Awesome small business POS software update in beta release

Earlier this week, Tower Systems commenced beta release of an awesome POS software update for its small business retailers. Plenty of the content in this update was suggested by small business retail customers who asked for enhancements based on in-store experiences. Each new facility and each enhancement of an existing facility adds value to what we offer our customers through our specialty retail POS software.

Once the beta release cycle is complete and feedback processed, we will commence commercial release.

What the Tower Systems POS software offers, what it does

The POS software from Tower Systems is a comprehensive and flexible Point of Sale software package offering facilities in many areas of retail business operation. It has evolved over many years and have been enhanced thanks to generous support and advice from small business retailers.

The software have been re-written from scratch as new technologies have evolved for more efficiently serving the needs of the software and the businesses that use it.

The software offers plenty, including…

  1. POS sale scanning. Scanning product barcodes.
  2. POS sales using user configured touch buttons for fast and easy selling.
  3. Selling by weight.
  4. Selling by measure.
  5. Selling by fractions.
  6. Tracking sales by employee, by time of day, by day of week, by time and date, by supplier. There is plenty of flexibility into slicing and dicing the sales data for views you can love and learn from.
  7. Control over the look and feel of the Point of Sale screen.
  8. Control over the look and feel of receipts. In fact, you have extraordinary control over receipt design – to serve the visual representation of your business that you want.
  9. Smart receipts that add value to the customer experience with local knowledge, care instructions and more.
  10. Customer receipts that contain a $$ discount off the next purchase if loyalty engagement is achieved.
  11. Structured end of shift process to reduce mistakes and more easily track fraud.
  12. Employee theft mitigation controls.
  13. Inventory control.
  14. Multiple price levels for products. You can see by account type, business type – allowing you to be different to different customers.
  15. Multiple customer types.
  16. Customer marketing facilities to enable targeted marketing.
  17. Importing supplier stock files.
  18. Importing supplier invoices.
  19. Exporting orders.
  20. Generating orders based on sales.
  21. Four different and valuable types of loyalty facilities.
  22. Comprehensive business performance reporting.
  23. Customer age controls.
  24. Serial number tracking.
  25. Repairs management.
  26. Product manufacturing management.
  27. Multiple POS terminals in a store.
  28. Multiple stores connected.
  29. More than 100 reports with extraordinary options to facilitate insights into the business performance.
  30. Marketing by purchase history, account type, categories and more.
  31. Business intelligence interface – key business data when and where you want to access.
  32. Linking to Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce.
  33. Linking to Xero, MYOB and more.
  34. Linking to suppliers.
  35. Linking to EFTPOS terminals to cut time, keystrokes and mistakes.
  36. Linking to scales – government authorised.

This list is not complete. To find out more, to find out how it fits with your specific type of business, contact us.

Small business retailers benefit from Tyro fast and secure EFTPOS

Tower Systems has partnered with Tyro broadband EFTPOS for many years as a preferred partner in handling over the counter payment by credit and debit cards.

We like Tyro. Their service is excellent, fast, secure and ideal for indie retailers, like our POS software customers.

We like the Tyro approach to business, like letting customers choose their settlement time. This and other features demonstrate a commitment to small business needs.

We also like the business banking services they offer our customers…

The Tyro Bank Account pays a base interest rate3 of 1.00% p.a. and for funds left for more than 90 days, you can earn up to 1.75% p.a. interest. Maintaining a balance of at least $10,000 throughout the year can give you an extra $166 in interest back in your pocket3.

To make the most of your money, have your daily settlement deposited directly into your Tyro Bank Account to begin earning interest right away, plus you can utilise the convenience of recurring payments, so you can help automate the running of your business.

From within our POS software, retailers can transact with Tyro with certainty and security, knowing that they are offering a best-practice credit and credit card solution to their customers.

We use Tyro ourselves in the retail businesses we own and operate. This gives us hands on experience that we leverage in servicing our customers.

Why our POS software company only sells to small business retailers

Here at Tower Systems, we only sell to and support small business retailers with our POS software. There is a good reason for this.

Small business retail is different to big business retail.

A company with one big business customer and many small business customers will always put the big  business first.

By serving only small business retailers with our POS software we get to treat everyone the same. We respect everyone on the same level.

This is fair. This is just. This is how we want to run out software business.

All customers are equal. In a software company with big business customers and small business customers this is not the case. Indeed, in that type of company, small business customers can be lost and not heard.

Here at Tower Systems every customer matters, every customer has direct contact details for real people in our company, decision makers. There is no hurdle, no secret door, no access based on your size because, here, size does not matter.

We hear from politicians all the time about the importance of small business. Often, their words, from either side of politics, do not go beyond the words. We are different. We live, breathe and act small business every day. It has been in our DNA since we began.

Yes, we have said no to big business customers.

Yes, we have turned down opportunities to sell to a 50+ store network. That is not us.

We are comfortable serving independently owned small business retailers. We do it well and we know our customers appreciate it.

We say this today as there are POS software companies out there who take on all customers, big and small. If you are a small business owner and want your voice heard, consider this, consider how you might be heard as our customer versus as a customer in a business where you are mixing it with much bigger customers.

Size does matter. Being part of a community of like sized and like minded retailers is good for you and it is good for us as the goals of service will be more closely aligned.

Disaster planning advice for small business retailers

here at our small business POS software company y we gratefully engage with our customers to help them understand and plan for disaster scenarios. Here is advice we have shared with our customers:

How protected is your retail business in the event of disaster? Since we are a software company, our interest is more to do with data and technology.

Are you as protected as you can be?

This is an easy topic to ignore and most small business retailers do. Those most likely to plan for a disaster are those who have gone through it. Once bitten, twice shyas they say.

Insurance. Insurance coverage is vital to helping overcome any type of disaster.  In addition to ensuring that your insurance policy covers all disaster situations of concern to you, including flood, theft, water inundation, fire, earthquake, riot—be sure to carefully read the policy, ensure that your insurance policy / policies cover payouts for the following:

  1. Business interruption. The amount should equal your anticipated gross profit for whatever period you choose to be covered.
  2. Data recovery. Including the hiring of experts to recover data from backup sources or the manual entry of data that cannot be automatically recovered.  Ensure you are covered to the point of recovered data being useable.
  3. Lost stock. This is stock stolen, lost from the business.
  4. Damaged and unsaleable stock. This is stock which is water damaged, scuffed or dented and which will not attract full price.
  5. Dated stock. This is stock that you cannot sell by the due date.
  6. Many policies require explicit statement of glass coverage.
  7. Temporary trading premises. Business interruption may cover this.
  8. Key person injury and/or death.This will usually be a separate policy.  Depending on the disaster, coverage may also be available through the overall business policy.

Ensure that the value of stock, fixtures and fittings covered by your policy is an accurate reflection of the real value of these items.  Use your POS system to track all stock movements in and out.  The stock on hand in your software should be your coverage.

Ensure that your insurance policy protects for the seasonal nature of your business

Data Protection. Business data is a valuable asset. Follow these steps:

  1. ‪Backup your business data every day, at the end of the day, without fail.
    1. Better still: use a cloud based backup service that undertakes the backup as the day unfolds without you having to every do anything to backup.
  2. Maintain a separate backup for each day of the week.
  3. Remove the backup from the business property.
  4. Store the backup in a safe, dry place.
  5. Check the usefulness of the backup by restoring and checking the data.
  6. Store original business software in a safe off-site location.
  7. Check the backup every three to six months – to make sure the backup is actually backing us current data and can be read. A backup you cannot read is a waste of time and money.
  8. Change your passwords regularly.
  9. Do not share passwords widely.

Disaster Planning. Here are some general suggestions on planning for a disaster in your business property.

  1. Ensure your roof is secure and free of leak points.
  2. Do not place computers on the floor. Put them on a riser.
  3. Use a power filter.
  4. Ensure all electrical wiring is to code.
  5. Keep off-site copies of: Business contracts and agreements; employee contact details, business account and other passwords, insurance details, recent photographs of fixtures, fittings and stock.
  6. For records you cannot easily copy or that may change as the trading day unfurls, consider having a go bag ready for you to grab if there is a risk to the premises such as a bushfire.
  7. Maintain a register of all employees in the business premises at any time.
  8. Prepare and place in a prominent place an evacuation plan.
  9. Maintain a professional grade OH&S compliant first aid kit.Have this checked regularly.
  10. Regularly maintain all fire extinguishers – check with your local fire brigade about this.
  11. Ensure that the business premises is safe and maintained to the local building codes and OH&S regulations.
  12. Have a trained first aid officer in staff. Your local St Johns or similar will be able to provide training.
  13. Use government resources such as the emergency planning kit at the federal government website: http://www.business.gov.au/business-topics/templates-and-downloads/emergency-management-template-and-guide/Pages/default.aspx

How small business retailers guide POS software development

Here at Tower Systems for years now we have offered small business retailers a transparent process through which they can suggest POS software enhancements and vote on these and other suggestions.

Our Software Ideas website page was launched to ur customers years ago to provide them power when it comes to change requests. They get to outline what they want, in their own words.

We review each suggestion to determine if it is technically possible.

Then, any of our customers gets to vote on each change suggestion.

From this list we select enhancements to include in software u0dates. Every update delivers enhancements customers want from the simple to the complex. These enhancements are provided to our customers for no additional charge beyond the optional annual software support fee.

The software enhances et suggestion process we have created was unique many years ago when we launched it and it remains unique today in the small business POS software community. While other POS software companies take on customer suggestions, they usually do not show customers all the suggestions in detail and allow them to vote on any suggestions.

Our software is stronger for having this process, we are a better company for it.

Customers are thrilled to see enhancements they have suggested delivered in the software. We are thrilled for our customers, to be able to deliver for them in this way, to provide them something close to a bespoke POS software experience.

It is very powerful delivering services like this, impactful and empowering as we give our customers the opportunity to set the agenda and the tools through which they can do this, It is awesome and we are proud to have maintained the service for so long.

We are especially excited when a customer makes a suggestion for a change, requesting something be added to the software … which is already there. Its a special moment to say there it is, already, today. What you want to to do for you is there. It demonstrates to us a training and coaching opportunity, which we dive into without cost to our customers.

Our Software Ideas facility remains groundbreaking in POS software circles. It is a differentiating platform for our customers.

POS software small business retailers love

The POS software from Tower Systems is valuable for indie small business retailers as it provides tools through which these businesses can compete, grow and become more valuable.

This is POS software with a proven track record, heritage and value embedded for small business retailers in a range of specialty retail channels. Software already used by thousands of small business retailers. Software technically rich and functionally smooth – ready for enjoyment at all levels of any independent retail business.

Retailers love our POS software and the support that backs the use of the POS software because of our accessibility, focus on small business, commitment to channel specialisation and the regular updating of our POS software. Each year our skill set improves and with this our ability to serve niche retail businesses.

While Tower Systems offers POS services for all retailers, our core business is the provision of specialist software packages for gift shops, newsagents, jewellers, pet shops, garden centres, firearms shops, adult shops, bike shops and toy shops.  We are the leading Australian company supporting these markets and our software is directly developed for their unique needs.

Tower Systems understands these needs because it owns and manages its own thriving retail businesses.  Our staff have retail experience and our software is informed by what happens in real world business – not from what happens behind a desk.

The company’s strong management infrastructure champions the small business, independent culture of Tower Systems.

Here are practical ways we help small business retailers in and beyond our POS software:

Software enhanced by user suggestion and direction.

  1. Easy access to training.
  2. Easy access to support.
  3. Regular free training.
  4. Regular user meetings.
  5. Easy access to business management advice, beyond the software.

Tower Systems is accessible to every one of our customers. We stand by our promises and deliver not only in terms of software but also in terms of training and advice. For us, it is personal. It is why every customer has easy access to the leadership team of the company, why every customer can self escalate any issue they want right through to the ownership of the company if there need arises.

Our software helps retailers easily handle subscriptions

Subscriptions are bigger than ever in retail and our POS software is ideal for handling subscriptions. We are expert in the area and have solutions to suite a variety of needs.

Subscriptions can take multiple forms and payment can be handled in multiple ways. They can be a powerful way to cement a relationship with a shopper for the long term. They can also offer you a wonderful gift to sell to someone. Indeed, subscriptions can be as long-term valued and appreciated  by your business as they can be by your customers.

Thanks to flexibility, power and that the software we sell is made and maintained by us, we have capacity to serve the subscription need in retail in multiple ways.

If you offer subscriptions in your shop or offer subscription services in one way or another, talk with us as our retail management software may be suited to your needs. For sure we will let you know if our software does not meet your needs.

Tower Systems helps retailers tap into wonderful and current day subscription opportunities.

Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company

POS SOFTWARE IS ONLY PART OF OUR STORY.

We help retailers grow their businesses.

When I started Tower Systems I wanted it to be more than a regular POS software company. I knew we would only sell to independent small retail businesses and only develop software for specific retail niches.

I also knew I wanted us to help beyond the software itself.

On an average day, we help retailers buy better, discover theft, improve efficiency and increase the average basket size.

We train our front line people in business so they can help your business. They are not your usual POS software help desk people.

We also help by creating marketing collateral, like this new poster we created in-house for fishing and outdoor businesses that use our software:

Or this one for pet stores:

Let us show you our POS software. Email sales@towersystems.com.au or call for an obligation free demonstration:

  • WA / SA/ VIC: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917.
  • NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148.
  • QLD / NT: Justin Randall. 0434 365 789.

We are proud to serve 3,500 specialty retailers with our software.

Mark Fletcher
Managing Director
Tower Systems International (Aust.) Pty Ltd
M | 0418 321 338.  E | mark@towersystems.com.au.

Another POS software integration to help small business retailers

We are thrilled to have just passed acceptance testing for another major integration between our POS software and a very significant service provider in Australia.

This is a new integration for us and them. We are in a small pool of first to market POS software companies.

More will be announced after easter when their corporate marketing campaign kicks into gear.

We are thrilled to be innovating for our small business retail customers in a part of their business that is ripe for enhancement.

#WatchThisSpace

Helping small business retailers reduce the opportunity of employee theft

At our POS software company we actively help small business retailers who use our software to reduce the opportunity of employee theft. We do this in a range of overt and covert ways, through our software and outside off our software.

As we have decades of experience running different types of retail businesses and through our work with, 3,500+ other retailers with our software we have a deep pool of knowledge and experience on which to draw.

Employee theft is something to be managed. By managed, we mean measured, understood and mitigated.

based on our own experiences and those of others we trust, we offer refined, thoughtful, advice on managing employee theft. Here we share it with all as a free community service for small business retailers. Together, we can cut the cost of employee theft in your retail business:

  1. Track your stock. Receive all stock into your business through your computer system so you know exactly what sock you have.
  2. Scan everything you sell. Do not use department keys as this makes it easier for employees to steal since they know there is no trackback to stock on hand. Using department keys is an invitation to steal.
  3. Track every sale by employees. Give your employees a card with a unique barcode or have them enter a code – to track every sale they make back to them. Change the code every six months or so.
  4. Do your end of shift through your software and have a zero-tolerance policy on being over or under. Reconcile banking to your computer software end of shift. One business where this was not done was being skimmed regularly for $200 a day.
  5. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One retailer needing to do a banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to discovery of systematic theft.
  6. Change your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One retailer found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  7. Check your Audit Log. Look at cancelled sales, deleted sales and items deleted from a sale. Leaving a cash drawer open from the previous sale, scanning items, taking the cash and cancelling the sale is the most common process used by employees to accrue cash they then take from you. Good software tracks cancelled sales and what was in them. This can be matched with video footage.
  8. Check Gross Profit by department. If GP is falling outside what you expect, research it further.
  9. Setup a theft policy. Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. See the last page of this advice.
  10. Keep the counter clean. An organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft. It makes detection easier.
  11. Have a no employee bags at the counter policy. This makes it harder for them to hide your cash.
  12. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  13. Beware of calculators with memories at the counter. One retail business employee used the memory function to track how much cash had to be stolen prior to balancing for the day – cash from sales not rung up.
  14. Do not let employees sell to themselves. If they want to purchase something make them purchase it from the other side of the counter.
  15. Be professional in your management of the business. The more professional your approach they less likely your employees will steal as they will see the risk of being caught as high.
  16. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.
  17. Do not take cash out for your own use in front of employees. If they see you take cash for a coffee or lunch some will see this as an invitation.

These steps work – based on decades of helping small business retailers to reduce and manage employee theft.

Theft, employee and customer, costs a typical small / independent retail between 3% and 5% of product sales revenue.  Management attention can cut this dramatically.  It does not take much time. No, it is more about having professional processes in place that everyone in the business follows.

Why small business retailers should not be worried about software bugs

All software has bugs. The challenges are finding them and fixing them.

Any POS software company that says their POS software is bug free is either lying, delusional or not in high demand.

Here at Tower Systems our approach to software bugs is structured and professional.

  1. When a bug its suspected tests are conducted, to prove the bug exists.
  2. Proof of a bug is further tested, to ensure it is repeatable.
  3. Once proven, the bug is logged, given a bug id and sent to the development team for consideration. Only on the provision of s bug id is the bug accepted as existing.
  4. The development team fixes the bug and loads it as part of a softwAre update.
  5. The update is alpha tested in the office.
  6. A successfully alpha tested release of the software is tested in or own shops.
  7. The tested in our own shops software is released to the beta community.
  8. The successfully beta tested software is released to the wider community.
  9. On release to any end-user we provide a complete list of bugs fixed in the update along with details of all other enhancements delivered through the update.

All the way through our structured process our customers are kept in the loop and up to date with our progress on resolving issues for them.

Software bugs are not the problem. How software companies deal with them is. We are confident here at Tower Systems in our processes and in the transparency we provide to our customers.

Advice from Tower Systems on website development for retailers

Many web developers develop websites based in their capabilities and not so much on the requirements of the client.

We think it is important to start with your requirements. We have developed a questionnaire for retailers, to help them clarify what they want and need in their businesses.

Before we get to questions though, we offer background information.

Every website has a costs associated with it. These depend on what is needed, what the business is prepared to pay for.

Please note that the actual costs will vary based on your specific needs. A business website is not an off the shelf product. It is something finely tailored to the needs of the business it represents.

The Tower Systems approach is to consult thoroughly. This information is then considered when developing a proposal for a website.

All development is done in Australia, by Australian skilled web developers, who understand Australian business and who can link the website to the Tower Systems POS software.

We have seen many websites botched by offshore development. It is true, you get what you pay for. Cutting corners, saving money, by going offshore, can result in a poor solution that is actually not cost effective for the business.

With success on the board, we are able to deliver a good solution to small business retailers. This can be a fresh site or a site refreshed from the existing. We are flexible depending on the needs of the business.

Bringing together POS software and smart web development creates a beautiful and integrated solution for small business retailers.

Easy synching on stock on hand for physical store connected websites

The syncing of stock on hand data between physical shops and websites is key to successful online selling.

Given that the most significant use of websites is to see what stock its available in-store, accurate stock on hand data is a core factor in driving online sales.

Retailers using our Tower Systems POS software and one of our various webstore link facilities can determine the best timing for data synch between the physical and online store. The frequency of any such synch is determined by the type of products being sold.

We have customers who prefer to synch every five minutes through to customers who synch daily, and all manner in between.

We work with our customers to understand product sale frequency and then provide advice based on this and our own experience working with many successful POS software / webstore integrations across a range of retail channels.

The way we do the synch is fast and accurate, of little drain on the retail business and the internet connection.

Given our experience in this space and the value of experience in many different businesses, we are not get four of such synching. Our approach is best-practice, fast, accurate and loved by shoppers and retailers.

Getting this synching process is right for small business retailers who want to sell with confidence online. Shoppers who purchase online only to be told sorry that item is out of stock get frustrated as they bought wanting the product.l The requirement for accurate stock on hand data on websites is critical.

A good website will not only show products that are currently available, they will go further and show the actual quantity on hand of every item. While this can benefit a competitor targeting a business, in most cases the customers love it and gain confidence in a business as a result of this.

As POS software developers and website developers Tower Systems is skilled on both sides of the tech solution. We are able to demonstrate local retail business connected POS software that is discovering new shoppers for local businesses. The win is valuable, bankable. It all starts with a fast and accurate synch between the POS software and the website.

The importance of a POS software co visiting your business prior to you purchasing their software

Tower Systems offers retailers considering POS software a personal visit to assess the needs of the business, to understand if our software is right for the business.

Doing this on the phone may not be ideal. Doing it by email is nonsense.

As a company dedicated to personal in-store service, we start the relationship off right with a personal visit to see iff we are right for you. This visit is often the beginning of a long and personal relationship;ationshiup with our customers.

Retail is personal. So is POS software for local retail businesses.

Get your needs right and match these with then right software and you are better positioned to achieve great outcomes for the business.

Here at Tower Systems we are committed to personal service.

Helping small business retailers connect POS software to Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce

Thanks to separate, best-practice, integrations, Tower Systems is offers flexibility to our customers running websites in Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce.

‘These integrations are in addition to a generic webstore integration platform that can be used for many different webstore and website platforms.

This maximum flexibility approach helps small business retailers chose the web platform they prefer and thereby connect it to the POS software they love.

Through the Tower Systems POS software webstore integrations, our customers can easily share inventory data including descriptions, images and live stock on hand, ensuring that customers can easily shop online and in-store when they want.

The click and collect facilities are popular as are the online LayBy facilities.

Having a separate web development team in house along with a POS software development team in house, we are able to serve both needs separately and together through comprehensive and integrated work in our development processes.

We believe in small business and that small business retailers can compete online with big business. All of our web development work seeks to provide small business retailers with smart engaging and commercially valuable web presences through which our small business customers can compete.

The latest release of our POS software, released a few weeks ago, offers valuable tools that our customers can further leverage in this online space.

Helping small business retailers quit dead stock with best-practice advice

In our weekly customer support email to our small business POS software users we include everyday business management advice.

We are grateful for customer feedback on the practical tips we provide and for suggestions on new topics se can cover.

Here is recent advice we shared with our customers on quitting dead stock.

If you want to quit stock, quit it, quickly. Quickly means different things to different people. We think it means 7 days … gone and out of the shop in 7 days from when you decide to quit the products.

The easiest way to quit stock is for your shoppers to understand the deal. Understanding the deal starts with how you brand the sale.

A sign with SALE on it could mean anything. We suggest you NOT use this.

A sign with, say, 50% off could be confusing as they don’t know the starting price and some may not understand percentages.

A Sign with HALF PRICE is more easily understood but they still do not know the starting price.

If you really want to quit stock, we suggest you have tables or dump bins at price points: $1, $2, $5 – or that ever is appropriate to you.

We have tested this. We have tried $9.99 priced an item at 50% off, half price and $5.00. The $5.00 pricing worked the best, by far.

This is our recommendation on quickly quitting stock: get the price messaging right.

If your price messaging is hard to understand or if there are too many different price messages you could be creating a barrier and this could stop you achieving the sales outcome you want.

Also: display the product for a sale. i.e. not pretty. Reorganise it daily. Keep it separate to the premium merchandise.

This advice in another example of how Tower Systems helps small business retailers beyond our POS software and the support you may expect from a company like us.

We love helping small business retailers save time, make money and enjoy their businesses more. These are core goals of our Australian POS software business. They reflect what we call the Tower AdvantageTM.