of the software is $185.00 for each 30 days. It can be cancelled at any time.

To help newsagents through Covid, Tower made all additional one-on-one training for customers free, cancelled plans to increase support fees, provided financial help for hardship situations, eliminated credit card surcharges and provided a free software licence for home access to every customer.

In addition to developing and supporting newsagency software, Tower Systems also develops POS software connected websites for newsagents. Here are some of the newsagency business websites developed by the Tower web team:

  • www.cutenessoverload.com.au
  • www.myornaments.com.au
  • www.mintcoinshop.com.au
  • www.onebaby.com.au
  • www.chitchatgifts.com.au
  • www.nextragiftsorange.com.au
  • www.parkesnewsandgifts.com.au
  • www.newsxpressinverloch.com.au
  • www.beanieboosaustralia.com – this connects 100+ newsXpress stores

To find out more about the Tower Systems newsagency software, please email sales@towersystems.com.au or visit www.towersystems.com.au.

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AC/DC box coin set from the Royal Australian Mint going off!

We built the Mint Coin Shop for newsXpress to sell coins from the Royal Australian Mint online. Today, they launched a very special AC/DC commemorative box set, which includes an exclusive mint coin. here is a video showing off what is in this AC/DC coin box set.

We are grateful for the role we have played in bringing the AC/DC coin set to Aussie AC/DC fans and to do so through a Shopify site connected with our POS software.

newsXpress partners with the Royal Australian Mint with more than 100 locally owned newsXpress stores selling coins, including the AC/DC box set.

Tower Systems serves 3,500+ small business retailers with specialty POS software.

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Practical advice for small business retailers in going online with a POS software connected website

We received an online order recently in one of our shops at 1:33pm worth $800.00. It was one of 12 online orders for that business that totalling $1,800 in value.

Each one of these orders was a pre-order – fully paid for up front for stock that is another week away from arriving in-store and two months away from being paid for by us.

The specific products are not relevant as what we share below could apply to plenty of products and product categories. What we have done in this two and a half year old suburban high street business is what anyone could do and what we know some retailer colleagues are doing to win online sales.

  1. Create your online presence as a start-up business. Our recommendation is that you not take your existing shop online under your existing shop’s branding.
  2. Choose a product niche or category that is sought after, that is being searched for. This could be a brand, a licence, an end use or some other segmentation that makes sense to the shopper.
  3. Look for brands and categories people could be loyal to for some time.
  4. Source key suppliers. Preference suppliers who might work with you on geographically exclusive items.
  5. Register a domain and business name that speaks to the shopper for the chosen category.
  6. Develop your approach to packaging and shipping, remembering that this process has to be delivered as a brand extension. Add value here and you will bring them back.
  7. Create a site that serves the shopper.
  8. Include on the website unique knowledge / information that lifts you up as an expert in the product category field.
  9. Include a chat facility on the site, so you can answer questions from people who do not want to email or call with their queries.
  10. Create a separate Facebook page to support the website. Regularly feed contact to that page, content specifically for that page.
  11. Ask your suppliers to link to your website and appreciate them for any promotion they offer on their social media pages.
  12. Search out other social media pages that reach your target shopper and engage with those communities.
  13. Email shoppers, appreciating their business. Find ways to remain connected with them as this connection can help bring them back.

The first step revenue goal with online for any business entering that space has to be 5% (or less) of total revenue. Once there, the next goal is 10%, then 15% and so on. Goals are important.

Treat your online business as a start up. Manage it as such. Embrace mistakes and failures as they are the foundation bricks to success – cliché yes, but true.

  • Do you have to stock in your shop products you sell online? No. We say this as many retailers think the answer is yes. Seriously, think of your online business as a start up – doing this frees you to be more open to what you sell.
  • Can I put my existing shop online though? Of course. It’s 100% up to you.
  • Isn’t shipping hard? Offer what enough people want and shipping can be resolved by building it into the price or you looking at online as cream sales, sales from which you can give up some margin.

Our POS  software company develops websites for small business retailers. While what we have written here does relate to the online success at my high street shop, it is the same advice we provide all retailers who contact Tower Systems querying about website development.

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Website advice for small business retailers

In our work with small business retailers we provide advice on website development, often before the website is created. This advice is based on our own Xperience as well as the experience gained in service of other retailers.

Here is up to date advice for any retailer considering a website for their retail business.

We are not usual POS software company. We are retailers too, with 3 shops. The advice we share here is based on what we have done in one of our small shops, a high street business in Mount Waverley Victoria.

Advice for small business retailer going online.

We received an online order the other day in one of our own retail shops at 1:33pm worth $800.00. It was one of 12 online orders for that business yesterday totalling $1,800 in value.

Each one of these orders that we are receiving right now is a pre-order – fully paid for up front for stock that is another week away from arriving in-store and two months away from being paid for by us. It is the nature of the specific product category that products are released to a calendar schedule.

The specific products are not relevant to what we share here today as what we share below could apply to plenty of products and product categories – in many different retail situations. What we have done in this two and a half year old suburban high street business is what anyone could do and what I know some retailer colleagues are doing to win online sales.

  1. Create your online presence as a start-up business. My recommendation is that you not take your existing shop online under your existing shop’s branding. Big businesses, of course, take their retail brand online as they think shoppers search for them. In fact, shoppers search for product outcomes.
  2. Choose a product niche or category that is sought after, that is being searched for. This could be a brand, a licence, an end use or some other segmentation that makes sense to the shopper.
  3. Look for brands and categories people could be loyal to for some time.
  4. Source key suppliers. Preference suppliers who might work with you on geographically exclusive items.
  5. Register a domain and business name that speaks to the shopper for the chosen category.
  6. Develop your approach to packaging and shipping, remembering that this process has to be delivered as a brand extension. Add value here and you will bring them back.
  7. Create a site that serves the shopper.
  8. Include on the website unique knowledge / information that lifts you up as an expert in the product category field.
  9. Include a chat facility on the site, so you can answer questions from people who do not want to email or call with their queries.
  10. Create a separate Facebook page to support the website. Regularly feed contact to that page, content specifically for that page.
  11. Ask your suppliers to link to your website and appreciate them for any promotion they offer on their social media pages.
  12. Search out other social media pages that reach your target shopper and engage with those communities.
  13. Email shoppers, appreciating their business. Find ways to remain connected with them as this connection can help bring them back.

Our advice for the first step revenue goal with online for any business entering that space has to be 5% (or less) of total revenue. Once there, the next goal is 10%, then 15% and so on. Goals are important. While the ultimate goal will vary by business category, it is vital to have a staring point.

Treat your online business as a start up. Manage it as such. Embrace mistakes and failures as they are the foundation bricks to success – cliché yes, but true.

  • Do you have to stock in your shop products you sell online? No. I say this as many retailers think the answer is yes. Seriously, think of your online business as a start up – doing this frees you to be more open to what you sell.
  • Can I put my existing shop online though? Of course. It’s 100% up to you.
  • Isn’t shipping hard? Offer what enough people want and shipping can be resolved by building it into the price or you looking at online as cream sales, sales from which you can give up some margin.

Our POS  software company develops websites for small business retailers. While what we have shared here does relate to the online success at my high street shop, it is the same advice we provide all retailers who contact Tower Systems querying about website development.

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Staff management tips and advice for local small business retailers

In our work with more than 3,500 small business retailers across a diverse mix of retail channels, we have collected, along the way, a kit of tips and advice for managing staff in retail. We share some of these tips today here as an insight into the help we can provide beyond our POS software, beyond what you may expect from a POS software company too.

We are interested in retail business management, especially small retail business management, as we own and run shops ourselves and have done so since February 1996. We bought our first shop to give us a live test site. It’s grown since then.

Before we get to the tips themselves, we like this selection because it focusses on the management challenge as well as on the financial outcome for the business.

Here are some of the small business retail staff management tips we like:

  1. Set sales goals. In our experience, people perform well when they know the goal. It could be individual goals or a business-wide goal.
  2. Track performance. If not for reward, at least for active management engagement.
  3. Reduce mistakes and theft. Get employee code or number entered for each sale. It works.
  4. Skill your people. Make sure they understand the software and how they can use it to achieve more for the business.
  5. Change the roster. Roster changes can push back against predictability, they can also uncover opportunities.
  6. Set standards. In your POS you can establish standards for data to be followed – product naming conventions, department descriptions and more. The more consistency in your data the more valuable your data.
  7. Stop using the back room. You can’t sell product from the back room. Have staff do all pricing and other usual back room tasks on the shop floor.
  8. Track location performance. Train your staff in the process of tracking the performance of impulse locations. Moving a product could help it find customers. Make sure staff understand what you are looking for.
  9. Share basket insights. Knowing what sells alone and what sells with what can help staff make better decisions as to what is placed where on the shop floor.
  10. Ask them. Yes, ask them what you should / could stock, ask them what think a product is worth. Value their input and they will value more working for the business.
  11. Cut data handling. At every possible point, stop touching data. Having it flow from electronic supplier invoices through the POS to scanned sales through to Xero for accounting can reduce mistakes and possible fraud opportunities.

There are many opportunities for managing staff through and with your POS software. This can improve the business and enhance their experience with your business.

 

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