A message for retailers who pitch shop local when promoting their shop

If you are a small business retailer and you pitch shop local in promoting your business, please take a look inside your business. Look at what you buy, the source of the goods and services.

Do you shop local?

Shoppers today notice these things. They want to know the source of what you sell and use in your business.

Because the understand that shopping local is about more than product or goods being made locally.

Shopping local is about a whole of business local experience.

Tower Systems is an Australian POS software company serving local small business retailers with locally developed, supported and trained POS software for speciality retailers.

Many of our competitors are based overseas. When you buy, rent or lease their software, 100% of what you spend leaves the country.

When. you buy, rent or lease from Tower Systems, 100% of the spend stays in Australia.

If you are a local small business retailer and want to show off your local credentials, shop local for your POS software with the locally grown and supported Tower Systems retail management software.

By shopping locally with us you are supporting the Aussie tech industry. This is good for the economy as well as the career paths of school leavers. Yes, shop local reaches beyond the transaction itself. Shopping local delivers wonderful and appreciated value, often outside the business you shop with.

You’d see that in your shop too, when you support local suppliers. It could be part of the pitch you make to local shoppers, to support their local community because your reach is outside your shop and into the community.

We are a proud, strong and growing local POS software company offering world class software here in Australia as well as in New Zealand and some other Pacific region countries.

Our contribution is consistent and far-reaching, beyond out Hawthorn VIC office. This is a demonstration of the value of shop local – the jobs we provide, the families we support, the buying we do with other local businesses.

The circular relationships of supporting local businesses have value considerably beyond the $$$ transaction value in front of you.

For good local POS software for specialty retail, consider Tower Systems.

Small business retail advice: how to be local for local shoppers

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.

Our POS software co pitched shop local

Here is another video we have produced in-house for social media circulation, pitching shop local, for the benefit of all Australians. As a POS software company that only sells to small business retailers, supporting small local businesses is important to us. It is also important to all Australians who appreciate local jobs, local communities and local suppliers. We’re all in this together…

We need a Royal Commission into retail shopping centre development and retail tenancies in Australia

We, Australians, small business retailers, suppliers to small business retailers, local towns, all of us need a Royal commission into retail shopping centre development in Australia and the behaviour of shopping centre landlords.

There is enough evidence to indicate that an appropriately skilled and resourced Royal Commission could uncover behaviour that is illegal and harmful to our economy and small businesses and families that rely on the small businesses.

I appreciate that the areas I think the suggested Royal Commission cover are broad and could be better served as two investigations. However, the two issues feed into each other. I think they are best considered together.

WHAT IS A SHOPPING CENTRE?

For the purposes of my proposal, I suggest that a shopping centre is a retail development with fifteen or more shops of any size.

While I am sure there is misbehaviour to consider in smaller centres, for management and focus, a threshold of fifteen tenancies, or similar, is needed. Otherwise, any Royal Commission would run too long and cost too much.

RETAIL SHOPPING CENTRE DEVELOPMENT.

This is the beginning of the issue. Whereas in the US and other countries growth in retail tenancy space is flat or declining, in Australia it continues to grow. Some say we already have far more shops that the population can support.

In regional and rural locations the challenge is that a new centre is usually located outside town and its development can gut the centre of town, diluting or killing off the heart of a small town.

In some cases, mid-size centre development tis driven by competition by the two major supermarkets and aided and abetted by several other anchor tenants and supported by Tatts keen to be in all new centres.

  1. Do we need more shopping centre space?
  2. Should there be controls on approving this?
  3. What is the economic impact of the current growth in retail space in Australia?
  4. What is the social impact of the current growth in retail space in Australia?
  5. What is the impact, specifically on small business retailers of the growth in retail space?

LANDLORD BEHAVIOUR.

Talk to any small business tenant in a shopping centre and they will have at least one landlord story that causes them stress.

There is the landlord who did a handshake deal with a party that was negotiating to buy a business. the landlord squeezed and the family business closed. The new tenant moved in without paying goodwill.

There is the landlord that took too long on centre re-develoopmnent, making decisions that saw a 50% drop in shopper traffic, and refused any compensation for retailers.

There is the landlord that permits one sore to be on a % deal where they pay 9% of turnovers in rent with a shop next door not able to have such a deal and managing and occupancy cost of 32%.

There is the landlord that strong-arms retailers verbally, never in writing, never in a way that can be used against them.

There is the landlord that takes a marketing levy every month and spends this on activities that offer no benefit whatsoever to retailers.

There are hundreds of stories.

The Royal Commission needs to listen to stories, all stories. Tenants need to be able to do this confidentially as the fear of reprisal by landlords is real.

  1. Do landlords act unlawfully?
  2. Do landlords treat retailers differently?
  3. Do landlords act in secret knowingly harming small business retailers?
  4. Do landlords abuse funds they collect from retailers for marketing?
  5. Are landlords fulfilling their obligations in terms of bringing traffic to shops in their centres?
  6. How are the various roles of employees paid in landlord businesses? What are their incentives?

There are many other questions to answer. My goal here is to kick off the discussion.

WHY?

Too many families are losing their businesses, homes and other assets. Too many small business operators are having their personal situations, including health, negatively impacted. Too many small business operators are losing their life. Yes, this issue is that serious.

Small business retailers feel helpless. They want their business. It has been their life’s work. They fear without it they will have nothing. This can see them agree to a lease that is at its very foundation doomed inappropriate for their business.

Landlords have the upper hand. They are in control. Too many people in landlord businesses are bullies and aware of how to bully without being caught.

The best way to resolve this is to shine a light. Only a Royal Commission c an have the authority and power to do this.

I get that Royal Commissions are popular right now. This suggestion, however, is important given that those most impacted are also those most vulnerable – small businesses, run by families. Were are told small business is the business backbone of our country. However, there is evidence to suggest that small business retailers are disadvantaged in terms of shopping centre development and retail teensy negotiation.

Here at Tower Systems we only serve small business retailers with our POS software. In our view, small business matters. This is why we support the push for a Royal Commission into shopping centre development and retail tenancies.

This post first appeared on a blog last week in a post by the CEO of Tower.