Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: newsagent software (page 1 of 40)

Helping Aussie newsagents embrace the covid pivot

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

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

The covid pivot moves we are seeing newsagents make include:

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

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

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

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

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Newsagents accessing Epay through Tower Systems POS software

Tower Systems has released updated newsagency POS software for newsagents with Epay integrated, delivering direct newsagency sales counter access to Epay products and services.

This integration is approved by Epay through their worldwide operation. It is the result of several months work following exacting integration standards set by Epay.

From within the POS, at any point in a transaction, newsagents can vend Epay voucher product including phone recharge and more. There is an initial set of Epay voucher products in the first release with Epay set to release more as they develop more supplier relationships.

Newsagents are grateful to Epay for their embrace of newsagency POS software to provide an alternative to the POS software integrated Touch Networks IT vending platform, which is being decommissioned by Afterpay Touch.

The Tower Systems Epay POS software integration also allows for handling refunds. This, too, follows the required Epay standards.

To help newsagents be ready, Tower Systems has engaged in daily email communications with its 1,700+ newsagent customers. It haas also sent print newsletters as well as fielding many calls and other contacts from its broad customer base. The company’s goal has been to ensure that newsagents are fully informed and prepared for the switching off of Touch and the turning on of Epay in many businesses that have not been running Epay.

In addition to releasing new software, Tower Systems has published peer-reviewed advice through three comprehensive knowledge base articles on setting up and using Epay integrated with the Tower POS software. The company has also produced a training video to help newsagents make the most of the Epay opportunity in their retail businesses. Also, Tower is providing personal support and training for any customer who asks for help with the new Epay integration.

Not all newsagency software platforms have been approved for integration with Epay. Tower Systems is grateful for having been chosen and for the support of the Epay experts as we have brought the opportunity to life over the last few months.

2020 has been a challenge;lenging year for retailers. This new integration with Epay is a wonderful piece of good news, something to celebrate, something for which to be grateful.

Epay is live! The Tower Systems development and suppo9rt teams have once again delivered for small business Australian newsagents.

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Bringing Epay to life for Australian newsagents through newsagency software

The 1,700+ newsagents using our newsagency software are set to benefit from a professional and direct integration between our newsagency software and Epay, the worldwide platform for phone recharge, ticketing and other e-vouche services.

We have delivered direct access to Epay in our Retailer 3 POS software, generationally advanced newsagency software designed for the newsagency of the future. This is newsagency POS software for 2021 and beyond. It is new, fresh, energetic and flexible.

We are thrilled to bring Epay to life for newsagents through our newsagency software.

Thanks to the Epay approved integration, our 1,700+ newsagency software retailers will be able to tap into a suite of products for which they do not have to carry inventory. They can leverage basket depth as well as new traffic. The opportunities are wonderful and we are thrilled to be in a position to deliver these for our customers.

We have gone about the Epay integration in a through and diligent way, fulfilling their standards and working with their tech people on this innovation for the partnership, and all in pursuit of serving Australian small business newsagents who want to continue to offer tolling, ticketing, voucher and recharge products and services from their businesses.

By delivering the Epay POS software integration in our Retailer 3 platform we have delivered a sweeter, faster, more technically advanced and more complete solution in service of newsagents having a brighter and more relevant business future. Can you feel how excited we are to be delivering this?! We hope so. This is a good day. Especially since we have delivered this advancement for newsagents at no cost to them. We are pleased to have been able to do this, to bring inn ovation to the local Aussie newsagency sales counter for no capital investment.

Newsagents who were using the Touch Network platform on the Ezipass platform for selling these voucher based products can rely on the Tower Systems newsagency software Epay integration to provide smart and easy access to these products from the POS screen, easily, quickly and without having to connect to third party software. This is a our integration to international standards.

Tower Systems is proud to serve Aussie newsagents, a channel that remains vital to local towns in providing access to essential products and services.

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Join the largest community of newsagency software users in Australia.

There is no doubt there is strength in numbers. In a newsagency software sense, the strength of our 1,700+ Australian newsagency business community benefits from:

  • Reliability. We are here when you need support.
  • Up to date. Our customers vote on changes they want to the software. Enhancements are regular. Software value improves over time.
  • Business help. Beyond the software, we help uncover and reduce theft, as well as advice and support streamlining processes.
  • We own and operate newsagency businesses ourselves. We walk in your shoes every day and this makes a real difference.
  • We meet all industry and supplier standards in retail and home delivery.
  • Personal support. Beyond the software, we will help you in any way we can, to the best of our ability.

In addition to newsagency software, we also develop (in Australia) websites for Australian newsagents, helping plenty get online with awesome websites.

We are a well-resourced Australian POS software company serving Australian newsagents. This is good news for newsagents.

  1. Tower Systems will not leave the newsagency channel.
  2. We will fight for you. Beyond our software, we will help with supplier issues, business strategy and other challenges you confront.
  3. Our software continues to evolve. We release updates regularly. You choose when to load them. Each is thoroughly tested for you.
  4. We own newsagencies. Yes, we walk in your shoes.
  5. No locked-in support fee.
  6. Lower support costs. No mates’ rates for a select few.
  7. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call.
  8. Transparent support. At any time, you can see how many help desk calls we are working on and how many we have closed that day.
  9. Support escalation. We have an escalation process should you be unhappy with a support call.
  10. Easy management access. The leadership team of Tower Systems is available to you. We take customer service seriously and personally.
  11. Updates when you choose. Updates are not forced on you.
  12. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service.
  13. Free training. Long after you install our software you have access to free personal training to refresh knowledge or cover new facilities.
  14. More integrations. Our direct links to Xero, Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce offer direct link options to help you grow.
  15. Business management insights. We can look at your business performance data and provide a personal analysis of what we see
  16. Owner access. Call Tower owner, Mark Fletcher, on 0418 321 338 or email mark@towersystems.com.au.
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Newspaper closures, small business newsagents and local communities

Toower Systems is proud to serve 1,700+ small business newsagents in Australia. Yesterday, our CIEO Mark Fletcher, shot this 10 minute video in which he talks abut the newspaper closures announced last week and the implications and opportunities.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Helping Australian newsagents create more valuable businesses through transformation

Tower Systems also owns newsXpress, a marketing group for newsagents who want to transform their businesses and grow them into something meaningful to today and beyond. Here are details of an offer from newsXpress…

We give newsagents hopeby providing options for finding new customers, by helping to farewell out of date practicesand by providing access to better marginproducts. We help newsagents enjoy their businessesmore 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 futureMark Fletcher, CEO, newsXpress Pty Ltd

Every day, we invest in the future of locally owned newsXpress businesses. We run as a community co-operative. There has never been a profit distribution. We are 100% focussed on helping our members be the best, most successful and happiest of retailers.

You can join us as a full-service full-benefits member. Or, you can try us out first…\

TRY NEWSXPRESS BEFORE YOU BUY OFFER.

BEYOND TRADITION, WE CAN HELP YOU FIND SUNSHINE.

We have some newsagents keen to join newsXpress but concerned about the five-year contract and the requirement that 75% of card space is allocated to Hallmark.

For a limited time and a limited number of newsagency businesses, we offer access to a valuable package of newsXpress services on a fixed one-year term trial basis.

As a friend of newsXpress you can trial newsXpress services without long-term obligation.

For a monthly fee of $295.00 (inc.GST) for twelve months only or a one-off up-front fee of $1,750.00 (inc. GST) we would welcome you as a friend of newsXpress for one year. This does not mean you would be a member of the group. There is no agreement to sign, no requirement to rebrand, no card company requirement.

Here is what you would get access to as a friend of newsXpress:

  1. In-store visits from a skilled Retail Development Manager, who will provide fresh-eyes advice on your business and suggest optional changes you could make.
  2. Access to centrally billed suppliers offering discounts off and extended terms.
  3. Access to our weekly newsXpress email, with management and marketing advice.
  4. Access to our knowledge base, an online resource with 200+ articles of advice.
  5. Access to our head office team of retail experts for tactical and strategic advice.
  6. Access to newsXpress regional member meetings.
  7. Access to the newsXpress conferences.

Here is some of what full newsXpress members have access to:

  1. Online sales through product branded websites, delivering net new revenue.
  2. Your own free website branded to your business, selling products your products.
  3. newsXpress preferential pricing from Hallmark and allpreferred suppliers.
  4. A private Facebook group – motivation and encouragement, a safe place to talk.
  5. Access to the private team member Facebook page for your staff.
  6. Financial management counselling service. We offer a deep dive into the business, develop a budget and help with resetting the business physically and financially.
  7. A secure .newsxpress.com.au email address.

At the end of the year you would either join newsXpress orcontinue to run your business without access to anything newsXpress offers.

If at any time in the year you want to switch and become a full newsXpress member, we’d apply the portion of the pre-paid one-year amount toward newsXpress member fees.

There is one catch to our offer: You need to be engagedYou need to work with us on growing your business, making it more efficient and more relevantto today.

If you are tired, we will help motivate you. If you are out of cash. We will make low / no cost suggestions. We will not force you do anything.

Become a friend of newsXpress and let is help you.

Our head office team… newsXpress has twelve full time employees working on behalf of members – merchandise experts, marketing professionals, retail advisors.

Our leadership team… is there for you, on anymatter, offering an ear, a hug, advice or representation, on any matter. We will help as much as we are able.

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Free POS software e-commerce workshops for small business retailers

How to find new customers by selling online direct from POS software for your specific type of business using Shopify and Magento.

Join us for a free workshop where we will explore Shopify and Magento direct connected POS software for specialty retailers: jewellers, garden centres, produce, toy, firearms, fishing, outdoors, newsagents, pet, gift, book, bike and adult. We will focus on new online insights for 2020 and beyond

  1. Hear from current case studies what other indie retailers are doing.
  2. Find out how to use online to drive in-store shopping.
  3. Learn how click and collect actually works.
  4. Find out about the different buy now pay later options for online sales.
  5. See how stock data including images flow easily from the POS to online.

This workshop will be live and interactive and about your type of business. It could save you thousands in web developer fees. This will not be a sales pitch.

We will cover hot topics including: SEO, shipping options, free shipping, the role of social in online sales, returns, bundles, branding and a plan b for your web strategy.

Click on your preferred city below to book. Each workshop (except for online) will be in an easy to get to capital city location.

  1. SydneySept. 30. 10am.
  2. AdelaideOctober 1. 10am.
  3. PerthOctober 2. 10:30am.
  4. HobartOctober 3. 11am.
  5. MelbourneOctober 4. 10am.
  6. AucklandOctober 7. 10am.
  7. BrisbaneOctober 8. 10am.
  8. CanberraOctober 9. 10am.
  9. OnlineOctober 10. 10am. AEST.
  10. OnlineOctober 10. 2pm. AEST.
  11. WellingtonOctober 14. 10am.
  12. ChristchurchOct. 15. 10am.

We are local. Tower Systems serves 3,500+ specialty businesses – with POS software and websites. We make what we sell. We use it ourselves too, in our own retail and online businesses. If you think we could help you, please call…

  1. VIC/SA/WA: Tim Batt 0401 833 917 tim@towersystems.com.au;
  2. QLD /NT: Justin Randall 0434 365 789 justin@towersystems.com.au;
  3. NSW/ACT/TAS: Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148 nathan@towersystems.com.au.

Our goal is to help you enjoy a more successful and valuable business.

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POS software from Tower Systems on TV

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37 more newsagents switch to the newsagency software from Tower Systems

Thirty-seven more newsagents have chosen the Tower Systems newsagency software in the last year. We are grateful for their support of our newsagency software.

This is great news. The Tower Newsagency business community is stronger and growing. This helps us better help newsagents.

Today, we help newsagents evolve their businesses into new products, through awesome loyalty tools and online … through our POS software. We help way beyond the POS software itself.

Thanks to our newsXpress relationship we offer newsXpress newsagents using our software leverage an exclusive 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.

Whether you are a retail or distribution newsagent, our software can help you run a more efficient, enjoyable and valuable business.

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

  1. Compliant with industry standards, using our software you can meet criteria for getting onto the no physical returns program with Gotch.
  2. We can help you reduce EFTPOS fees.
  3. Selling online is easy and sell more regardless of your local population.
  4. Offer buy now pay later with Humm, Zip Pay and more.
  5. Our innovative front-end loyalty facilities help you differentiate your business, drive deeper baskets and bring shoppers back sooner.

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. 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 or $49.00/wk leased or $7,200 up front. Included is:

  1. The latest Tower Systems newsagency software.
  2. On-site installation and training by a newsagency business expert.
  3. Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  4. Software support for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  5. Software updates for the first three years. Nothing extra to pay.
  6. Unlimited over the phone follow up training for the first three years.
  7. Access to an awesome online knowledge base with articles & advice.
  8. Access to weekly group live online training workshops.
  9. Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss any topic.
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New financial year business management tips for small business retailers

Last week, we shared advice with our POS software customers on steps they could take for a brighter and healthier 2019/2020 financial year…

Here is a list of things you could suggest for the new financial year.

  1. Change your passwords. Share them sparingly.
  2. Review your department and categories. Ensure they accurately reflect your business and how you want performance reported.
  3. Review system useto determine if fraud is an issue. Our help desk team can help business owners (and only business owners) with this.
  4. if you are not using Discount Vouchers, consider it as it continues to be the easiest and most effective revenue and return visit building tool we have see.
  5. Review your opening hours / rosterbased on a revenue by time assessment.
  6. Take a look at workflow at the counter. Look at steps you can take to streamline the experience. More efficient sales will help drive sales revenue.
  7. Set aside every invoice that you currently enter manually. Email a copy to us at support@towersystems.com.au along with supplier contact details. We will reach out to them for you, encouraging them to provide you with an electronic invoice, which will save time and improve data accuracy.
  8. Consider cloud based backupfor faster, safer, backups.
  9. If you have a website, consider an SEO campaignto lift its profile. If your website is more than two years old, consider a refresh or replacement.

We hope that the 2019/20 financial year is wonderful for you and your business. We are keen to help achieve this with and for you. That starts with your engagement.

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Newsagency of the future workshops to help newsagents transform their businesses

Tower Systems is supporting this valuable free workshop series for Aussie small business newsagents as they confront disruption in several categories and through the disruption find opportunity.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW SHOPPER TRAFFIC, HIGHER GP% AND GREATER PER VISIT VALUE.

I invite you to a new free business management workshop for newsagents where I will share an insight into trends in current trading data, trends for core categories overseas and opportunities for growth as we all recast our businesses.

I will ask some tough questions and through these navigate to challenges that sit at the root of some newsagency channel core categories and work through, with you, several opportunities growth in these.

What we explore together will be relevant to any newsagent in any situation, large or small, city or country. The sole focus will be on creating a brighter future, even if that means for you your own business exit strategy.

You will receive valuable takeaways you will be able to use right away as well as thought-provoking questions each of us in retail will have to answer.

While some examples will be newsXpress related, this is not a newsXpress sales event. It is a continuation of my Newsagency of the Further Workshops, which I first ran in 2004 and have evolved ever since.

I will also share newsXpress case studies where business owners have recast their businesses through change. These will include city and country businesses. Large and small.

Please, join me as we invest in a stronger newsagency channel.

  1. May 6. 9am Melbourne. Book now.
  2. May 7. 10am Sydney. Book now.
  3. May 8. 10am Brisbane. Book now.
  4. May 9. 10am Hobart. Book now.
  5. May 10. 10am Adelaide. Book now.

These are the only dates, because of commitments for the next few months. Tower systems CEO Mark Fletcher will host each event.

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POS software alternative to MYOB Retail Manager

Plenty of retailers looking for an alternative to the MYOB Retail Manger POS software are finding a good fit in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software. 

Connected to the MYOB accounting software, the Tower solution offers MYOB Retail Manager customers a familiarity with back office accounting in its POS software integrated solution.

Retailers looking for a complete change to the accounting and retail business management solution cold consider the Tower Systems Xero POS software integration. Tower directly integrates with the Xero cloud based accounting solution.

The Tower Systems installation and training team members are skilled at managing the process of transitioning a retail business from Retail Manager to the Tower Systems POS software. Our training covered differences as well as data export and import – as much as is possible and as much as a business wants … because sometimes a business likes to start again with a clean slate and with a clean dataset.

We have been told that Retail Manager by MYOB is approaching end of life – that is, no future development enhancement planned. If this is the case, the Tower POS software solution is an alternative that we would submit for consideration in any of the specialty retail channels in which we are well established.

Offering robust and constantly evolving POS software, Tower Systems offers MYOB Retail Manager users a path with a solid future from a technical and a business perspective. This peace of mind is something on which Tower Systems customers can bank as they plan their IT investment.

In terms of accounting solution choice, the company walks an agnostic path, leaving that choice to retail business owners and those who advise them on accounting software requirements. That said, in our own shops, we use Xero. Our fully staffed professional accounts office, where we have a CPA providing full time oversight of our retail accounting processes. Access to our accounting professionals is available to our POS software customers and their accountants who may have accounting related questions.

Tower Systems offers stable, proven and respected POS software solutions for small business retailers. Stability is at the heart of 9ur offer and ay to day operation.

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Tower Systems launches new newsagency sales benchmark study

This morning, we launched a new sales benchmark study for Australian newsagents. Here are the details from the announcement:

Q1 2019 NEWSAGENCY SALES BENCHMARK STUDY.
I invite you to provide data for the Q1 2019 newsagency sales performance benchmark study. The benchmark provides data against which you can compare your business performance. Click here for my last report.

How to participate.

  1. Please run a Monthly Sales Comparison Report for 01/01/2019 – 31/03/2019 compared to 01/01/2018 – 31/03/2018.
  2. Tick the category box. IMPORTANT.
  3. Tick to exclude home delivery and sub agent data.
  4. DO NOT tick the supplier box.
  5. Preview the report on the screen. Save as a PDF and email this to me at mark@towersystems.com.au.
  6. Read the report yourself and see what it shows you about your business.

I will email the results to all participating newsagents and publish the results on theAustralian Newsagency Blog as a service for all newsagents.

My work with this channel goes back to 1981 when I wrote newsagency software to manage newspaper home deliveries. That software evolved into Point of Sale software and has been rewritten as software technology has changed. 

I own and run three newsagencies. Over the years I have had three others. I own newsXpress, the newsagency marketing group.

Tower Systems serves 1,750+ newsagents with best practice newsagency software, We are thrilled to note that our customer base is growing. Overall, Tower Systems serves in excess of 3,500 small business retailers.

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Smart POS software helps Aussie newsagents create more successful businesses

The Tower Systems newsagency software today is very different to a few years ago,. Just as Aussie newsagency businesses have had to navigate change, so has our software. Indeed, our software has led changes in many ways.

Our software has helped newsagents stock new products and through thee find new customers. We have changed the conversation about loyalty. We have connected retail newsagents with completely new suppliers. We have helped them cut costs. we have helped them attract shoppers back more often. We have helped them lift the average purchase value.

These are just some of the benefits our new, fresh and ever evolving newsagency software have delivered to newsagents, helping them run more successful and enjoyable businesses that better serve their local shoppers.

With change all around, in the newsagency channel and in retail mikron broadly, Tower Systems has been the leader in the field of service of newsagents with newsagency software and with leadership advice to guide change, embrace it and leverage greater success.

Through working with newsagents like yours our software has been perfected to help you compete in a business environment increasingly dominated by national and international retailers, save you the most time and achieve your business goals sooner.

Our system integrates with suppliers, e-commerce, accounting and other solutions and is underpinned by the Tower Advantage, offering you 24/7 phone support, video training through the Tower Academy, software updates, the Knowledge Base directory and more.

Our newsagency software solution is whole of business. Comprehensive yet flexible to facilitate their engagement in new product categories. This matters given the amount of change they are going through in their channel and in many newsagency businesses. This is why newsagency software needs to be flexible … functional for today and flexible for tomorrow.

Serving in excess of 1,700 newsagents, Tower remains the largest software supplier to Aussie newsagencies. We carry this position in appreciation and with respect, serving newsagents thoughtfully and with consideration to the needs of the channel as well as the needs of each of our newsagency software customers.

While we continue to offer home delivery software services, it is in the newsagent retail space where there is considerable change. As we own newsagencies ourselves, we have intimate personal knowledge that we leverage for competitive advantage.

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Specialty POS software for small business specialty retailers

Tower Systems is a specialty retail business POS software company. We are not generalists. We are not one size fits all. No, we offer specialty POS software for a range of retail channels.

We have been doing this for years, evolving or offering into new specialty retail channels as we develop expertise and software to leverage that expertise.

We do this thanks to the generosity of spirit of customers who coach and guide us as well evolve our specialty POS software. Their help and support is awesome and appreciated.

Why we write about this today is to focus on authenticity. When we claim to be specialist in a specific channel, we deliver through functionality, supplier integrations, knowledgeable support and regular updates specifically for that retail channel. Our embrace of a channel is not merely marketing.

Anyone can promote specialisation. It takes commitment engagement and knowledge to deliver. And that is what we do.

  1. Our bike shop software is specific to the needs of local bike retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  2. Our jeweller software is specific to the needs of local jeweller retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  3. Our gift shop software is specific to the needs of local gift retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  4. Our produce store shop software is specific to the needs of local produce retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  5. Our toy shop software is specific to the needs of local toy retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  6. Our pet store software is specific to the needs of local pet retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  7. Our garden centre software is specific to the needs of local garden retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  8. Our newsagent software is specific to the needs of local newsagent retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  9. Our fishing and outdoors business software is specific to the needs of local fishing and outdoors retailers and their suppliers and customers.
  10. Our adult shop software is specific to the needs of local adult shop retailers and their suppliers and customers.

This is what specialisation looks and feels like – being committed to the retail business, customer and supplier needs of the channel to create wins for all who engage with and in the channel and those who rely on them.

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Newsagency retail benchmark study results

Last week, we published to Aussie newsagents the results of our latest newsagency sales benchmark study. Here they are for you…

CORE CATEGORIES IN TROUBLE. NEW CATEGORIES GROWING.

This newsagency sales benchmark study reflects sales results as tracked in 147 retail newsagency businesses in Australia for the third quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Only businesses with accurate data are included.

Each data point is the average, mean, of all data for the data point.

In assessing results at the category level, I have only included data for each category businesses trading in that category.

OVERALL BUSINESS PERFORMANCE METRICS.

  1. Customer traffic. Down 3.5%
  2. Overall sales. Down 3%
  3. Basket depth.No change.
  4. Basket dollar value.Up .5%

CORE PRODUCTS.

  1. Newspapers. Unit sales. Down 11.5%.
  2. Magazines. Unit sales. Down 10.5%.
  3. Greeting cards. Revenue. Down 5%.
  4. Stationery. Revenue. Down 12.5%
  5. Lotteries. Revenue. Down 3%
  6. Tobacco. Revenue. Down 15%.
  7. Agency. Parcels, gift cards, betting account top-up. Down 6%.

SPECIALTY PRODUCTS.

  1. Gifts. Revenue. Up 4%
  2. Toys. Revenue. Up 5%.
  3. Plush. Revenue. Up 7%.
  4. Collectibles. Revenue. Up 5%.
  5. Craft. Revenue. Up 3%.
  6. Coffee. Revenue. Up 17%.

What does this mean?

It was a particularly tough quarter with all traditional, core, categories declining. Also, the gap between businesses at either end of the performance spectrum is wider than ever.

New traffic should be priority #1 in every newsagency business. By this I mean, traffic for products the business is not traditionally known for. This is hard work as it involves the whole of the business: buying, pricing, display, in-store engagement and out of store marketing … all of which needs to be done under the name of the business but in a way that keeps this connection in the background.

I think a crucial data point that would be interesting to gather and discuss internally is…

How many unfamiliar faces did we see today?

Track this as much as possible. Pursuing a goal starts with accurate base line data.

The GP challenge.

At the core of chasing new business is the need to lift the profitability of the business. A key way for doing this is making more from each item you sell. That does not necessarily mean selling everything at the highest possible price., A better approach could be to sell more items with a higher overall average GP.

If you were, for example, to decrease revenue from papers and magazines and increase revenue for gifts, you could see overall business GP grow in that the GP% of gift can be double or more than of cards.

The supplier challenge.

The mix of suppliers to the channel is changing. As a supplier learns what they could make from newsagents, they tend to seek to engage with more newsagents. This is something to be wary of as the point of difference you may have once had an as early adopter can diminish once late bloomers latch on to something.

This is a reason for change in the supply mix. While for sure there will be everyday core lines, the reality is that change for at least a third, especially in gift, is important.

Final words.

It is easy to wallow and roll around in the challenges and negativity. That will not fix anything in your newsagency business. That is 100% ion you. Take a step, no matter how small, every day, toward a brighter future. Do something, anything, that moves you beyond the current trajectory if you are unhappy with the current trajectory. Wallowing, complaining … they are not beneficial steps and usually serve to make things worse.

Own your situation and own your obligation to improve it. Do this and there are many in the channel who will help.

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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Best practice newsagency management software helps newsagents transform their businesses

Newsagency businesses today are very different to a few years ago. We are surrounded by change. Innovators are leaning into change.

Here at Tower Systems our software for newsagents has changed, helping leverage opportunities, helping to evolve businesses. This is a key factor in our market share and in net growth in customer numbers through 2018.

Whether you are a retail newsagent or a distribution newsagent, our software can help you run a more efficient and enjoyable business. We can also help you find new customers.

We own and operate newsagency businesses ourselves and have done since 1996. Walking in your shoes, confronting the challenges you confront, helps us create better software. We think this is a reason more newsagents partner with Tower Systems. 1,700+ newsagent customers make our user community strong, the biggest in Australia.

  1. Compliant with industry standards, using our software you can meet criteria for getting onto the no physical returns program with Gotch.
  2. We can help you reduce EFTPOS fees.
  3. Selling online is easy and this can help you sell more even though your nearby population may be small.
  4. First with buy now pay later for shoppers through POS software, over the counter payment options help you win more sales.
  5. Our front-end loyalty facilities help you differentiate your business, drive deeper baskets and bring shoppers back sooner.

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. Our system can be purchased, leased or rented. What we provide is…

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

See our latest newsagency software in an obligation-free demonstration. Call:  VIC/SA/WA– Tim Batt 0401 833 917;  NSW/ACT/TAS  – Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;  QLD /NT– Justin Randall 0434 365 789.

Our training is one-on-one, in your business. Our help desk support is personal, based out of Melbourne, and personal too – because we know personal service matters in small business retail.

Our goal is to help you enjoy a more successful and valuable business.

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Awesome Aussie developed newsagency software helps newsagents transform their businesses

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Tower Systems participates in newsagency channel strategic planning conference

Tower Systems is the only newsagency software company to participate in the recent ALNA (industry association) hosted newsagency business strategic planning conference.

Meeting with the top newsagency channel industry leaders, our leadership team participated in the conference and associated workshop to help develop strategies for the future of newsagency businesses in Australia.

The conference and workshop were engaging, intense and extremely valuable. We are grateful for the opportunity to represent our newsagency customer community and to work on their behalf.

Here is part of the note from ALNA outlining the plans for the day…

We believe that considering the future of customer behavior, disruption and opportunities for our retailer’s is part of our industry leadership role at ALNA. We would like to invite you to join us to learn about some insights and what we are working on for the industry, and to participate in discussion to help us to provide a focused vision for our future.

ALNA’s aim is to represent the interests of our members with innovative solutions to government, regulatory authorities, industry partners and stakeholders. Our culture of actively exploring and implementing new strategies and professional services to support continuous improvement, growth, and the success of our members and the industry, will help ensure that we remain our members and stakeholders preferred choice for professional advice, support, and educational programs into the future. It forms our core vision of being collectively invested in success.

While we will not share here details from the event, it is fair to say it was an important event focussed on the future of the channel, delivering leadership opportunities to those there based on the data insights confidentially shared and the discussions that flowed from these data insights.

Being in the room positions Tower Systems to provide more help and support to small business newsagents as they navigate challenges and change and as they embrace growth opportunities in some segments of their businesses.

New friendships were made and new opportunities explored as we worked through initiatives designed to make newsagency businesses more relevant.

Our advice to newsagency suppliers who were invited but declined is that next time they should say yes and participate. This is what being a good citizen in a small business channel is all about for a supplier.

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