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Category: Retail management advice (page 1 of 9)

Retail marketing tips for Easter 2021

Easter is what each store makes of it in retail. Each retailer decides through their engagement whether this is a big or not so big season.

Our advice, based on working with retailers across a diversity of business settings, is don’t get caught up in tradition, think about easter 2021 as one of connection. This can broaden your focus and provide a more useful pathway to sales success.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking what easter 2021 could be in your retail business…

  1. Have fun. No matter what you do, make sure it involves fun, active fun.
  2. Promote connection. Easter is a good this for people to connect with people nearby and far away. help them do that.
  3. Do good. Collect for something during the season. Given the animal theme of so much Easter product, maybe a local animal shelter.
  4. Have fun give rabbits a discount on a set day or days. Give a doubt to everyone who presents as a rabbit. Promote it widely – get the local paper in for a photo. Make the discount worth it for them dressing up.
  5. Invite a wall of stories. If you have a wall available, cover it with paper and invite your customers to write or draw what Easter means to them. this makes the season more interactive.
  6. Make a giant papier-mâché egg with things you sell (old newspapers, coloured paper, paint). Go big, I mean really big. Taller than a person. Let the kids paint it. Make it a local thing for people to come see.
  7. Have an Easter Egg hunt for over 70s. Egg hunts are usually for kids but those over 70 will have a different recollection of the season from when they were kids. Cater to them with a hunt in your shop for tasty eggs.
  8. Respect the season. Easter means different things to different people. Respect this outside of the fun you may have. Be sure about your greeting and that it is appropriate. Maybe include a nice message on your receipts.

Easter is considered by many in retail to be a small season. I see it as full of opportunity and primed for fun in the newsagency. Chase year on year growth.

easter 2021 is an opportunity to guide connection. Our advice is be part of that opportunity.

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Small business retail advice: finding your own margin story

Here at Tower Systems, we help small business retailers get more from our specialty retail POS software. One way we do this is through sharing business insights and opportunities, like this about product margin setting.

What you charge for what you sell, what margin you set needs to be carefully considered.  Price is all about customer perception of value.  Value is based in a range of criteria including:

  • Convenience.
  • Added value – from purchasing from this business.
  • Perceived value – how you package a product compared to how others package the same product can lead to a different price.

See, margin is about more than margin from each item, it is equally about margin dollars, gross profits from each sale, eased basket.

To create the best margin narrative for your business, we suggest you …

  1. Manage labour to focus on products with the best return to the business. This is a balance between overall gross profit dollars and margin percentage.
  2. Look at items with a customer service component, where your expertise is required to make the sale or make good use of the products or where there is a reasonable after sales service component. These can usually carry a higher margin.
  3. Look at the items which are unique to your business in your location or nearby. If you are the only store serving the local community then you do have a pricing opportunity. These items can usually carry a higher margin.
  4. Assess why people shop at your shop. If they are shopping because of convenience then you have the capacity to charge more for this. This is why convenience stores charge more for items which you can buy elsewhere for considerably less.
  5. Involve others in setting sale price. Ask your team what you can charge for an item. Assess what they think you can “get away with”.  By polling team members, you may find that your perception on price is lower than what others expect.

You can build a stronger business by taking small steps each day which focus on new traffic, better margin and improved sales efficiency. No grand plan, no expert strategy – just small steps which leverage opportunities which exist in your retail business.

By paying closer attention to the margin you can achieve, you strengthen the financial foundation of the business and ensure that your return on inventory investment is more helpful to the bigger business plan.

What you do in your business is 100% up to you. Our advice here is for your information, your consideration. By sharing it here our goal is too give you more information to consider, so you can determine the path most appropriate to your own needs.

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Cash register versus POS software, what’s best for small business retail

We are a POS software company so, naturally, our advice will be choose POS software over a cash register … here’s why:

A cash register offers little security against employee theft. This alone should knock out using a cash register in any situation. With employee theft accounting for around 75% of all theft in retail businesses, the more you can do to track, understand and mitigate against it the better.  POS software offers excellent security / control over employee theft. The key is to use POS software well, properly.

Using a cash register denies the business an opportunity to truly understand what is happening in the business whereas POS software provides that data and averages those insights.

It is as simple as this:

  • Cash register: you sold something for this amount of money.
  • POS software: you sold these items for this much. It can even show the customer details, what was sold with it, how they paid and more.

Sure a cash register can feel like lower cost and easier to run. However, with employee theft, data loss and insight denial a cash register is a far more expensive solution for a retail business than POS software.

Good POS software for a specialty retail business can cost $3.00 to $5.00 a day. This is a small cost when you consider the data and insights value to a business compared to the ignorant cash register alternative.

Compared to a cash register, good POS software will help a retail business:

  1. Cut labour costs.
  2. Reduce customer theft.
  3. Reduce employee theft.
  4. Reduce the overhead of dead stock.
  5. Increase sales.
  6. Better manage supplier relationships.
  7. Better manage employee resources.
  8. More successfully lay out the shop.
  9. More easily and quickly sell online.
  10. be more appealing to a prospective purchaser.

Sure, a cash register can seem like the easy to use and easy to understand way to take payment at the sales counter. The reality is different. If you want to maximise the opportunity of your retail business, POS software is a better and far more complete solution for the business. It nurtures the data and insights that enable you to be a business person rather than a button pusher.

The future of retail management in POS software driven. cash registers are old school, from the past, not useful to retail today.

These are some fo the reasons we recommend POS software far ahead of a cash register for small business retail.

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Small business retail advice: Unique Selling Proposition

We work with more than 3,500 small business retailers in our POS software retail community. We are retailers ourselves.

One thing we know to be true – being unique matters. It gives people a reason to consider your business, to shop with you.

Today, we share updated advice on the importance of being unique in any retail business, but especially in local small business retail.

In his 1960 book, Reality in Advertising, Rosser Reeves, a respected US advertising executive, introduced the world to the concept of the Unique Selling Proposition, USP for short.

Reeves defined USP in an advertising context:

  1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer: buy this product and you will get this benefit.
  2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot or does not offer.
  3. The proposition must be so strong that it changes consumer behaviour.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the concept of a unique selling proposition evolved from being essential to advertising to being essential in business. Finding your business USP was considered mission critical to businesses, retailers especially. Businesses drifted however and forgot about the importance of a USP.

Jack Trout told us just a few years ago that it was as relevant today. In 2000, he said that a Unique Selling Proposition was mission critical in business in his aptly titled book Differentiate or Die.

Differentiate of Die. There is no doubt about the call to action in the title, no doubt about the consequences of inaction.

You reflect the uniqueness of your business in 2020 through your inventory mix, shop floor storytelling, your online presence, your social media presence, and, how you reflect your own intellectual property, your own knowledge with and through what you sell. Indeed, you are the key, in many retail businesses, you are the USP.

A good USP will not require an advertising campaign to communicate. It will become obvious through the decisions you make and the actions that follow.

By living the USP in every facet of the business you soon become seen as unique by shoppers and this can drive excellent word of mouth and success for the business.

So, what us your USP and how is it reflected in your business in-store, online, on socials and elsewhere?

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Small business retail advice: handling community group donation requests

This article is another in our series of advice for small business retailers. The advice comes from ur experiences helping small business retailers with POS software and from years of running our own shops, places where we learn retail ourselves from inside out.

Advice for small business retailers on dealing with donation requests from local charities and community groups.

Requests from schools, charities and other community for donations can be a challenge for any size business. If you do not take a structured approach to this you will find yourself giving away plenty for little or no return.

Requests are often loaded with guilt.  People can be passive aggressive in their approach. Often, people requesting help leverage pester power. It can be hard to say no. There are too many stories of retailers giving a gift as a prize, receiving the Thank You poster and achieving no benefit for the business.

Our advice is to manage your philanthropy as you would any business activity.

THE PRIZE / GIFT

Decide the amount in cash or product value or both that you are prepared to donate in a full year, calendar year or financial year.

Our recommendation is you give away cash, but in the form of a voucher to spend in your business. This ensures that value of the gift or prize is greater than the cost of it to your business.

The best mechanism for giving away cash or an amount to spend in-store is to do it  by way of a gift voucher. Use your software to manage this as any manual approach is dangerous and time-consuming.

YOUR PITCH, NOT THEIRS

Get on the front foot and write to local community groups outlining that you budget a year in advance. Seek their submissions. With this advice sheet we have included the text of a suggested letter. Please read the letter as it outlines the approach we suggest and why. It is important you communicate this with all community groups.

On the page after the letter is a suggested notice for use in-store when you are asked for donations.

HOW TO PICK GROUPS TO SUPPORT

Focus on community groups that support you. That is, groups with members who support you. The more they support you the better you are able to support the community.

Be prepared to ask where people shop for the items you sell in your business. Ask if they will change in return for your support.

Asking these questions underscores to you the importance of approaching the decision as a business decision.

Be thoughtful and deliberate. Support the groups that support you. This is important as it helps you stay within a budget.

LET YOUR SHOPPERS CHOOSE

If you run discount vouchers and if customers say they don’t want the voucher, invite them to contribute the voucher to a local group – one of three you setup for in the business. Every month, two months or three months, tote up the vouchers and give the group a parentage of the total voucher value ‘voted’ for them.

This idea could be in addition to any giving program you run in the business. It offers a daily reminder of your commitment to local giving.

Grill’d burgers for years ran a program kind of like this where each shopper is given a bottle cap, which they place in a tub to vote on a group to receive a cash donation for the month. The process of groups submitting to be considered is onerous.

REWARD ENGAGEMENT

In addition to any direct gift, consider an offer whereby anyone who is a member of the group who shops with you accrues an amount you donate to the group. You could manage this through your software. It could be you offer a discount to the shopper as well as accruing a value for the group.

This type of program could also be in addition to your core giving program as the value here is driven by sales – hopefully, incremental sales.

EDUCATE GROUPS ABOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT

Here are things groups you support can do to help your business. You should ask them to do these things:

  1. Tell members to buy from you.
  2. Write about your business on their Facebook page.
  3. Distribute flyers of your offers.
  4. Have you speak at a meeting.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT

Once you have a decision on which groups you will support, write about this in your newsletter and on Facebook. Not just once but multiple times. Invite them to provide you with content to publish too. Talk about their good works.

Ask them to write about you too.

Your giving must serve your heart and serve your business. Going about it in a structured way will ensure you meet your objectives.

Here is suggested text for a notice about giving by the business:

OUR POLICY ON HANDLING COMMUNITY GROUP DONATIONS.

We receive requests to support local community groups and charities regularly. As a small family business with loans, rent, wages and other costs, we cannot say yes to everyone. We wish we could but we cannot.

To help us better connect with and serve the groups we do support, we now decide at the start of the financial year the groups we will support over the next year. The selection process is based on written submissions from groups.

Our decision to select the groups we support at the start of the year means we cannot take on additional donation requests through the year.

We hope you understand and respect this.

Please consider applying in advance of the start of the next financial year.

But all is not lost…

If your group can bring in new customers to our business to purchase items they want we may have another way we can help. Ask us for details.

Thank you and we wish you all the best in your community group.

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Small business retail advice: how to take on a local competition

This article is another in our series of small business retail management advice. It comes from a deep well of experience helping small business retailers, local retailers, as well as our own experience running successful retail businesses.

How to take on a local competitor with care and respect.

If you want to grow your retail business it is likely that at some point in time you will need to take on a local competitor. By take on, we mean compete with, head-on, in a category or on a whole of store basis.

While it can sound cold-hearted suggesting you take on a local business colleague, it is survival of the fittest in the world and, especially, in business. Better you than them.

The time you might consider taking on a competitor could be when you are looking at taking on a new product category, something sold in another business nearby. Such a move could likely be seen as an attack on the other business – hence the need for careful planning and management … BEFORE you make the move.

Here is advice on how to approach taking on a local competitor.

  1. Ensure there is a need in your business or the community for you to move against a local competitor. The need could be in your business – the need for more traffic and / or revenue. The need could be in the community for better products because the competitor is doing a bad job or overcharges. Ensure you know what the need is and that it is enough to fuel your commitment for what is ahead.
  2. Make sure that the new product category fits with your business and how you and your customers see your business.
    1. The move must make sense in terms of what you sell and what you are known for.
    2. The move must have a story backing it for you and your customers to believe in the move.
  1. Thoroughly assess risks you and others working with you see.
    1. How the competitor and / or community might react publicly.
    2. How the competitor and / or community might react privately.
    3. What the competitor might invest to fight.
    4. Whether they can take on what you plan to stock and directly compete.
    5. How people might perceive you taking on a local business.
    6. To you and your health – competing takes stamina.
    7. Do you have sufficient resources for a long-term plan?
    8. What if the competitor closes? Are you ready to deal with that?
  2. What will be your Unique Selling Proposition, what will separate your offer apart from the competitor(s)?
    1. You must have a genuinely unique proposition: range (deep into a niche for example), quality, brands, price, customer service or a combination of these.
    2. The differentiating proposition must be obvious and valuable to local shoppers for it is this that will justify you taking on a competitor.
  1. DO IT BETTER. On all fronts. This is the most important factor of taking on a business.
    1. You must do it better, from the outset.
    2. Better products, better brands, better displays, better service, better marketing. Price does not have to be a factor if you are better in all other areas.

Taking on a competitor by introducing new products or product categories in your business can be tough anywhere. The goal of our advice is to have you plan for the move for good planning is a key factor in success.

We often see businesses take on a competitor without thought and eventually retreat having lost money. Avoid retreating by taking time to research and plan.

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Small business retail advice: how to manage an employee theft situation

This article is another in our series of advice for small business retailers. It comes from our experience running a POS software company that serves small business retailers and from running our own retail shops.

How to deal with an employee theft situation in small business retail

Discovering theft by an employee can be debilitating and destabilising. To help you through this, we provide here our advice on what to do once you discover employee theft. The goal is to offer straightforward steps to help you get through as it is on the other side of this where you can find the opportunity to move on from the feeling of violation that often accompanies employee theft in small business.

  1. Be sure of the facts, gather the evidence. Evidence could include, video footage of cash being take from the business, business records being modified to cover tracks, stock being stolen and more. Evidence does not include gossip, feelings and opinions. Without evidence you have nothing to proceed with.
  2. Once you have all available evidence and if this clearly implicates one or more employee, quickly work out what you want.
    1. If you involve the police, they and, subsequently, the courts, will control the process including getting your money or goods back, an apology and more.
    2. If you don’t involve them, think about if you want the money or goods back, an apology, the person to stop working for you without negative impact on you – or a mixture of these.
    3. Check your insurance policy. Be sure you understand what you might be able to claim and in what circumstances. For example, your policy may require a police report. This could determine your next steps. If you are not sure what your insurance policy says, call the insurance company for advice. Knowing your insurance situation early is vital.
  3. If the person committing the crime is a minor:
    1. Advise their parents or guardian by phone. Invite them to the shop or an independent location to see what you have. Have someone else there with you, as an observer. This meeting needs to happen quickly.
    2. Present the evidence.
    3. Listen for their response.
    4. If they (their parents) ask what you want, be clear.
    5. If agreement is reached, put it in writing there and then and all involved sign it, so there is clear understanding.
    6. If agreement is not reached you need to decide your next steps and engage them with haste.
    7. A return of the money, likely by the parents, should be in a lump sum, immediately. I have seen a parent pay $22,000 where a uni student studying psychology stole and out their career at risk by being caught. I have seen another situation where a 75-year-old mum repaid the $12,000 stolen by her adult daughter so the daughter did not have to tell her husband about her gambling problem.
  4. If the person committing the crime is not a minor:
    1. Get an opportunity to speak with them face to face, ideally with another person there as a witness.
    2. Tell them you have evidence of them stealing from the business.
    3. Ask if they would like to see it. If they say no, ask what they propose.
    4. If they do want to see the evidence, show it and ask what they propose.
    5. If there is an offer of a full refund, an immediate resignation and never entering the business again it could be a good practical outcome. The challenge is you may not know the value of what has been stolen. Experience indicates that someone stealing cash will understate the amount considerably. I was involved in one case where they said they stole $10,000. The irrefutable evidence showed it was $75,000.
    6. Get any agreement in writing. If there is an offer to repay, our advice is to only accept an immediate lump sum. If the proposal is payment of, say, more than $10,000 over time, involve the police.
    7. If the person denies any wrongdoing, go to the police immediately.
  5. If you have suspicions and do not have the evidence, put in place opportunities to gather the evidence without entrapping the target, without setting them up. I have seen situations where local police have provided advice and support for this. It could be worth asking them if you are in a regional or rural situation.

If you are nervous about meeting the person or their family, write down what you plan to say. Keep it short. To the facts. No emotion. Having a script prepared can be useful even if you do not read it.

If there is any risk of violence, do not have a meeting. Go straight to the police.

Time is of the essence here. The longer you know about the situation and the longer you do not act the less useful the outcome is likely to be.

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Advice for small business retailers on selling higher priced items

This article is another in our series of advice for small business retailers. While we are a POS software company, we are retailers too. Often, we are asked for advice from retailer colleagues. Here is an example of advice we provide:

That won’t sell in my shop, it is too expensive for my customers.

Before you say something will not sell because it is too expensive, consider the actions you can take that could make the product work.

It could be that you are a factor in something not selling as in your placement, visual  merchandising, business marketing and more you set the price expectation.

When you think something will not sell because it is expensive, consider that it might sell in another business. What does that business look like? Is there an opportunity for you to connect with shoppers who might shop at that business?

Here is how you influence higher price acceptable of an item or group of items in your business.

  1. Display to the target shopper. Treat the product as special, something of quality, away from the usual cheaper products on the shelves. Respect the higher price, the higher quality.
  2. Do not place the higher price items with cheap products. Location is everything. Set aside a location that reflects the difference of these products.
  3. Price / product signs. Make them. Handwritten. Explain the product. Reflect quality.
  4. Use lighting, or darkness, to draw attention.
  5. Know the product. It is more expensive for a reason – quality, source location, rarity. Know the reason and ensure all staff can speak to it.
  6. Don’t be scared of the price.
  7. Remember you are not your customer.
  8. Know if if you don’t sell this someone else nearby might or at least products in the same price bracket. Beat them.
  9. Treat the higher priced product with respect, through your actions show that the price is worth it.

Here is why you would do this: new traffic plain and simple.

Every new item that appeals beyond the usual, the average, for your business is an opportunity to attract a new shopper.

Attracting new shoppers is, in our view, the single most important business activity for you every day.

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Advice for small business retailers on running a pop-up shop

As part of our small business retail management advice series, in this article we offer suggestions on what to consider about a pop-up shop opportunity.

While we are a POS software company, we are retailers too. We are often asked by small business retailers to comment on opportunities, like pop-up shops.

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

WHY?!

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

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

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

LOCATION.

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

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

OCCUPANCY COST.

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

LABOUR COST.

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

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS.

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

INVENTORY.

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

PRICING MODEL.

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

PROMOTION.

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

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

MANAGEMENT MINDSET.

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

SPEED.

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

TRACK PERFORMANCE.

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

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

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Where to buy computer hardware for your retail business

Buying computer hardware for a retail business can be daunting. There are plenty of people who will offer advice and plenty of sources for acquiring hardware for a retail business.

The hardware retail businesses need is specialty in nature. You can’t put in a regular computer. Likewise, you can’t hop on eBay and buy any barcode scanner you find.

No, you need to purchase hardware that is fit for purpose for your retail business, you need hardware that is designed to work with the specialty POS software you have chosen for your retail business.

Take your time, do your research and know that you get what you pay for. Go cheap and you most likely buy hardware for your retail business that is not ideal or may not last as long as quality hardware lasts.

Not all barcode scanners are the same.

Not all receipt printers are the same.

Not all cash drawers are the same.

Not all computers are the same.

With computer hardware, you get what you pay for.

Our advice is think about your shop and what you say to people who say to you that your prices for what you sell are too high. What response do you give them. Think about whether you give yourself that same response if you are looking to buy cheap hardware for your retail business.

We have seen people buy cheap scanners who need to replace them with better and more suited scanners.

We have seen people buy cheap printers for their business only to replace them with printers that actually work in their type of business.

Yes, there really is specialty hardware for specialty retail. It sometimes costs more, but it usually saves money in the long term.

We run an online shop offering computer hardware for retail businesses. It is a small sideline for us, something we got into in service of retail businesses trading on our POS software and looking for quality hardware they could trust, hardware that we ourselves back.

The computer hardware that we recommend to retail businesses is quality hardware, recommended as ideal for the customers we serve. It is hardware backed by good manufacturer warranties, hardware with which we are personally familiar.

Our advice to retail businesses looking to buy hardware, barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers, customer displays and more is take your time, do your research, do not be driven by price, make sure that the hardware you are considering is right for the software you use in your business.

Take care and buy what is best for your business.

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Small business retail advice: finding optimism

Every day can be tough in small business. You can feel like the big competitors are winning and that you can’t climb the mountain to compete. You may not know where to start.

For some, 2020 has been that year, the year of challenges and worry so much that seeing ahead to the horizon can be difficult.

There are green shoots of good news and opportunities in every small and independent retail business that we look at. The key is to find these and to leverage them for more success.

A green shoot is a product or a category of products or a supplier performing above average in the business. Often, these successes have gone unnoticed.

Finding optimism is like mining, you have to look for it, sometimes for a long time. It is there, though, in every retail business.

As soon as you hear yourself talking your business down, STOP. Look at your data, look for the good news. That is what you need to think and talk about.

By looking at your data, we mean looking at year on year, quarter on quarter or month on month comparison data for departments, categories, suppliers or even individual products. Look for growth and once you see growth, think about what you can do with and around the products achieving growth so that you can achieve other growth.

Any product achieving year on year increases in unit sales is a product to be appreciated, nurtured and used to help grow other products that can sell to the same customer.

This is how you grow optimism. Find those small green shoots, no matter how small, leverage them with some small steps and, over time, build more success for your business.

Here at Tower Systems, we go beyond our POS software in our help for small business retailers. We leverage our knowledge to deliver good outcomes for our customers based on their business performance data. We work with them, guiding them, helping them to see opportunities and encouraging them to lean in to green shoots of success.

We are grateful to our small business retail customers for their engagement with son this path to success by cultivating green shoots.

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POS software integrated buy now pay later solutions for small business retailers

POS software company Tower Systems offers its 3,500+ small business retailer community several options for integrated buy now pay later payment options for customers.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be early adopters of integrated buy now pay later solutions for small business retailers. We were the first POS software company to integrate with Humm, the terrific buy now pay later platform that now has a legion of customers and retailers engaged with it.

Our work with Humm was ground breaking, laying a path forward for many POS software companies, offering them a buy now pay later integration that suits many different types of specialty small business retailers.

The tech folks at Humm were a joy to work with as together we developed the approach for over the counter sale through POS software of products purchased using the Humm buy now pay later app.

Humm was our first POS software buy noway later integration with our POS software but certainly not our last we this space of finch has expanded rapidly. We are grateful to offer our retailers choice, with a nod to fees and charges, enabling our small business retail partners to manage their cost base and attract shoppers looking for payment flexibility.

Another buy now pay later integration we offer our small business retail customers is with the Zip platform and their Zip products that serve the buy now pay later shopper needs. Using Zip is easy, fast and secure for the shopper and for the retailer. the Zip integration with our POS software is seamless, direct. This is a perfect solution for small business retailers looking to offer respected buy now pay later payment options.

While some retailers continue to offer LayBy, it is the buy now pay later option that shoppers like, especially where they want immediate access to the product. It suits retailers, too, as they are not dealing with prescriptive LayBy regulations that can end up disadvantaging the retailer through the change of mind requirement.

Whether it is through, Zip, Humm or some other buy now pay later payment offering, Tower Systems is grateful to help small business retailers across plenty of specialty retail channels to connect with shoppers how, when and where they like, through our locally made and supported POS software. 

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Everyday retail management advice: measure everything and win

Measurement is key to the success of any retail business, especially in small business retail where competition is tough.

Measuring sales, stock, employees and suppliers will profit a business if those in charge act on what measurement reveals.

This is small business retail management advice we share with our POS software customers. While it is a boring topic, it is a business critical topic for if you measure and act on the evidence you are on a path to success. Ignorance may be bliss … it is also a road to failure in business.

Without accurate and consistent measurement, you are not able to make good business decisions or to hold others to account for their actions.

By measuring you can make better decisions.

Here are some simple rules for accurate measurement in retail:

  1. Only sell what you can track – by scanning a barcode or pressing a PLU (stock code) to track the item.
  2. Do not use department keys to sell items as this denies you the opportunity of tracking individual items you sell. Scan the barcode every time!
  3. Enter into your computer system everything you sell. Record stock you receive by supplier so that you can track supplier performance.
  4. Enter into your computer system everything you return to suppliers – consignment stock, returns or damaged goods.
  5. Record all sales and other activity at the sales register by employees.
  6. Reorder replenishment stock by using your computer system to create orders for you.

My making your business data driven you are better equipped to take the emotion and gut feel out of business decisions.  This will improve decision quality and accountability and, hopefully, the return you achieve from these decisions.

Businesses which do not measure stock, suppliers, employees and sales accurately often find themselves faltering without knowing why – because they have no accurate data on which to base research.

Measuring everything reveals a path forward and this path is success.

Yes, this is a snooze of a topic. However, it is also a business critical topic offering a bankable result – if you measure everything and act on the results as revealed by the measurement.

Tower Systems helps small business measure, analyse and act. Our advice for small business retailers is considerable – reaching as far as retailers ask. It starts with our POS software and offering retailers opportunities to fully learn how this software can serve any specialty retail business that chooses it.

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Advice for small business retailers on combatting the Covid recession

Whether we like it or not, the world economy is in recession, a Covid recession. While each country fares differently, the recession is global.

While small business retail is vulnerable, it is well positioned to trade out of the Covid recession. Here is our advice for small business retailers on combatting the Covid recession, or at least on guiding trading in your business to be against trend.

Our advice is based on decades of work with many different retail businesses across multiple retail channels. It also drains on our own experience running several different types of retail businesses.

  • Get shoppers buying more. Increasing your average visit spend value can be done through smart loyalty lever engagement as well as intelligent product location on the shop floor and with appropriate encouragement for multi-item purchases. Our POS software helps with all of these. It offers facilities through which you can systemise your approach to these and retailers activities.
  • Bring shoppers back sooner. You can do this with targeted emails that are based on past shopper behaviour, financial encouragement to shop sooner than they otherwise might and by offering items people collect and add to. Our POS software can support each of these activities in a consistent and easy to manage way.
  • Improve retail floorspace performance. Outside of inventory, labour and retail space are the highest costs to any retail business. maximising return from retail space and from labour engageed in managing retail space is key to success. Using our POS software you can stock more of what does sell and less of what does not sell – thereby improving the return on labour and retail space investment.
  • Broaden your shopper reach. While opening the doors is considered a marketing activity in many small retail businesses, for a small effort and investment you can be online connected to your POS software and selling products to shoppers far away, shoppers =not in your current reach … thereby improving the efficiency of the business.

Much of what a small retail business can achieve in trading against the trend of a Covid recession comes down to decisions made in the business, decisions about products, people and marketing that can be leveraged through smart POS software.

We’re here to help!

Tower Systems is grateful to serve thousands of small and independent t retail businesses in Australia and New Zealand in service of profit and enjoyment.

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Free socials to help small business retailers pitch good habits

We help our small business POS software customers with free social media content for appreciation and behavioural encouragement. Here are some of our new social media posts made available to Tower Systems customers:

Thanks to our creative in-house marketing team, plenty of social media content collateral is available to help customers of Tower Systems promote their businesses.

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Help for local small business retailers to compete from our POS software co.

Tower Systems is an Australian POS software company. We help local small business retailers compete, especially against big and better resourced competitors.

We are an unusual POS software company in that we own and run shops ourselves as well as several online businesses. We leverage our own experience in competing with big businesses in the advice, and help we provide to local small business retailers.

The work we do, the help we provide, it goes beyond POS software. While our POS software is at the core of what we deliver, the help we provide goes beyond this as we provide advice, support and encouragement to local small business retailers.

We gladly leverage our own retail marketing, small business accounting and other broader skills in service of help for local small business retailers.

The help we have provided has ranged from advice on containing employee theft, social media marketing and strategic management. However, it is our advice on how to compete with bigger and better resourced competitors that has been the most beneficial.

Through our POS software, local small business retailers can change the narrative. By this, we mean they can change the conversation such that it is difficult to compare the small business with a big business. This is done in a range of smart ways in the POS software, making it hard for shoppers to compare.

The other key move we facilitate through our POS software is through helping local small business retailers to differentiate through the added-value offered with products. This can be information and more as curated through the POS software.

Big businesses primarily compete on price. Price is their go-to move to compete. Price often does not help as it cuts margin. Our approach through our PSO software work is to help local business retailers to re-package what they sell so comparing like for like is not easy. This can show the local business as offering something more relevant and useful.

Beyond the software itself, Tower Systems helps small business retailers by offering its software on a rental model, helping;ing retailers to access the POS software and complete training and support retailers for a few dollars a day. They can do this without having to complete an onerous finance agreement. Indeed, through the Tower Systems software, retailers are quit the software and the associated rental at any time.

Local small business retailers can compete by being engaged, creative and focussed. here at Tower Systems we will help in any way we can. We see local small business retail as key in any economy.

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Small business retail management advice: make every day your pay day

In our work with more than 3,500 small business retailers, independent retailers, mainly high street retailers, we have developed a kit of advice from which we draw to help these retailers run more successful and enjoyable businesses.

One piece of advice that we have found to be most useful is what we share here today. It is advice that is rooted in practicality and personal accountability. We offer it today and hope you find it useful…

Make every day your pay day.

Some retailers consider the day the sell their business as their pay day.  Smarter retailers know that every day the business is open and trading is a pay day.

It is unrealistic to look on a retail business as a bank accruing interest which is repaid in the form of goodwill when the business is sold.  However, this is how many retailers do view their businesses.  So much so in fact that they lose focus on the profitability of the business on a day to day basis.

The Small Steps Strategy for Growth outlined in the previous chapter is vitally important to ensuring the best possible pay day every day.

By making every day your pay day, you focus on profitability today and not next year or the year after, when you ultimately sell the business.

If you run your retail business this way, focusing on driving traffic, leveraging sales efficiency and ensuring the best possible margin every time, you will see profitability improve.  While this will drive up the ultimate sales price you can achieve for the business, it will also put more money in your pocket from the business every day.

By driving profitability on a day by day basis, as if this is all that matters, you will take more notice of employee costs, sales efficiency and other more micro factors and drivers in the business.

You are more likely to make changes if you view sales and profitability data on a daily perspective rather than for a longer period such as quarterly or annually.

Did you make enough yesterday to pay for the rent, employee costs, cost of goods sold, marketing and utility costs as well as to pay yourself?

If not, what can you do to change this?

If so, did you make enough?

These are the challenges and the opportunities we will explore in this special report.  By looking at your business as if every day is your pay day, you are more likely to look more closely at your business than if you are focused on the day you sell as your pay day.  Obsess about these things and you are more likely to bank the results.

If you don’t know how you are doing daily or weekly, you need to put in place manual or computer based systems which enable you to track and report on this.  Good or bad, it is information you need to make better business decisions.

So, how did you do today or this week?  Make enough to pay all your bills, your employees and yourself?  Look on and work on every day as your pay day.

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Staff management tips and advice for local small business retailers

In our work with more than 3,500 small business retailers across a diverse mix of retail channels, we have collected, along the way, a kit of tips and advice for managing staff in retail. We share some of these tips today here as an insight into the help we can provide beyond our POS software, beyond what you may expect from a POS software company too.

We are interested in retail business management, especially small retail business management, as we own and run shops ourselves and have done so since February 1996. We bought our first shop to give us a live test site. It’s grown since then.

Before we get to the tips themselves, we like this selection because it focusses on the management challenge as well as on the financial outcome for the business.

Here are some of the small business retail staff management tips we like:

  1. Set sales goals. In our experience, people perform well when they know the goal. It could be individual goals or a business-wide goal.
  2. Track performance. If not for reward, at least for active management engagement.
  3. Reduce mistakes and theft. Get employee code or number entered for each sale. It works.
  4. Skill your people. Make sure they understand the software and how they can use it to achieve more for the business.
  5. Change the roster. Roster changes can push back against predictability, they can also uncover opportunities.
  6. Set standards. In your POS you can establish standards for data to be followed – product naming conventions, department descriptions and more. The more consistency in your data the more valuable your data.
  7. Stop using the back room. You can’t sell product from the back room. Have staff do all pricing and other usual back room tasks on the shop floor.
  8. Track location performance. Train your staff in the process of tracking the performance of impulse locations. Moving a product could help it find customers. Make sure staff understand what you are looking for.
  9. Share basket insights. Knowing what sells alone and what sells with what can help staff make better decisions as to what is placed where on the shop floor.
  10. Ask them. Yes, ask them what you should / could stock, ask them what think a product is worth. Value their input and they will value more working for the business.
  11. Cut data handling. At every possible point, stop touching data. Having it flow from electronic supplier invoices through the POS to scanned sales through to Xero for accounting can reduce mistakes and possible fraud opportunities.

There are many opportunities for managing staff through and with your POS software. This can improve the business and enhance their experience with your business.

 

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11 mistakes small business retailers make with their websites when selling online

Here at Tower Systems we develop POS software for small business retailers. We are grateful to serve 3,500+ customers in Australia and New Zealand. We also develop beautiful websites for small business retailers.

Leveraging that experience, we have evolved a suite of knowledge about works for small business retailers going online. We have plenty  of advice to offer retailers about going online.

Today, we flip that consideration, we want to take a look at common mistakes retailers make when they go online, mistakes that can cause their shop connected websites to fail or, at least, to not achieve what they hoped for.

These are mistakes we have seen retailers make, advised against and, often, had to fix once the retailers agree they were mistakes. They make our mistake list once corrective action is shown to fix an issue, thereby proving the first move was a mistake.

  1. Poor navigation. A site that is hard to get around will see people leave quickly.
  2. Unclear shipping charges / policy. People want to know what it will cost.
  3. Inadequate payment options. Credit card is as essential as PayPal, buy now pay later like Afterpay, ZipPay and Humm, Apple Pay and Shopify pay.
  4. Using photos are are blurred or with more than. one product in them. Good photography is key – yes, you can do it yourself.
  5. Using stock photos that are already on many other websites. Google likes unique photos. Take them yourself.
  6. Using the same text that is on plenty of there websites. Google likes fresh text, fresh content. Write this yourself and follow consistent standards.
  7. No chat. Chat is key because shoppers have questions.
  8. Secrecy – not including an email address, phone number and actual street address.  People want to know they can trust you.
  9. Having no USP – unique selling proposition. Really, why should people shop with your website if your website offers nothing unique.
  10. Poor fulfilment. If you take too long to fulfil, people will know and they will complain to others.
  11. No support. Your website needs support online and elsewhere, so people can find it. This could be marketing, links on other sites, links on socials and more.

Our advice for small business retailers with websites goes beyond the 11 points we have noted here. Take these as a start. Anyone with a website can address these without additional cost. Fix these mistakes and you should start to see growth non engagement with the website. This is another step to growing online sales.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve thousands of small business retailers. Working with them helps us learn every day, which we love.

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Retail management advice to guide stronger, more valuable, retail businesses

As owners of retail businesses, especially small retail businesses, local retail businesses, know … everyone is an expert, everyone has advice on what to do, what to stock, how to grow the business.

Our retail management advice has been fine-tuned over decades of service of local small business retailers in a range of specialty retail channels. It has come, too, from our own ownership and operating of a range of retail businesses across four different specialty retail channels. We own three online shops and several online businesses today.

The retail management advice we share here is a taste of the support we offer small business retailers beyond the POS software we make, sell and support.

Today, in this post, our focus is on what we consider to be the most important advice for small business retailers. We call it bankable advice, advice you can rely on to add measurable value to your business.

  1. Use your data. Yes, that sounds boring. The thing is, the data curated by your POS software can help you buy better, sell faster, make more from each shopper visit, reduce theft, get more value from employees, make fewer mistakes, cut labour costs … and more. Yes, good data, leveraged consistently, will achieve all this and more.
  2. Connect. At every opportunity, connects your systems and processes from suppliers to your goods inwards to your POS to product returns to your business accounting software. The less you rely on manual processes the better your business decisions and the lower your costs.
  3. Look under the hood. Good POS software gives you eyes in the back of your head, it can show you what you don’t know and may not want to know. Ask what you can find out that may surprise you as it is in these surprises where you may find more value.
  4. Set goals for the business and measure performance. Revenue. Unit sales for key products. Sales by team member. Revenue by supplier. ROI. ROFS. Measure, report, discuss, improve.
  5. Reorder what sells.
  6. Place products next to products they are usually purchased with.
  7. Ensure your staff know how to use the tools you have. Take POS software, too often we see poor use hurting the performance of the business.

Success in small business retail is there for the taking, through management action. Success comes from consistent pursuit of success. Systems helps you consistently pursue success.

Good POS software companies can help you with this, they can help you drive a more successful and valuable retail business. That’s certainly our goal at Tower Systems.

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3 shop local community connection and marketing tips for small business retailers

2020 is the year of shop local with a surge in people shopping locally. In our work with 3,500+ small business retailers, we have seen a surge in sales, both in -store sales and online sales with small business retailers.

It is wonderful to see, this authentic support for shop local in 2020.

Today, we share some tips for small business retailers on how to maximise the shop local opportunity, marketing advice on how to make shop local work better for you. These are marketing tips you can use right away without spending any money in most cases.

  1. What makes your business local? Know this and you can know much more about your message and how you can leverage it. For many retailers, their local connections are a point of difference. usually, what makes your business local is local knowledge. If this is you, serve this knowledge through touchpoint in your POS software. It is easy to encode local knowledge is related to what you sell and auto-serve this through customer purchases.
  2. Connect with the local community. Offer community groups fund-raining opportunities when your members choose your local business over other local businesses. It’s easy to manage through your POS software, to track the purchases by group members, given them a benefit and gift the community group itself a benefit in appreciation for their recommendation. This can be a perfect win / win / win for all in the local community.
  3. Stay connected. Through social media, email and other platforms, keeping connected with locals by sharing locally relevant information you can connect and share knowledge and this will be appreciated by locals. Your POS software can capture email addresses and share these with mailChimp for safe and spam free emails.

Know where your customers live. It’s easy to capture the postcode of shoppers. In every business we see doing this they learn things about shoppers that they can leverage, for better local community engagement especially.

Nurturing local shoppers really is all about your local community connection. It helps to have ways to do this that do not take too much time, ways that are consistently leveraged. This is where good POS software with tools for pitching your local connections can help.

Here at Tower Systems we care about small business retailers. We care for your businesses, those who rely on the business for income and your local shopper customers. We only work with and help local small business retailers with our POS software.

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5 steps guaranteed to cut theft in any retail business

Theft in retail costs more than money or goods taken. There is an emotional cost, which can play into an impact on business management.

In our work with thousands of independent retail businesses we have tuned a list of actions that we see work well in cutting theft in retail.

  1. Spot stock take. Allocate time daily to spot check stock on hand. We suggest 15 to 20 minutes a day to different areas of the shop could reveal customer theft challenges. Spot stock takes are fast, easy and guide data accuracy. Most important, they reveal theft.
  2. Track everything you sell. The moment a retailer does not track stock that comes in and goes out of a business is the moment the retailer takes their eye off the ball and allow people who till steal to steal. While it sounds boring, managing stock is key early identification of theft, especially employee theft.
  3. Eliminate manual handling of data. Every time data is handled manually you create a weakness that a thief can exploit. For example, if sales data do not flow automatically from your POS to your accounting software, there can be an opportunity for someone handling cash to skim prior to banking. From receiving inventory invoices electronically to scanning everything you sell to a direct connection between your POS and your accounting software, like Xero, every keystroke eliminated is potential theft avoided.
  4. Look under the hood at keystroke patterns. Smart POS software will maintain, in a secret location and under appropriate security data that could reveal misbehaviour by staff as part of a systematic theft program. This type of analysis has uncovered the deletion of sales to enable the removal of cash from a til by an employee stealing from the business.
  5. Surprise moves like roster changes, spot checks in-store, mid-day cash-outs and more can break a pattern and make it difficult for anyone who seeks to leverage a consistent pattern to engage in theft. We know of one case where the rubbing bins were emptied an hour earlier than usual and by someone who does not usually do this work and in doing so a roll of notes was found, which led to long-term theft discovery.

Theft hurts retail businesses in many ways. Independent retailers can cut the cost of theft by following steps like those outlined here.

Tower Systems works with small business retailers using its POS software to help them cut employee and customer theft. We have provided expert help to police and prosecutors. We have people in our business who have been used as expert witnesses in court cases.

We are committed to helping small business retailers cut employee and customer theft. Every Tower customer has access to a free theft check service.

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Gift shop marketing advice for small business gift retailers

How to market your gift shop … everyday ideas for gift shop marketing to help any local independent gift shop attract more shoppers and get shoppers spending more money in each visit.

We have owned our own small business gift shops since the late 1990s. These physical store and online store situations have provided us with opportunities to leverage low-cost and no-cost marketing to grow the businesses. The experience has also helped us improve our gift shop software.

Today, we share some marketing ideas for gifts shops, to help these local and vital businesses grow in service of their local communities.

  • Be smart about where you place products. Use the insights data from your POS software to see what sells with what. This usually gets you placing products together that you would usually not place together.
  • Buy smart. Too often we see gift shops filled with stock the owners like, which is often different to the products gift shop customers preference. Using the data curated by the POS software, order what sells and sell more of this.
  • Email regular customers. It’s easier to bring them back than find new customers. Email them based on past purchases and based on future life events.
  • Stop copying others. While it is tempting to copy what we see as successful moves in other businesses, copying does to differentiate. Run your own race. Play your own game. One area where doing your own thing is best does is in loyalty. While most businesses offer points, our advice is that you offer a cash discount off the next purchase. This can be easily managed through your POS software. A cash amount off the next purchase is more likely to get a one time shopper spending more in that visit, making that one visit worth more than it otherwise might to the business.
  • Pre-sell and bank the revenue before you pay for the goods. Tapping into popular licence opportunities and limited-edition ranges you can sell products before you receive them from your suppliers, before you pay for them. This pre-sell approach can differentiate your business by seeing you go out with something well before a competitor has it is stock.
  • Clip the coffee card but in a smart way for gift shops that don’t sell coffee. If your gift shop sells things people could purchase multiple times over months or a year, setup a digital coffee type cared where you stamp the card for each purchase and offer a discount or something free after the customer reaches a target number of purchases.
  • Go online, cleverly. While everyone says sell online, we say do it cleverly, do it in a way that leverages the power of search engines, do it in a way to connects your gift shop with shoppers who know nothing about you. The type of online selling we suggest is connected to your POS software and it uses the smarts you have built into the data managed by that software.

We can offer more advice than this, more marketing advice for gift shops, to help them grow, be more successful and more enjoyable for all involved.

This is another Tower Systems advantage.

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Retail solutions for small business retailers in Australia

Small business retailers appreciate retail solutions, they appreciate real help to real everyday challenges.

Here at Tower Systems we offer retail solutions. Often, the retail solutions go beyond our POS software, go beyond what is usual for a POS software company.

Our retail solutions, retail advice and retail business counselling comes from a place of experience, from being retailers ourselves for more than 25 years and from our 40 years of service of indie retailers.

Here is one example of retail advice, retail solutions for small business retailers.

This is practical advice, practical retail solutions, designed for helping retailers. We call this our Small steps strategy for growth in small business retail. This is a good example of retail solutions beyond POS software.

The small steps strategy is about taking regular small steps in your retail store which compound in a way to dramatically enhance the value of each of three key components to the business. The key is that the business makes progress on one or more of three business growth levers every day:

  • More traffic.
  • More revenue in each sale – greater sales efficiency.
  • Better margin.

There is no grand plan needed, no master document full of words and charts. The small steps strategy is about simple achievable steps which and retailer can take in any type of business every day to build a stronger business.

The small steps strategy is made up of the following work for the three levers:

  1. More traffic, new customers, existing customers revisiting
  2. Consistent traffic generator promotion. Regularly promote a popular consumer product or product category outside your business – to attract new traffic. The product category will depend on your business. Ideally it will be habit based product for which you have a strong value proposition. A good percentage of customers you win from regular promotion are more likely to visit again. These customers are often worth more than what they purchase.
  3. Regular participation in catalogue and flyer based offers. They could be catalogues covering a numbers of businesses or just for your business. These do not have to be expensive.  Even flyers you make yourself and copy in house can work – having compelling offers is key with catalogues and flyers.
  4. Regular local newspaper advertising. Local newspapers will usually do deals if you offer a long term commitment.
  5. Support for local sports clubs and community organisations. For a few dollars you can have your business name promoted at games, in newsletters and at events.
  6. Branding of at least one vehicle. A couple of hundred dollars can get your name out in the community – everywhere you drive.
  7. In-store newsletter. Delivered outside the store. This is best done on a simple stand near the entrance to the store.
  8. On your window and walls. Use your front window and side walls to promote your business. The right campaign ought to bring people passing by into your store.

Through a consistent program of chasing new traffic you ensure the health of the business and protect against the cost of the natural loss of customers.

 

  1. More revenue from each sale – greater sales efficiency

Here are some simple strategies for achieving more from each sale.

  1. Uncluttered counter. Make conscious decisions about what is placed at the counter. Ensure clear air around each offer so it can be seen. A cluttered counter can hide good deals and block sales.
  2. Counter offers. Choose good margin low price products which work for your demographic by tapping into interests, desires (chocolate to eat on the way home) or value – quick decision small gift lines.Remember, a counter must be easily understood and be able to purchased quickly.
  3. High traffic bargain offers. Between the entrance and the highest first stop for traffic into the business have at least two dump bins or displays with compelling and easily understood offers. Move these weekly.
  4. In-store newsletter. Create a simple newsletter promoting the business and place it out the front of the business, in bags, handed out and even slipped into local newspapers. Get your message in front of customers after they leave.
  5. Hotspot promotions. Identify locations where customers stop the most in your store. Place other products at these hotspots which appeal and are easy to purchase. Use the HOT products to sell other product – but the impulse products have to change a couple of times a week.
  6. Dance floor change. The dance floor, the space in front of the sales counter, needs to change weekly. More often for busier shops. A fresh dance floor will show more customers ‘new items’.
  7. Coupons / advertising on call to action offers on receipts. i.e. bring this coupon back within two days for XXX offer.
  8. End of sale offer. Once you complete each sale, give customers an offer to make another purchase within a limited timeframe for a discount. This is best done with a coupon.  Consider structuring the offer to drive business in a particular category.  Track redemption by keeping coupons redeemed with receipts for the purchases.
  9. Parasite displays. These are small space displays which hang next to other products, encroaching on the space. You can see supermarkets use parasite displays well offering products from elsewhere in space committed to popular and often unrelated product.

By focusing on sales efficiency and driving a bigger basket for each sale, you set yourself up to make more from every sale.

  1. Better margin – by selling for the best price

What you charge for what you sell needs to be carefully considered.  Price is all about customer perception of value.  Value is based in a range of criteria including:

  • Added value – from purchasing from this business.
  • Perceived value – how you package a product compared to how others package the same product can lead to a different price.
  1. Manage labour to focus on products with the best return to the business. This is a balance between overall gross profit dollars and margin percentage.
  2. Look at items with a customer service component, where your expertise is required to make the sale or make good use of the products or where there is a reasonable after sales service component. These can usually carry a higher margin.
  3. Look at the items which are unique to your business in your location or nearby. If you are the only store serving the local community then you do have a pricing opportunity. These items can usually carry a higher margin.
  4. Assess why people shop at your shop. If they are shopping because of convenience then you have the capacity to charge more for this. This is why convenience stores charge more for items which you can buy elsewhere for considerably less.
  5. Involve others in setting sale price. Ask your team what you can charge for an item. Assess what they think you can “get away with”.  By polling team members, you may find that your perception on price is lower than what others expect.

You can build a stronger business by taking small steps each day which focus on new traffic, better margin and improved sales efficiency. No grand plan, no expert strategy – just small steps which leverage opportunities which exist in your retail business.

By paying closer attention to the margin you can achieve, you strengthen the financial foundation of the business and ensure that your return on inventory investment is more helpful to the bigger business plan.

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ABC The Money looks at small business retail in this covid world

Tower CEO Mark Fletcher is  grateful to the team being The Money program on ABC radio for shining a light on the impact of Covid on retail. In the 30 minute program they look at retail through an economists’s lens and then through the eyes of several small business retailers. At about 22 minutes in Mark talks about shopping centre challenges and small business retail more broadly into the future.

If you’d like to hear the show, here is the link: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/themoney/retail/12370682

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