POS software blog

About our POS software for local small business retailers

Category: retail (page 1 of 7)

What are the benefits of the right POS software for your retail business

There is POS software and then there is the right POS software for your business. The difference between POS software and the right POS software can be huge.

Take your time.

Make the right decision.

Too often, we see POS software companies pressure small business retailers into making a quick decision. They chase sales, putting on pressure.

Don’t succumb to pressure. make the decision you feel the best about, when you are ready.

Get this right and you can tap into some awesome benefits from the right POS software for your retail business. Here are benefits we think we offer retailers we partner with:

  • Save time with electronic invoices from suppliers.
  • Offer personal customer service by tracking dates that are important to your customers.
  • Use tags to get a fresh perspective, side-view, on stock performance.
  • Leverage you. If you believe your knowledge is a differentiator, offer it through structured opportunities in the software.
  • Easily handle special customer orders. Bring product in for a specific customer and have them notified automatically by email or text when the goods are in and ready.
  • Business differentiating loyalty. Stand out from the crowd. Have customers coming back to you for this. we’re told it’s a game changer.
  • Maximise the basket with easy to use one-time shopper loyalty tools.
  • Trade and club pricing profiles. Set pricing rules based on customer type.
  • Leverage your local community with an awesome two-way benefits package.
  • Make money from pre-orders – Easily pre-sell a delivery so that when the stock arrives you can manage distribution and billing efficiently.
  • Differentiate with informative receipts. These can include product care, use and safety information based on what customers buy.
  • Differentiate with bundles. Selling items bundled together makes price comparison hard.
  • Track who sold what.
  • Say goodbye to LayBy (if you want) – with buy now pay later options.
  • Market to customers based on past purchases.
  • Save time by importing electronic invoices.
  • Sell more with a direct connect to buy now pay later services.
  • Cut mistakes with integrated EFTPOS.
  • Cut accounting and bookkeeping fees with integration to Xero and others.
  • Easily sell online with a direct to Shopify / Magento or WooCommerce link from your POS software.

These are tangible deliverables. And, the list is incomplete. Using our POS software you can expect more benefits than these.

0 likes

Renting POS software helps small business retailers with cashflow

Tower Systems offers its specialty POS software for rental, making it easier for these businesses to acquire and run the POS software make for unique retail channel needs.

When you rent POS software from Tower Systems, you have access to more than the software itself. Here is what is offered for POS software rental for a few dollars a day:

  1. Australian developed and supported marketplace specific shop POS software and selected retail channels.
  2. Unlimited computer licences for your location. If you run 6 computers, you get 6 licences, bundled in for the small whole of business cost of a few dollars a day.
  3. Software updates as we release them. Each update contains thoughtfully curated enhancements that are often the product of suggestions by our customers, for which we are most grateful.
  4. Shopify / Magento / Woo link. Easily sell online from your POS software. Inventory and images flow from the POS software across, sales transactions flow back.
  5. Xero link. Easing bookkeeping costs and streamlining accounting. Xero is the best by far.
  6. Our OzBiz link. This helps you link to MYOB through OzBiz.
  7. Tyro link – safe, fast and easy EFTPOS link for streamlined sales.
  8. PC Eftpos link. This offers easy EFTPOS processing for the major banks.
  9. Easy buy now pay later options with Zip Pay and Humm.
  10. Support – help desk access. No extra charge. Call, email, test or socials – contact us how you want. There is no cap on the use of our help desk.
  11. Training – after installation one-on-one training over the phone.
  12. Video training resources.
  13. Online workshops where you get to network with other retailers using our POS software.
  14. Theft check service.
  15. Business performance check service.
  16. User documentation. Access to our searchable and ever growing knowledge base.

By renting our POS software you get all these facilities and benefits and more. We’d be glad to connect you with existing customers so you can tap into their feedback on the services we provide.

POS software rental is easy to start, easy to pause and comforting on your cashflow. There is no credit check. And, you can pause or cancel at any time.

Tower Systems is proud to offer POS software rental for small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

Renting POS software preserves cashflow and provides flexibility. It is a smart way to encourage growth of any specialty retail business.

0 likes

More retailers open for this time of the year

These days between Christmas and New Year are traditionally slow for many Aussie retailers. Many of them close for a few days.

Not this year.

Based on customer and prospective customer engagement we have had these few days, many have not closed.

This is great news. It plays into what we said here a few days ago.

0 likes

POS software helps local small business retailers embrace Christmas

Christmas is the most important season for retailers, especially local high street small business retailers.

Using our POS software, retailers can leverage Christmas for maximum opportunity. How? … you may ask. Okay, using our POS software, here’s how small business retailers are able to embrace Christmas and make the most of the opportunity this year and beyond:

Price differentiation is easy in our software since retailers can bundle items and create their own, unique to their business, packs. You decide what is in the packs, their price and other details relating to sales.

Up-selling is systemised thanks to better workflow, sales prompts and additional information in-store as well as online through which the business can maximise the sale basket value,. Our POS software brings structure to the opportunity.

Bringing them back is a key focus through the POS software with tools serves as part of each sale that are designed to encourage and cajole the shopper back in-store to find other products,. That this can be done in a systemised and automated way makes it a no-brainer move in retail.

Rewarding good purchases is something you can do with software that tracks value and kicks in a reward when a value trigger is reached. This being done behind the scenes in a systemised way is valuable in any retail business but especially in local small business retail where there is tough competition.

Adding you to personalise the opportunity. Embedded in our small business POS software are tools you can use for adding valuable information to each sale, the information and knowledge that can differentiate your business and thereby establish a deeper shopper connection.

These are just some of the ways retailers can differentiate and add value to make Christmas for successful for them. In each case, the POS software from Tower Systems enables engagement with minimal labour cost and minimal capital investment. These are key factors for retailers to maximise the opportunities in their businesses, to make Christmas a more successful this season and trough the trading year that follows.

We see Christmas not only for what it brings in the lead up, but, too, in terms of what you can achieve after Christmas, through the next year, when new Christmas shoppers may come back into the business based on what you did or offered.

0 likes

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?

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

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.

0 likes

46 Christmas marketing tips for small business retailers

Yeah, it’s odd for a POS software company to offer Christmas marketing tips to retailers because … we are tech people and not retailers. That may be true for some.

Tower Systems has owned and run retail businesses since 1996.

We are not your usual POS software company. We actively share marketing tips with our customers. Here are some Christmas marketing tips for retailers that we hope some find useful, or at least inspiring to you to develop your own.

We offer you 46 low cost and no cost Christmas marketing tips for retailers  ideas to help create a different Christmas experience in your business.

  1. Always:
    1. Have tape with wrapping paper.
    2. Have wrapping paper with cards, at the counter and with magazines.
    3. Have Christmas bags at the counter.
    4. Have tape at the counter.
    5. Pitch easy to purchase ready to go hampers close to the counter.
    6. Keep displays fresh.
    7. Run your loyalty programs through Christmas – to bring them back.
  2. Make it easy. People often talk about how hard Christmas is. Be the local business that makes it easy. The ways to do this are with easy Lay-By, free wrapping, better shop floor help, guide buying advice or tips on perfect gifts no one else will think of. Consider making Christmas easy as being a key part of your messaging.
  3. Host a simple party. To preview Christmas, say thank you to shoppers and support a local cause. Do it when the shop is closed. Limit numbers. have some drinks and food. Have fun. Celebrate.
  4. Use video. To promote products on social media.
  5. Offer impulse purchase of often forgotten lines. At the counter, with newspapers, next to weekly magazines.
  6. Offer help. For kids and others who ,may find choosing a card or writing a card difficult.
  7. Visit nursing homes. With some gifts and cards for easy shopping.
  8. Be thrilled people are in your shop. Your personal smile or greeting is something they may not see in a big business where employees are less invested in each shopper and where the owner is usually thousands of kilometers away.
  9. Make the giving easy. If people purchase items from you to send somewhere else. Offer a one-stop shop. Save them the trip to the post office.
  10. Make the shop less about Christmas. Consider pulling back on the Christmas visual noise. Go for something simple, muted, respecting the season but making a calm statement. Consider declaring the shop a Christmas carol free zone – not because you hate carols but because you want to help customers take a break.
  11. Help people rest and recharge. Create a Christmas shopping rest and recovery zone. Offer free tea, coffee, water and something to eat. Encourage people to take a break in your shop – without any obligation for them to spend money with you.
  12. Let your customers help each other. Setup a whiteboard or sheets of butcher’s paper, yes keep it simple. Get customers to write gift suggestions under different age/gender groups. For example: Girls 18 – 25, Boys 55+. Encourage your customers to help each other through their suggestions.
  13. Make price comparison difficult. If you sell items people are likely to price compare with other businesses, package them so price comparison is not easy. Put items into a hamper as a perfect Boy 8 to 12 bundle for example. Or offer the item with pre packages services if appropriate for an item.
  14. Less is more.  The stack em high watch em fly mantra can be wrong. Indeed, it is often wrong in retail. Shoppers can be store blind because a shop is too full or a display is too busy. Consider creating simpler less cluttered displays and window promotions. Draw attention to what you want people to see by promoting that one thing. Every time someone asks if you have something that you think through should be able to find easily – take it as a challenge for you to address rather than a commentary on a facility of the customer.
  15. Change. Christmas season in your shop should evolve. Major change weekly is vital for people to see what you have that they could buy.
  16. Be socially engaged. On Facebook, Instagram, twitter and elsewhere, be the calm voice, the person people enjoy reading or seeing photos from. Provide entertainment this Christmas rather than the usual retailer shrill of come and shop here!
  17. Be community minded. Choose a local charity or community group to support through Christmas. Consider: a change collection tin at the counter; a themed Christmas window display; promotion on your social media pages; a donation to their work; a collection point for donations from customers.
  18. Facilitate sharing stories. Find space in your shop for customers to share their Christmas stories. It could be a story wall inside or in front of the shop. This initiative encourages storytelling by locals and better connects the business with the community.
  19. Award a prize at a local school. Fund a year-end prize at a local school. Attend a school assembly to award the prize. Work with the school leadership on a prize appropriate to your business.
  20. VIP preview. Host a VIP shopper preview night when you show off your Christmas ranges ahead of being available to the general shoppers. Respect and reward your local shoppers with deals and the opportunity to preview ahead of others.
  21. Leverage Christmas traffic. Encourage the Christmas shopper traffic surge in after Christmas. Give them a reason to come back. A coupon promotion or a discount voucher on receipts could be the enticement to get shoppers back in-store. Note: the Tower POS software produces discount vouchers to rules you establish.
  22. Become a gallery. Work with a school, kindergarten, community group or retirement village to bring in local art for people to come and see through Christmas. A small space commitment can drive traffic from family and friends of those with art on show.
  23. Dress the shop. Fully embrace Christmas. Create a Christmas experience such that shoppers know they have stepped into somewhere special this Christmas. Go for more than some tinsel and a tree. Fully embrace the opportunity.
  24. Make your shop smell like Christmas.
  25. Send cards. Send Christmas cards early in the season to suppliers, key customers and local community groups. This connects you with Christmas. Invite all team members to sign each card.
  26. Host a Christmas party. For shops nearby. You are all in the season together – let your hear down before things get crazy.
  27. Ensure you have gifts targeted at occasions. For example: Kris Kringle, by price point and by recipient. Make it easy for people to know what they could give.
  28. Stocking stuffers. At your counter always have one or two stocking stuffers for impulse purchase.
  29. Offer gift vouchers – for someone to give when they are not sure what to give.
  30. Be local. Ensure you have a selection of locally sourced products available for purchase. Make it clear in-store that these products are sourced locally.
  31. Tell stories. On your Facebook page, talk about what is important to you at Christmas. Personalise the season and deepen the connection with those who could shop with you.
  32. Offer a free gift. Bulk purchase an item to offer those who spend above a set amount. For example, spend $65 and receive XX where XX may have cost $5.00 but could have a perceived value of $20.00.
  33. Keep it fresh. Every week make significant change to your Christmas displays and promotions to keep your offer fresh.
  34. Share Christmas recipes. Each week for, say, four weeks, give customers a family Christmas recipe. This personalises Christmas in your business, creates a talking point and makes shopping with you different to your bigger competitors.
  35. Free wrapping. Sure, many retailers offer this. Make your offer better, more creative and more appreciated.
  36. This is essential in any business. Manage it through your computer system with strict rules.
  37. Work the floor. Increase time on the shop floor. Be present to manage shopper flow and to facilitate purchases.
  38. Christmas is crazy busy I most retail situations. Give yourself and your team members sufficient time to recharge so the smile greeting shoppers is heartfelt.
  39. Keep a secret. If yours is a business selling gifts a partner may purchase for their loved-one, create some mystery with a closed off display for the shopper to see the products.
  40. Free assembly. If you sell items that require assembly. Offer to do this for free.
  41. Free delivery. Offer free Christmas Eve delivery for items purchased for kids for Christmas.
  42. Sell training. Leverage the specialist knowledge you have in your business by selling as gifts places at classes you run sharing your expertise.
  43. Hold back. Don’t go out with everything you have for Christmas all at once. Plan the season to show off what you have as the season unfolds. This allows you multiple launches.
  44. Share a taste. Regardless if your type of business, bake a family recipe of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or Christmas biscuits and offer tastings to shoppers on select days. This personalises the experience in your shop.
  45. Offer hampers. Package several items together and offer them as a hamper. Time-poor shoppers could appreciate you doing this work for them. We have seen this work in many different retail situations.
  46. Buy X get Y. Encourage people to spend more with a volume based deal. Pitched right, this could get customers purchasing items for several family members in order to get the price offer you have. Use your technology to manage this.

Christmas is the perfect time to plan for next year. It is the time to do everything possible to leverage bonus Christmas traffic to benefit your business through next year.

Feel free to share these Christmas marketing tips with others.

0 likes

AC/DC box coin set from the Royal Australian Mint going off!

We built the Mint Coin Shop for newsXpress to sell coins from the Royal Australian Mint online. Today, they launched a very special AC/DC commemorative box set, which includes an exclusive mint coin. here is a video showing off what is in this AC/DC coin box set.

We are grateful for the role we have played in bringing the AC/DC coin set to Aussie AC/DC fans and to do so through a Shopify site connected with our POS software.

newsXpress partners with the Royal Australian Mint with more than 100 locally owned newsXpress stores selling coins, including the AC/DC box set.

Tower Systems serves 3,500+ small business retailers with specialty POS software.

0 likes

Some retail businesses are having an awesome 2020

Yes, some retail businesses are having an awesome 2020, plenty in fact. However, most of those having success this year do not want to talk too much about it. They want to keep a low profile because most of what’s in the media about business in 2020 is negative and they do not want to distract with what they think is a unique good story. Some even feel ashamed at their success.

The reality is that many retail businesses, especially local small retail businesses, are having a good 2020.

Yes, there is excellent good news out there. Here are some good news stories we see in our work with specialty retail channels, without identifying store details. These are channel-wide stories with many businesses in each channel having success.

  • Garden centres are doing very well, offering customers the ability to grow their own produce, be more self sufficient, eat more healthily. Many garden centres we are working with have been challenged to keep up with demand. They have risen to the occasion, helping many folks into their first ever veggie patch.
  • Farm supply / rural produce businesses have had a big and successful year. Sales are up as more people are living in regional and rural locations and needing more materials as they work on their properties in these locations.
  • Toy shops are doing well helping people enjoy their time at home. Those who engaged online have done especially well. Those that expanded their jigsaw, game and relaxation product ranges have done well.
  • Pet shops have done well as pets have become even more important this year, offering comfort and company, making isolation easier.
  • Bike shops are having a terrific year as they offer people enjoyable ways to remain healthy in a safe way.
  • Fishing and outdoors businesses are doing well, too, thanks to their ability to help people be more self sufficient for food.
  • Newsagents are having an awesome 2020 as they have become more relevant through offering essential services, keeping people informed and helping people enjoy home time more through their games, jigsaws, crosswords and more.

We know many small local and independent retail businesses that have done so well that they do not qualify for government pandemic assistance. Double digit growth in 2020 is real for them. They are loving being in business and serving their local community. They are loving that local shopping is more popular in 2020 too.

So, while the TV news and current affairs programs focus on stories of doom and gloom, there are many, hundreds and thousands of good stories, happy stories, stories of growth and success in small business retail … stories of success in 2020.

For many of the business owners enjoying success this year, they have made it happen through their decisions and actions, they have pursued success and for this they have every reason to be proud.

Well done to all of these small business retailers having an excellent 2020, well done!

We are grateful to be part of this, part of the community of businesses having a good year. We are thankful that through what we make we are able to play a role in helping retail businesses find and nurture success.

Now, if only media outlets could share some of the good news stories. They don’t have to look far to find them.

1 likes

We support small business retailers in their push for 3 months rent free for their retail tenancies

We urge small business retailers and their suppliers to send the text below, or their own version of it, to politicians to drive maximum interest in a 3 months rent free campaign, to achieve for others what was achieved yesterday in WA. Here is the suggested text:

I am a small business retailer and retailers like me need your help. Thanks to strong leadership, federal and state / territory governments have flattened the COVID-19 curve. A consequence has been an extraordinary drop in retail foot traffic.

While we appreciate the 25% rent waiver we can negotiate with our landlord thanks to the mandatory code, it will not help. There are retailers like us who can’t cover wages let alone the 75% of usual rent. JobKeeper helps employees, not in paying rent.

We urge you to advocate for an immediate 3 month waiver of all rent, funded by government. Without this we think many independent local shops will close, families will lose their homes and demands on Centrelink dramatically increase.

This is urgent. Please help. Small businesses need you.


Here are email addresses you could use in addition to other state and federal politician email addresses you find – especially state leaders in your area.

senator.cormann@aph.gov.au
senator.cash@aph.gov.au
josh.frydenberg.mp@aph.gov.au
attorney@ag.gov.au
Christian.Porter.MP@aph.gov.au
department@treasury.gov.au
Peter.Dutton.MP@aph.gov.au
Karen.Andrews.MP@aph.gov.au
Chris.Bowen.MP@aph.gov.au
jim.chalmers.mp@aph.gov.au
mark.dreyfus.mp@aph.gov.au
senator.katy.gallagher@aph.gov.au
Brendan.O’Connor.MP@aph.gov.au

For the Prime Minister, use a feedback form on his website.

The more retailers and their suppliers engage with this campaign the better.

We emailed 1,700 newsagents about this yesterday morning. We have also engaged with our own customers about this and they have been engaging with politicians, sending the email far and wide.

This is an important lobbying campaign by our channel. Even if your business is not down in revenue, you have colleagues who are and they need your support. The email have been written with that in mind.

0 likes

Selling online helps small business retailers deal with the challenges of the Coronavirus

Retailers with strong online businesses are able to trade through some of the Coronavirus related challenges.

Businesses experiencing lower than usual foot traffic in-store can rely on online sales to keep the wheels of the business turning. This is where our POS software integrated Shopify and Magento website solutions have helped retailers be proactive in this space.

As people stay at home more and have less human to human contact, especially in shopping malls, retail; businesses with well-established and strong online presences are able to trade through, connecting with these home-based shoppers and arranging for purchases to be safely delivered.

Online has a much larger shopper catchment area than local high street retail. It can be a whole country, or beyond whereas a high street situation will pull from 30 fo 60 minuets away depending on the local situation.

As the challenges of then Coronavirus play out for small business retail, Tower Systems is pleased to have helped plenty of indie small business retailers take their businesses online for efficient and broader reaching shopper opportunities.

Whole one does not wish to trade off the misery of others, we are grateful to have helped retailers be prepared for a situation like this where people want / need to shop but do not wish to do so face too face.

The Coronavirus COVID19 has certainly presented complex challenges to retailers and other businesses. In our own situation we have been structured and certain in our approaches, to ensure the best customer service possible and to help the 3,000+ small businesses retailers we gratefully serve as customers using our POS software.

Early on in the Coronavirus challenge, many weeks ago, we offered advice. This was operationally practical as well as opportunistic. It included:

Health and business experts we respect are forecasting that the economic impact of COVID-19 will be similar to the global financial crisis of 2008. We think this is a reason to be prepared now, to be prepared for the worst. Here are five things we recommend you do:

  1. Hoard cash. Save money where you can. This means a trim roster, buying more carefully.
  2. Shop local. It is important not just say this, do it, live it.
  3. Stand for something. Retail businesses that are weakest are those that do not differentiate, that are not that appealing that people will drive a distance to shop with them.
  4. Be happy. A happy business attracts shoppers. Be that shop.
  5. Be opportunistic. In any challenging situation there are opportunities. Watch out for them.
0 likes

An update open Amazon Go

Here is a brief video update from us on Amazon Go, which we shared with our customers first last week.

0 likes

POS software receipts offer a proven marketing opportunity for small business retailers

For years now we have preached to the value off receipts as a valuable marketing tool for small business retailers. Today, in 2019, we see value continuing to be unlocked by retailers as these simple, low-cost, docs are handed out and turned into incremental business.

We back our awesome, flexible, beautiful and value promoting receipts with business training so that execution in any type of small retail business, through our POS software, is leveraged to fulfilment.

For many years we have offered the ability for retailers to produce advertisements, coupons and other collateral in customer sales receipts. Our Point of Sale software serves the coupons and advertisements according to criteria established and maintained by the retail business.

We recently saw an excellent example of the value of using receipts to drive sales in a retail business. This client, a gift shop, included a special offer of a percentage off the purchase of a particular but slow moving category if purchased within a few hours of the just processed sale.

The coupons were included on sales of only certain products. The retailer was keen to see if they could affect the behaviour of customers and break with usual buying traditions.

During one day, just over one hundred coupons offering the 25% off  were served to customers, as part of their sale receipt.

By the end of the day, 35 coupons had been redeemed. Product sales for the day for they target category were just over double the usual number. Some customers purchased three or more.

For no cost at all, the engaged retailer was able to leverage existing traffic to increase  sales of the target product category by more than 50% for a 25% discount off retail. Their margin on each item sold was still close to 50% thanks to proper preparation of the promotion..

This is just one example of many samples we hear about where retailers have used marketing tools in our Point of Sale software drive sales efficiency from existing customers.

Tower Systems helps its retail partners by developing coupons for printing on receipts and through through training for proper and successful in-store execution of the opportunities provided by the receipts.

0 likes

Tips for small business retailers promoting Halloween

Halloween can be a good season for indie retailers.Success depends on active in-store and out of store engagement.

We do it in shops that we own and run and have evolved it from a low price point everyday halloween offer to a higher end specialty offer that is leveraged by fewer retailers.

Halloween is an excellent opportunity to ramp up traffic and sales leading up to Christmas. It is also an opportunity for the business to play outside its comfort zone. This is great news for any small business retailer.

Here is our advice from seeing Halloween in many retail businesses, advice on ways to promote Halloween to drive the opportunity further:

  1. Make your front window or front of story scary amazing, so shoppers have to step through it.
  2. Maybe host a night, after the shop closes, where people share local ghost stories. have some fun and get known as a place where local stories matter.
  3. Run a series of Facebook posts early in the season. Through these demonstrate your engagement as unique, different.
  4. Have a fancy dress competition on the weekend before.
  5. Mock yourselves in social media and elsewhere about being big kids, scary pants or more. Change how people look at your business.
  6. Run sales connected with people dressing up to access a sale price.
  7. A colouring competition for kids with a prize for the best.
  8. Have candy to give away.
  9. If you’re in a small town organise a Halloween trick or treat party for safe kid fun.
  10. Print a recipe sheet and give this away. Online you can find recipes for eyeball soup, eyeball appetisers, bloody desserts and the like.

Here at Tower systems we are all about small business retail. Anything we can do to help we will do, including providing practical business management advice for retailers on seasons such as Halloween.

Retail is all about entertainment. The more you embrace this the more fun people visiting your shop have. halloween is an ideal season for embracing retrial as  entertainment.

Sometimes, the best way to get from A to B is to take a 90 degree turn.

0 likes

How retail businesses do business is changing fundamentally, are you ready?

Back in the day in retail doing business with supplier representatives was all about face to face contact in-store or a nearby coffee shops. Relationships mattered. This is why suppliers and service providers invested in sales teams.

Good sales people could get a meeting and the required business from face to face interaction.

Today, things are different. Retail businesses run with less staff and management hours in the business. More business decisions are made outside the business, on the road, while at a second job or from home. More business decisions are being made and business transacted without any face to face discussion. Even phone contact matters less.

This shift is, in part, because of broader changes in terms of how we interact with friends and family.

We want to look at what is happening here from the perspective of how we do business with our customers in our retail shops.

More and more transactional business is done without live human contact. There is the obvious route of online (web) for sure. However, there is also business done through message platforms, email and elsewhere, where there is no face to face contact with shoppers.

Are you setup for this? Are you connecting with people through social media and able to sell to them through here? Are you timely in handling emails? Are you prepared with images and information sheets on products you sell so you can sell without face to face?

Without a doubt more and more retail business is being done outside of shops. We in small business retail need to configure and equip our businesses to be able to do this. This is part about technology, part about business mindset and part about availability.

Too often, we see small business retailers express anger and frustration at obvious baddies – landlords, employees, customers and more – for poor business performance.

Right now, with how the conduct of business is shifting, we, all of us – retailers and suppliers to retailers – need to look at ourselves and how we conduct business.

Further, we need to make sure that we are meeting potential customers where they are. We need to realise that more often than ever before, that is outside and, sometimes, far away from our shop. We need to do this when those customers want. Often times, that is when we are closed.

This is the new normal of retail.

———

Tower Systems is not your usual POS software company. As retailers ourselves (three shops and seven consumer facing websites of our own) we live closer to your world and this is reflected in ur software and how we serve our POS software customers.

To find out more about our POS software and support for specialty retailers…

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

Our POS software co supports small business retailers in TV commercial

0 likes

Inspiring retail displays for Australian made products

For our next in this series where we shine a light on terrific VM, we have a display from one of our own shops, where our POS software is tested and enhanced, pitching Aussie made soap:

0 likes

Welcome 2017!

15781362_1169542719826527_1618438121224064642_n

0 likes

A new employee theft training video for small business retailers from Tower Systems

We are proud to have launched this new video on the weekend. It is having the desired effect of educating retail business owners.
Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 5.31.42 pm

2 likes

Sunday retail management advice: five tips to save any retailer time

  1. Tell suppliers who do not provide you with an electronic invoice that you will cut them off – they are costing you time.
  2. Put barcode and price labels on fewer products. If they have a barcode, use it.
  3. Stop ordering replenishment stock manually.
  4. Stop entering sales data into a spreadsheet for analysis.
  5. Run your business with processes as well as checks and balances that enable it to open and close without you.
3 likes

Sunday retail management advice: hampers can pitch products differently

IMG_8600Packaging a range of goods together in a hamper can change how people look at products in your business. Take the candy in the photo: these items sold singly sell at the counter as impulse purchases whereas packaged together they sell as a gift for a special occasion.

A hamper can be priced higher than the sum of the parts, making it more valuable for a business.

Using our smart POS software, retailers are able to create and deconstruct hampers such that inventory levels are accurate and total hamper sales are also tracked.

We have businesses in a range of niche retail channels using our hamper ; manufactured goods facilities including jewellers, bike retailers, pet shops, gift shops, homewares shops and garden centres. In addition to excellent software managing the creation and sale of hampers, we offer terrific training, support and other business engagement help – to help small business retailers get the most out of the opportunity.

Our retail management advice for today: look at what you sell and consider putting multiple items together as a hamper to change how people see products in your shop.

4 likes
« Older posts