Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: Shop locally (page 1 of 3)

How Aussie small business retailers have helped Aussies through COVID-19

Australian small business retailers have served their Australian communities well through COVID-19. They have provided certainty in challenging situations, helping to keep people fed, clothed, entertained and encouraged.  Many Aussie small businesses have kept local people employed.

Small business retailers were quick to adopt safe shopping protocols so locals could shop locally with certainty around cleanliness, health and safety. For example, the installation of perspex screens at the counter, encouraging tap and go and providing social distancing guidance are all moves that we saw early in small business retail.

Since they are locally owned and run and they employ local people, local small business retailers are closely connected with their local communities. What we have seen is that local communities have turned to their local small businesses through COVID-19.

We know of small business retailers who have adjusted their business offerings to bring to local shoppers products in demand. For example, the local newsagent offering cost-effective work from home furniture, the toy shop offering in-home fitness products, the gift shop offering calming and personally nourishing products, the pet shop offering dog training online, the garden centre offering advice and help to people creating their own veggie patches and produce businesses offering drop off.

Then, there are the new services for many small business retailers, to provide safer shopping options, services like click and collect, curbside pickup, ready to go shopping packages and home delivery in situations where none of these were offered previously.

Small business retailers have served Australians well through COVID-19. While hospitality businesses have been challenged because of the regulations, small businesses permitted to be open have been open, delivering shopping opportunities to their local communities.

Without wanting to sound inappropriate, COVID-19 has provided plenty of small business retailers an opportunity to demonstrate the value they offer their local communities, and they have shined through this.

While, for sure, some big businesses have been serving Australians through COVID-19. Plenty of big businesses, however, closed early and stayed closed for a long time, leaving small businesses to step in.

The other trend through COVID-19 has been people fleeing shopping malls for shopping on the high street. This is good for small business retailers in that on the high street you are more likely to find small business retailers.

The last four months have demonstrated to Australians the importance of small business retail as a core offering for local communities. Well done small business retailers!

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The importance of buy Australian for small business retailers when it comes to POS software

Point of Sale software developed in Australia is better for Australian retail businesses and here’s why:

  1. Australian developed Point of Sale software is better tuned to the needs of local Aussie businesses.
  2. Australian developed Point of Sale software nurtures Aussie tech jobs and that is good for the broader economy.
  3. Every dollar spent with an Australian company for products or services is a dollar retained in the Aussie economy, a dollar on which tax is paid, a dollar that goes towards making our country stronger.
  4. Australian developed Point of Sale software offers and Australian perspective.
  5. Australian developed Point of Sale software is better. Yes, we said it.  It’s true in the specialty retail marketplace;aces in which we serve. Our software is finely tuned to the specialty needs of our specialty retail channels.
  6. Australian developed Point of Sale software is supported locally, in Australia, by Australians.
  7. Australian developed Point of Sale software is developed for small business retailers. Small business retailers have different and more personal needs than mass retailers.

Buying local matters. Well, it should matter, especially to retail businesses that themselves call  on local shoppers to shop local and shop small. That message is stronger when a business itself shops and supports local. That is why when it comes to POS software for small business retailers in Australia we say buy local, shop local, support local.

Rich and deep in our software is nuance that serves Aussie retailers well. We are parochial for sure. Nothing wrong with that. We help our small business local retailers go hyper local, too. We help them drill down to where they are, to their local community and, through the software, pitch this connection in a smart and serial-served way.

Ours is smart local software supporting local small business retailers.

Tower Systems only sells its software to indie small business retailers. It’s what we have focussed on for many years. It’s serves us well, and our customers.

Now, more than ever, buy Australian matters. We are proud to make that pitch, to encourage Aussie small business retailers to shop fort Aussie developed and supported POS software. This patriotic pitch is right for today, right for 2020.

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Personal local support key to Aussie retailers in POS software selection

Here at Tower Systems, our POS software help desk is Australian based, serving retailers in Australia. We are proud to be local, to offer local support that is delivered by people who live here and understand local business.

Too many POS software companies selling to Aussie retailers do not have local help desk support.

With Aussie retailers pitching buy local to their local communities, we are grateful to be in the position of delivering local service and support to our local retail community.

We support shop local as a company and encourage retailers and others in business to shop local. This is why we pitch today that when you talk with our help desk you are talking with an Aussie, someone who knows local business, local retail and can speak to local needs. Yes, local really does matter.

To keep jobs in Australia and help the Aussie economy to come out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic, shopping local matters. This is why we urge retailers to ask the question abut the location of POS software help desk personnel. While we feel for call centre staff in India, Pakistan and elsewhere, now is the time when local matters.

Now, we do have one caveat for this. We have a help desk team member, an Aussie, living and working in New Zealand. But that’s okay as we have a ton of customers in New Zealand. And, hey, we consider Aussies to be Kiwis and Kiwis to be Aussies

If you are in a local retail business and considering POS software for the business, check out where there trainers and help desk team members are located. Make sure that the company you are considering doing business with is supporting the local economy as much as you want your local economy to support your business. These things matter in terms of the truth of your own shop local pitch.

Shop local and support the local economy. It ripples out from your business to the town to the state and to the country. That is how we see it an how we try and live our lives here at Tower Systems, a proud local Aussie POS software company.

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We help local retailers pitch shop local with free marketing collateral

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Thank you for shopping local

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POS software helps local small business retailers pitch shop local

If you pitch shop local in your local high street retail business…

  1. Do you seek out locally made products?
  2. Do you remind shoppers on receipts about locally sourced items?
  3. Do you support local community groups?
  4. Do you use locally made POS software made for your type of business?

Tower Systems is locally owned and run POS software company. We make POS software for a range of niche and specific types of retail business.

Using our software is an investment in the Australian tech industry. Our employees work and live locally, often shopping locally. Money spent with us boosts the Australian economy.

Our POS software has tools that help you show off your local credentials. We can help you shine a light on locally sourced products and we can help you bring structure and customer engagement to your local community giving.

We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 locally owned retail businesses, garden centres, jewellers, bike shops, fishing shops, produce businesses, toy shops, firearms businesses, newsagencies and gift shops, in Australia with our POS software. We would be thrilled to see if we could serve your needs.

Shopping local starts with how you source what you sell.

Next, to relies on smart tools in the POS software that help you pitch your local credentials, tools through which to show shoppers that what you sell is local and thereby demonstrate the value of the shop local p[itch that you offer.

In a systematic and consistent way, thanks to unique tools in our POS software, we help small business retailers to pitch shop local every day to shoppers who are swayed by the local connections in these shops.

We take shopping locally seriously in our business and in retail businesses that we own. We are grateful to help our retail partners to make the same shop local connections, thanks to our POS software and the facilities it provides in this mission.

POS software made locally is best for local businesses as the people behind the software are more accessible and more able to serve local needs.

Tower Systems is your shop local POS software company.

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Thank you for shopping local

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Here’s a practical, local, small business economic stimulus package for suburban and regional Australia

Every election, politicians say that small business is the lifeblood of Australia. Then, after the election, they forget about small business. No wonder trust in politicians by Australian voters is low.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Not just retail businesses, but all small businesses. Oh, and by small, we mean locally owned businesses turning over $2M or less that are not part of a larger group.

Small business retailers are nimble and able to lift local economies faster than big businesses and certainly better than online businesses.

Here are six tips for politicians on steps they can take, decisions they can make to help lift retail, especially small business retail, as well as those local businesses with which small business retailers can quickly connect.

  1. Local shops refresh grant. Give every local retail business a grant of at least $25,000 with the stipulation that it is spent locally on capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. It could be for paining, carpentry, electrical, staff training or similar. Proof of local spending is to be in the form of an invoice from a local tradesperson or small business company with and ABN and more than a year of trading as recognised by the ATO – to avoid fraud. Spending could be focussed: painting, electrical, carpentry, flooring, repairs. The management of this should be online with quick approval and payment. Note: the $25,000 is suggested to provide sufficient local economic stimulus.
  2. Local visual merchandising supports. Keeping in-store displays can be a challenge for small business retailers. Fund a network of merchandisers to make a 2 hour call weekly on qualified independent small retail businesses, sub $1M turnover, ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the cam pain at three months assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. to an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  3. Direct all politician electorate spending to be with local small businesses. For printing, subscriptions, gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year. Have the results assessed independently. Ensure that spending is fair, too, to benefit a variety of local businesses, and not dolled out as political favours. Shop local, shop small.
  4. Run a national shop small shop local ad campaign. Make it educational, smart, encouraging …, guiding Aussies on the value to them from shopping local, shopping small. Help to understand the true value of shopping local, shopping small compared to the alternatives. The ad campaign should run regionally across multiple media platforms, giving preference to locally owned platforms with a track record for not managing their business to minimise tax.
  5. Local artists grants. Offer cash grants to fund buskers for local high streets, to make shopping locally more entertaining. Make the application easy. Focus on local artists entertaining in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of injecting cash locally as well as fostering the local arts. The application process should be online, approval fast and payment immediate.
  6. Establish local currency systems. These work overseas on regional towns where local currency has more value than the national currency. It supports shopping local through a smart value structure. the government role could be on the tech back end to manage the currency – taking away capital cost from local councils. To find out more ab9out this, read up on the Bristol Pound.

This list could be much longer. It is offered here as a start, to gets people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

The current disinterest by politicians in practical support for local small businesses has us on a path of business closures. Urgent action is needed to engage locals in supporting local businesses.

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Thank you for shopping local

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We are proud to support local communities

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Time for action by indie retailers on shop local since lazy social medias posts don’t cut through

Social media pitches from small business retailers calling for people to shop local tend to be tiresome clichés, serving the needs of those who post rather than those they want to reach.

Too often you can see a business calling for people to shop local not shopping local themselves.

For me, the shop local issue comes down to the adage of actions speak louder than words.

In these early months of 2020, on the back of an awful bushfire season, sustained rounds, now, floods, and the coronavirus, shop local management is important and timely. I say management because that has to be our focus.

  • Wherever possible, source products made locally where locally can mean in the local community, within the state or territory or at least within Australia. This is hard but rewarding work.
  • Source the services your business uses locally, at least within Australia. Just because a company has a local rep it does not mean they are local. Ask.
  • Focus any giving locally.
  • Systemise your local engagement. On receipts, show locally made items. Have tis information shared with shoppers automatically.
  • In store, indicate Australian made and locally made with curated displays that pitch this.
  • On social media, talk about your support for local groups and why. Don’t be oh look at how good we are. Rather, be grateful about finding local products and appreciating customer support for them.
  • Use your loyalty program to support local charities where shoppers have the opportunity of donating the loyalty reward they have earned to a local charity you partner with. In my own Tower Systems POS software this is easy. I have used it my own businesses with success.
  • Use local music play lists.
  • Leverage local talent for music out the front of your store in physically appropriate.

This is all about being patriotic without being a show off, without being a hollow bell. You strengthening your local engagement strengthens the local economy and all businesses (and people) in the local economy benefit from that.

Where this all starts is with your next buying decision of products or services. Ask the question. Be sure of where the dollar you spend goes.  This is more valuable and useful than posting lazily on social media calling for people to shop local.

Asking people to shop with you is not enough of itself. You need to demonstrate that you are living and acting locally.

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Thank you for shopping local

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Claims of a retail apocalypse are grossly overstated

We’ve all seen the headlines, because news outlets are drawn to  the drama of retail closures and challenges. Terms like retail apocalypse and retail armageddon have appeared in stories in recent weeks on the back of a series of challenging news about retail.

These headlines are, in view, inaccurate and unhelpful.

News outlets are quick to run stories forecasting doom and gloom. Often, the stories skate close to the surface without much analysis as to the reasons for closures. This bothers me as understanding the details can be helpful for context, and for mental health for those in retail.

Here are some of the stories already from this year (2020) with notes from usher at Tower Systems  offering context:

  • Harris Scarfe is closing 21 stores. They have been in trouble before. It is a second tier department store with  modest critical mass. It found it hard to be competitive in a marketplace;axe that does not favour depatrment stores. I think their problems are due to department stores overall being in trouble and that they are a small group and therefore less able to weather changing times.
  • EB Games is closing 19 stores as a first step in an international review of physical store retail. I expect there will be more closures. There has been a fundamental shift in how games are sold. {physical stores are not as important as they used to be.
  • Bardot is closing 58 stores. This is a fashion brand that has not maintained relevance.
  • Curious Planet is planning on closing 63 stores. Ever since they list the Australian geographic branding the future has been in doubt.
  • Jeanswest is in administration and is reportedly likely to close 146 stores. Jeanswest sells discount jeans. The biggest group of jeans consumers are looking for more engaged brands than Jeanswest offers. Their differentiation was minimal. They as a business had not kept with the times.
  • Bose is closing 119 stores. They have figured out the commercial benefits of direct online engagement. Offering a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee and costing shipping and other challenges, the company will make more money by closing 199 stores (leases, labour etc) and investing some of that into stronger online marketing.

The Bose move is what we should expect to see more of from international brands consumers trust. They will make more from direct consumer relationships and we think that this has been considered by Bose in their decision making to close physical retail.

Rather than being drawn to the doom and gloom, which is a natural human response on reading reports like these, our time and energy is better spent on ensuring our retail businesses are relevant today.

How do we do that?

Yeah, it is the million dollar question … for which there is no one size fits all answer for every situation.

Here are some tips that we know work from our experiences helping indie small business retailers:

  1. Be the boss. It’s your business. You choose what you sell, who works there, how the business looks and how the business is marketed. Make those decisions like you are in charge.
  2. Be relevant to today’s shopper. It’s likely the shopper is not like you. Too many stores stock what the owners and staff like. That is not a model for the future.
  3. Be different. The more your shop looks like others the less it will stand out.
  4. Provide solutions. It is much harder to convince someone to buy something they do not need, do not like, do not want or do not understand. It is much easier to get them to buy what they like, want, need or understand.
  5. Embrace change. Know that what works today will be different tomorrow.
  6. Treat data as cash. Small business retailers are notoriously bad at managing data. This leads to poor business decisions, which put businesses at risk. Treat data as a valuable asset and make better decisions as a result.

Sure there is tough news out there about retail. There is plenty of good news too.

Tower Systems is a small business focussed POS software company.

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Shop local, for a better Australia

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Appreciating those who are shopping local

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Thank you for shopping local for POS software for your specialty retail shop

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A free shop local this Christmas pitch from our POS software co.

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We appreciate local shoppers this weekend…

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Appreciating local shoppers…

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Advice for local small business retailers on the art of being local and driving traffic and sales

Being genuinely local for any local business sounds easy, right? It can be challenging because of different expectations and experiences.

As a POS software company that only developed software and sells to small business retailers, we have plenty opt experience with retailers on thinking, living and acting local. We share this advice with our customers. Here in this post we share some of that advice, to provide a taste for the extent of business inspiration and management we provide our customers.

Being local in retail is more important than ever.

Yes, even with online, being local really does matter.

Local can mean different things to different people – it does not necessarily mean geographic proximity. Being local could be about the level of care and attention you provide customers, the additional advice you provide, that you live locally, that you source locally or that you serve the local community personally.

Locally sourced products could be products made in Australia. For example, detailing where a product is made and the family behind it pitches local compared to a similar product imported from overseas.

You can use your Tower Systems POS software to pitch local in a range of ways:

  1. Shop local yourself. Be seen doing this.
  2. Hire local. This shows you adding local economic value.
  3. Talk local. Know local news. Share it on your business social media pages.
  4. Include notes on receipts.Add product care instructions, use instructions or other useful information automatically on receipts – making your receipt a useful information platform.
  5. Tell people where you source products. For a product made by a family or small business in Australia, include details on the receipt. Shine a light on this local product – provide extra information so your shoppers can feel more locally connected.
  6. Include a SHOP LOCAL pitch. Add an image of a poster or some other promotion of the benefits of shop local to every receipt, reinforcing the value of shopping local. Tower Systems has images you can use for free – in the downloads section of our website.
  7. Thank your customers.Include text personally thanking customers shopping with you. Put our name to the message. Include your mobile. Big businesses do not do this.
  8. Track local product sales.Be aware of suppliers of locally made products and report on the performance of these through various reporting tools.
  9. Thanks for shopping local vouchers.You can use the discount voucher facilities in the software and call them Thanks for shopping localorLocal shopping reward. This reinforces a value for shopping with a local business – offering $$ discount off the next purchase based on rules you establish.

It is not enough to tell people to shop local, you need to demonstrate the value of this, you need to live it transactionally in your retail business. The best way to do this is through systems and processes in your POS software.

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Tips for politicians on how to kick start small business retail in Australia

Every election, politicians say that small business is the lifeblood of Australia. Then, after the election, they forget about small business. No wonder trust in politicians by Australian voters is low.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy.

Small business retailers are nimble and able to lift local economies faster than big businesses and certainly better than  online businesses.

Here are six tips for politicians on steps they can take, decisions they can make to help lift retail, especially small business retail.

  1. Direct all politician electorate Christmas spending to be with local small businesses. For gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year. Have the results assessed independently. Ensure that spending is fair, too, to benefit a variety of local businesses, and not dolled out as political favours. Shop local, shop small.
  2. Run a national shop small shop local ad campaign. Make it educational, smart, encouraging …, guiding Aussies on the value to them from shopping local, shopping small. Help to understand the true value of shopping local, shopping small compared to the alternatives. The ad campaign should run regionally across multiple media platforms, giving preference to locally owned platforms with a track record for not managing their business to minimise tax.
  3. Local shops refresh grant. Give every local retail business a grant of at least $10,000 with the stipulation that it is spent locally tin capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. Proof of local spending is to be in the form of an invoice from a local tradesperson or company with and ABN and more than a year of trading as recognised by the ATO – to avoid fraud. Spending could be focussed: painting, electrical, carpentry, flooring, repairs. The management of this should be online with quick approval and payment. Note: the $10,000 is suggested as anything less could be cosmetic.
  4. Local artists grants. Offer cash grants to fund buskers for local high streets, to make shopping locally more entertaining. Make the application easy. Focus on local artists entertaining in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of injecting cash locally as well as fostering the local arts. The application process should be online, approval fast and payment immediate.
  5. Local visual merchandising supports. Keeping in-store displays can be a challenge for small business retailers. Fund a network of merchandisers to make a 2 hour call weekly on qualified independent small retail businesses, sub $1M turnover, ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the cam pain at three months assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. to an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  6. Establish local currency systems. These work overseas on regional towns where local currency has more value than the national currency. It supports shopping local through a smart value structure. the government role could be on the tech back end to manage the currency – taking away capital cost from local councils. To find out more ab9out this, read up on the Bristol Pound.

This list could be much longer. It is offered here as a start, to gets people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

The current disinterest by politicians in practical support for local small businesses has us on a path of business closures. Urgent action is needed to engage locals in supporting local businesses.

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Thank you for shopping local this Christmas retail season

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More shop local collateral from us supporting indie retailers in a ship local pitch

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Advice for small business retailers on serving local shoppers

Being local matters in small business. As a small business focussed POS software company, we understand. Here are ways for any local retail business to be more locally engaged.

  1. Be visable locally: at community events, cafes, restaurants, pubs, schools, walking, clubs and markets.
  2. Understand local. Learn the local terms, speak the lingo.
  3. Buy locally. It sends the wrong message if you pitch shop local yet you purchase stationery online and have it delivered or if you buy your pet food online and have it delivered. Source locally as much as possible and be obvious about it.
  4. Facilitate local connections. Have a local community noticeboard in-store.
  5. Provide local receipts. Use your receipts to share local information. This could be local advice relating to what you sell or other local insights that add value to the relationship with your business.
  6. Talk local. Where you source locally, show it with products. Note that local can be a flexible term. For example, you may have a product sourced from Australia that some would consider local if the alternative is an imported product.
  7. Give locally. Five local charities priority with your time and money ahead of non-local charities.
  8. Hire locally. When you place a notice looking for a new team member, note preference given to local candidates.
  9. Share local knowledge. If you sell provides the use of which would benefit from local knowledge, have that served automatically by your POS software on shopper receipts.
  10. Share local on your Facebook page. Talk about local activities on your business Facebook, show your local connection.
  11. Explain why local matters. When you pitch on your Facebook page or noticeboard your support for a charity, explain that it is through local community support that you are able to help the local community.
  12. Offer a locals only discount.

Too often small business retailers call for people to support local businesses. It can be more valuable if you show what local looks and feels like, so people in the community understand the benefit for them from supporting you.

To Tower Systems, local is small business. We only sell our software to small businesses because we believe in the importance of small business in any economy. Small businesses are our local community.

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Fresh thank you for shopping local collateral from us

Free collateral created by us for indie retailers in our community.

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