The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

News from Tower Systems about locally made POS software for specialty local retailers.

CategoryRetail Advice

Advice for retailers frustrated about EFTPOS fees


Retailers often complain about the cost of accepting payment by cards compared to cash.

The thing is, every method of payment has a cost, including cash. In my experience working with retailers, the cost of cash is higher because of theft. However, it is not easily seen, especially in retail businesses that do not research or teach theft.

Here are some business ideas for addressing the cost of EFTPOS:

  1. Promote cash payment – if you want the costs associated with cash of course.
  2. Be clear as to the cost of using a card. You could apply a surcharge, which I think is a ridiculous idea though.
  3. Price knowing that cards will be used by customers. Build the cost into your pricing model. Keep the bump under 1.5% and it is less likely to be noticed.
  4. Lower a cost elsewhere to cover the cost. Shaving a hour of employee rostered time can save you around $30.00, that’s equal to purchases of $3750.00 on a card – depending on the type of card used.
  5. Increase sales. While you should be focussed on this anyway, increasing sales helps you address the EFTPOS cost and more in the business.

If you are annoyed/upset/angry about EFTPOS fees, we suggest you look at parts of your business over which you have control and that offer a better return from your physical and emotional attention:

  1. Dead stock. A problem not seen is not a problem to too many. In the average indie retail business, dead stock is equal to at least 3% of turnover.
  2. Stop running out of stock. Manual process for stock reordering, by retailers and suppliers, regularly result in sell-outs, and, therefore, missed sales. Every time that happens it is a cost to the business. In a retail business I looked at recently, the cost of sell-outs was more than $12,000 in a year, or $6,000 in gross profit, all because of poor re-ordering management.
  3. Bloated roster. Some prefer to spend money on people so they have time to themselves for relaxing, golf or to sit in the back office, where no customer purchases from. I often see a bloat cost equal to around 10% of the roster.
  4. Wrong trading hours. Some stay open too long while others are not open long enough. Either way has a cost to the business.
  5. Being blind to theft. Theft in local indie retail costs on average between 3% and 5% of turnover. Not watching for it, tracking it and mitigating against it has a cost to the business.
  6. The wrong product mix. GP% is a key measure of retail business performance. Increasing yours beyond what is traditional for your channel provides you with a buffer. For example, transaction count / sales can decline and you can be okay. Measure GP%. Set a goal. Chase it. The air is cleaner in above average.
  7. Ignorance. No, it’s not bliss. There are insights in your software that can guide better decisions, faster decisions, more financially rewarding decisions. Yet, too many in retail don’t want to know. That failure costs them plenty.

The items on the above list are all on the retailer to address. The benefit is that addressing these results in a stronger, leaner and more valuable retail business.

5 ways small business retailers can use POS software to help improve sales counter workflow


Here are 5 valuable and easy to implement ways retailers use our Point of Sale software (POS software) to reduce labour costs in their local retail businesses:

  1. Sales counter workflow. Smooth. Easy. Smart. Accurate. Few keystrokes. Easy for even casual staff who are not in the business often. In our POS software it is smart, efficient, streamlined and labour cost saving.
  2. Match revenue and roster. Focussing on rostering to revenue and revenue opportunity is a challenge for small business retailers. Tools in the POS software from Tower Systems help indie retailers do this with ease and consistency. These are tools retailers love as they can drive revenue reduction and / or labour cost reduction.
  3. Smart stock control including reordering. By eliminating manual processes around placing orders for replenishment stock, retailers are able to, in one place and at one time, accurately create orders based on business performance data.  By ordering based on business activity (sales) the business do working based on success rather than gut feel. A business switching to ordering from within their Point of sale system can expect to free up cash by reducing non-performing stock. This process is further improved through digitally engaged supplier relationships.
  4. Customer management including accounts and loyalty. Through computer-based customer accounts and loyalty management, the retail business is able to transact with customers accurately, in a timely manner and in a way which puts customers first.  Generating monthly customer statements, for example, could take a few minutes whereas manual processes could take many hours and face challenges with accuracy.
  5. Fact assisted decision making.  Too many retail businesses spend too much time spinning their wheels pursuing decisions because they are not using business facts to feed these decisions.  All to often we see poor business decisions made based on emotion and or ignorance rather than historical business data.  Replace the error prone and fact-less approach with a fact-based approach and a business will soon find that decisions are more right than wrong.  Retail businesses can bank on the results.

These are just 5 of the ways in which our Point of Sale software helps 3,500+ small business retailers in Australian and New Zealand to improve the management of their businesses, streamline processes and drive more efficient allocation of labour resources.

Local retailers in Australia could benefit from engaging with Halloween


I am back from a quick trip to the US – New York, Wisconsin (several small towns and Los Angeles).

It was fascinating to see the total embrace of Halloween, in all retail sectors: jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, pet shops, toy shops, homewares shops, fabric shops, gift shops, landscape businesses, bookshops, fashion stores.

While I have seen Halloween in the US plenty of times before, this time I paid attention to the range of retail businesses engaged.

Retailers in every category embrace Halloween as an opportunity for fun. They also use it as an opportunity for in-store events to reconnect with the local community.

What I saw was much more than candy and trick or treating … it was a seasonal embrace with fun at the heart. There were events, sales, photo opportunities and plenty more. Most were very local, and engaging.

Many retailers use it as an opportunity too ease into Christmas with Halloween prep starting in early September.

I like the idea of Halloween right after Father’s Day and as something prior to Christmas being put up in store. While we have done Halloween in our shops previously, in 2024 I think we will take a more US local retail approach and create something quite different for here.

I mention it today because events in-store, in any type of retail business, are vital to helping to be noticed, and attract new shoppers, and new shoppers are vital to all of us in retail.

This photo is from a bike shop / coffee shop in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. I saw people crouch down for a photo. Simple. Effective. Engaging.

There are so many opportunities local retailers can embrace with Halloween beyond what we have seen as common locally.

Bike shops, jewellers, garden centres, toy shops, pet shops, bookshops, gift shops, homewares shops, newsagents and even farm supply businesses all have opportunities in the Halloween space and I saw plenty of examples in the US recently.

In our POS software it’s a season we can help you track, too.

I am grateful for what I got to see. It was heaps fun.

Mark Fletcher
CEO. Tower Systems 0418 321 338

PS. Retail is personal and Halloween leans into this opportunity.

Advice for small business retailers on dealing with increasing retail theft


We know from the news that retail theft has increased. Shoplifting, stealing, retail theft, call it what o=you like, has a financial cost as well as an emotional cost. It can debilitate business owners, managers and team members, multiplying the total cost to the business.

Employee theft is easier to uncover, track and address than shopper theft.

Good POS software will offer proven tools for indicating potential employee theft and do this in a way that empowers business owners to act before the cost to the business is out of control.

The challenge is that many small business retail owners and managers do not use theft discovery and mitigation tools in POS software. We know because our Tower Systems POS software is well resourced in theft detection and mitigation and too often in talking with customers it is discovered later rather than earlier.

Our advice for retailers on employee theft is to use your software, check regularly, act on the indicators to see if there is something concerning there. In our case here at Tower systems – call or email – one of our senior theft mitigation specialists will help. These are people who have worked with the police and insurance companies on such situations. They will Bring that experience to the table for you.

Shopper theft, shoplifting, stealing of products is best discovered by a regular process of what we call spot stock takes. Choose several high interest product categories and every week check stock on hand. This will indicate if there is an issue. If there is not, choose another.

Having a consistent approach to spot stock takes if key to the discovery point of shoplifting.

The best deterrent is your action. Here is our advice to be known as a shop not worth stealing from:

  1. Greet people when they enter the shop. Them seeing you see them, eye to eye, will deter some people planning to steal.
  2. Have systems to collect evidence: CCTV and, when appropriate, matching POS software data.
  3. Always report people caught to the police.
  4. Write about reporting it to the police on social media.
  5. If you have camera evidence of theft but no knowledge of the name, use the photo to try and figure out the identity.

If the problem in your shop is serious and at a point where it is distressing you, consider bringing in a uniformed security guard for a week or two. While there is a cost with that, it makes a physical statement about your approach to the security of your space.

Complaining about theft is not action.

Catching someone and getting your goods back is inadequate action.

Not acting on a hunch because of a fear for what you might discover is not action.

Theft requires action. Typically in local small business retail it is costing the business somewhere between 3% and 5% of turnover. In our experience, retailers trend to not act because they are not sure where to start.

Here at Tower Systems we offer guidance to retail business owners on what to do, actions to take, processes to establish to at least get a handle on what might be happening. That is the best place to start if the business has not been acting consistently up to that point.

Free small business retail advice: Bing Business Profile. Steps you can take to be more easily found.


Further to our advice in recent emails on how to setup your Google Business Profile, here is advice on doing the same for Bing:

How to set up Bing Places for Business and Connect it with Google My Business

Yes, Bing is a thing. It is growing in popularity as a search engine. It’s leading on Ai integration and that is one reason for growth in its use.

Now, the why: Establishing a strong online presence is crucial to being found, especially by people nearby, searching on their phone. One effective way to ensure your business gets discovered by potential customers is by leveraging local search platforms like Bing Places for Business and Google My Business. In this article, we guide you through the process of setting up Bing Places for Business and offer advice on connecting it with Google My Business to maximise your online visibility.

Here is our advice, which we have followed for our Malvern store.

Part 1: Setting Up Bing Places for Business

  1. Create a Microsoft account: To get started, you’ll need a Microsoft account. If you don’t already have one, visit the Microsoft account creation page and follow the instructions to sign up.
  2. Access Bing Places for Business: Once you have a Microsoft account, navigate to the BingPlaces for Business website ( and sign in using your account credentials.
  3. Claim your business listing: On the Bing Places for Business homepage, search for your business using its name, address, or phone number. If your business appears in the search results, claim it as your own. If not, proceed to create a new listing by selecting the “Add new business” option.
  4. Provide accurate business information: Fill out the required fields with accurate and up-to-date information about your shop, such as the name, address, phone number, website URL, and category. Make sure to be consistent with the details you provide across different online platforms.
  5. Enhance your listing: Bing Places for Business allows you to enhance your listing by adding photos, business hours, descriptions, and other relevant information. Utilise these features to make your listing more appealing and informative to potential customers. These details also help when people search.
  6. Verify your listing: After submitting your business information, you’ll need to verify your listing to prove that you’re the rightful owner. Bing Places for Business offers various verification methods, including phone verification, email verification, or postcard verification. Choose the method that suits you best and follow the instructions provided. We used the phone verification and it was fast, and easy.
  7. Keep it up to date. This is important. It’s also why we outline advice on connecting to Google My Business.

Part 2: Connecting with Google My Business

  1. Sign in to Google My Business: If you haven’t done so already, sign in to your Google account and visit the Google My Business website ( to access the platform.
  2. Add your business: Click on the “Manage now” button and enter your business name in the search field. If your business appears in the results, select it and proceed to claim it. If not, click on the “Add your business to Google” option.
  3. Provide accurate business details: Fill in the required information about your shop, including the name, address, phone number, website URL, and category. Ensure that the information matches what you’ve provided on Bing Places for Business.
  4. Verify your business: Google My Business requires verification to confirm your ownership. Similar to Bing Places for Business, you can choose from various verification methods, such as phone verification, email verification, or postcard verification. Follow the instructions provided to complete the verification process.
  5. Optimise your listing: Take advantage of the features offered by Google My Business to optimise your listing. Add high-quality photos, specify your business hours, provide a detailed description, and encourage customers to leave reviews. The more complete and engaging your listing is, the better it will perform in search results.
  6. Link Bing Places for Business and Google My Business: To connect the two platforms, visit the Bing Places for Business dashboard and locate the “Connect to Google My Business” option. Follow the provided instructions to link your Bing Places listing with your Google My Business account. This connection enables seamless sharing of your business information across both platforms.

Here are some additional tips to consider:

  1. Consistency is key: Ensure that the information you provide on both platforms is consistent and matches the details displayed on your website and other online directories. This includes your business name, address, phone number, and website URL. Consistency helps build trust and avoids confusion for customers.
  2. Utilise keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords in your business description, category selection, and other fields. This helps search engines understand the nature of your business and improves your chances of appearing in relevant search results. And, you can adjust these as you go.
  3. Monitor and respond to reviews: Regularly check and respond to customer reviews on both BingPlaces for Business and Google My Business. Engaging with your customers demonstrates excellent customer service and shows potential customers that you value their feedback – even if it is negative.
  4. Add additional business attributes: Both platforms offer the option to add extra attributes to your listing. Take advantage of these features to highlight special offerings, amenities, accepted payment methods, or any other relevant details that may attract customers to your shop.
  5. Share photos and videos: Visual content plays a crucial role in attracting customers. Add high-quality photos and, if possible, videos that showcase your products, services, and the ambiance of your shop. This visual representation helps potential customers get a better sense of what to expect when visiting your business.
  6. Monitor analytics: Both Bing Places for Business and Google My Business provide analytics and insights on how users are interacting with your listings. Monitor these analytics regularly to gain valuable insights into customer behaviour, popular search terms, and the overall performance of your listings. Use this information to optimise your strategies and improve your online visibility.

Remember, maintaining an active and updated online presence is an ongoing process. Regularly review and update your information, respond to customer inquiries, and adapt your strategies based on analytics to stay ahead in the competitive online marketplace.

By following these steps and implementing effective strategies, you can leverage the power of BingPlaces for Business and Google My Business to enhance your shop’s visibility, attract more customers, and boost your local presence.

We get that this can feel daunting, time consuming and not necessarily immediately valuable. Our advice is that it is valuable, and well worth doing.

Do not pay someone to do this work for you. It’s your business, your digital shop front, your responsibility to set your own narrative.

Aussie small business retailers love using AI to create better product descriptions


ChatGPT integrated POS software from Aussie company Tower Systems auto-generates more meaningful products descriptions, saving time and removing a pain-point for small business retailers.

Released in February 2023 and fine-tuned since, the ChatGPT integration is loved by retailers.

The product descriptions are concise and tuned for search engine success.

“We run 3 shops ourselves and love the time this saves,” commented Mark Fletcher, Managing Director of Tower Systems. “The ChatGPT integration generates the description based on simple prompts. The retailer can review the text, and adjust if necessary.”

“Local small business retailers are time-poor so anything we can do to save time is a win.”

In a typical shop, coming up with a description for a new product can take several minutes with a range of factors to be considered. The ChatGPT integration eliminates this. The feedback from customers using the new facility are encouraging and motivating to the software developers as it recognises the practical value of their focus on productivity enhancements.

“Looking at product descriptions from many small business retailers, we found many were overwritten and not tuned to search engine needs, thereby denying sales opportunities to these businesses.”

The ChatGPT integrated POS software update was provided to the Tower customer community for no cost. Retailers using the software have the option to not use the AI integration.

It is part of a suite of POS software enhancements that targeted productivity improvements for local small business retailers who use the Tower Systems POS software.
Here is what the ChjatGPT integration looks like live:

Tower Systems serves more than 3,000 local specialty retailers in Australia: newsagents, pet shops, jewellers, garden centres, farm supply businesses, bike shops and gift shops.

The company also owns and runs 3 high street shops in Melbourne and 6 online retail businesses.

Advice for retailers following the Google core update


Four days ago, Google announced that it had released a core update. This has implications for all businesses that are found via Google searches.

Whenever Google updates its search ranking algorithms, your website can do better or worse in the search results. It is important to watch how your website is impacted.

Google offers useful advice on dealing with the implications for a core update, including this excellent and practical advice:

We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward. To learn more about how to create content that’s successful, see our help page on how to create helpful, reliable people-first content. It has questions that you can ask yourself when assessing your own content.

This is key for any local small business retailer with a website: ensure your contact is unique, fresh, and valuable to the reader.

Our advice to retailers for whom we have developed websites connected to our POS Software is to ensure content is fresh, useful and updated as appropriate. 

We recommend against paying content farms, AI platforms or others to write content for you. If you are an expert, be the expert. Consider using your name, as a byline, on pages you have written.

Consider deleting pages that are out of date. Quality matters more than quantity.

Ensure product descriptions are your text and not that supplied by a supplier to all retailers they supply. Unique content matters.

Consider questions you answer. Do your answers on your website make you an authority? What changes could you make to be more of an authority?

Make sure page headings are relevant to the content.

Think about the humans you want to attract to your business, write for them and not for a search algorithm.

Every page on your website needs to have a human related purpose, the Google algorithms consider this.

If your business website contains any pages written by others, especially if those pages were created offshore, review them thoroughly and ensure your voice is heard, ensure the pages reflect what you want said about your business and its offers.

Here at Tower Systems we create and support POS Software for specialty retailers, and we create websites for retailers using our software. 

We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 local and independent retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re looking for new POS Software, we’d love to find out more about your needs:
Australia: 1300 662 957
NZ: 0800 444 367
Website: – where you can easily access videos of software demos and our pricing.

Thanks for reading.

Mark Fletcher
Managing Director
Tower Systems International (Aust.) Pty Ltd
ABN 61 007 009 752

PS. Your web developer may say that they will update the content on your website to leverage the Google changes. While that may appeal as a time saver, it is important that the content in your website reflects your expertise.

The most important competitor a local small business retailer has is themselves


Too often in local retail business we get in our head about big business competitors when the most important competitor any local small business retailer has is themselves.

Here at Tower Systems we develop and support POS software for local specialty retailers. We are retailers ourselves, too.

We’ve worried too much about big business competitors ourselves when wonderful opportunities can be seen when we look at ourselves as our own competitor.

This short video speaks to this opportunity.

POS software digital receipts, roster integrations and self-checkout help local independent retailers shine


New in the Aussie made and supported Tower Systems POS software:

  • Roster integration solutions direct connected to our POS software: Tanda, Deputy and Planday (by Xero).
  • Digital receipt platform Slyp – for businesses and customers who prefer a digital record over paper receipts.
  • Shopper self-checkout using indie-retail focussed hardware and a new release of our software.

Plus, Tower Systems customers have free access to our FREE online marketplace:, a place designed to drive in-store shopper traffic. Simply tick a box and your products are listed at FindIt, helping you be found by more people.

FindIt is a marketplace where you will find a broad range of products from local small business retailers. If you prefer to shop local and shop small, FindIt is a platform sure to interest you. Retailers connect to FindIt through their Tower Systems POS software.

Local shopping is good for the local community since local businesses tend to hire locally, spend locally, source inventory locally and engage locally.

Those who care about the local community will; tend to support local businesses for these reasons.

Local shopping is a win for everyone given the circular nature of the local economy.

The more we shop where we live the more those businesses can support local community groups and hire locally.

We all benefit from this.

The other benefit of local shopping is that it tends to be at local small businesses. These businesses tend to h

Our goal is to help local independent retailers run healthier, happier and more valuable businesses. We nurture this through our POS software, our engaged customer service and through free enhancement opportunities, like FindIt.

We have demos publicly available for each specialty retail channel at You don’t have to register, give your email or your phone number to watch.

Our free marketplace for retailers using our POS software is gaining traction with Google and Bing.

We have more than 100,000 items not currently showing because of lack of images of images. Google wants images. What you can see live is products with good images and good descriptions.

To list your products for free, start by clicking here:

Small Business Retail Advice: making your business more secure


Security is important in any retail business. Over the years, in our work with local small business retailers and in our own shops we have collected advice on shop security. Here are some built point tips you may find helpful from the basic and simple to the more tech. oriented:

  1. Know how many keys there are to your premises and who has them.
  2. Keep a spare key is a safe place away from the business.
  3. Change the most powerful / valuable password for your computer software monthly and share it sparingly. Passwords should be complex. Check the strength of your password here:
  4. Keep a current data backup off site, in the cloud preferably. Regularly check that you can restore the data from your backup and that the data is current.
  5. Regularly check the use of your business software for the deletion or alteration of sales as this could indicate employee fraud.
  6. Have current reputable virus protection on all your computers.
  7. Have current reputable firewall installed on your network.
  8. Never open a zip file sent by email.
  9. Never open an email from a bank, the ATO or the police.
  10. Be discrete when talking about the business and its performance.
  11. Do not do the banking at the same time every day or every few days. Do not follow the same route. Do not carry the same bag.
  12. Have a camera system installed to get a good shot of the faces of everyone entering and leaving the business.
  13. Consider registering your CCTV with the local police – this is an option in some jurisdictions.
  14. Ensure customers can see they are being filmed.
  15. Train employees to make eye contact with customers.
  16. Train employees on emergency procedures for handling: theft, aggressive people, shoplifters.
  17. Use the full stock control facilities of your software to understand the financial cost of shoplifting.
  18. When doing magazine returns, check discrepancies weekly to understand magazine theft.
  19. Ensure your windows are not cluttered. The police advise cluttered windows are a security risk because of what they can hide.
  20. Ensure there is good lighting outside if the store is locked up when it is dark.
  21. Ensure you have the best possible sight lines of the shop from the counter.
  22. Have a no personal items at the counter policy.
  23. If you catch someone in the act of shoplifting ask them to wait in the store, and call the Police. Also (advice from NSW govt. Crime prevention):
    1. Tell them who you are.
    2. Tell them why they have been asked to stay in the store. o Advise them that Police have been called
    3. Ask the person to surrender any property that doesn’t belong to them. Remember, retailers and other citizens have no legal right to search a person.
    4. Most importantly, do not put yourself at risk.
  24. Have a clear refund processing policy and ensure all employees are trained on this.
  25. Track all sales by employee code.
  26. When hiring: ask if applicants agree to a police check, check their references, do not hire friends of employees, explain your commitment to zero tolerance re employee theft.
  27. Have an employee theft policy in full view.

Some of this may read like common sense. We continue to be surprised when hearing of a business that has experienced a security breach that has not considered most of what is on this list.

Develop your own list. Check it regularly. Follow your own advice.

We are a POS software company, making and supporting POS software for specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

Bankable Advice for Small Business Retailers


Engaged local small business retailers know that everyone’s got an opinion on how to run a shop. But what’s the best advice for small business retailers?

Here’s our top 7 tips, based on our own experience and decades of working with small businesses in providing POS software and even running shops ourselves:

  1. Use your data. Your POS software can tell you a lot about your business, from what products are selling to how often your customers visit. Use this data to make better decisions about your inventory, marketing, and staffing. yes, this sounds boring. But, it’s true. How your business has performed can be the best guide as to how it could perform.
  2. Connect your systems. The more you can automate your processes, the less time you’ll waste on manual tasks and the more accurate your data will be. less keystrokes = less mistakes = time saved = better business decisions.
  3. Look under the hood. Good POS software can give you insights into your business that you might not even know you need. Ask your POS software company what kind of data their software can track and report on.
  4. Set goals and measure performance. What do you want to achieve with your business? Once you know your goals, you can track your progress and make sure you’re on track. Our POS software can measure and report on valuable local retail business goals.
  5. Reorder what sells. Don’t waste time and money on products that don’t move. Keep an eye on your sales data and reorder the products that are selling well.
  6. Place products together. People often buy products that go together, so place them near each other in your store. This will make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for and increase your sales.
  7. Train your staff. Make sure your staff know how to use your POS software and how to provide excellent customer service. This will help you create a positive shopping experience for your customers and keep them coming back.

Following these tips can help you run a more successful and profitable small business. Use your data, connect your systems, and look under the hood!

Now, for some extra advice:

  • Be customer-centric. Put your customers first and everything else will fall into place.
  • Be innovative. Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with different marketing strategies.
  • Be persistent. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Keep working hard and never give up on your dreams.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve 3,000+ local independent small business retailers in a variety of specialty retail channels.

Small business retail advice: How to manage community group donation requests


Requests from schools, charities, and other local community groups can be a challenging, difficult, for small business retailers. If you don’t have a structured approach, you’ll end up giving away a lot for little or no return.

Guilt is a powerful emotion, and some representing charities and community groups know this. Take a beat and think through how you want to handle such requests in advance of them coming your way. If you have a process you can deal with the requests consistently and with less stress.

Here’s our advice for local small business retailers on handling community group donation requests:

  • Manage your philanthropy like any business activity. Decide how much money you’re willing to donate each year, and then stick to that budget.
  • Get on the front foot. Write to community groups at the start of the year and ask them to submit a proposal if they’d like your support. This way, you can choose the groups that are a good fit for your business and your community.
  • Support the groups that support you. Look for groups that have members who are also your customers. This way, you’re helping both the group and your business.
  • Let your shoppers choose. If you offer discount vouchers, you could let customers donate their vouchers to a local group. This is a great way to get your customers involved in your community giving.
  • Reward engagement. You could offer a discount to customers who are members of a local group. This would encourage them to shop at your business, and it would also support the group. This is critical advice. There has to be a commercial benefit for your business if you are to be able to help these community groups into the future.
  • Educate groups about good engagement. Let groups know that you’re looking for ways to work together to benefit the community. You could ask them to do things like promote your business on their social media pages, or write about you in their newsletters.
  • Write about your engagement. Once you’ve chosen the groups you’re going to support, write about it on your website and social media. Don’t be boastful or arrogant, be grateful. This will help to raise awareness of the groups, and it will also show your customers that you’re committed to giving back to the community.

Remember, your giving should serve both your heart and your business. By following these tips, you can make sure that your donations are a valuable investment for both you and your community.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Be clear about your expectations. Let groups know what you’re looking for in a partnership, and what you expect from them in return.
  • Be professional. Even if you’re dealing with a small community group, it’s important to be professional in your dealings with them.
  • Be grateful. When a group partners with you, be sure to thank them for their support.

By following these tips, you can build strong relationships with community groups and make a real difference in your community.

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

Small business retail advice: nurturing happiness in your shop


Let’s talk about happiness in retail, in local small business retail especially.

There’s no doubt that being happy in your work makes a big difference to your overall wellbeing. And in retail, it’s especially important to be happy, because your mood can rub off on your customers and your colleagues.

But happiness isn’t something you can just decide to feel. It takes desire, planning and commitment.

Here are a few tips for finding, nurturing, and managing happiness in your local small business retail shop:

  • Create a happy place. From music to scent to shop layout to lighting to things shoppers can engage with, make decisions that lean into happiness. These are physical things you can control, things that can easily tell everyone in the shop that this is a happy place. In our view, this first tip is by far the most important.
  • Have good data. This might sound boring, but good data is essential for making informed decisions about your business. And when you make good decisions, you’re more likely to be happy with the results.
  • Be in control. Don’t let suppliers or other people push you around. Use your data to make your own decisions, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
  • Price for margin and turn. This means setting prices that will give you a good profit margin, but that will also sell quickly.
  • Lean on others. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Build a team of happy and talented people who can help you run your business.
  • Set your narrative. In your marketing and social media, be positive and optimistic. This will help to create a happy and welcoming atmosphere for your customers.

Of course, there are also some more practical things you can do to create a happy retail environment.

Happiness is good for business, and it’s good for you. So make sure you’re taking steps to find and nurture happiness in your retail shop.

Cheers! 🍻

P.S. Don’t forget to smile! 😃

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

Small business retail advice on how to handle and leverage low margin products


We know that low margin, high volume businesses can be tough. The traffic is good, but the profits are slim. And it can be hard to know how to make the most of those low-margin products and services.

How do we know this you ask? Here at Tower Systems we serve thousands of local small business retailers. This provides us with broad experience. It is surprising the crossover value of knowledge across retail channels. As well as helping retailers leverage our POS software we are grateful to share this business management advice.

No, back to low-margin products and how dealing with them can feel challenging for small business retailers.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of five must-do things to leverage your low value traffic.

  1. Place at least one offer or stand at the door. This is a great way to catch people’s attention as they’re leaving. Make sure the offer is clear and relevant to people walking in or walking by.
  2. Use a portable table for pricing stock. This is a great way to keep your stock looking neat and tidy, and it also gives you a chance to upsell other products to customers as you are pricing items.
  3. Pitch other products to customers who are buying low-margin items. This is a great way to increase your average order value. Like, use the traffic of low-margin product to sell other things.
  4. Have an offer at the counter that’s unrelated to the low margin purchase. This is a great way to tempt customers into impulse buys.
  5. Establish a floor unit to guide counter traffic. This is a great way to showcase your products and services, and it also helps to keep your customers moving through your store.

Oh, here’s a bonus tip. Offer a sample, a taste, or a feel (if appropriate). People engaging with a product are more likely to purchase. We have seen this happen in a. range of different types of retail businesses.

We know that these tips might seem like a lot of work, but they’re worth it. By following these tips, you can increase your profits and make your low margin, high volume business more successful.

If you need any help, we’re here for you. We have awesome tools to help low margin, high volume retailers, and we’d be glad to give you some practical advice.

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

Thanks for reading.

Small business retail advice: how to discover fresh ideas


You know what’s important, especially in local small business retail? Coming up with fresh ideas. Big ideas, small ideas, ideas for new traffic, products, and services.

But it can be tough to come up with new ideas, right? Sometimes you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Sometimes you feel alone. Sometimes you feel like you are growing in … stuff!

Well, we’re here at Tower Systems to help you out. We serve thousands of retailers and have experience in local small business retail ourselves.

Here are some suggestions for ways to clear that blockage, to discover fresh ideas:

  • Try a sensory deprivation tank. It’s weird at first, but it’s a great way to relax and let your mind wander.
  • Cook a complex meal that you’ve never cooked before. Or bake a cake. Or do a jigsaw puzzle. Or build a model. Just do something that you’re not used to doing.
  • Go to a ballet or opera. Or a comedy show. Or a walk in the forest. Or sit in front of the ocean and look out to the horizon.
  • Shut yourself in a dark room and put on your favourite music and sing along. Or try yoga, or meditation, or have a massage.
  • Read a novel from cover to cover without interruption. Or do some gardening or other backyard work, or go for a long drive.
  • Have a romantic dinner with your partner at a place you’ve never been before. Or take an unexpected day off and treat yourself to some guilty pleasures.

The point is to get lost in experiences that are unrelated to your business. By getting lost, getting truly lost, ideas have a better opportunity of surfacing.

So go out there and have some fun! The great ideas will follow.

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

We love trying new things as we have found that in those unknown places creativity thrives.

Advice for small business retailers on the best value approach to decision making


How decisions are made in local independent retail businesses can determine the value of those decisions, the consequences on those decisions.

Too often in our work with small business retailers we have seen decisions based on emotion rather than evidence.

The POS software we make for specialty small business retail collects and curates business data that can inform decisions. New have seen wonderful and valuable success flow in retail businesses that make decisions based on evidence is this data.

A common situation of poor decision making is buying stock. Too often we see small business retailers buying because they like a sales rep or because they like the look of something when their own business data indicate that buying that stock is not the right move for their retail business.

In our POS software we make it easy for local retailers to access this data about stock performance, we make it easy for them to have the evidence of their own data to better inform decisions they are considering. retailers who do this, who rely on the evidence in their own business data, tend to run more successful and valuable retail businesses. They tend to enjoy their businesses more too.

Buying stock has to be black and white: will this decision make money for the business in the time that the business needs? As a retail business trades using POS software like ours it builds up knowledge in its trading, knowledge that can be accessed, analysed and understood by the POS software itself to make it easy to see the right stock buying decisions to make.

We upset a retailer a while back when they happened to mention that products from a supplier were not working for them. They were unhappy when we showed them their own data that disagreed with their opinion. It turns out that their opinion was based on a dislike of the manager of the supplier business. They were letting their emotion get in the way of facts. The situation turned out well, the business made more money as a result.

If you are in retail to be successful, we urge you to make decisions based on your business evidence. Our POS software can help. We back its facilities with terrific training and customer support materials that are easily accessible.

We love helping local small business retailers make good decisions. It’s something that makes us feel good.

We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 local and independent small business retailers here at Tower Systems. Our POS software community is diverse and very much appreciated by us for their support and feedback.

The advice we share here comes from our years of engagement with them and our own experience as engaged retailers ourselves.

Advice for any local small business retailer who thinks closing their shop may be the only option


As small business retailers, we understand the overwhelming obstacles and uncertainty that can cloud our vision of the future. When faced with the prospect that closing our doors may be the only option, it’s essential to pause, gather data, and separate fact from emotion. In this article, we offer a beacon of hope by exploring the opportunities hidden within the evidence and guide you towards finding a path forward for your business.

Let’s start with pause. While the situation may feel hopeless, go for a walk outside, regardless of the weather. Walk, walk and walk. Look around. Breathe. Sit. Take a moment. Clear your head.

Unveiling the Opportunities Data as a Compass: Amidst the chaos, it’s crucial to gather and analyse data—the backbone of informed decision-making. Dive into your sales records, financial situation, and local economic circumstances. Focus on the facts, not the emotions or hearsay. Within the evidence lies potential opportunities obscured by obstacles and uncertainty.

Breaking free from the “end is near” mindset requires a strategic shift. Instead, concentrate on four key areas that can turn the tide:

  1. Attracting new shoppers
  2. Increasing the purchasing power of existing shoppers
  3. Maximising revenue from your current offerings
  4. Reducing costs without compromising quality

Seizing the Opportunities Attracting New Shoppers: In the realm of local retail, attracting new customers can be challenging. However, introducing a completely new product category can be a game-changer. Choose something captivating and unique that aligns with your interests and appeals to the local community. To succeed, position the new category well in-store and leverage social media to create buzz. Look beyond your existing network for advice and be the local expert in your chosen category.

Encouraging Increased Spending: To encourage existing customers to spend more, implement a smart loyalty program and create a welcoming store environment. By offering incentives and personalised experiences, you can build stronger relationships with your customers, boosting their loyalty and spending. Our discount vouchers are fast and easy to implement. Customers love them.

Optimising Profitability: Increasing your profit margins can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Explore opportunities to charge slightly higher prices or find ways to improve your sourcing and procurement processes. Even small improvements in gross profit percentage can yield substantial benefits.

Navigating the Journey Embracing Proactive Planning: The key to a successful turnaround lies in early action. Instead of waiting for obstacles and uncertainty to block your path, anticipate change and cultivate assets that can be deployed when needed. Look beyond the immediate horizon and be proactive in your planning, ensuring you’re prepared to adapt and thrive.

Cost Reduction as a Piece of the Puzzle: While reducing costs can be a viable strategy, it’s rarely the sole solution. In well-managed businesses, costs are often already optimised. Although cost reduction can play a role in the overall strategy, it’s important to focus on holistic approaches that address revenue growth and customer engagement.

Reaching Out for Support: If the thought of closing your shop becomes overwhelming, remember that you are not alone. Reach out to fellow retailers retailers who are willing to listen and offer advice. Reach out to us. Together, we can navigate these challenging times and discover new avenues for success.

In local small business retail, challenges and uncertainty are inevitable.

By approaching these obstacles with data-driven decision-making, a proactive mindset, and a focus on attracting new shoppers, maximising customer spending, and optimising profitability, a brighter path forward can emerge.

Remember, you have a community of fellow retailers ready to lend a helping hand. Together, let’s build resilient and thriving businesses.

Christmas in July is an excellent opportunity for local retailers to attract new shoppers


Thanks to marketing tools in our POS software, it is easy for local retailers to pitch Christmas in July, track performance and learn from the value of the opportunity.

We first wrote about Christmas in July more than 10 years ago. What was a good season then is even better now.

Here’s is some of the advice we have shared with our local retailer POS software user community about Christmas in July.

  1. Run the Christmas in July campaign over no more than two weeks in July. One week could be enough.
  2. Choose dates which are away from any other promotion – it works best with little competition.
  3. Get all team members engaged.
  4. Set aside space at the front of store, in their face.
  5. Use your window – go BIG.
  6. Dress the team and the store to suit the Christmas theme.
  7. Display any spare Christmas stock from last year.
  8. Play Christmas music.
  9. Choose a day for an extra special celebration and make this an all-out focus.
  10. Have a competition for the kids around the theme.
  11. Create a giant Christmas stocking which one lucky customer can win.
  12. Use the event to discount any slow moving items. It its a perfect opportunity to quit stock.
  13. Promote on social media.
  14. Ideally, connect with your online store as planned of shopping today is done outside usual hours.

Christmas in July is an excellent opportunity to get suppliers on board too.  Maybe they could provide products for you to give away as gifts – I.E. every shopper gets spending over $10 a ‘Christmas’ gift.  Suppliers could use your promotion as an ideal time for trialling products and getting your customers engaged.

The key here is to create some excitement in the middle of winter, to make visiting your shop more appealing, to get your shop noticed. This is what disruptive marketing has to be about – getting noticed, causing people to stop what they were doing, to turn and see your business. That has to be the first goal, for them to stop, and notice. If you can do that you are part way there. This is why going BIG is important.

Christmas in July is a terrific opportunity in local retail and our POS software can help you track this.

Advice for local indie retailers on how to thrive through the valley of death of retail: June – August every year


June, July and August are tough months in many local shops, independent shops. There is no major season, and, it’s winter. Brrr. Some who have been in retail for ages call these months the months of death.

This year could be tougher because of interest rates and the penchant in newsrooms for stories negative about the economy and the future.

Here are 7 ways you could make these three months work for you.

  1. Be happy. Make the shop bright, happy, smelling good and sounding good. Good lighting. Have a candle burning. Have an awesome playlist. Make your shop a place people enjoy. And, reflect this in your social media posts.
  2. Pitch your offers consistently: discount vouchers, buy x cards and get a card for free. If you have value offers, pitch them in-store as well as on your socials.
  3. Google My Business. Post several times a week. Be found by people nearby searching for what you sell.
  4. Christmas in July. Get out any Christmas related stock you have and sell it off. Heck, host a Christmas party to launch it. Load the sale with other stock you’d like converted to cash. Consider a local charity or community group connection.
  5. Bring in something new, something you’ve never sold before, something you thought you’d never sell. Challenge yourself to reach new shoppers. Launch it with an event. Put on some drinks and nibbles. Give people a reason to come out.
  6. Get a second opinion on your business performance. Gather your data and ask someone to look at what’s working and what’s not. It could be that fresh eyes help clear a better path ahead for you. We gladly help retailers with this.
  7. Pitch occasions like you would seasons. Bring together cards, gift bags and gifts to make it easy for people to celebrate: new home, baby arrival, engagement, wedding, congratulations and, yes, even sympathy. Choose one for a week or two and bring all the options together. Sometimes we have to show people what to do. The best opportunities here are the ones other retailers ignore.

Our point with this list is that this valley, June, July and August, separates retailers. Those who do well tend to be engaged, they tend to embrace opportunities to make their own success.

What’s this got to do with POS software? Plenty. Here at Tower Systems we serve a community of local indie specialty retailers. Our interest in their businesses reaches beyond our software and for they use it. We share ideas and inspirations to support their businesses because we want local indie retail to thrive.

Small business retail advice: if you think the only option left is to close your shop for good


We get it. Sometimes, the road ahead can have so many obstacles and the air is so heavy with fog that a pathway can be hard to find.

In any indie local retail business you can collect a ton of obstacles and feel surrounded by fog if you are drawn to the end is near talk and have your business rooted deep in out of date practices.

If you feel like closing is your only option, we are writing this for you.

Stop. Take a month to first of all breathe. That;’s important, breathe, take in the outdoors. Find a calm. Then, collect data – your sales data, your financial situation information, local economic circumstances. Gather all the facts together, and go over them – not the emotion, the hearsay – stick to the evidence, the facts.

Usually, in the evidence, there is opportunity. The challenge is that often opportunities cannot be seen because of the noise of obstacles and fog. That’s why we say stop, get your evidence and sit with that.

Our hope is that in your evidence there is sufficient opportunity to find a path forward for the business, and for you.

Turning a situation away from closing is my only option can only come about by one or a mix of:

  • attracting new shoppers
  • getting existing shoppers purchasing more
  • making more from some of what you sell
  • reducing costs

It’s pretty simple when you read the list. The hard part is the action, that’s where retailers can get stuck. We mean, attracting new shoppers is difficult, especially in small business where the levers we can pull are limited.

The best way to attract new shoppers in any local retail business is to introduce a completely new product category, to represent it well in-store and to pitch it appropriately on social media.

Your existing suppliers won’t have helpful advice in this area because they are your existing suppliers. You have to look outside your current pool of advice and influencers and look outside what people know your shop for. Choose a category that is fun, appealing and for sure traffic-generating. Ideally, it will be something not easily found locally, something that interests you. That last bit is important because one way to drive traffic for a new category is to be a bit of a local expert.

We get that it may be challenging to find the energy and money to make things work with a new category. If the survival of your business matters you’ll find a way.

The best way to get existing shoppers spending more is through a smart loyalty mechanic and having a shop people enjoy.

The best way to make more from what you sell is by charging more or buying better, or both. Don’t go crazy. A modest increase in GP% could work wonders.

Key to the success of any turnaround is starting on the road early, before fog and debris block the past. It’s important to all of us who own businesses to be looking well ahead, over the horizon, cultivating assets we can deploy when we think change may be needed.

Before we leave the topic we want to touch on cutting costs. That’s a common approach to saving a business. While it could help, rarely in our experiences serving many local indie retailers have we seen cutting costs alone be enough to save a business. Sure, it can be in the mix, but it alone is not enough. And the truth is that a well run business has trimmed costs already.

If you think closing your shop is the only option, reach out. There are plenty of indie retailers who will listen, and offer advice if you’d like it.

You are not alone.

Oh, and this all matters to us because we only serve local indie retailers, and we own and run local indie retail businesses ourselves.

The POS Software Blog




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