We encourage small business retailers to leverage the teacher appreciation opportunity

This is another in our series of practical, everyday, advice for small business retailers.

How to make the most of the teacher gift opportunity.

Gifts for teachers can be lucrative not only at the end of the year but also through the year by establishing your business as a destination for gifts for teachers. As with much in retail, it takes a commitment of time, space and capital.

While you can make money sourcing a teacher pack from a supplier, you will make more by taking a broader approach.

Our advice is that you offer a selection of gifts for teachers including the traditional plaques, mugs, apple-themed, frames and pens but this you expand the offer to include other suggested gifts such as scarves, Charlie Bears, soap, fudge, plush, jigsaw puzzles and other premium gifts.

Don’t be restricted by the traditional teacher gifts. Also, don’t be restricted by a price point. We suggest you show how two or more students could pool funds to buy a bigger gift such as a jigsaw puzzle. Show your customers how they can do this. For example: $19.99 or $10 each if two of you share giving this gift.  Maybe even consider a whole of class gift.

Promote the broader range of gifts with an appropriate sign such as: GIVE SOMETHING THAT WILL ACTUALLY BE USED.

Have your suggested gifts represented together in a location branded as gifts for teachers.

Be sure to include cards in your range – Thank You cards and blank cards. Consider packaging selected gifts and cards together to make buying easy.

Also consider a discount if customers purchase above a threshold for multiple teachers. For example, you could offer 10% off for purchases of $25.00 or more. Choose a spend hurdle that suits your area.

Marketing and promotion tips:

  1. Offer a $50 shopping voucher for one lucky teacher. To get an enter customers should purchase a card and gift from you.
  2. Include a flyer with all purchases announcing your teacher gift range.
  3. Leverage the local parents association to have them help you promote the offer. Consider having them hand out a coupon offering 5% off for purchases a 5% to them for each coupon redeemed.
  4. Setup a THANK YOU TEACHER WALL where anyone can write a note thanking their teacher – from any generation or year.
  5. Maybe run a Teacher of the Year competition where students vote. This could work well in a smaller location. However be careful as it could be seen as divisive if not done well.

Free small business POS software training: 10 ways to save time and money

Beyond the usual training you see POS software companies offer, here at Tower Systems we offer training deep into the business, looking at ways we can touch the business beyond what is usual or common for a small business POS software company.

Next week, we offer a workshop, 10 ways to save time and money using Retailer, for small business retailers using our software.

This free workshop will cover at least ten ways retail businesses can use our Retailer POS software to to save time in their businesses and reduce costs in their businesses.

This training will be based in years of experience across many retail channels. It will reference channel-specific opportunities as well as broader retail business opportunities.

The small business POS software training will offer action items that can be implemented in businesses without costs.

This free interactive and live workshop from us is another example of how we reach out beyond what is usual for POS software companies in what we do and how we do it. It reflects how we help our customers deep into their businesses, in ways that are measurably and appreciably beneficial.

We are grateful to our customers for their support of our free training workshops. It is their support that encourages us to run these week in week out and to go beyond the POS software and provide valuable broader business management training.

Our evolving POS software training workshop program can be seen online at our website on a publicly accessible page. We add sessions regularly, often showing for a month or two our what is coming top in training opportunities.

To participate in an online meeting all you need access to is a computer with a broadband internet connection and a phone to receive a call so you can hear the audio. Each session runs for approximately 45-60 minutes depending on questions.

Tower Systems expands training session topics based on customer feedback, offering new material tailored to needs that have been pitched to us. We love getting suggestions and working on new training content for our customers. Suggestions can be made through our software help desk team.

POS software helps small business retailers cut government compliance costs

The Tower Systems POS software actively helps small business retailers to reduce the time it takes to comply with government requirements.

We do this in a range of ways. We also enhance our engagement with this as government regulations change. By evolving our software offering, we ensure we help businesses leverage time-saving opportunities.

Preparing the BAS, Business Activity Statement, is easier and faster thanks to easy access to accurate data collected and managed by our POS software This is a key time saving. It also helps reduce stress by ensuring the provision of data that is accessible and useful to business owners.

Managing accurate business performance tracking through the profit and loss statement and the balance sheet is facilitated through automatic data flow between the POS software and Xero, MYOB or Quicken. Indeed, the accounting software links we provide in our POS software make it easier for small business retailers to undertake more accounting work in-store, reduce accounting fees and facilitate more accurate accounting records.

So, time saved, mistakes cut, errors voided, accurate data curated and managed – all through there work we do for small business retailers in 0ur POS software – these are real benefits for small business retail.

We see businesses put in our POS software, connect it to xero and cut bookkeeping costs. This can save a business thousands of dollars a year without any additional spend within the business beyond the low cost of POS software and attendant support services.

This is good business that we are proud to deliver for the small business retailers we serve through our smart POS software.

Saving time takes careful thought and planning on the software design end. As retailers ourselves, doing this time saving work in our own retail businesses, we know what is needed first hand. Having a CPA in our office, working with us enables us to be knowledgable for an accounting perspective too. These two things – being a retailer and having in-house accounting capabilities – ensure that we prove a proven and practical solution to our small business retail customers.

This is another bankable Tower Systems advantage for small business retailers.

Why we think small business retailers should beware POS software onboarding

Onboarding is a term some POS software companies use to describe their process of bringing on new customers.

Onboarding is a corporate term, a big business term, for detached remote setup and installation. It is not personal. It is not small business.

Small business is personal. Most small business rely on providing personal local service.

That is what we do at Tower Systems through our POS software.

We don’t onboard, not in the big business corporate sense. No, we work personally, face to face, in your business. We setup our software in your shop, leveraging installation options to provide you with as much of a tailored solution as we are able. We do this working alongside you.

Not on the phone.

Not by email.

Not via Skype.

Our service is personal, like small business retail is personal.

Of course, if you would rather we did the work remotely we will happily do this. However, this is not our recommendation.

So, here at Tower Systems, no impersonal onboarding, no distance learning. We work with you, in your business, personally and engaged with your Like a conversation. Friendships develop. Understanding of your needs develop. This makes it better for you and for us.

We are confident that the personal in-store approach to setting up your POS software provides you with a better outcome. It is calmer and more engaged. We think you will learn better by our experts working with you in your business. And isn’t learn ing better vital to you and your business? For sure!

Every time we are in a retail business we learn. This is another reason we are keen to install and train on-site, in retail businesses. Working remotely on the phone denies this learning opportunity. It means the outcomes are less appropriate and useful. This is another reason onboarding is not a smart move in our view.

Small business retail is personal. Tower Systems gets that and delivers on the through its personal POS software installation  and training approach.

We are grateful to serve in excess of 3,000 small business retailers today, retailers we have learned from by being in their businesses.

POS software scale integration helps small business retailers sell with accuracy

The authorised and government approved integration of scales with the Tower Systems POS software enables us to deliver a beautiful solution to small business and independent retailers in many situations.

Through the integration, our POS software talks with the scales, reducing the opportunity for data entry mistakes, making the sales process faster and delivering business outcomes that enable small business retailers to benefit.

Delivered years ago and maintained since, our POS software scale integration is a fine solution for retailers that sell products by weight: candy stores, pet stores, produce businesses, garden centres, butchers, supermarkets and more. We can connect scales to the POS and enable sales by weight. It is easy and fast.

We have structured advice and support for connecting scales to the POS software.

Any retail business selling products by weight can rely on our scales integration for fast and accurate selling at the counter or anywhere in this business.

Although there are alternatives to selling by weight such as splitting and pre-packing stock and double-typing prices at the counter, these methods waste keystrokes and time while increasing the risk of avoidable data entry mistakes that can impact a business  bottom line.

The scanner / scales tool that we recommend is connected to our POS software provides a range of solutions / benefits:

  1. All-Weighs Scale Platter with integrated Produce Lift Bar or Produce Rail™
  2. FirstStrike advanced decoding software delivers the best performance in reading poor quality labels
  3. Aggressive and ergonomic 360° 5-sided scanning
  4. Host Download – Lowers Service Cost and Improves Operations
  5. Diagnostic Reporting – For improved preventative maintenance
  6. Productivity Index Reporting™ – Helps identify poorly printed labels
  7. Cashier Training™/ Ergonomic Index – Identifies Poor Scanning/Weighing Habits

We work with each of our customers to deliver a solution tailored through settings and other opportunities to serve the needs of the business. Our experience o=ver the years from POS software scales integration has enabled us to provide a flexible and valued solution to our customers in this area.

Scales integration is another way our small business focussed POS software company serves businesses well, providing solutions that enable local family-owned small business retailers to compete against big businesses.

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.