Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: newsagency software (page 1 of 60)

Smart POS software helps small business retailers eliminate loyalty cards

Stamping a loyalty card in a coffee shop, gift shop, pet shop, toy shop and other settings can be a thing of the past thanks to terrific tools in the smart POS software from Tower Systems.

Here is a new video we shot a few days ago explaining how to set this up in our software and how to drive sales through it…


Rental makes POS software affordable for small business retailers

A year ago, Tower Systems launched a new rental solution for acquiring access to its POS software for small business retailers. What this means is that any business owner wanting to access our POS software can do so through a rental offer.

Making our POS software available to rent for a few dollars a day makes it cash flow effective.

There is no finance agreement to sign. No contract to lock in.

Customers can cancel the rental at any time, meaning their rental obligation is no more than 30 days. This makes the cost of accessing our POS software lower than ever.

By renting POS software, small business retailers are able to put this in place quickly and easily without having to invest significant capital, leaving those funds for products and other more practical investments in their businesses.

Included in the few dollars a day rental price is everything on this list:

  • Access to the POS software itself – on as many computers in the business as you need.
  • Help desk access for assistance with use and more relating to the software. This is human based, working out of Melbourne, with one of our team members also working our of New Zealand. Help desk access is through the phone, email, our website and more.
  • Access to more than 600 articles in our online knowledge base – online and searchable documentation.
  • Unlimited access to personal one on one training.
  • Backup check help – where we check your backup to ensure you are actually backing up properly.
  • Theft check, where we look at your data and apply use principles to look for behaviour that could speak to employee theft.
  • Access to professionally tested electronic stock files from suppliers.
  • Help with access to direct connected EFTPOS, like Tyro.
  • Help with everyday support for e-commerce links from the POS software side.

All of these support and assistance tools are built into the low daily rental cost. Making the cost of the software rental valuable and easy for businesses.

POS software rental makes accessing our software easy. From a technical perspective, ur customers can run the software on their desktop computers or in the cloud – the choice is theirs. We are happy to serve whatever need customers have in that situation.

POS software rental is here for the long term. We think it’s what small business retailers want.


Newsagents benefit from Epay access in newsagency POS software

Tower Systems released Epay access from within its newsagency software earlier this year. It’s been a terrific success with newsagents loving the easy and direct access to wonderful voucher products from Epay.

Today, Tower Systems released a product update to its Epay integration, expanding the products available to newsagents to sell, offering them more revenue opportunities in their businesses.

This latest update is another step in the on-going enhancement of the solution, to serve the expanding needs of retailers, including local Aussie newsagents.


Fixed price website development for small business retailers

If you are in a retail channel with big competitors, we suggest you think carefully before you take your current products online. Do your research and see if you feel you can compete with this online already, especially the big competitors.

This advice from us is especially relevant if your online plans are about attracting shoppers located outside your current catchment area.

Take the pet space. National pet retailers have a strong presence as do several online-only businesses. They own the value space, where people are buying on price, as well as the service space where people need it now. This is especially true with everyday pet food.

You have to ask yourself what is my point of difference? and can I make enough money off this to justify the website investment?

In terms of pet food and unless you are selling products unique to your business, it would be a tough road to find new shoppers outside your current catchment area. If you think about it, what do they have to go on, especially if you are selling known brands. Service and price are the two key factors. The big players will out spend and out service you.

Look at dog food, there are currently 8,800 searches a day in Australia for this. Once you add in the 65,000 variations to dog food related searches in Australia every day you soon hit almost 700,000 search results. That is the pool in which you would play if you are selling dog food. This is data from a respected data tool we subscribe access to.

Click here to see a summary report we ran recently on dog food. Click here to see a spreadsheet of of the first 30,000 keywords relating to this.

This example is relevant to all of our customers, regardless of whether they sell dog food. Each marketplace faces big business online challenges where keywords have been richly and widely mined.

If you are considering going online and want to reach shoppers beyond your current catchment area, your website will need to pitch in a way that differentiates to others.

So, if you are considering online and want to attract new shoppers, what is unique about your offer and is it financially viable.

We can help. We will research keywords for you, before you set on a path for a new or reinvigorated website. If you would like us to do this, feel free to email me direct ( with keywords that you are considering. I will check out traffic volumes for you and email a report with data to help guide your consideration.

If the dog food example does not connect with you, let’s look at toys. In Australia right now, there are 40,500 searches for toys. On top of this, there are 528,000 keyword variables relating to toys with 7 million results. Click here to see a summary report based on current searches in Australia for Toys, which we ran recently.

Our core point here is that planning before you go online is critical to ensuring success once you are online. There are many opportunities online. They are often outside what retailers see as their preferred online solution.

Taking your business online is like creating a start up business. Researching before you begin is critical.


Buy now pay later helps small business retailers replace LayBy

The Tower Systems POS software is integrated with Humm and ZipPay / ZipMoney and have been since they launched. Both offer small business retailers valuable tools for buy now pay later trading in their specialty retail businesses.

Using Humm or Zip, retailers are able to offer easy over the counter purchase to customers who might otherwise have wanted to use LayBy. This way the customers can take their items immediately and the retailer is paid the next day.

There are rules and processes, which are managed by the POS software.

Tower Systems delivered the first POS software integration for Humm, pioneering years ago a solution that has been beneficial for many small business retailers. This was followed by the ZipPay and ZipMoney integration with the Tower POS software.

Offering buy now pay later is particularly helpful in retail situations where a business is supplying one time only shoppers or infrequent shoppers as it helps the business capture sales that the old LayBy approach may not have served for those businesses.

Integration is easy and payment is seamless. Tower Systems helps retailers connect with bot the respected buy now pay later finance companies, delivering beneficial access and providing front line support to serve these business needs.

While our POS software continues to offer LayBy, it is being used less as businesses seek to use less space for then storage of LayBy goods. Also, consumer legislation covering LayBy can sometimes present more onerous challenges for retailers than nis the case for buy now pay later operations.

The Zip and Humm integrations and just two of plenty of integrations delivered by Tower Systems in this space of helping small business retailers offer broader solutions beyond the core POS software functions. Tower has a long track record of working with other businesses, connecting with them and helping small business retailers to leverage these connections for their own operations.

Tower Systems is a vertical market POS software company serving thousands of independent and small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand with fresh and innovative POS software that is tailored to the unique needs of each retail channel in which it serves.


How Tower Systems connected its POS software with Magento to help more than 130 independent retailers to sell Beanie Boos online

Four years ago, Tower Systems developed the Beanie Boos Australia website using the Magento platform, connecting more than 130 retailers using its POS software with online sales of the cute and adorable Beanie Boos.

It was ground breaking, connecting 130+ independently owned shops and their local business POS software with the Magento site, offering the largest collection and range of Beanie Boos in Australia.

The sales have been excellent, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

The back end of the website, using intellectual property developed by Tower Systems,s, serves customers first, allowing them to purchase what they want. The site tech ology places the order with the closest businesses that can fulfil. This can be one store or many, depending on what has been put into the basket.

The Beanie Boo website serves individual customers as well as community groups, schools and more as people want to connect with cute Beanie Boos and share the joy and happiness that they spread.

Allowing shoppers to shop by product name, product birthday and more, the Beanie Boo website serves up to date information that helps Boo collectors and lovers of cuddly plush to buy for birthdays, graduation and other celebrations.

The Beanie Boo website and its connection with the local store tower Systems POS software is a perfect technology and business marriage, delivering to these independent retail businesses sales they might otherwise not have achieved. Many sales are transacted when stores are closed and more than 75% are to shoppers who live hours and more away from the fulfilling ship location.

Tower Systems pioneered multistage magenta POS software integration and has delivered a wonderful commercial benefit that has been sustained for many years now.

The website continues to evolve as does the Tower Systems POS software. each is competitive in their fields and combined they are formidable force for the software company, the retailers locally and the enbwsXpress marketing group that overall administers the Beanie Boo website.

Magento, now from Adobe, continues to deliver an robust and capable tech. platform. It is one of several web platforms that Tower Systems works with and integrated its specialty retail Point of Sale software with. Our relationship with Magento goes back many years, for which we are grateful.


Helping small business retailers pivot online

All through Corona we have been helping retailers pivot online thanks to our fixed price Shopify website development. We continue to run open, transparent and interactive online workshops for retailers, where we answer questions and provide plenty of examples. Here is a video of one of our recent sessions.


Shopify website development in Australia

Tower Systems continues to develop beautiful Shopify websites for small business retailers in Australia.

Our Shopify development work is 100% done in Australia, by developers who work for our company, in Australia.  This matters because our team members understand Australian retail. They also understand how to connect the Shopify websites to POS software, like our own POS software.

Our Shopify website development is done on a fixed price basis. We do this in service our our retail business customers, specialty retailers with specialty needs. We provide a comprehensive plan as well as a terrific hand over document that outlines how any retailer can get the most from the Shopify site.

As a partner of Shopify, we bring the latest insights and tools to life in each website that we develop for our our customers. As Shopify evolves, so do we. we participate in Shopify conferences, face to face in Las Vegas and Toronto as well as online, to ensure we are up to date and reflecting the opportunities of their platforms.

Our POS software connected Shopify websites that we develop offer easy access to AfterPay, ZipPay, Humm, PayPal, click and collect, Sendle and more in terms of seamless integrations. These, plus social media integrations, offer true connectivity between our Shopify websites and the retail businesses they bring to life online.

Designed to serve your needs, the Shopify websites we develop are done in collaboration, with regular communication, offering our customers opportunities to learn with us so as to make using and adjusting the site in the future easy and smart of the retail business.

Tower Systems undertakes Shopify website development primarily for small and independent retail businesses. These customers are at the core of our business. The work is done 100% in our website development team, which is based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We have a separate development team for our POS software.  But … both teams work together to deliver seamless connectivity from which our small business retail customers can benefit.

Our fixed price approach to Shopify website development is clear, transparent and thorough. we have a wonderful portfolio of sites delivered already. we’d be glad to share details with anyone interested in Shopify website development for their retail business.

To find our more, please reach out to our sales team at


Small business retailers benefit from POS software tools made for them

Details matter when it comes to specialty POS software for speciality retailers. Here are some highlights of detailed facilities in our specialty retail POS software:

  • This software doesn’t care about your feelings. It cares about facts and report those facts to you, so you can make decisions based on them.
  • It comes with a free therapist. If our software does hurt your feelings or does something unexpected, we have real Aussies & New Zealanders ready to make you (and the software) feel better.
  • It won’t forget your mates birthdays (or any birthday).  Excellent marketing tools allow you to keep in touch with customers based on previous purchases, special events, and yes… birthdays.
  • This software does not play favourites. If a staffer is stealing from you or misbehaving using the software, it will out them, without emotion.
  • You can your experts. Take product care and use knowledge from your best people and share it with customers on receipts, easily.
  • Stick it to big business. They can’t compete with our awesome loyalty tools.
  • Sell anywhere, any time. Retailer Roam is awesome.
  • The online pivot. We develop websites and awesome POS software.
  • Click and collect. It’s easy, safe and managed.
  • Seasonal reordering. Based on evidence.
  • Pitch local. Consistently, through your software.
  • Age check. Offering compliance check for age restricted products.
  • Getting rid of customer order books. Paperless is faster, safer.
  • Postcode capture. Knowing your reach can amaze you.
  • Product care advice. Selling you and your knowledge can drive sales.
  • Product warning notice. Ensure they understand care of what you sell.
  • Bundling for safer shopping. Bundles / hampers that make shopping easier.
  • Contactless EFTPOS. Integrated. No keystrokes. Great rates.
  • Job service management. Track repairs and jobs from the quote on.
  • Reducing rep contact. Order on evidence and not on their social skills.
  • Serial number tracking. When it matters, it matters.

Tower Systems developed and supports POS software made for specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand. Our focus is only on local, indie, small business retailers, specialty retailers who differentiate by being specialist at what they do, like us.

We are grateful to our more than 3,000 customers who have faith us us every day.


How to take your retail business online, useful advice for people starting out

Here’s a video of another online session we hosted yesterday with several retailers on taking a business online:


Helping small business retailers offer POS software connected click and collect

Click and collect is now universally understood and embraced as a consequence of corona. This is especially true in Victoria Australia where in metro melbourne there is a 6-week hard hard lockdown in place. Click and collect is a lifeblood for retailers in the large lockdown area.

Here at Tower Systems we have been serving small business retailers with click and collect enabled POS software connected to Shopify and other websites all through this. Indeed, click and collect is something shops working with us have been offering for years.

Through Magento, Shopify and Woo POS software connected websites, our click and collect solution can be for drive by curbside contactless pickup, home delivery and traditional click and collect the flexibility is powerful, appreciated and easy for small business retailers as they play in this now important space for small business retailers.

Click and collect is here to stay and even more important, shoppers and retailers understand it. They understand how it works, the opportunities it brings and the health and safety imperative. It is good news for newsagents.

We are proud to have helped many small business retailers bring the click and collect opportunity to life in their businesses and to do this through a seamless connection between our POS software and their e-commerce site.

We do it ourselves in our own websites, too, offering click and collect in the shops we run, where we use our software and websites that our web team have developed, to show off our tech and business operational skills.

retail has fundamentally changes thanks to corona and wee are grateful to the thousands of retailers who partner with us, embracing software we develop and leveraging the tech integrations that we support in the work we do across a range of specialty retail channels.

While corona is challenging for so many, if we can provide income certainty for small business retailers and those who rely on these businesses then it is one less stressor for them. This is where click and collect plays a vital role, in offering an alternative and safe path to revenue for a retail business.

2020 is a year of massive change with tech being at the core of so much change. It’s not done yet as more changes are coming. Our message to small business retailers is that we are here, we have your back through these changes.


Free workshop: taking your retail business online

For any small business specialty retailer.

Wednesday August 12 @ 10:30am.

We make awesome specialty POS software for speciality retailers.

We make awesome Shopify and Magento 2 websites connected to our POS software.

Join us Wednesday August 12 @ 10:30am AEST for a free live and interactive and secure Zoom workshop on taking your business online.

We will share insights, advice and experience from websites we run for our own shops and sites we have created for others.

We will talk design, smart text, SEO, SEM and other buzzwords, but we won’t use buzzwords. This will be a plain English workshop. We will be honest about the hungry beast that is a website.

The workshop is free. Just turn up. Click on this link:
Meeting ID: 924 4882 8358 Passcode: 196319
Wednesday August 12 @ 10:30am AEST.

Or, talk with one of our sales people:

  • VIC / SA: Tim Batt 0401 833 917;
  • QLD / NT / WA: Justin Randall 0434 365 789;
  • NSW/ACT/TAS: Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148
  • NZ: or call 0800 444 367.

They can also show you websites connected to our POS software.


Specialty retail POS software for specialty retailers

Our specialty POS software offers many specialty retail benefits for specialty small business retailers, including:

  1. Colour, size and style: Easily track sales at a granular level.
  2. Club pricing: Helps you attract community group members.
  3. Repairs: Easily track & manage repairs & communicate with customers.
  4. Sell by weight. Sell by fractions. Yes, this software is integrated with scales.
  5. Smart loyalty. While you can use points, we also have something better. In fact, the software offers multiple loyalty options for flexible and engaging loyalty with shoppers.
  6. BOGO: Increase sales with buy this and get that bundling.
  7. Age checking. Giving you the operational structured protection to ensure your front line people are guided to trade within the rules.
  8. Chemical risk notification by products.
  9. Product care information. This is where you can personalise advice to products and thereby better serve your customers, and differentiate your retail business.
  10. Local location product use information.
  11. Warranty: Track details and leverage this for customer service.
  12. Bring them back: Target market for birthdays, anniversaries and more.
  13. Sell anywhere: Using our Retailer RoamTM sell anywhere app.
  14. Sell anytime: With our Shopify / Magento / Woo integrations.
  15. Image flowing to online websites – flowing from the POS software.
  16. Special orders: Easily manage special customer orders.
  17. Jeweller specific product labels.
  18. Outdoor, weatherproof, product labels.
  19. The ability to design your own product labels.
  20. The ability to design your own receipts.
  21. Awesome loyalty: Guide one-time and regular shoppers to spend more.
  22. Seasonal reordering: Easily reorder inventory based on seasonal sales.
  23. Integrate direct with Xero.
  24. Integrate direct with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, this includes the feeding of images of inventory items to these platforms for easy online selling.

This is not the complete list. Our POS software is packed with specialty tools through which indie small business retailers can differentiate and deliver more useful outcomes to the business, those who work in the business and to customers of the business.

Our goal is to empower small business retailers with tools that encourage and nurture, tools that are at the core of the business, appreciated, loved and respected. Those are our goals for our POS software and the services we offer our specialty retail customers.


Click & collect easy for small business retailers with Shopify connected POS software

Click & collect is the buzzword retailers are talking about and have been talking about for several years. Too often, the talk is ignorant.

What is click & collect? It is when a shopper makes a purchase online and they travel to a store and collect the item. The online purchase is the click and the in-store pickup is the collect.

Click & collect is fundamental in any retail business today as it enhances the shopper experience and shopper efficiency. It also enables retail businesses to better manage time and resources in-store.

\Also, in 2020, being the year that it is, click & collect makes for safe retail, contactless retail.

In a click & collect scenario, the shopper chooses what they want online, browsing store inventory and making their selection. They pay on line, too. The goods are gathered together and set up ready for the shopper to collect in-store or even through curbside collection arrangement, meaning they might not even have to leave their vehicle. This is the ultimate click & collect situation, the ultimate convenient shopping experience.

Click & collect is something we have offered in our small business POS software for years, thanks to our integrations with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. We have helped many retailers bring this experience alive in their single shop situations as well as their multiple shop situations, where shoppers purchase online and can select, if they wish, the location from where they make the collection.

Click & collect is fundamental in retail today, it is a core service, a core consumer expectation and core to the revenue model of many retail businesses. It can be easily managed from the online purchase through to the back end store management.

Tower Systems is pleased to serve small business retailers in the click & collect space, pleased to help these businesses offer this useful and beneficial service as these businesses trade in evolving and unique retail circumstances.

Click & collect has come into its own in 2020 through the greater need for contactless retail. Making it accessible to and understood by small business retailers has been another part of the Tower Systems small business focussed mission, where we help small business retailers more effectively compete with big business.


Newsagency retail sales benchmark study results

Tower Systems has completed another in its series of newsagency retail sales benchmark studies. We have been doing these quarterly for more than 15 years, serving newsagents, their suppliers and others.

We gather the data, collate it, analyse it and share the results widely, in pursuit of a stronger and healthier newsagency channel.

It is a free process for all involved, transparent, too.

This study, like all we have undertaken, reveals trends, from which we and newsagents can learn. Here it is…

The results of the June 2020 quarter newsagency retail sales benchmark show the extent to which COVID-19 is impacting businesses.

There are winners and losers.

  • The winners are regional and high street retailers.
  • The losers are shipping centre based retailers.

Looking at comprehensive retail sales data from 137 newsagencies for April – June 2020 compared to April – June 2019, the results underscore the value of the retail newsagency channel to local communities. This is a same-store comparison, making the results meaningful. FYI, I removed stores that were closed for any time in the reporting periods.

Data include a mix of rooftops from several brands. The benchmark includes data from businesses using the Tower newsagency software and several who are not.

Given the extraordinary gap in performance, I share the results separately, because reporting them as one dataset does not make sense.

Shopping centre based retail newsagencies.

  • Transaction count change: down 42%.
  • Revenue change: down 36%.
  • Basket size change: up 11%.
  • Newspaper unit sales: down 15%.
  • Magazine unit sales: down 21%.
  • Cards revenue: down 27%.
  • Stationery revenue:  down 11%.
  • Gift revenue: down 45%.
  • Toy revenue: down 42%.
  • Puzzle revenue: up 5%. A quarter of reporting businesses sell puzzles.
  • Instant lottery revenue: up 9%. Half reporting businesses have lotteries.
  • Lottery revenue:  down 5%.

A note about shopping centre data. The dataset in small, just under 10% of respondents. However, the gap between respondents is small.

High street newsagencies.

  • Transaction count change: down 5%.
  • Revenue change: up 27%.
  • Basket size change: up 20%.
  • Newspaper unit sales: down 5%. early din, there was a jump, which has disappeared.
  • Magazine unit sales: up 5%.
  • Cards revenue: up 7%. There are pockets of success – female birthday and thank you cards, in particular.
  • Stationery revenue:  up 13%. Homeschooling and home office, of course.
  • Gift revenue: up 25%. Some categories are down while others, like nesting products, are in triple-digit growth.
  • Toy revenue: up 13%.
  • Puzzle revenue: up 150%. Less than half reporting businesses sell puzzles.
  • Instant lottery revenue: up 16%. Just over half reporting businesses have lotteries.
  • Lottery revenue:  up 4%.

A note about this high street data: it includes regional and rural as well as suburban high street. The performance of regional and rural is considerably better than suburban high street for the most part. How much, you ask? Around 33% better is my response.


Plenty of regional and high street newsagents are embarrassed to be reporting such good numbers. Their growth while other businesses nearby are struggling makes them not want to be too open about their success. Even within the newsagency channel there are those in growth who do not want to talk about it with newsagents who are way down.

A moving feast.

Looking at early July data, I’d note that it would be wrong to lock the April – June  results into a view for the long term. We are certainly in a period of significant change. The next quarter results could be different again.

What have we learned from the last 3 and 6 months?

  • Shopping local has been embraced.
  • The high street feels safer than a shopping mall.
  • Newsagencies are trusted and appreciated businesses.
  • Our channel is essential.
  • A newsagency is a good business to own overall.

While we have learned more, this list is my key points.

Finally, we are grateful to all newsagents who shared their data for inclusion in this study.


Tower Systems helps Australian retailers to promote Australian made

Using our Australian made POS software, retailers can themselves easily promote Australian made in their businesses.  We are proud to offer these facilities and more through with retailers can pitch local with consistency to shoppers.


Beautiful POS software connected Shopify websites from Tower Systems

We have delivered more beautiful and commercially engaged Shopify websites connected to our POS software for small business retailers. Here are some of the recent new websites launched by our partner retailers:

We have close to fifty new websites currently under development.

Our web development experts are skilled in development using Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce. This is in addition to us developing in native mode using multiple such tech platforms.

From the simple to the complex, the single store to multiple group businesses, we can deliver web based solutions to small business retailers to help them sell online locally, nationally and internationally -in local currency as well as through overseas currency.

Web development here at Tower Systems follows a structured process that is driven by the outcomes sought by the client retail business. We work to serve these needs from the outset, whether it is an information site, an e-commerce site, offering click and collect, delivery or other fulfilment of online orders.

Through consultation, our small business retail clients can imagine their needs and we can help them fulfil these needs and do so on a platform that can evolve as the online experiences of the business evolves. It is an iterative process that works beautifully for small business retailers and their team members.

Click here to access a quick questionnaire that helps you determine your own business needs for a website. Many of our customers have found completing this questionnaire helpful and informative.

To find out more, please speak with one of our experts:

Buying Australian developed and supported POS software for your business and having your business website developed in Australia is good for the Aussie tech sector. The more we all shop local the better.


Best loyalty software for small business retailers


We are proud of the loyalty software we have developed for and sell to small business retailers.

Our loyalty software is easy to use, smart, flexible and business building.

Our loyalty software helps small business retailers differentiate from big businesses. It is built for small business retail and offers tremendous flexibility and value.

Why do we say our, loyalty software is the best loyalty software? It is what customers tell us. They tell us they have used other systems, points based systems, card stamping systems and more and they have found our loyalty software built into our smart POS software to be the best loyalty software they have seen. The love it and recommend it.

Jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, homewares stores, gift shops, toy shops, newsagents, pet stores and more all have told us that what we offer is the best loyalty software. We believe them of course. But we do not stop there. Our loyalty software is enhanced, improved and tested in myriad retail situations, to be better and even more loved and useful in helping small business retailers compete with big retail businesses.

What makes it the best loyalty software for retail businesses? Here are the factors that we think matter:

  • Ease of setup.
  • Ease of use.
  • Ease of understanding by customers.
  • Ease of tweaking / adjustment.
  • Flexibility: cash or points based.
  • That you can treat different customers differently.
  • That you evolve it as you need within the business.
  • Strong reporting.
  • The ability to encourage change to shopper behaviour.

That list is a simple list. We could go on. However, these points are the headlines, the reasons why we say the loyalty facilities in the Tower Systems POS software make for the best loyalty software.

Our focus is on small business retailers, niche retailers, specialty retailers who serve specific retail channels. Our software is nuanced as are our loyalty facilities, aiming to help these retail businesses to more successfully and enjoyably serve the needs of retail businesses.

Loyalty software is 2020 is very different to even a few years ago. Today it is smart, engaging, flexible and useful beyond calculating points. Loyalty software is helping businesses drive genuine loyalty, on which they can bank into the future of the business.


Australian newsagents are the core of local Aussie towns through COVID-19

Aussie newsagents have been critical in local towns and cities through COVID-19. While plenty of businesses have closed or gone into hibernation, the local newsagency, or newsagents as many call them, has been open, trading and supporting the local community.

The thing is, the newsagents is not what it used to be. News has taken a back seat in these evolving retail businesses as other products have come to the fore, making the local newsagents more valuable and useful to people in local communities, especially regional communities.

Sure, newspapers and magazines still play a role and they are the news part of the name, the reality is that in terms of overall business contribution and value, they lie outside of news, our side of that part of the newsagents name.

Many newsagency businesses have evolved deeply, into gifts, homewares, home office solutions, games, toys, jigsaws, nesting products, comfort products, art supplies and more. The local newsagency is less about the news and the agency and more about helping people enjoy themselves, helping them relax, helping them create and helping them find their voice.

The newsagents of yesterday is the place of happiness, joy and communication today.

Whether it is a greeting card, journal, art supplies, a candle, a thro rug, a scarf or local Aussie essential oils, a newsagency is a fresh and innovative business delivering local town access to a diverse range of products in service of local community needs.

Tower Systems is proud to serve more than 1,700 newsagents with its newsagency software, software used by more newsagents than all other software companies combined. We take that leadership role seriously and respectfully, helping newsagents to reach the potential of their local area opportunities.

Whether it is in-store or online, our newsagency POS software is helping newsagents to transact where there need to and when they need to, accurately, efficiently. It is also helping them to find new shoppers as new shoppers are the lifeblood of any business. Indeed, we are grateful to smart newsagents for walking this path of innovation and opportunity with us.

The 2020 of corona is challenging. For newsagents it has been a year of opportunity and it is a thrill to see so many step up to that opportunity in service of their local communities.


Why we switched to Xero for our retail businesses

We switched to Xero for our 3 retail businesses and connected it to our POS software. This Xero connected POS software solution is a time saver, mistake eliminator and business planning aid all wrapped into one.

But let’s take a step back and consider why we switched to Xero for our retail business accounting needs.

  • Xero is easy to use.
  • Xero is integrated with our POS software.
  • Xero saves time managing the accounting side of the business.
  • Xero fits retail businesses like a comfortable glove.
  • Xero support is easy to access.
  • Xero continues to evolve.
  • And we will say again, Xero is integrated with our POS software.

We have had experience with Quicken as well as with MYOB. Considering all three, we prefer Xero. Our accountant prefers Xero too as does our in-house accounting team, which includes a CPA.

It is for these reasons that we chose to switch to Xero.

The process itself was straight forward. We were nervous, did a trial run, checked the data and then did it again, this time live. We have never looked back, never worried that we missed out. It was the right move for us in a back office sense and in terms of overall business management. Xero, connected with our POS software, is a good small business retail solution. We like it and thanks too our own experience in our three shops we can recommend it based in. genuinely personal experience.

We have nothing against MYOB or Quicken. Our Xero choice is based on our own evidence, based on our own experiences. We think this matters if we are asked for a recommendation by a retailer. If we are asked, it is Xero. If no one asks, we do not interfere in that our POS software can be connected to Xero directly and MYOB through a third party that keeps up to date with MYOB changes.

Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company. We are retailers too, using our software in our own shops, providing us and our team members with experiences that are truly valuable to what we do and how we do it with and for our customers every day. We walk in your shoes.


The covid pivot opportunity for specialty retailers that attracts new shoppers

Specialty retailers are specialty for a reason, they go deep into a product category, as you would expect from a specialist.

The challenge for specialty retailers is that their specialisation attracts shoppers interested in and buying for their specialty product category. This is good in the usual world. In this corona world with movement challenged, specialisation can be challenging for local businesses.

This is why we think the covid pivot opportunity for specialty retailers can be helpful. We are not suggesting retailers seek to profit from corona or that they are profiteering. Rather, through a covid pivot, we are encouraging small business retailers to broaden the appeal of their businesses, to make their businesses more attractive beyond the community they currently serve.

A covid pivot could see a business remain the same to shoppers who visit and that it uses the back office infrastructure to serve an online only operation in their covid pivot strategy. This can see the business leverage existing overhead of space, labour and accounting infrastructure to effectively open a new business and through this to find new shoppers.

This type of covid pivot move can make the business more resilient through a time of change or challenge, like corona.

We think a covid pivot is a smart move for specialty retail as it spreads the risk, strengthens the foundations of the business and provides learning opportunities that themselves could help the business further evolve.

Using business data, smart tech and POS software connected websites, a specialty retail business can find, through a covid pivot, new customers, new efficiencies and new energy for forward momentum and this is the core goal … taking those steps ahead.

The whole corona situation is challenging. It would be easy to sit and wallow., and we get that for some that is what they choose. In covid pivot our focus is on pursuing forward momentum and doing this through a data driven and tech implemented pivot for the business for a better back half of 2020 and a solid 2021.

Bottom line: there is good news out there for specialty retailers who are making these opportunities for themselves through a covid pivot. We are sincerely grateful to have seen plenty do this, plenty find new shoppers and plenty learn new skills and categories through to expand what are effectively new start up businesses within their specialty businesses.


Helping Aussie newsagents embrace the covid pivot

The covid pivot is no more real that what we are seeing in Aussie newsagency businesses this year as they embrace change and adjust their businesses to attract new shoppers.

What is the covid pivot you say? It is that move by a business into new products, new services or onto a new platform through which they seek to attract shoppers who would otherwise not shop with the business. That is why it is a pivot. the covid part is that it provides the need, encouragement and / or cover for the change.

The covid pivot moves we are seeing newsagents make include:

  • Moving online with POS software connected Shopify websites. We have seen newsagents open up online baby shops, food service businesses, homewares businesses, made in Australia offers, fashion, services, high end collectibles and more.
  • Bringing in new product categories. This being done in-store to turn the business s90 degrees and more in pursuit of shoppers who might otherwise not have shopped the shop.
  • Offering new services. We have seen newsagents move into screen printing, office services, hot dusking and more as they serve the needs of more people working locally.
  • Location flexibility. We have seen newsagents take their businesses on the road, to shoppers who cannot get out safely because of the corona. By selling from the car or van, safely, distanced, but with full POS software access for accurate transacting.
  • Doing the Marie Kondo. Cutting back, removing products and services that do not sign joy. these moves are a pinot, too, as the business de-clutters, freeing space and capital for other operations and opportunities.
  • Re-casting. This piece of the covid pivot is the business re-positioning what it sells and how it sells. Taking singles and bundling. Reimagining loyalty. And similar moves to take what you have and freshen it so it is noticed by more people.

These are some of the examples we have seen of newsagents engaging in the covid pivot opportunities. Covid pivot is a term we started using months ago to describe this action, this movement of adjustment in a business to seek opportunities through with to broaden the appeal of the business.

More newsagents are embracing the covid pivot to change their businesses and to set them for an even brighter future outside of corona. Opportunities are endless.

We are grateful to the 1,700+ newsagents in our user community who embrace our software and services. Thank you for your business and thank you for being with us on this crazy 2020 journey.


What the second Victorian corona lockdown is showing small business retailers

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.


Tower Systems helps small business retailers pivot to online with POS software connected Shopify sites

More and more small business retailers are embracing the pivot to online as covid continues to impact in-store traffic. The covid pivot is more about getting online, for sure. It is about small business retailers finding new category opportunities to serve through their existing business operation.

That is the covid pivot, a turn for the business to attract new shoppers and to do this through an online model that leverages existing physical store infrastructure.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve small business retailers in making this covid Pivot, helping them to connect their POS software to a beautiful Shopify site created by our web developers.

Our suggestions cover the technical, operational and the creative. Our customers choose what they want for their businesses. All we can do is speak to our experiences and the experiences of others in making these moves. New are especially attuned to helping small business retailers looking for pivot opportunities as that is net new benefit for them, helping to drive efficiency of their overall business operation.

The covid pivot is real in business, especially small business and even more especially small business retail. covid pivot is a term we have been using since March to describe advice we have provided to small business retailers to encourage and guide their actions to attract new shoppers.

As developers of small business focussed POS software and as web developers of Shopify and Magento websites we are well positioned from these two parts of our company to deliver the tech infrastructure ideal for helping retailers make the most of a covid pivot move.

Jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, fishing and outdoors businesses, toy shops, pet shops, homewares businesses, newsagents and more are all benefiting from the advice and encouragement we offer in this model of the covid pivot to find new shopper traffic for any retail business. Guiding these businesses to make an online move is key and beneficial.  It is timely because of covid even though the need and opportunity were always there.

The covid pivot is defined as the move you make in business in response to, because of and / or thanks to covid to help strengthen the business in an area not historically familiar to you. It is smart, opportunistic and timely. New customers are out there for businesses that pivot to find them.


UPDATED: state and territory covid grants for small businesses

This is an up to date (as at July 8, 2020) list of state and territory government Covid related grants. There are some new opportunities in this mix compared to what we have shared previously.

Click on the state / territory name for their landing page. Then, where possible, I have links to specific current grants.

Do your research as to eligibility. If you are eligible, do it now as waiting could see you miss out and there will be no point complaining then.

We have sourced this list ourselves, by researching the online information for each state and territory. We help retailers applying if their application relates to anything they may wish to purchase through us.

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