Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: newsagency software (page 1 of 57)

Retailers loving POS software video meetings

We are grateful for the terrific feedback from the regular on-line video meetings we have been hosting for the last few months.

While online training has been part of our pitch for years, the increased frequency in this COVID-19 impacted world has helped many retailers stay connected.

From discussing our Shopify and Magento integrations to training in our new software to talking general business topics, we are helping small business retailers connect and this is critical in this shut in world we have right now.

Leveraging our commercial resources to help independent and small business retailers like this is core to what Tower Systems stands for. We will keep it up. We appreciate the terrific support from current and future customers.

This week we have more sessions scheduled including a general COVID-19 discussion among business owners.

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POS software connected websites, made locally

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Next generation POS software for specialty retailers

2020 has been a huge year for us, and not because of the coronavirus. No, earlier this year we released R3, next generation POS software for independent specialty retailers. R3 delivers on a new tech platform, a new database platform and a new look and feel. The reaction from our 3,000+ customer community has been terrific.

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How our POS software company is supporting small business retailers through COVID-19

We are grateful to our 3,000+ small business retail customers for their support.

Today at Tower Systems it is business as usual with the majority of our retailers open for business as essential services. Farm supply, produce, garden (veggie) centres, fishing and newsagency businesses are all providing healthy, safe and appreciated services to local.

To help them in unique times we have:

  1. Make our Retailer Roam portable POS software free.
  2. Made it free to relocate to a home office.
  3. Free extra licences for an additional location.
  4. Frozen support fees.
  5. Maintained full help desk services.
  6. Introduces a fast track service for POS software connected websites.
  7. Started delivering even more free online training.
  8. Moved our operations to team member homes for maximum safety.
  9. Guided retailers on ways to work on their business during a slow time.
  10. Hosting live small business retailer meetings – enabling retailers to connect with each other as a mental health support.
  11. Offering more personal support to indie retailers.

All of these things and more help our small business retailer community and right now there world is depending on small business retailers, they are genuinely the backbone of the economy, providing work, produce and other necessary items for sustenance – physically and emotionally.

Thanks to our advanced remote support and training services we are thrilled to be installing new rooftops through this, expanding our customer base as retailers select software made for their type of business. Our experts can train people in our software using smart tools – we have been doing this for years.

2020 is the year of small business. While big businesses are shutting, small business retailers are trading with safety and certainty. They are doing this as a community service first. Not profiting. Not being greedy., many are doing it with the owners themselves running the businesses. This is what small business owners do – they serve their communities in times of need.

Safety is the key. We see small business retailers being careful about customer contact in-store. Many are offering curbside pickup or home delivery – our software works a treat supporting this.

To our customers and our team members, thank you. All of us in small business are helping many people in our communities.

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Advice for designated essential retail businesses

Here are some tips for your consideration should your retail business be designated an essential business in the looming lockdown. We hope they are useful:

At some point, retailers around you will be shut down for a time. If you are designated essential, the move will see affected retailers possibly upset at your favoured treatment for the newsagency channel, upset at you that you are open.

Your focus needs to be on how to adjust your business to the changing conditions. That does not mean going all out to rake in as much cash as possible. Rather, our advice is that you modestly adjust the business to serve the needs of locals. Those shop permitted to remain open could serve broader needs through this time

Look around and plan now for modest moves you could make to broaden the appeal of the business. Our advice is that you focus on categories you are already in – but with an expanded range, or products that fit with categories you already serve today.

We think stores remaining open need to make significant shop floor moves, to reflect the needs of the tougher circumstances and to demonstrate your respect for these as well as the wellbeing of shoppers and your team.

  1. Change your shop to look different. You are moving from open and competitive retail to special circumstance retail, essential service retail – there is a big difference. Making your shop look fundamentally different is very important.
  2. Create more space for shoppers to move around safely. Consider policing at the door how many enter.
  3. If appropriate, consider and entrance and an exit.
  4. Move destination products to the front of the shop.
  5. Pitch popular products at the counter. 
  6. Reset the counter. De-clutter. Keep essentials there. Have a thoughtfully selected range of impulse items. but, again, do not clutter the counter.
  7. Cashless. We urge you to encourage customers to pay by a card.  Click here for advice on how to safely remove hand gloves.
  8. Staff safety. We urge you to provide staff with gloves and the request they are changed every hour and that the outside of the gloves are regularly hand sanitised.
  9. Make the counter safer. Consider installing a perspex counter to further protect.
  10. Hand sanitiser freely available.
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How our POS software encourages optimism in small business retailers

Every day in our POS software company we are grateful to see and hear wonderful examples of optimism in small business retail.

From a boost in foot traffic to an increase in sales revenue to an increase in the overall average gross profit percentage achieved in a business, the stories are inspiring.

These are stories backed by good business data, data cultivated in the POS software.

We are thrilled to play a part of helping independent small business retailers realise their dreams through our software. We are grateful for the opportunity to share optimism among our customers.

These good and optimistic stories help others navigate change and lean into opportunities through which they can themselves find good news, find optimism.

There is plenty of good news out there for small business retail.

Optimism matters because it fuels small businesses, retail businesses that are independent of the usual support networks big businesses can access. We preference small businesses and do work hard ton help and encourage them to be stronger, better and happier laces, more optimistic places.

In one situation we learned how a retailer using our software achieved thousands of dollars of incremental business in a three month period by using a facility they had never used before. By turning on this facility in their software, for no additional cost, they were able to achieve sales they were up until then losing. This was done with no increase in inventory investment.

Small business retailers can increase sales through smart shopper engaging tools in our software. Beyond the usual help desk facilities, we enjoy talking business management with our customers – to help them leverage even more value from their relationship with us.

Here at Tower Systems our focus is solely on independent small business retailers in a select number of retail channels. This helps us provide specialist advice to our specialist retailers.

We are grateful to be able to help small business retailers cultivate and harvest business data for optimistic business outcomes. Beyond the software, we help businesses and the people who rely on the businesses for shelter and food on the table. It’s the small business way.

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Xero connected POS software helps small business retailers cut mistakes

Every keystroke in business is a possible mistake. Cutting keystrokes cuts mistakes. This is one reason our POS software integration with Xero is awesome for indie retailers. It cuts keystrokes, saving time and cutting mistakes.

Thanks to the POS software Xero link and thanks to the supplier connected EDI facilities in our POS software, retailers are able to arrive invoices and have these pass through to Xero without the need to key invoices into the POS software or into the accounting software.

Accuracy is everything is business. Tower Systems helps facilitate accuracy through supplier relationships as well as through the Xero link from within the POS software

The Xero integration designed by Tower Systems, working with the folks at Xero, makes it easy for small business retailers to cut accounting paperwork and thereby tap into time and money saving benefits.

We use our Xero integrated POS software ourselves. This enables us to provide practical advice on how to benefit the most from Xero and our POS software working together.

Our customers have access to our in-house accounting services, to provide a professional accounting perspective on the link and how to get the most from it.

Our POS software Xero link is well established and widely used. We are grateful to our retail business customers for their faith and support in using this link in their businesses daily.

Tower Systems is a unique POS software company. In addition to serving 3,500+ small business retailers, we own and operate several retail businesses as live test sites. Our in-house CPA manages the accounts for these retail businesses.

There are versions of the software serving the business specific needs of:

  • Bike shops.
  • Garden Centres.
  • Book shops.
  • Gift Shops.
  • Homewares Shops.
  • Produce businesses.
  • Fishing and Outdoors shops.
  • Toy Shops.
  • Confectionery Retail.
  • Stationery retail.
  • Pet Shops.
  • Pet Grooming.
  • Newsagencies.
  • Whole Foods Grocers.
  • Swimming Pool Supplies.
  • Firearms Retail.
  • Adult Shops.

Linking directly to Xero enhances the time-saving gained through the software as well as facilitating the accuracy of data managed by the software.

Our Xero link provides for a data feed of sales as well as purchases.

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Shopify connected POS software

Here’s a new video from us from a week ago overing advice on POS software connected websites:

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Online user forum brings together small business retail POS software users

Today we are hosting an online user forum for independent small business retailers across Australia and New Zealand to talk business.

This free ranging and open forum is another enamour series of facilitating opportunities for small business retailers to talk to each other. That it is online makes it easier for these retailers to connect without a cost or disruption of travel.

Today’s online forum will include discussion on:

  1. Life after the bushfires.
  2. The economy and its impact on local small retail businesses.
  3. The Coronavirus challenge.
  4. Ideas for stimulating your retail business.
  5. The single most effective tool in the POS software to drive sales.
  6. Free POS software training.

Open to any retailer using our software, the meeting will be recorded and made available to all Tower Systems customers.

We are grateful to all who will participate as it is contributions from everyday retailers that makes meetings like this useful for all.

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Small business retailers love unlimited free POS software training

Tower Systems is proud to provide small business and indie retailers using our  POS software with to free one on one training in the use of the POS software regardless of the version of the software they are using.

Yes, that’s right. Free training. Free one-on-one training. In our POS software. Delivered anywhere in Australia or New Zealand.

We do this because we know that free training makers for more knowledgeable POS software users and more knowledgeable POS software users are happier users and that is good for us too.

There are no strings to this free POS software training offer for small business retailers.

This is a genuine offer by the POS software company to help indie retailers using the Tower Systems software to get more from the software, to unlock tangible benefits for their businesses and for themselves.

It is rare that a POS software company provided free training to any customer, especially those who might have bought the software years ago and not paid for software support for many years. But that is what Tower Systems has delivered with this offer. That is what the company now has available for its customers.

To book for a free training session, all Tower Systems POS software customers need do is email bookings@towersystems.com.au and our training booking team will find out the topics you would like covered in the training, determine the best person to co9ver these areas of the software for you and arrange a time for the free training session.

Our hope its to drive business efficiency, business profitability and business enjoyment for all involved. We know that these are common outcomes from the POS software training that we have provided and can provide in a variety of business situations.

We create, sell, support and enhance POS software for specialty retailers: jewellers, garden centres, produce, toy, firearms, fishing, outdoors, newsagents, pet, gift, book, bike and adult. The free training offer is for retailers in these retail channels, regardless of the age of their POS software, regardless of whether they are covered by a software support agreement.

We are grateful to be in a position to make this investment in our small business user community.

If you know a business using our POS software, please let them know about  this free offer from us. Everyone is welcome!

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Here’s a practical, local, small business economic stimulus package for suburban and regional Australia

Every election, politicians say that small business is the lifeblood of Australia. Then, after the election, they forget about small business. No wonder trust in politicians by Australian voters is low.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Not just retail businesses, but all small businesses. Oh, and by small, we mean locally owned businesses turning over $2M or less that are not part of a larger group.

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 on capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. It could be for paining, carpentry, electrical, staff training or similar. Proof of local spending is to be 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. Spending could be focussed: painting, electrical, carpentry, flooring, repairs. 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 supports. 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 turnover, ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the cam pain at three months assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. to an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  3. Direct all politician electorate spending to be with local small businesses. For printing, subscriptions, gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  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 gets people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

The current disinterest by politicians in practical support for local small businesses has us on a path of business closures. Urgent action is needed to engage locals in supporting local businesses.

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Awesome POS software loyalty tool helps local small business retailers differentiate from big businesses and online

Points are dead in retail loyalty rewards. They have dubious value. Everyone offers them. They serve the businesses more than the shoppers.

While our awesome specialty retail POS software offers points based loyalty, it is our other loyalty offer that retailers and shoppers love. It’s unique, based on real value, able to be setup for no cost and is easy to adjust as the business needs change.

Better still, this unique and game-changing approach to loyalty offers one-time or rare shoppers an opportunity to spend more in a visit, making that one-0time list more valuable to the retailer. It encourages greater spending. It shows the way.

Big businesses don’t copy this unique approach to loyalty because it does not work for their selfish business model. It is differentiating for indie retailers, especially local retailers who are competing with big businesses.

Tower systems pioneered this fresh approach to loyalty in 2013. We have tweaked the loyalty tool in pour POS software since, keeping it fresh and ensuring that it serves the needs of our retail partners.

In competing with online, this loyalty tool is an easy winner. It appreciates the shoppers in-store in a way that online cannot do. It encourages, respects and appreciates those in your shop today and that alone can be the trigger to get them even more engaged with your shop.

It is that simple and successful. We have hundreds of success stories with this tool.

Points are dead if you want your business to compete. Tower Systems offers tech built into our POS software and we back this with business training and advice on implementation. It is genuinely a game changer, a unique loyalty solution fort small business retailers.

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

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

A good loyalty system will be loved by shoppers.

A good loyalty system offers shoppers flexibility.

A good loyalty system has little or no management overhead.

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

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

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

What we offer embedded in our Tower Systems POS software is an awesome solution, ready for use in any type of shop.

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More POS software connected Shopify sites live

We are grateful for the opportunity to deliver more POS software connected Shopify websites to our community of indie small business retailers. Our work has continued apace through the Aussie summer, bring more sites live and helping retailers to leverage the online opportunity.

While we have skills with PHP development as well as WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify, it is our Shopify work that is delivering terrific rapid results for indie retailers.

From pet shops, to jewellers, to garden centres to produce businesses to gift shops and more, our POS software connected Shopify sites are delivering solutions to our retail business partners that they leverage into new shopper traffic opportunities. At core here is our focus to help our customers make more money, to make their businesses more valuable.

The Tower Systems web development team is skilled in WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify. The company has plenty of sites it can show in a live portfolio of successful e-commerce sites, serving shoppers in Australia and internationally.

Small business retailers can benefit from the retail management experience at Tower Systems experience that helps deliver a more retail focussed solution.

The Tower web team is also skilled at SEO and SEM services that help raise the website rankings in key search engines, ensuring the site is found ahead of others.

But best of all, Tower Systems provides professional advice and guidance to small business retailers keen to build their online presence. Our commitment is honest transparent advice on which any small business retailer can rely.

Shopify is one of the easiest ways to setup and run an ecommerce store.  We think it provides you with the ideal place to create you first website and gain experience in the world of ecommerce.  You have complete control over the look and feel of your online store and can instant access fantastic look themes to reflect the personality of your business. For more information visit

The Retailer POS software to Shopify Link uses the Tower Advantage Link platform to allow our Retailer POS software to connect directly to your Shopify store.  The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the Shopify API.

The link works by using the Tower platform platform to connect to the Shopify API and synchronise your data.

Retailer is your master stock database.  You flag what stock items you want to appear on your shopify store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your titles and descriptions in Shopify. Newly flagged products are automatically added and if you edit items in Retailer you have field level control over how these are handled in Shopify.

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Australian newsagents prefer our POS software over any other

Recently, independently verified, Tower Systems serves more newsagents with newsagency POS software than any other POS software company.

While the newsagency channel has challenges, there is plenty of good news … growth stories, transformations, good wins and new owners.

This is a retail channel in the midst of extraordinary opportunistic transformation.

Switching your business to the industry standard Tower Systems newsagency software is not expensive. If you have current hardware, the cost can be as low as $2,400 a year thanks to interest free finance from us for 3 years.

11 more newsagents chose the Tower Systems software in the last 3 months. We are grateful for their support of our newsagency software. We serve more than 1,750 newsagency businesses.

We help newsagents evolve their businesses into new products, through awesome loyalty tools and online.

We offer low low EFTPOS rate. One newsagent is $200.00 a month better off while another, in regional Australia, is more than $250.00 a month better off.

We continue to own and operate newsagency businesses ourselves and have done since 1996. This helps us make better software for you.

  • Compliant with industry standards, using our software you can meet criteria for getting onto the no physical returns program with Ovato.
  • Electronic invoices are a breeze.
  • Selling online is easy and sell more regardless of your local population.
  • Offer buy now pay later with Humm, Zip Pay.
  • Our innovative front-end loyalty facilities help you differentiate your business, drive deeper baskets and bring shoppers back sooner.
  • Training long after you install is easy to access and free.

Our software can work with you as you evolve your product mix. Whether it is into hospitality, services, produce, repairs, online or more, our software has facilities that help make your business more relevant to today’s shopper.

Integrations can also help you cut operating costs, such as bookkeeping fees. We can help you eliminate double and triple handling. We link direct to Xero, for example.

Switching is not expensive. Included is …

  • The latest Tower Systems newsagency software.
  • On-site installation and training by a newsagency business expert.
  • Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  • Software support for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Software updates for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  • Unlimited over the phone follow up training for the first three years.
  • Access to an awesome online knowledge base with articles & advice.
  • Access to weekly group live online training workshops.
  • Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss any topic.

Tower Systems is grateful to the many newsagents in its community.

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Advice from our POS software co. on how local retail businesses can be more local

Being local in retail is more important in 2020 than ever.  The challenge is how to be local authentically.

Local can mean different things to different people – it does not necessarily mean proximity. Being local could be about the level of care and attention you provide customers, the additional advice you provide, that you live locally, that you source locally or that you serve the local community personally. It can also be about locally sourced products.

Locally sourced products could be products made anywhere in Australia. For example, detailing where a product is made and the family behind it pitches local compared to a similar product imported from overseas. The narrative matters as it plays into local.

Small business retailers can use the retail POS software from Tower Systems to pitch local in a range of ways:

  1. Include notes on receipts. Add product care instructions, use instructions or other useful information automatically on receipts – making your receipt a useful information platform.
  2. Tell people where you source products. For a product made by a family or small business in Australia, include details on the receipt. Shine a light on this local product – provide extra information so your shoppers can feel more locally connected.
  3. Include a SHOP LOCAL pitch. Add an image of a poster or some other promotion of the benefits of shop local to every receipt, reinforcing the value of shopping local. Tower Systems has images you can use for free – in the downloads section of our website.
  4. Thank your customers. Include text personally thanking customers shopping with you. Put our name to the message. Include your mobile. Big businesses do not do this.
  5. Track local product sales. Be aware of suppliers of locally made products and report on the performance of these through various reporting tools.
  6. Thanks for shopping local vouchers. You can use the discount voucher facilities in the software and call them Thanks for shopping local or Local shopping reward. This reinforces a value for shopping with a local business – offering $$ discount off the next purchase based on rules you establish.

It is not enough to tell people to shop local, you need to demonstrate the value of this, you need to live it transactionally in your retail business. The best way to do this is through systems and processes in your POS software.

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Newsagency sales benchmark study results

We are grateful to all the newsagents who shares their sales data for inclusion in this important benchmark study.

Growth opportunities on show in 2019 vs. 2018 full year newsagency sales benchmark study results.

SUMMARY
Newsagency businesses in the benchmark study data pool focussed on new traffic generators fared well in 2019 compared to the performance of traditional newsagency businesses. 4 of the 5 traditional categories experienced year on year declines while all of the new product categories delivered growth.

Newsagencies focussed on change through new product categories are the future of the channel. New product categories usually offer a significantly better margin, better sell-through rate and better basket efficiency compared to traditional newsagency lines.

New product categories will evolve, too. What is strong today will be challenged by another category tomorrow. Change, substantial change is the new normal in retail.

THE DATASET
This newsagency sales benchmark study represents a comparison of sales data from 161 newsagency businesses for the 2018 and 2019 calendar years. These businesses are representative: city and country, high street and mall, banner groups and independent. The only thing connecting the businesses is that they use the Tower newsagency software. Note: Each data point below is the average, mean, of all data for the data point.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE METRICS.

  • Transaction count. Down 3.5%.
  • Sales revenue. Down 5%.
  • Basket depth. Down 3%.
  • Basket dollar value. Down 3%.

CORE PRODUCTS.

  • Newspapers. Over the counter unit sales. Down 10.5%.
  • Magazines. Over the counter unit sales. Down 12.5%.
  • Greeting cards. Revenue. Down 3.5%.
  • Stationery. Revenue. Down 9%.
  • Lotteries. Revenue. Up 23%.
  • Tobacco. Revenue. Down 19%.
  • Agency. Parcels, gift cards, betting account top-up. Down 4%.

SPECIALTY PRODUCTS.

  • Gifts. Revenue. Up 11%.
  • Toys. Revenue. Up 7%. Includes puzzles.
  • Plush. Revenue. Up 6%.
  • Collectibles. Revenue. Up 5%.
  • Craft. Revenue. Up 3%.
  • Coffee. Revenue. Up 17%.
  • Books. Revenue. Up 6%.
  • Calendars. Revenue. Up 6%.

Despite there being plenty of bad news at the department and category level, this latest study reveals plenty of good news. It encourages confidence around pursuing change, embracing new product categories and leveraging these to help redefine the focus of the business.

While the newsagency shingle remains for many businesses in our channel, movement away from what that shingle has stood for is key to the future.

Print media is a problem.
With margins slim – 25% for magazines and around 12% for papers for many – the impact of the continuing decline in sales is significant. The only to make papers and magazines work is to reduce costs associated switch carrying these products – retail space and labour. Changes here can encourage further decline. This is why more newsagents are wondering when they might quit print.

Unless there is a change to margin percentage and an improvement in magazine cover prices, I suspect more in newsagents will exit print, unfortunately.

The growth categories.
Looking at the product categories for which there was growth – gifts, toys, plush, collectibles, craft, coffee – less than half the businesses in the dataset offered more than two of these. Even with the easy category of gift, more than a 25% of those reporting do not offer gifts, which shocks me.

City vs. Country.
Regional and rural businesses continue to perform better. This is across the board. It has always been thus. I think this is due in part to a lower retail space cost, stronger local shopper support and less competition.

Upside opportunities.
Toys, crafts, coffee, gifts, books and plush offer upside, as has been the case for several years. The best success comes from dealing with suppliers who do not usually supply the newsagency channel. That said, what each of these category labels mean varies significantly between businesses.

The role of online.
While there has been growth in the contribution of online, in an average business it accounts for less than 4% of non lottery revenue. There are some achieving more than 10% but they are small in number. Too many newsagents and missing out on the online opportunity.

Is a newsagency a good investment? 
My answer to this question continues to be yes. There is traffic value remaining in core products and opportunity to leverage this in other product categories.

The success of any newsagency business is more reliant on the retailer than on the channel itself. A poor retailer will run a poor newsagency. A good retailer will run a more successful newsagency.

New traffic, better margin, genuine growth in business valuations all come from focussing on products not recently traditionally aligned with our channel.

I own three newsagencies. I am glad I do. I am pleased with their performance.

Mark Fletcher.
Email: mark@towersystems.com.au  Website: www.towersystems.com.au  Blog: www.newsagencyblog.com.au
M | 0418 321 338

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POS software

POS software is Point Of Sale software. That is, software that a retailer operates at the point of sale, or point of purchase, at the counter, where the cash register used to be.

The thing is, today, in January 2020, POS software is much more than Point Of Sale software. Good software that is. Good, current, smart POS software is about much more than the point of purchase. It is about helping business owners and people who work in retail to better serve customers and through this to earn more business through which the business becomes more valuable.

That is the definition of Point Of Sale software today, in January 2020.

The Tower Systems POS software is smart POS software, portable POS software, shop local focussed POS software.

Accessible from the cloud, the Tower Systems small business POS software helps indie small business retailers compete with big business. It leverages the point of difference of each small business, serving these to the benefit of the businesses using the software.

In addition to the in-store cloud based or desktop versions of the software is Retailer Roam, a truly portent POS software solution that can run anywhere, any time – from a car or truck, a market, a garage or a pop up store.

So, as you can see, the definition of POS software is evolving, just as retail itself is evolving. The inshore and online experiences are merging. Our software serves this from web sales to in store sales to fulfilment to genuine omnichannel solutions. This is what retail needs to offer today.

In 2020, small business retailers want POS software that is flexible, adaptable and capable of helping the businesses better connect locally in ways that are relevant. This is where Tower Systems shines. Sine we only sell, rent or lease our POS software to indie small businesses our retail community is populated with retailers with the local community focus that is differentiating. This helps us help our customers, especially new customers, to serve authentically and deeply.

Good POS software does not stand still. It does evolve. Through regular software updates, Tower systems demonstrates this evolution. We are grateful to our many customers for their suggestions as they offer us a pathway for the continuous evolution of our POS software.

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Claims of a retail apocalypse are grossly overstated

We’ve all seen the headlines, because news outlets are drawn to  the drama of retail closures and challenges. Terms like retail apocalypse and retail armageddon have appeared in stories in recent weeks on the back of a series of challenging news about retail.

These headlines are, in view, inaccurate and unhelpful.

News outlets are quick to run stories forecasting doom and gloom. Often, the stories skate close to the surface without much analysis as to the reasons for closures. This bothers me as understanding the details can be helpful for context, and for mental health for those in retail.

Here are some of the stories already from this year (2020) with notes from usher at Tower Systems  offering context:

  • Harris Scarfe is closing 21 stores. They have been in trouble before. It is a second tier department store with  modest critical mass. It found it hard to be competitive in a marketplace;axe that does not favour depatrment stores. I think their problems are due to department stores overall being in trouble and that they are a small group and therefore less able to weather changing times.
  • EB Games is closing 19 stores as a first step in an international review of physical store retail. I expect there will be more closures. There has been a fundamental shift in how games are sold. {physical stores are not as important as they used to be.
  • Bardot is closing 58 stores. This is a fashion brand that has not maintained relevance.
  • Curious Planet is planning on closing 63 stores. Ever since they list the Australian geographic branding the future has been in doubt.
  • Jeanswest is in administration and is reportedly likely to close 146 stores. Jeanswest sells discount jeans. The biggest group of jeans consumers are looking for more engaged brands than Jeanswest offers. Their differentiation was minimal. They as a business had not kept with the times.
  • Bose is closing 119 stores. They have figured out the commercial benefits of direct online engagement. Offering a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee and costing shipping and other challenges, the company will make more money by closing 199 stores (leases, labour etc) and investing some of that into stronger online marketing.

The Bose move is what we should expect to see more of from international brands consumers trust. They will make more from direct consumer relationships and we think that this has been considered by Bose in their decision making to close physical retail.

Rather than being drawn to the doom and gloom, which is a natural human response on reading reports like these, our time and energy is better spent on ensuring our retail businesses are relevant today.

How do we do that?

Yeah, it is the million dollar question … for which there is no one size fits all answer for every situation.

Here are some tips that we know work from our experiences helping indie small business retailers:

  1. Be the boss. It’s your business. You choose what you sell, who works there, how the business looks and how the business is marketed. Make those decisions like you are in charge.
  2. Be relevant to today’s shopper. It’s likely the shopper is not like you. Too many stores stock what the owners and staff like. That is not a model for the future.
  3. Be different. The more your shop looks like others the less it will stand out.
  4. Provide solutions. It is much harder to convince someone to buy something they do not need, do not like, do not want or do not understand. It is much easier to get them to buy what they like, want, need or understand.
  5. Embrace change. Know that what works today will be different tomorrow.
  6. Treat data as cash. Small business retailers are notoriously bad at managing data. This leads to poor business decisions, which put businesses at risk. Treat data as a valuable asset and make better decisions as a result.

Sure there is tough news out there about retail. There is plenty of good news too.

Tower Systems is a small business focussed POS software company.

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Why small business retail employees love our specialty POS software

The POS software chosen for a small business retail shop matters to the staff, those who work in the business. Too often, however, staff are not consulted as to the POS software chosen for a business yet they are the front line, the people who drive value from the POS software investment.

Tower Systems offers retail staff plenty of learning opportunities with our POS software so that they do not have to rely on retail business owners or managers to learn the software. Our customers can tap into unlimited training. This helps ensure that the front line retail employees can transact with the software accurately, quickly and for maximum benefit for the business.

Front line retail employees tell us they love our software and the support we offer. Collating feedback here are the top benefits retail employees (not managers or business owners) like about our Tower Systems POS software:

  1. That the software is specific to the type of the business, that it is not general software.
  2. Easy to learn.
  3. Easy to get more training.
  4. Friendly and easily accessed support.
  5. Fast at the counter.
  6. The integrations like EFTPOS and other connections that help make the counter more productive.
  7. The structure of processes. There is a commonsense approach that suits live retail operations.
  8. The plain English approach – there are few technical terms.
  9. Fingertip access to information to help make better business decisions.

Any business considering our software and keen for input from front line employees prior to making a decision are welcome to have us demonstrate the software to them, live, using data like you would use in your business. Your staff can process transactions as they would like in the business. This provides you with feedback on the usefulness of the software as assessed by those who work in your retail business on a day to day basis. We think this matters.

If you work in a shop that is considering new POS software, reach out to us. We’d be happy to discuss your needs, to work with you to see if our POS software is a good fit for your business. If it is not in our opinion, we will say so. It starts with you outlining what you are looking for and us demonstrating how our software works to see if we match your needs.

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We urge federal politicians to support a package of initiatives to help stimulate the economies of local Australian towns

The bushfires across Australia are adding economic challenges to small rural and regional towns that were already challenged economically thanks to a soft economy and, in our view, poor leadership on the practical economics front.

We think it is essential for the federal government to engage urgently, practically and authentically to stimulate local economies and to do so blind to politics. Too often we see politicians endorse handouts to mates or based on the possible ballot box impact. Pork barrelling it is called. Right now, at this moment in time, we need no pork barrelling. What we need is stimulation where it is needed and the politicians should play no role in determining where it is needed.

In this post, as we did in November 2019, we call on federal politicians to engage in practical stimulation of small business retail as this will have an urgent, swift, knock-on benefit for local economies.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, small business retail especially.

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.

  1. Direct all politician electorate Christmas spending to be with local small businesses. For gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Local shops refresh grant. Give every local retail business a grant of at least $10,000 with the stipulation that it is spent locally tin capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. Proof of local spending is to be in the form of an invoice from a local tradesperson or company with and ABN and more than a year of trading as recognised by the ATO – to avoid fraud. Spending could be focussed: painting, electrical, carpentry, flooring, repairs. The management of this should be online with quick approval and payment. Note: the $10,000 is suggested as anything less could be cosmetic. The reality is, we’d suggest $15,000 for $20,000. In a small town with ten shops, that would be $200,000 being spent with local contractors and businesses, flowing quickly through the economy.
  4. 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.
  5. Local visual merchandising supports. 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 turnover, ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the cam pain at three months assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. to an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  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 longer. It is offered here as a start, to gets people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

The current disinterest by politicians in practical support for local small businesses has us on a path of business closures. Urgent action is needed to engage locals in supporting local businesses.

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Insights for card retailers on the arrival of the Card Factory in Australia

Here is an in-house produced video we shared with retailers of greeting cards – gift shops, card shops and newsagents – using our POS software about the launch of the successful UK Card Factory in Australia and what it could mean to card retailers.

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/379140327″ width=”500″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; fullscreen” allowfullscreen></iframe>

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13 New Year resolutions for small business retailers using POS software

THIRTEEN 2020 POS SOFTWARE RELATED SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS.

  1. Maintain better quality business data. because data matters, good data helps you make more money.
  2. Order based on actual sales data rather than gut feel. Stop buying stock that will not sell.
  3. Spend more time away from the shop by managing remotely. This is easy with tech.
  4. Eliminate manual processes. Do it.
  5. Take action on theft. The tools are at your fingertips.
  6. Declutter the shop based on the business data.
  7. Delegate more, use the software to help.
  8. Set KPI goals, measure, track and engage.
  9. Learn something new from the software every week.
  10. Establish new rules designed to protect data integrity.
  11. Deal more with suppliers that make doing business easier and less with suppliers that don’t.
  12. Engage in more free training from Tower Systems.
  13. Ask Tower to tell me what they see about my business in my business data.

We hope that this list inspires, encourages, motivates and nurtures better business outcomes from the use of our POS software in your business.

More than an average POS software company, Tower Systems cares, deeply, about how our POS software is used and the outcomes it can achieve for your business. Our goal is to every day help our customers to achieve real benefits from the POS software.

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Small business retailers advice: helping you cut employee theft

The theft reduction training video we produced in-house – How To Steal From A Retail Business – is being used by business groups to train their members on measures to take in retail shops to reduce the opportunity for employee theft.

In addition to the YouTube views, this video has been packaged and provided outside that platform for people to embed in conference presentations, one-on-one training and elsewhere.

Using your POS software small business retailers have excellent tools with which to reduce the opportunity for theft. These have existed for years. In addition to our software work, we act as expert witnesses in investigations and proceedings that successfully prosecute employee theft cases.

What matters is that theft can be reduced and even eliminated with good management oversight in any retail business using our POS software.

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Portable POS software for specialty retailers on the road

Retailer Roam, the portable POS software from Tower Systems is being embraced by more retailers with businesses that operate on the road.

Now well established and delivering terrific benefits, Retailer Roam is serving retailers looking to take their business transactions to customers no matter where they are … local markets, on the farm, from the back of a truck, pop-up stores and more. Retailer Roam is truly portable POS software thanks to smart app developers;oipment from the Tower systems web team working closely with the POS software development team.

To back up access to this new and innovative portable POS software product, Tower Systems has released a range of helpful advice and online accessible documentation including:

  • Making the most of Retailer Roam
  • Previous Sales in Retailer Roam
  • Creating Layouts In Retailer Roam
  • Creating Paytypes In Retailer Roam
  • Installing TeamViewer for Retailer Roam
  • Performing Laybys In Retailer Roam
  • Performing Sales in Retailer Roam
  • Importing Retailer Roam Ordering Files
  • Frequently Asked Questions – Retailer Roam
  • Setting Up Retailer for Retailer Roam

Offering fresh and evolving documentation for Retailer Roam is another way we are helping new and emerging retailers make the most of the fresh opportunities offered by Retailer Roam. We are loving helping retailers unlock new sales opportunities by disconnecting transactions front sales counter.

A common question we get is: Does Retailer Roam Require An Internet Connection?

Yes and No. You will need an internet connection to install the app and to obtain the base Retailer data.

If the location you’re selling from does not have internet connectivity you can use the device to transact, however, you will not receive any product updates or send sales back until the connection is re-established.

There is an ‘Offline Mode’ that can be turned on in settings for a smoother no-internet-connection experience. While in this mode the user will be limited to completing sales with what data has already been pre-loaded on the device. No API calls can be made in this mode, and sales will be stored locally until they can be synced.

There is an option to download all stock-data on the device; so, it can be used offline.

Retailer Roam is portable POS softeware for retailers on the move.

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The software needs of newsagents have fundamentally changed this year.

2019 has been a year of considerable change in the newsagency channel and in areas connected with the newsagency channel. What newsagents need in their newsagency POS software now is fundamentally different to a year ago.

Being able to sell online easily is critical. Here at Tower Systems we make this easy with direct connect options through our newsagency POS software integrations with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. Between them, they handle 85% of online sales in Australia.

Being able to expand into new product categories can help you attract new shoppers and grow overall business GP%. Our experience in multiple specialty retail channels helps leverage opportunities.

Being able to sell from anywhere is critical too. We have seen newsagents grow their businesses by engaging at local markets and on the road. Our new and exclusive Retailer Roam product is portable POS software made for this. It’s in the Apple App Store now.

Being able to get customers spending more and bringing them back sooner is also critical. Our discount voucher solution, launched in 2013, is now used in hundreds of newsagencies with many success stories. Better than points and easily understood by shoppers, this loyalty solution is next gen.

Being able to reduce dead stock is vital. This starts with buying better, which flows from fact driven conversations with suppliers.

Being able to cut labour costs without cutting revenue is essential. Our data insights help you do this with confidence.

We still do all the important newsagency stuff like XchangeIT, links with Nine (Fairfax) and News and Ovato and XchangeIT. We have worked with Tabcorp on changes they wanted to implement as well as with GNS, ACCO, the federal government, greeting card companies and a raft of others.

Tower Systems serves more newsagents than all other POS software companies combined. We are grateful to the many who have switched to us in 2019. Their faith in us is sincerely appreciated.

As you work on your business to make it more valuable to you, we’d love to help. Our connections to the newsagency channel go beyond our software. We own the newsXpress newsagency marketing group and we own and run three newsagency businesses ourselves. We walk in your shoes.

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