Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: newsagency software (page 1 of 56)

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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Those responsible for IT capex at Myer are responsible for yesterday’s outage

All Myer department stores across Australia suffered major POS system tech failure  yesterday (Dec. 14), a vitally important day for Christmas trade.

Most consumer facing tech at Myer runs on XP from our understanding, an operating system that was at end of life years ago. With Windows 7 at end of life in four weeks, what happened to Myer is a reminder of the importance of having sound and current IT infrastructure.

The Myer IT infrastructure is old, out of date and technically unsafe.

Here at Tower Systems, we have been sharing advice with our 3,500 indie retail business owners about the soon to be end of life of Windows 7, providing options cost effective upgrade.

We provide a personal hardware and software upgrade service, tailored specifically to the needs of each customer.

We have also, in 2019, delivered comprehensive POS software updates, keeping our specialty POS software at the forefront of each marketplace in which we serve: Jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, produce stores, pet shops, toy shops, fishing and outdoors stores, rural supply businesses and newsagents.

What happened to Myer Saturday could have been avoided with better leadership, decisions focussed on managing IT and data as core business assets.

Take a moment and check your hardware and software. Make sure they are up to date. If you are running Windows XP or Windows 7, you must change to something more up to date. If your POS software has not been updated this year, look around at something more modern and fit for the needs of today.

Companies like ours are here to help indie retailers deal with the challenges of operating system and hardware upgrades. We do this is a structured and cash flow friendly way.  With all our customers being small business retailers, we are thoughtful about needs unique to them and their operations.

Our Retailer Roam portable POS software and our Retailer cloud based and desktop POS software provide indie specialty retailers tools through which to better serve and compete locally. As active retailers ourselves (3 shops), we willingly share broader retail insights we see in our travels.

The Myer story from yesterday is timely. It need not be scary if you are prepared.

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Fixed price web design for small business retailers in Australia

In addition to developing and supporting industry-specific POS software, Tower Systems has a separate team of web developers who create awesome websites for indie retailers, helping them find new customers online.

We do not outsource web development to overseas. Our developers are local, ensuring that our websites reflect local nuance and need. This also facilitates easy access to local support and help as needs evolve.

Our websites are all POS software connected, if you wish, delivering access to instore and online sales to maximise return on inventory. This matters as small business retailers chase revenue opportunities outside of their four walls in a rapidly engaging online marketplace.

Through our POS software integrated web development work we are able to help retailers not only with websites but with how to leverage these to be placed in front of people looking for what is on offer. From design to keywords to marketing, we can serve indie retail business needs in websites to help them leverage the success they want, and all to a budget suitable to their situation.

Being based in Australia matters to small business retailers looking for a website. There are too many stories of being burned by going cheap with offshore developers who cut corners, cut and paste and deliver sites that are not commercially suited to the needs of the client. Unfortunately, there are new horror stories almost weekly.

Tower systems has a structured on boarding process to ensure were fully understand the needs of a business before we agree to develop a POS software connected website for them. This process reveals needs to us and to our clients. This helps ensure that what we deliver is useful for our clients and a source of pride for  us and our tech experts.

If you  are looking for a new website for you independent retail business, talk with us here at Tower Systems as see whether our portfolio of successfully deployed websites interests you. We offer obligation free consultation so you can assess if we are a good fit for you.

The next-step future of retail is online and we are here to help small business retailers make the most of that opportunity. We believe in small business and only work with small businesses.

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Tower Systems helps retailers and wholesalers work more closely together

Thanks to smart hooks in our small business POS software, we are able to help indie retailers and their wholesale suppliers work more closely and efficiently together.

The hooks include easy and accurately two-way flow of data, thereby enabling more timely and accurate supply of inventory to retailers and through this a strengthening of the supplier relationships.

Delivering this through a seamless, data-driven, relationship is key to both the retailer and wholesaler businesses. This is where good POS software shines, helping both sides of the commercial relationship to benefit. It sits at the heart of a good commercial relationship and feeds mutual respect.

Our POS software is a beautiful glue for retailers and wholesalers who appreciate working together.

The connections we offer have been built into our POS software to worldwide data sharing EDI standards. This ensures that they will serve the needs of larger businesses with more rigid IT infrastructure. This is important where small business retailers need to connect with IT systems in large business suppliers. The Tower systems approach means that small business retailers are not disadvantaged.

Through or work in this area of seamless two-way data flow, we are able to help smaller wholesalers walk the path of better IT connection with small business retailers. There are many case studies we can share showing the success of this work. regardless of internal systems in use in wholesale businesses, we are usually able to help them take the steps necessary to achieve a beneficial connection.

Our work in the area of EDI for retailers in channels such as fishing and tackle stores, produce businesses, bike shops, garden centres, jewellers and newsagencies is well established and consistent.

Tower Systems is committed to helping independent small business retailers to compete effectively and successfully in a rapidly changing retail landscape in-store and online. We do this by providing best practice software backed by friendly, human and local support, helping retailers to compete and to enjoy their businesses.

EDI is key in retail today for retailers and wholesalers who want an efficient apply chain. Tower Systems is ready to help both sides of the EDI relationship.

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The top 20 Christmas marketing ideas for small business retailers

For years we have offered Christmas marketing tips here ands elsewhere to indie small business retailers. This year, we offer a revised list, the best of the best based on our experience in retail,. ideas that workehvery time and in just about every situation.

Tower Systems works with more than 3,500+ small business retailers using its POS software in speciality retail niches including jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, toy shops, gift shops, newsagents, pet shops, adult shops and more. We offer these ideas as our Christmas gift to you.

  1. Make it easy. People often talk about how hard Christmas is. Be the local business that makes it easy. The ways to do this are with easy Lay-By, free wrapping, better shop floor help, guide buying advice or tips on perfect gifts no one else will think of. Consider making Christmas easy as being a key part of your messaging.
  2. Be thrilled people are in your shop. Your personal smile or greeting is something they may not see in a big business where employees are less invested in each shopper and where the owner is usually thousands of kilometers away.
  3. Make the giving easy. If people purchase items from you to send somewhere else. Offer a one-stop shop. Save them the trip to the post office.
  4. Make the shop less about Christmas. Consider pulling back on the Christmas visual noise. Go for something simple, muted, respecting the season but making a calm statement. Consider declaring the shop a Christmas carol free zone – not because you hate carols but because you want to help customers take a break.
  5. Help people rest and recharge. Create a Christmas shopping rest and recovery zone. Offer free tea, coffee, water and something to eat. Encourage people to take a break in your shop – without any obligation for them to spend money with you.
  6. Let your customers help each other. Setup a whiteboard or sheets of butcher’s paper, yes keep it simple. Get customers to write gift suggestions under different age/gender groups. For example: Girls 18 – 25, Boys 55+. Encourage your customers to help each other through their suggestions.
  7. Make price comparison difficult. If you sell items people are likely to price compare with other businesses, package them so price comparison is not easy. Put items into a hamper as a perfect Boy 8 to 12 bundle for example. Or offer the item with pre packages services if appropriate for an item.
  8. Facilitate sharing stories. Find space in your shop for customers to share their Christmas stories. It could be a story wall inside or in front of the shop. This initiative encourages storytelling by locals and better connects the business with the community.
  9. Become a gallery. Work with a school, kindergarten, community group or retirement village to bring in local art for people to come and see through Christmas. A small space commitment can drive traffic from family and friends of those with art on show.
  10. Send cards. Send Christmas cards early in the season to suppliers, key customers and local community groups. This connects you with Christmas. Invite all team members to sign each card.
  11. Host a Christmas party. For shops nearby. You are all in the season together – let your hear down before things get crazy.
  12. Ensure you have gifts targeted at occasions. For example: Kris Kringle, by price point and by recipient. Make it easy for people to know what they could give.
  13. Be local. Ensure you have a selection of locally sourced products available for purchase. Make it clear in-store that these products are sourced locally.
  14. Tell stories. On your Facebook page, talk about what is important to you at Christmas. Personalise the season and deepen the connection with those who could shop with you.
  15. Share Christmas recipes. Each week for, say, four weeks, give customers a family Christmas recipe. This personalises Christmas in your business, creates a talking point and makes shopping with you different to your bigger competitors.
  16. Sell training. Leverage the specialist knowledge you have in your business by selling as gifts places at classes you run sharing your expertise.
  17. Hold back. Don’t go out with everything you have for Christmas all at once. Plan the season to show off what you have as the season unfolds. This allows you multiple launches.
  18. Share a taste. Regardless if your type of business, bake a family recipe of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or Christmas biscuits and offer tastings to shoppers on select days. This personalises the experience in your shop.
  19. Offer hampers. Package several items together and offer them as a hamper. Time-poor shoppers could appreciate you doing this work for them. We have seen this work in many different retail situations.
  20. Buy X get Y. Encourage people to spend more with a volume based deal. Pitched right, this could get customers purchasing items for several family members in order to get the price offer you have. Use your technology to manage this.

Christmas is the perfect time to plan for next year. It is the time to do everything possible to leverage bonus Christmas traffic to benefit your business through next year.

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More newsagents choosing the Tower Systems newsagency POS software

We are thrilled to report that 2019 has been a terrific year of sales of the newsagency software from Tower Systems with many newsagency retailers join ing our user community.

Some have switched from other newsagency POS software companies with others have joined from having nothing as they are new businesses or businesses transitioning from another retail niche.

We are grateful that many retailers have joined us this year and embraced the Tower Systems software, training, support and all round good vibes for retail. We particularly appreciate those who have chosen to pay more for our software than they might have paid had they chosen another company.

In two situations in the last week newsagents have gone with the tower newsagency POS software even though doing so cost them 30% more than other newsagency software. In each case we won the business because of the truth that in business you get what you pay for. Stories about businesses that bought cheap and quickly regretted it and switched demonstrate the truth of this statement.

At Tower Systems we respect newsagents with feature-rich and regularly-evolving POS software made for newsagents, software which is backed with unlimited free training, easy access to help desk services and active engagement in business strategies to help newsagents run more enjoyable and successful businesses.

Serving 1,700+ newsagents helps us to be appropriately resourced to serve newsagents to evolve more valuable businesses. W4e actively represent our community and ensure easy access not only to our practical support services but also to a strategic business management and guidance services, for those who want to tap into this.

With newsagents changing their businesses into new areas, so does POS software need to change to serve these business needs. Thanks  to our work across multiple specialty retail channels, we can help newsagents evolve their businesses if they wish. We can engage in conversations and genuinely practical help to make their businesses more appealing.

Tower Systems serves more newsagents than all other newsagency software companies combined.  We are proud of this fact and appreciate the support from newsagents who have made this so. 2019 has been a terrific year.2020 is already looking good. We are excited for what lays ahead for newsagents and for our newsagency software.

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How our POS software co. helps dog friendly retailers encourage dog lovers to shop with them

Here is a short video we created for our dog-loving small business retailer customers to use to promote their shops and businesses to dog lovers they welcome.

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POS software helps small business retailer be strong competitors

Choosing the right POS software can be key tot the success of any retail business, especially a small retail business.

Okay,  this seems like a motherhood statement. It is. But there is more to it than that.

The right POS software can be a proactive support for the business, I can guide business decisions, early detect employee theft, dramatically cut mistakes, guide product placement in-store and help bring shoppers back more often. These are all practical deliverables from good POS software. Indeed, these and more.

Any software can ring up a sale and track what is sold. Those steps are barely the beginning of what good POS software should do.

This is why retailers need to take time to assess software, to see how it has evolved with the needs of physical and online stores, and see what it offers in terms of helping independent small business retailers to leverage opportunities to be truly competitive.

The right POS software will also be purpose specific to the needs of a specialty retail business, serving needs inquire to the niche business channel and unique to the suppliers of the business. There are many interaction and integration opportunities that bring retailers together, that help them be smart and engaged together for mutual benefit. Niche channel specific software is the glue to make this happen.

Tower Systems offers specialty POS software for specialty retailers. We make what we sell and we ensure that each marketplace specific version of our software is finely tuned to the needs of retailers in each retail channel. This is what makes our software more useful and valuable to niche retailers than generic software.

Take our produce / farm supply /stockfeed business software. This is made specifically for these types of businesses. What we offer is made for them and made to work with their suppliers. This is very different to what you would see from general POS software. We are not general. We are specialist, deeply specialist.

How do you chooses there right POS software for your business?  Research, take your time and make sure that the software you choose reinforces, supports and enhances the specialist nature of your business.

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Awesome Retailer Roam, portable POS software

Retailer Roam from Tower Systems is the perfect App for retailers on the move, who want to sell anywhere, anytime, even while there is no internet access. This is truly portable POS software for indie retail businesses.

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Helping newsagents navigate the challenges of change in print media

For many years, at the Australian Newsagency Blog, we have offered advice, support, opinion and guidance to small business newsagents, helping them to navigate changes and embrace opportunities in their channel.

As the POS software company with more newsagents as customers than all the competition combined we are invested.

Last week, Bauer Media announced their planned take over of the Pacific Magazines business. Here is a post from the Newsagency Blog, by us abut this:

What could the Bauer acquisition of Pacific Magazines mean for newsagents?

While there are regulatory processes to play out and finalisation is anticipated to be months away, the news yesterday that Bauer Media and Seven West Media had reached agreement for Bauer to acquire Pacific has captured the attention of plenty in our channel.

The most common question in emails and calls that I received yesterday from newsagents was what does this mean for us?

I think asking this question now is late. I say this because rationalisation of print media businesses has been happening for some years and has been discussed widely here and elsewhere in our channel.

If you are asking today what it means, you are already behind. If this is you, I encourage you to invest time now to catch up.

If the Bauer / Pacific news has come at a shock and you are wondering about the impact, act now, make decisions that focus on propelling your business forward. No supplier will do this for you – putting your business first in every decision.

While I don’t know what a Bauer acquisition of Pacific will or could mean, we can reasonably speculate that there will be changes over time. It cannot 100% be business as usual.There will have to be changes given the challenges faced by some of the titles involved. One benefit of single ownership of an expanded stable of titles at Bauer would be co-ordinated management of all titles. This could mean less cannibalisation between competing titles through more thoughtful and complementary coverage.

Many of us in the newsagency channel have been actively working on chasingnet new traffic for categories outside of legacy product categories for our channel for years. There have been hits and misses through. Such is the experience of chasing change.

There is no doubt we are in a period of extraordinary change in print media. Change is being driven by how news is delivered into our hands, how and when we engage with news and information, what constitutes news and entertainment, what people will and will not pay for, who is a publisher (all of us?) and how print mastheads and stories are packaged and priced.

The Australian market is small. I think that is a factor playing out here too. Print media products need critical mass. We miss that in some markets here.

Thinking about what could change as a result of the announced acquisition… It would not surprise me to see: the days of magazine delivery changed, maybe to one a week; the closure of some weekly titles; the launch of a new weekly title; changes in monthly titles; greater accessibility for over the counter purchase of titles.

What should matter most to newsagents today is focus of the business changing net new shopper traffic, broadening the shopper appeal through new products, driving overall business GP%, growing online sales so the business is less reliant on local shoppers and chasing opportunities through pursuing what we don’t know our businesses can achieve.

The Bauer / Pacific announcement is an encouragement for us to work on our businesses, to pursue change, to make our businesses more valuable in the future.

All of this, of course, means more focus away from the newsagency shingle.

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Shopify connects POS software solution for small business retailers

Here at tower Systems we develop POS software and we develop websites. Our web development is done in Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify. In each case, our websites are seamlessly connected to our indie retail focusses POS software.

We offer fixed price quotes for web development, for beautiful sites for any type of retail business connected to our POS software.

Quoting on web development can be inexact as changes to the requirements can develop over the course of a project. In any proposal from us, we seek to mitigate risk and provide certainty on which you can rely for us to deliver the specific outcomes noted. However, the proposal is based on our understanding of your needs.

If any customer feels we have missed anything in a proposal, please advise as it will impact the quoted price.

We provide a complete written proposal that addresses all the questions we are usually asked and questions we asked ourselves when developing our own websites for our businesses and businesses in which we have a share.

While much web development for Australian businesses is done either by individuals working from home or outsourced overseas, our web development work is undertaken by our team, working full time for us, here in Australia. The challenge is, this makes it more expensive.

A web developer in an outsource location can cost as little as 10% of professional Australian developer costs. Australian developed websites are more expensive. It is why our quote comes in at the price it does. In our experience using outsource people ourselves on unrelated projects – you do get what you pay for.

Senior management of Tower Systems oversees all our web development work.

  1. Our in-house web team is led by an experienced IT professional who also has retail experience out of our head office. They are a skilled IT professional who has worked with us for three years. They come from a help desk and retail background and understands the software and how a website connected to a POS should be implemented. You will have direct access to them through this development process.
  1. Our leadership team, COO and CEO, personally oversee the web development projects for clients as we want to ensure that we deliver on our promises and that we provide our customers with a commercially valuable outcome.
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Helping Australian newsagents transform their businesses

Tower Systems through its newsagency software as well as through its ownership of the newsXpress newsagency marketing group is helping Aussie newsagents transform their newsagency businesses.

Through smart tech tools in the POS software, website connectivity as well as in-store management guidance and out of store marketing, newsXpress is delivering terrific benefits to members and helping newsagents find a good path through a period of extraordinary change.

The days of the old newsagency is Australia are over as new and exciting businesses emerge. These new model businesses are offering less in the way of old-school newsagency products and more in the areas of exciting, innovative and fun products that serve consumers today and into the future.

Speaking at a recent newsagent forum, the newsXpress pitch was simple:

We give newsagents hope by providing options for finding new customers, by helping to farewell out of date practices and by providing access to better margin products. We help newsagents enjoy their businesses more and make them more valuable. This is what we do at newsXpress every day … because, we believe in local small business retail. We are not locked into the shingle of the past. On the horizon, we see a bright future.

Here are 15 things newsXpress offers newsagents. While the full lis is considerably longer, these 15 often matter to newsagents looking for immediate boost in their business.

  1. Access to more than 100 preferred suppliers offering discounts off invoice from 5% to 25% and covering key categories including: gifts, plush, toys, stationery, cards and jewellery.
  2. A monthly DEALS envelope with extra special deals from newsXpress preferred suppliers.
  3. Valuable prizes for major seasons – where one of your customers wins a prize. The total newsXpress Father’s Day prizes worth more than $55,000.
  4. A loyalty program that drives card sales – 100% funded by newsXpress.
  5. Merchandise buying advice based on your own business sales data.
  6. Exclusive product opportunities for highly sought-after products.
  7. Information that helps you sell some products faster than your competitors.
  8. In-store business management advice, training and support.
  9. Regular capital city and regional member meetings where you can network with colleagues and tap into more excellent ideas.
  10. Help in controlling magazine supply.
  11. Free labour rate and other employee management advice from a skilled industrial relations lawyer.
  12. Discount shop insurance.
  13. Marketing support from regular newsXpress funded Facebook and other social media marketing.
  14. Christmas and key seasons catalogues offering excellent value for quality products with good margins – not chasing fickle low price low margin sales.
  15. That everything is optional– newsXpress members engage as they want.

While the traditional Australian newsagency is a thing of the past, newsXpress and Tower Systems are offering newsagents a path to a bright future through opportunities and options from the newsXpress portfolio.

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POS software integrations help small business retailers

The Tower Systems POS software offers small business retailers access to valuable and financially beneficial integrations that help these retailers to win more business.

Here are some of the integrations we offer. We say some as there are more that are classified, for commercial reasons. There are those who like to copy us so we figure why make it easy for them. Ha!

  1. E-COMMERCE: Magento. WooCommerce / WordPress. These are direct through partnership relationships, to the deepest level, delivering the best seamless functionality. Plus, for others, generic.
  2. ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE: Xero – this is genuinely direct. We are a Xero partner. Plus, we use Xero ourselves in businesses that we own.  MYOB. Quicken. Both of these are through a 3rdparty platform.
  3. EFTPOS: Tyro. Quest. DPS/Payment Express NZ. PCEftpos.
  4. BUY NOW PAY LATER: Humm. Zip Pay / Zip Money.
  5. TEXT MESSAGING: Message Media. Message Net
  6. OUR OWN ADD-ONS: Visual desk – smart and portable reporting.  Make My Appointment – calendar booking. Retailer Roam – sell anywhere.
  7. ANCILLARY: Federal government approved scale int.  Fuel / Postec. Touch Phonecards.

These are desktop and cloud hosted POS software integrations. For our e-commerce solutions, consumer facing websites, we offer substantially more integrations that go to a new level and deliver substantially more benefits. Our integration strategy for web is comprehensive, deep and flexible, in service off our customers who take their retail businesses online.

Integrations matter to businesses in this time of mass integration. We are on a cross platform world and POS software that integrates offers terrific flexibility to retailers working in spaces where integrations can be beneficial.

Since we develop the software we sell, lease and rent, we are in control of what we do and how we do it. We are not relying on another party to do the integration work. This makes us more flexible for and accountable to our customers.

Delivering integrations to our customers matters as we are in a  position to help them find new customers for their businesses by offering better services seamlessly across more platforms. Flexibility is key today and we are proud to be delivering this through our POS software and the POS software connected websites that we develop0 and deploy.

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Our POS software ad is on TV again

We are grateful for the opportunity to reach more small business retailers with this TV ad promoting our POS software. It is on air now.

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Helping small business retailers comply with new Gift Card regulations

New gift card laws come into effect in Australia on November 1, 2019. The fundamental changes introduced in the new laws are:

  1. a minimum three year expiry period for gift cards is required;
  2. gift cards must display expiry dates; and
  3. most post purchase fees on gift cards are banned.

The POS software from Tower Systems will help small business retailers comply with this legislation. It will do so in a worry free, safe and red tape free way for indie retailers.

Gift cards (physical or electronic) are easy with our software. Retailers can offer them with surety and speed, enabling shoppers to load cash onto a card so that it can be given as a gift.

Where gift cards are sued as a marketing tool, the legislation is different. The three year requirement in the legislation does not apply to gift cards that are:

  1. able to be reloaded or topped up
  2. for a good or service available for a limited time where the card or voucher expires at the end of that period (e.g. entry to a concert or museum exhibition)
  3. supplied to a purchaser of goods or services as part of a temporary marketing promotion (e.g. a wine voucher valid for one month that is mailed to a consumer as a free bonus with a purchased item and was not part of the purchase offer)
  4. donated free of charge for promotional purposes (e.g. a local shopping centre has a one-day marketing promotion where each visitor to the centre on that day is handed a $20 gift card that is valid for use at any store in the centre for that day only)
  5. sold for a particular good or service at a genuine discount (e.g. $50 card for salon service valued at $100)
  6. supplied as part of an employee rewards program
  7. given as a bonus in connection with a purchase of a good or service for use in the same business (customer loyalty programs)
  8. second-hand gift cards.
  9. part of a temporary marketing promotion (e.g. customers buy a certain product from Business A, which provides a $50 voucher to use at Business B).

Tower Systems serves small businesses in the requirements of the legislation, efficiently and in a whole of business way.

Our customers with our latest software will be fine come November 1, 2019. Gift cards through the POS software will be safe, easy and business building.

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Small business retail advice: how to setup a pop-up shop

POS software company Tower Systems offers practical everyday advice for indie small business retailers. Our advice serves not only our 3,500+ retailer partners but many other retailers. The advice we share in this post is from our portfolio of management advice for small business retailers.

Definition: a pop-up shop is a temporary shop, one that is open for a limited period of time, usually around a month, rarely more than three months.

We have assembled our pop-up shop advice and tips into key topic areas.

WHY?!

Like any business decision, a decision to open a pop-up retail location needs to be based on good research and the business itself needs to have a purpose. So, before you begin, think about why.

Here are some reasons to do a pop-up shop:

  1. To test new product categories.
  2. To supplement your income.
  3. To help quit slow moving stock.
  4. To enhance your retail experience.
  5. To experiment with a plan b where you might land if you close your main shop.
  6. To engage in targeted, temporary, competition.
  7. To compete with yourself.

LOCATION.

With a pop-up shop you don’t have time to find your customers. The location needs to already have good traffic passing daily, traffic you can easily leverage. Even more so than in fixed-location retail, location is critical.

The best locations are shops that have good passing traffic that is of interest to you and that have been vacant for a while where a landlord might be happy with something rather than nothing.

OCCUPANCY COST.

Negotiate the lowest rent cost possible. Some landlords see pop-up offers as a reason to charge a premium. Only sign up for a price you are 100% happy with. If it is expensive and does not work financially, don’t sign hoping it works out, because in retail it rarely does work out better. In a pop-up business you have less time to see if it works out. Also, preferably, no contingency deposit.

LABOUR COST.

Staff the business with a lean roster. This shop is about selling. that means, products placed for a price proposition rather than beautiful displays that take time to maintain. Every staff member is there to sell and maximise revenue from every shopper visit. There is no room in the roster for fat.

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS.

Don’t spend a cent on fixtures and fittings. That needs to be your starting position. It’s a pop-up shop. People expect it to be  efficient, cost-effective. Using tables and boxes adds to the feel of the shop feeling low-cost and that can help drive sales. Suppliers can be a good source for loaned fixtures.

INVENTORY.

Ask suppliers to offer consignment stock or special clearance deals they’d like to move fast. Go for items that can be sold out of a box, to make display and ranging easier. In-box displays of particularly cheap items can work very well.

PRICING MODEL.

Price to sell. This means being below usual retail. Price to understandable price points. For example, you might have a $10 table, a $20 table and so on. Consider bundling items into packs, which make price comparison difficult.

PROMOTION.

Don’t spend money on sign writing or marketing. Use social media and bargain websites and anywhere similar where you can list the store and its products.

Host an opening party. List this as a local event on Facebook.

MANAGEMENT MINDSET.

Your mindset in managing the pop-up shop needs to be different to a fixed-location retail situation. Pop-up shops are about low cost, low overheads, low prices. Be ready to do deals. Whoever manages  the pop-up shop needs to be different to how they would be in the fixed-location retail business.

SPEED.

You need to move fast. From the moment you sign a lease or agreement, the clock is ticking. Ideally, you’d open within 24 hours and when you are done, closing and clearing out the shop is done in 24 hours or less. This is all about maximising the time for income-production.

TRACK PERFORMANCE.

Cultivate good data that can guide business decisions for your next moves.

Is a pop-up shop worth doing? Only you can determine that. We have seen plenty of pop-up shops work well for the retailers, contribute good GP, help move slow stock and help open to the owners category opportunities not previously considered.

Do the planning and you should expect to benefit.

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Portable POS software helps retailers sell at local markets, from trucks and elsewhere on the road

Retail today is about being where the customer is … in-store, online, at local markets, in a truck delivering goods, anywhere.

Thanks to the Retailer Roam POS software product from Tower Systems, we have made our POS software accessible from anywhere, via tablet computers, using a cool app developed in house by our POS software expert team.

Retailer Roam is portable POS software. It can be accessed using an app on a tablet computer, from anywhere – including with and without an internet connection.

Being portable POS software, Roam is all about helping retailers sell from anywhere, easily, securely, safely and quickly. This includes two customer accounts, by card and more. Retailer Roam is POS software for today;’s inn ovations and engaged retailer. It is current web enabled technology, k created fresh, from scratch, by the Tower Systems software engineers who play in this leading-edge space.

We have a customer today who wants to sell from a fleet of trucks. Roam is a perfect solution in this situation, enabling transacting business on the road, live and without the overhead of double paperwork back at the office at the end of the day. Roam streamlines the business, makes business data more accurate and helps the business  grow.

Roam is a new approach to POS software, a fresh way to do business anywhere, anytime, without lugging a computer around and without the need for an always on internet connection.

  1. Retailers can sell at local markets.
  2. Bike shops can setup sales stalls on a route during a bike event.
  3. Gift shops can sell from the back of the car in a country town.
  4. Pet shops can sell at the local show.
  5. Garden centres cal sell on the back block of their large production nursery.
  6. Landscaping businesses can sell from the tray of a large truck.
  7. Anyone can open a pop-up shop and sell for days and weeks win a quick to setup and easy to run situation.

There are many more examples where portable POS software helps retailers better serve their customers.

Retailer Road is smart ad fresh POS software technology for today’s engaged retailer who wants flexibility in terms of where and when they sell, without being weighed down by bigger hardware technology. It’s from Tower Systems, the Aussie POS software company.

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POS software helps retailers manage the sale of age restricted products

Handling age restricted products can be a challenge in retail, especially small business retail. There are regulations to follow operationally. Structure is vital in proper management of this so that investigators can be shown that a business has the correct management processes in place.

Whether it is the management of age restricted products like firearms, tobacco products or other items, having a systematic, consistent, approach to the sale of age restricted items is good for business and for all who work in a business and could be bund by regulations connected with the age restricted products.

Having POS software that serves in this area is vital.

The Tower Systems POS software manages the sale of age restricted products. This features in our software for firearms dealers, newsagents, garden centres, producer businesses, toy shops and adult shops. In each of these specialty retail channels, the management of age restricted products is important.

Through the Tower POS software, retailers can have in place appropriate checks and balances to ensure correct management of age restricted products.

Use your POS software to force an age check on every purchase. This shows the business having zero tolerance for avoiding the age check. Regularly remind staff about this. Do these things and any violation the retail sales person deliberately violating business policy and defrauding the business in their use of the age check facilities in the POS software.

This step of enforcement alone could be what is necessary to demonstrate to regulators that the business manages age restriction seriously and structurally.

Get your age check processes right from the outset and you can layer the business with a level of protection that is vital. For sure, there is an operational delay in selling age restricted products, but this is minor when you consider the cost to the business of being caught breaking the law in this space.

Our advice to retailers is that they use the age restriction facilities in their POS software to ensure that they get it right, every time.

In our work, we deal with the issues of age restricted products in a range of retail channels including: newsagencies, firearms retail, produce stores and adult stores. In each case, there are different regulations and requirements to handle.

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Gift vouchers are easy in the Tower Systems POS software for indie retailers

Selling, managing and tracking gift vouchers in a retail business is simple, safe and easy using the POS software developed and supported by Tower Systems.

Gift vouchers can be issued by the POS software easily, quickly and accurately. There is no need for a printed card or note. Alternatively, a business can create the gift vouchers externally from the POS software yet have all  of them easily tracked and managed.

Loaded with whatever amount suits a customer and fits within the rules of a business, gift vouchers are a wonderful solution for a retail business to offer where a customer likes a shop but does not know what to buy. From the moment a gift voucher is loaded with a value it is tracked by the POS software. The amount loaded is managed as a liability of the business, as is required by accounting standards.

Tower Systems has managed gift vouchers in its POS software for decades. The gift voucher facilities in the software have evolved as the needs of small business retailers have evolved. The company has ensured that its offering in this space is fit for purpose for today’s retail environment, to enable its customers to be competitive in this space.

Gift voucher setup in the POS software is easy. Thanks to not requiring pre printed cards, a business can test the appetite of its customers for gift vouchers by having computer generated vouchers. This trial can help guide whether a business should invest ini professional design and production of vouchers, which is also a service that Tower Systems offers through its in-house graphic design tools and services.

We see gift vouchers successfully used in small business retail in the channels of garden centres, bike shops, jewellers, gift shops, homewares shops, book shops, newsagencies, pet shops, toy shops and even firearms shops as well as many other types of retail business situations. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with gift retailers to help them build customer appeal.

Gift vouchers are a vital tools for small business retailers to offer, to help broaden the appeal of a shop beyond what it may have available for customers to purchase today. Tower Systems makes them financially and operationally appealing to small business retailers through its smart POS software.

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