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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Why you can’t trust POS software Google reviews

Google reviews can hide the truth of POS software support as people can write them for malicious reasons. Take this Google review by Ashley tester posted to our Google page:

I have been using Tower Systems “Retailer” POS system for about 2 years now and if i was able to go back in time i would never had bought it. The system offers plenty of potential but is incredibly buggy with quite a bit of stuff missing from the program. I have had multiple things go wrong with the program and the customer service attitude with it is “we’re working on it” with no communication on progress of fixing the issues. As we speak i am still waiting on a bug fix that currently has my website looking quite messy as product that has been sold from my POS in store is not displaying correctly on my E commerce website. This issue was brought to their attention a week ago, i phoned again 2 days ago and have still heard nothing. I was originally told it was a day to fix the issue. Many more examples like this have happened over the past two years. I would STRONGLY recommend not buying this product. There are better options out there but i am too invested in the software, not only with the initial 11k outlay but the hundreds of hours of data entry that i have done now.

Here is the response from our Managing Director, Mark Fletcher.

My name is Mark Fletcher, I am the owner of Tower Systems. My mobile number is 0418 321 338. My email is mark@towersystems.com.au. What sucks about Google reviews is there is no vetting and no right of reply to a specific review. The review by Ashley Tester is false and misleading. Ashley had an issue with our software that was resolved the day it was reported to the help desk. 100% resolved. However, that is not my core point here. At Tower we have a structured documented and promoted escalation process, because people do sometimes make mistakes. At no time did Ashley tester use our escalation process. Ashley Tester complained here without our knowledge, in an effort to harm our business, and based on false and misleading information. Many people work at our POS software company. They rely on the company for income and professional development. As the owner, I will not abide an unwarranted attack that, by extension, seeks to attack those we serve.

As mark is connected with the page, Google would not publish the response.

Everything published in the Tower response is verifiable by our CRM data records. The claim made by Ashley tester is false and misleading, as he would have known at the time of publishing.

There is another review at the page by a Ryan Farrow:

Overcharge for their product and services, owners are aggressive and unhelpful, and will charge for every single feature that comes standard with most products. System is often down for extended periods with most features essentially in Beta and not working as intended. Staff are uneducated in their own product and charge a premium for lacklustre support.

Ryan is not a customer of Tower Systems and never has been. Ryan is a web developer. he developed a website for a Tower client. Rather than follow our published advice for connecting the website to our POS software, Ryan demanded it be done how he wanted.

As with any engineering where you build a bridge to connect two sides of a river, there are professional processes to follow to ensure the bridge meets in the middle. Ryan did not see it this way.

We can’t change the reviews. What we can do is point to our current 3,500+ customers, our years in business and our transparent engagement. We established a private Facebook page for our customers where they can ask anything any time, where they can provide feedback and do so without moderation by us. This level of customer driven transparency reflects on our commitment. neither Ryan nor Ashley Tester used this customer forum. Instead, they sought to hurt us publicly.

Tower Systems publishes newsagency sales benchmark results

Core categories in retail newsagencies challenged while specialty categories grow.

This newsagency sales benchmark study reflects sales results as tracked in 149 retail newsagency businesses in Australia for the January through March quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

Tower Systems undertakes the survey each quarter on a pro-bono basis in support of small businesses newsagency businesses across Australia. We are grateful to newsagents and their suppliers for their interest and to others who trust the survey results.

Only businesses with accurate data are included in the study.

With under 3,000 businesses in this channel, the number of participants is considered as a good indicator of overall channel performance. In collating data, I have removed businesses at the extremes where other factors are at play such as major construction shutting a street or a newsagency in a centre with two newsagencies where one closed and thereby giving an unnatural boost to the other.

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

In collating results, I have only included data for each category businesses trading in that category.

OVERALL BUSINESS PERFORMANCE METRICS.

  • Customer traffic. Down 3%
  • Overall sales. Down 4%
  • Basket depth. Flat.
  • Basket dollar value. Flat.

CORE PRODUCTS.

  • Newspapers. Unit sales. Down 9.3%.
  • Magazines. Unit sales. Down 8.8%.
  • Greeting cards. Revenue. Down 2.7%.
  • Stationery. Revenue. Down 7.6%
  • Lotteries. Revenue. Flat.
  • Tobacco. Revenue. Down 16%.
  • Agency. Parcels, gift cards, betting account top-up. Down 6%.

SPECIALTY PRODUCTS.

  • Gifts. Revenue. Up 2%.
  • Toys. Revenue. Up 9.2%.
  • Plush. Revenue. Up 3.1%.
  • Collectibles. Revenue. Up 2.4%.
  • Craft. Revenue. Up 3.1%.
  • Coffee. Revenue. Up 11%.

What does this mean?

These core products numbers reflect continuing challenges in the core for newsagency businesses. This is not news given the benchmark results for years now.

In my opinion, the decline in newspapers, and magazines to a lesser extent, impacts the results for other products in the core such as stationery and cards. If this is true, it reinforces the importance of having other traffic drivers in a retail business, giving shoppers other compelling reasons to visit.

The occupancy cost challenge – a note for landlords.

Landlords want newsagency businesses in their retail mix. They want the store with papers, magazines, lotteries and other core items for the channel. Often, they restrict the space available for non-core, imposing a low gross profit model on businesses, thereby increasing occupancy cost.

Newsagencies today cannot sustain occupancy costs of more than 15%. The goal must be 11% for the business to be profitable and able to serve the usual level of debt needed for such a business.

Landlords need to be aware of the changes in product mix, the challenges of low-margin core products and restrictions they place on what businesses can sell. They need to be flexible on rent so newsagency businesses can be sustained and thereby provide the service they want in their centre.

If landlords want a newsagency business they need to price the space to reflect the nature of a sustainable business in that location rather than any premium rent they could get from a retailer with higher margins.

Labour cost – dealing with the challenge and opportunity.

Labour cost for an average newsagency sits at 16% of revenue where revenue is product revenue plus agency commission.

On a pure benchmark analysis, this is too high. However, the right labour invested in the right location in-store generates a good return. For example, a skilled person working the shop floor in high margin product categories can deliver valuable benefits whereas the right person working newspapers or magazines is less valuable.

When it comes to labour investment and management the core focus must be on customer-facing. That means having the maximum labour time possible situated to be accessible to customers. You do this by shifting to the shop floor as much work as possible – pricing, returns etc.

Newsagents need to manage their roster carefully and manage employee hours to be customer facing focused and engaged on a shared goal of driving revenue from each customer visit. Sharing information with employees is key to achieving this.

The specialty opportunity.

It is easy to say to newsagents get into one or more of the specialty areas. There are suppliers who will pitch products in these areas. The challenge is how you drive success. Getting the right product is part of the story. Visual merchandising, employee training, shop floor engagement and out of store marketing are all important factors. These all require relentless focus. Putting a category of products on the shelves is not sufficient.

Specialty products are rapidly evolving, presenting more opportunities over time. Keeping yourself informed of the opportunities, especially ahead of any wave, is key.

Tower Systems serves more than 1,700 newsagents with awesome newsagency software.

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

Help for POS Solutions newsagency software users

Tower Systems has been quietly helping more users of the POS Solutions newsagency software switch to Tower Systems newsagency software.

What we have learned from the many hundreds who have switched already have blazed the path for others.

We help people switch with personal and timely support access, one on one training, data conversion and more. As the company serving in excess of 1,700 newsagency businesses we have the critical mass to serve newsagents keen for then Tower Systems experience.

As the newsagency channel undergoes extraordinary change, Tower Systems remains a constant support through its best-practice newsagency management software, newsagent support and newsagent marketing help.

Size matters. Tower Systems serves more newsagents than all other software companies combined.

Tower newsagency software customers receive:

  1. The latest Tower Systems newsagency software.
  2. On-site installation and training.
  3. Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  4. Software support for the first three years.
  5. Software updates for the first three years.
  6. Unlimited over the phone follow up training for the first three years.
  7. Access to an online knowledge base with hundreds of articles and advice on the software, which you can easily search 24/7.
  8. Access to weekly group live online training workshops.
  9. Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss on any topic.

More broadly, we are well resourced to help newsagents navigate change.

  1. Tower Systems will not leave the newsagency channel.
  2. We will fight for you. Beyond our software, outside of support, we will help with supplier issues, business strategy and other challenges you confront.
  3. Our software continues to evolve. We release two to three major updates each year. You choose when to load them. Each update is thoroughly tested in a comprehensive beta program.
  4. We own newsagencies. Yes, we walk in your shoes.
  5. No locked-in support fee. Taking up support coverage once the three-year period ends is optional.
  6. Lower support costs. Also, transparent. No mates’ rates for a select few.
  7. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call. If not, we call back.
  8. At any time, you can see live how many help desk calls we are working on and how many we have closed that day.
  9. Support escalation. We have a structured 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 want. You are in control of when you load updates.
  12. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service. All our customers are listened to.
  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 more mean you have more direct link options to help you grow your business.
  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.

POS software connected websites help small business retailers leverage high street and online

Tower Systems specialises in developing and supporting POS software for specialty retailers in selected  retail channels as well as developing and supporting POS software connected websites for these businesses.

We with with these retailers: giftsjewellersbikestoysfishing/outdoorsgarden centrespet shopsproducefirearms, adult shops and newsagents.

Our Magento websites are best practice, bringing the latest e-commerce facilities to high street retail, enabling these retailers to connect with shoppers anywhere in the world.

The benefits of a POS software connected website are considerable:

  1. Accurate stock on hand data for the website.
  2. Time saved in managing inventory and sales data.
  3. Fewer mistakes thanks to the elimination of double handling of business data.
  4. Easy management of inventory data with only one entry point of data – the POS software – feeding the website automatically, efficiently and accurately.
  5. Easy tagging on and off of what you sell online.
  6. Fast photo upload.
  7. Whole of business management.
  8. Easy management of click and collect.

Managing the physical and online outlets through a linked and integrated platform is good business. It is also good for the customer.

Thanks to a skilled web development team and a skilled POS software team, Tower Systems is able to offer a whole of business solution from within the one company, not using any external resources. We bring to the table focus, consistency and a track record of success in POS software as well as retail business websites.

Working with small business retailers across a variety of channels has exposed us to experiences that have been invaluable in developing our skill set.

Working on developing websites for our own retail businesses makes this personal for us. We can take you deep into our own experiences of POS software integrated websites, showing not only the how but also the why and when. Thanks to our own personal experience we can provide context and this is a differentiating factor for us.

We can talk about going from start-up to half a million dollars in online sales in a year: the impact on the high street, the back end processes necessary for fulfilment, the financial side as well as how we got the level of exposure necessary to drive the sales we achieved.

If you want to grow online sales, talk with us. We can talk about web development as well as business management and marketing necessary to achieve this. We start with a business to business discussion as getting that right is vital to the tech delivering the benefits you want.

You will find us open about the experience. We take education seriously and will happily share what we know.

The best newsagency software in Australia

It is easy to claim that you offer the best newsagency software in Australia. The challenge is to prove it.

For Tower Systems, the proof is in the numbers. More newsagents have chosen the Tower software than any other. Around three times more.

With close to 1,800 newsagent customers and around 3,200 newsagency businesses in the channel and six other newsagency software companies and the knowledge of the Tower newsagency customer base at close to 1,800, the numbers are compelling.

We are grateful to Australian newsagents for their support.

More newsagents switch to the Tower Systems software

In 2017 Tower Systems switched more users from other newsagency software to its best-practice newsagency software.

Serving in excess of 1,750 newsagents in a retail channel of 3,400 newsagency businesses, Tower Systems is proud of its national base and commitment and appreciates the support of small business newsagents.

Newsagents tell us they switch to Tower Systems for:

  1. Easy access to professional support.
  2. Terrific newsagency-specific software.
  3. Business growth advice and encouragement.
  4. The ability to choose when to date the software.
  5. Optional support fees.
  6. Strategic guidance.

Newsagents large and small, city and country, shopping centre and high street … they are all welcome at the Tower Systems newsagency community. We work hard to help newsagents enjoy their businesses more, every day, in many different ways.

This is our mission. Well, part of our mission … as serve a range of retail business channels with specialty software.

Is the Tower Systems software the best newsagency software? Only those with experience using different software packages can say. What we do know, however, is that we are the only newsagency software company that runs newsagency businesses. We walk in your shoes, every day.

Helping Australian newsagents grow their businesses

Ideas for transforming your newsagency in 2018.

A free management workshop for newsagents.

newsXpress invites newsagents from across Australia to free management workshops. We also offer to fund air travel for newsagents to ensure easy access to this important event.

Hear how newsagents are transforming their businesses, finding new customers, enjoying a new lease on life. We will share case studies from city and country newsagencies.

  1. See new, exclusive, product that is attracting new shoppers, product you have never seen at a gift fair or trade show before.
  2. See greeting cards not available in any other newsagency, greeting cards that appeal to shoppers beyond the usual caption range in Australia.
  3. See the evidence of success of the newsXpress multi-site web strategy that is driving online as well as in-store sales. We will share the latest sales data.
  4. See the newsXpress P&L – demonstrating transparency.

Here are the only dates in this series. Please tick your selection.

  • ADELAIDE: 5th Feb, 10am @ Rydges South Park, 1 South Terrace SA 5000
  • SYDNEY: 6th Feb, 10am @ Hilton Sydney, 448 George St Sydney NSW 2000
  • BRISBANE: 7th Feb, 10am @ Brisbane Riverview Hotel, Kingsford Smith Dr,
  • PERTH: 8th Feb, 10am @ Parmelia Hilton Perth, 14 Miller St Perth WA 6000
  • MELBOURNE: 9th Feb, 10am @ Grace Park Hawthorn Club, 6 Hilda Crescent

I am posting this here as I am a director of newsXpress and will be hosting each workshop.

Book by emailing help@newsxpress.com.au or by using the booking form.

If you have any questions, call me – 0418 321 338.

Tower Systems is proud to be affiliated with newsXpress.

How Tower Systems helps small business newsagents beyond newsagency software

Tower Systems serves in excess of 1,700 newsagents with newsagency software. Years ago, in another place online, our CEO provides practical advice to newsagents on how to do a magazine relay to increase sales.  Some months ago, that advice was updated.

Here is the post, outlining how small business newsagents today can build stronger better businesses through a magazine relay:

In the years since I published How to do a magazine relay in your newsagencyplenty has changed. In this post I provide up to date advice.

Before you start the relay, consider the amount of space you want to allocate to magazines. Do not allocate space to fit what you are sent. Allocate space to make money.

Today, magazines are best located on a wall, ideally at the rear of the shop, such that can be seen from people walking past the shop. A simple MAGAZINES sign above works well.

This back of shop placement, with magazines owning the space can work well as a traffic driver. Where I have seen this move implemented it has not increased the decline in magazine sales.

Ideally you can fit all magazines on the back wall and eliminate all aisle use of magazines.

On to the relay.

The relay you do in your business is your relay. There is no right or wrong way. What I have written here is my opinion, which may be wrong for you.

There is also no end point to a relay. What you do today will need refining next week and the week after. So, do not over think what you want to do as that would be a waste of time.

The goal of the relay has to be to disrupt magazine traffic in pursuit of an increase in sales. What I mean is: change everything, upset customers and staff, sell more magazines as people discover titles they did not know you had.

PLANNING

Map out the wall, determine your zones shopper: garden, food, men, women, sports etc.  The categories where I use less than one pocket per title are: special interest, British weeklies, food, comics and some craft segments.

Look at the percentage of sales delivered by each magazine category and look at sales trends for the categories.  Tote up broad groups. For example the percentage of sales for women’s weeklies, women’s interests, crafts & hobbies, crosswords, home & lifestyle and food & wine.  If your newsagency is like mine, this grouping will account for more than 50% of your magazine sales.

NOW, THE MAGAZINE RELAY

I suggest it is done by one person, an owner, working alone.

  1. Take every magazine off the shelves. That’s right. Don’t be precious as a jumbled pile gets you looking at the titles and categories differently. Take down all your magazines and all your posters.
  2. Clean the shelves.
  3. Start at the centre of the wall and build out. Build the women’s zone. I place this at the heart of magazines, so shoppers see it easily. I suggest you start here as it is the core from which all else flows.
  4. Place a half or full column of crossword titles next to weeklies.
  5. Next to weeklies place, in order, pockets of Better Homes and Gardens followed by Australian Women’s Weekly, British women’s magazines (yes, all of them), country living titles, home and living titles, food, wedding with a waterfall of the major title and hair.  For me, space wise, that sees out one side of the aisle.
  6. Then, I have fashion young, fashion older and I end this with a waterfall of Frankie.  Next is women’s health starting with younger target titles and blending to older ones. Next is pregnancy and baby followed by crosswords. This usually rounds out that side.
  7. Create sections, where the titles demonstrate clear zoning. But don’t be generous on space allocation as space costs money.

What I do in women’s is the same for the other zones I create.  I do each zone separately and try and get into the head space of the shopper of the zone – using the most popular titles to act as beacons, or signposts, for the zone.

I am careful what I place next to top selling titles. This is a prime spot, next to the popular titles. Choose wisely. Choose titles that naturally fit next to the big titles, titles shoppers are likely to browse and purchase on impulse.

If I am not sure about where to put a title I put it aside and move on.

I take extra time with special interest and hobby titles.  For example, I put railways and model railroad titles near each other but I am careful to ensure that they are separated as they appeal to two shoppers and only occasionally do you see titles from both segments in the same basket.

Within the zones I look for and respect specialisation. For example, within men’s lifestyle and sports I create a clean space for the quality serious fitness titles like Coach, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness.

REVIEW, FEEDBACK, FOLLOW UP

You’re not done when you think you are done. Track sales, listen to your team and your customers. Tweak where you feel it is necessary.

Bring new issues to the fore. Continue to be engaged in how your magazine department looks.

Continue to look at your sales data.  If there is no lift be open to further change.

FINAL WORDS

Doing a magazine relay can be like doing one of those kid’s puzzles – you move them around and around until you have the completed image. That image can look and feel like a work of art once you are done.

While some readying this will be tempted to say why bother, we only make 25%. Get the relay right and sales will increase without any extra capital investment and with a lower retail space allocation. That is a win in my view.

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading.  Magazines really are a point of difference which we need to work harder at embracing – despite the challenges of the distribution system.

I’d be happy to answer questions or discuss magazine relays with anyone: mark@towersystems.com.au or 0418 321 338.

Over to you…

Tower Systems newsagency software Q&A

We recently engaged in a Q&A on our newsagency software, exploring some of the features that make this the most widely used newsagency software in Australia. Tower Systems is grateful to serve in excess of 1,700 newsagents, more than all competitors combined.

Here is part of the Q&A:

What are the most significant benefits of the system?

In addition to newsagency management specific facilities, using this software you can expect to reduce the cost of dead stock, improve traffic flow at the counter, spend less time agonising over decisions and enjoy the benefits of selling more.

Like any business tool, the benefits you get from using our newsagency business software reflect what you put in. There is no limit on how much training you can get from us.

Tower Systems approaches the opportunity as a long-term relationship.

Can I help local charities and community groups raise funds?

Yes, easily. You can track purchases by people supporting those groups and offer a rebate of your choosing to groups that support your business.

Can I ensure I do not sell to underage shoppers?

Yes, you can have a prompt come up on the screen to check that a customer is age-appropriate.

Can I offer buy now pay later like Afterpay?

Yes, easily.

Can I offer click and collect for online shoppers?

Yes, easily.

I have multiple loyalty offers for different categories, can I handle this?

Yes, easily. We have businesses managing a discount for shoppers who purchase 10 of one category, eight of another category and more where each offer is managed easily from the software. A single customer can engage with multiple loyalty offers. Plus, we track what customers buy so you can leverage this data.

Can I handle customer magazine putaways?

Yes, easily.

Can I take payment for newspaper subscriptions?

Yes, easily.

Can I do magazine returns electronically?

Yes, easily.

Can I handle a bundled price like buy 2 get 1 free?

Yes, easily.

Can I give manage newspaper home deliveries?

Yes, easily.

Can I take steps to manage / reduce employee theft?

Yes.

Is there management only control and access for seeing what people do?

Yes.

Can I create a roster?

Yes.

My business is changing and I want to sell café type products?

This is easy.

Will this software help me evolve my newsagency business?

Yes, easily. The software is web connected, to Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. These connections help you engage online, attracting shoppers who would not walk in front of your shop.

Can I give loyal customers better prices?

Yes, easily.

Can I track sales to a particular customer?

Yes, easily.

Can I market to customers based on their purchase history?

Yes, easily.

Can I sell items by colour, size and style?

Yes, easily. This means you can sell fashion items if you want to get into a new area.

Can I sell bundled items like a gift pack I put together?

Yes, this is easy. You can have a bundled price as well as single prices for each if you wish. Creating bundles is easy as is retreating from bundles back to single items, maintaining the integrity of stock on hand data at all steps along the way.

Can I unbundle items from a pack back to single items?

Yes, easily.

Can I sell items by weight?

Yes, easily. We see this work well in newsagencies where they sell fudge and other items by weight.

Can I sell gift cards?

Yes, easily. You can sell gift cards for other businesses as well as your own branded, made just for you, gift cards.

Can I easily handle LayBys in the software?

Yes, you can establish your own rules and have these managed through the software.

Can I share useful local information on receipts?

Yes, this is easily setup and changed.

Can I handle special orders where a customer orders something I do not currently have in stock?

Yes.

The best POS software for Australian newsagents

We are grateful for the support of Australian newsagents as they continue to vote with their feet and money that Tower Systems offers the best software for Australian newsagents.

We make the claim on the basis of market share, customer retention and feedback from people who have joined our community from elsewhere.

As the newsagency channel undergoes extraordinary change, Tower Systems remains a constant support through its best-practice newsagency management software, newsagent support and newsagent marketing help.

Size matters. Tower Systems serves more newsagents than all other software companies combined.

Switching is not expensive. If you have current hardware, the cost can be low and paid over three years after which there is no mandatory cost.

Included in the low cost is:

  1. The latest Tower Systems newsagency software.
  2. On site installation and training.
  3. Data conversion, converting as much data as we can access.
  4. Software support for the first three years.
  5. Software updates for the first three years.
  6. Unlimited over the phone follow up training for the first three years.
  7. Access to an online knowledge base with hundreds of articles and advice on the software, which you can easily search 24/7.
  8. Access to weekly group live online training workshops.
  9. Access to a private Facebook page where you can discuss on any topic.

Tower Systems is well resourced to help newsagents navigate change.

  1. Tower Systems will not leave the newsagency channel.
  2. We will fight for you. Beyond our software, outside of support, we will help with supplier issues, business strategy and other challenges you confront.
  3. Our software continues to evolve. We release two to three major updates each year. You choose when to load them. Each update is thoroughly tested in a comprehensive beta program.
  4. We own newsagencies. Yes, we walk in your shoes.
  5. No locked-in support fee. Taking up support coverage once the three-year period ends is optional.
  6. Lower support costs. Also, transparent. No mates’ rates for a select few.
  7. Fast support. Most calls are handled when you call. If not, we call back.
  8. At any time, you can see live how many help desk calls we are working on and how many we have closed that day.
  9. Support escalation. We have a structured 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 You are in control of when you load updates.
  12. You are listened to. We offer the only transparent, user driven, software enhancement suggestion service. All our customers are listened to.
  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 more mean you have more direct link options to help you grow your business.
  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.