Here we are 100 days from the last federal election and not much has changed for small business.
The words from the campaign about the importance of small business to the Australian economy appear to have been forgotten as politicians prefer to fight each other over issues of little relevance to everyday Australians and small business owners.
Take the issue of Australian banks. Small business owners are treated appallingly by by the big four banks. There are countless stories of shocking service and unfair practices yet the government refuses to establish the mechanism most Australians want for these issues to be considered – a Royal Commission.
Take the issue of red tape. We recently wrote to federal and state ministers responsible for an area related to one o our specialty software packages. In our letter we noted each state and territory has different requirements for what should be a national matter. We received responses from all the minister offices and not one letter progresses the matter – leaving small business owners navigating arcane and time –consuming red tape for the sake of red tape.
We could go on.
What we want is politicians who are true to their word, politicians who deliver opportunities for improved efficiency to small business, politicians who demonstrate through legislation that they actually believe small businesses are the backbone of Australia.
Right now, it seems to this small business that politicians are all talk and no action.
We get to see many different retail businesses in in our work and along the way we pick up ideas that work particularly well. Here is a selection of everyday marketing tips we see working in almost any business.
- Always have a value-proposition offer just inside the entrance to the business. This should be a double-sided offer, one they see as they enter and as they leave.
- Always have an appealing impulse purchase offer at the counter. Change this weekly. Use the opportunity to learn more about what your customers will purchase on impulse.
- Always know your top selling item in the store and always place products next to the top selling item thoughtfully, to leverage the eyeballs looking for and at the top selling product.
- Run a generous loyalty program where the value is understood. This probably means not using points.
- Create stunning window displays people would not expect to see in your type of business.
- Offer multi-buy opportunities unlocking savings for people purchasing more than would be usual in a single visit.
- Be brief in talking to customers about your products on social media: a single product per post. Two sentences. Short sentences. Make the post appealing beyond you trying to promote your business. Entertain them.
- Send customers a card for special occasions, a personal card to reinforce the personal relationship you have with them.
- Change the front two metres of your shop weekly, keep it fresh for your customers and your staff.
- Unpack and price products on the shop floor and not in the back room or outside of shopper view.
Our goal with this list is to give you ideas you can use right away as well as ideas that will get you thinking of your own ideas.
Go for it. Remember, if you do next week what you did this week you cannot expect any growth. Growth only comes from change.
Tower Systems is a personal software company that partners with its retail customers. Our success is thanks to open lines of communication and close relationships with our clients. You too can benefit from personal POS software. Here is a two-minute video where we make our personal pitch:
One of the most valuable ways a retailer can differentiate from a competitor is to change how items are sold. Through the Tower Systems POS software, retailers have multiple ways of doing this. One successful way is the transactional multi-buy, where a customer can save money by purchasing more of an item in one transaction.
We see the transactional multi-buy approach working well in toy shops, pet shops, newsagencies and gift shops. Retailers in each channel use it differently and with different products. This is a beauty of the facility – it is easy for a local retailer to setup such a campaign and then flip to another. It enables the small business independent retailer to be flexible and constantly change their approach.
Changing your pitch in store around what the shopper purchases is important. It differentiates you from others with the same product. It speaks to your local offer and enables you to own your value proposition.
This is smart for small business retailers. we are proud our software makes it easy to setup and simple to manage and insightful in the post activity reporting.
Any business selling items shoppers will collect or purchase for collectors would benefit significantly from the transactional multi by facilities in the Tower Systems POS software.
We back the facilities with training, in-store management advice and even post event analysis – helming retailers to understand the full value of the campaign they have run.
Making it very easy, all the retail employee need do is scan items. The software applies any appropriate multi-buy discount. You do not even have to scan all the items after each other. yes, the software is smart enough to detect items at any point in the sale and to grow them together. This is vital to streamlined throughput of shoppers at a busy sales counter.
Beyond the software, Tower Systems is grateful for the support of many retailers in the continual enhancement of the software, to enable us to bring valuable in-store marking tools to retailers with whom we partner.
Transactional multi-buy is an important tool for small business and independent retailers. We have excellent case studies we can share to illustrate the value.
Here at Tower Systems we love making things easy for our POS software customers. This is why we love Xero. It is also why we love Tyro. We integrate with both.
Here is a terrific new video from the folks at Tyro about their beautiful and easy to use solution:
Tower Systems is a proudly Australian POS software company. We develop software in Australia for small and independent Australian retail businesses.
- Our software focus is local.
- Our customer service team is local.
- Our installation team is local.
- Our business planning is focussed on local.
- We offer locally focussed facilities and services in our software.
Retailers wanting software to support their local focus ought to look at local POS software companies.
We have built a good strong business by being locally focussed. Yes, today we serve more than 3,500 retail businesses.
We are proud that in many of our specialty retail channels, we are the only locally developed and supported software. This makes us more fit for purpose for those businesses that care about living and supporting local.
As a famous song once goes so beautifully: we’re all in this together.
Every day can be tough in small business. You can feel like the big competitors are winning and that you can’t climb the mountain to compete. You may not know where to start.
There are green shoots of good news and opportunities in every small and independent retail business. The key is to find these and to leverage them for more success.
A green shoot is a product or a category of products or a supplier performing above average in the business. Often, these successes have gone unnoticed.
We were working with a retailer recently who said business was down by 20% and they did not know what to do. It turned out that the best performing product category in their business was ‘failing’ for six months because they had not replenished stock.
They invested, instead, on new lines that had not gone as well as the successful product.
They, in part, created their own downward spiral and had not looked at their business data to understand that contributed to the problems they were confronting.
Once they realised the situation, they re-stocked the successful range of products and numbers started to improve. More important, their confidence level grew and with this their business decisions improved.
There are opportunities for optimism in every business.
Finding optimism is like mining, you have to look for it, sometimes for a long time. It is there, though, in every retail business.
As soon as you hear yourself talking your business down, STOP. Look at your data, look for the good news. That is what you need to think and talk about.
By looking at your data, we mean looking at year on year, quarter on quarter or month on month comparison data for departments, categories, suppliers or even individual products. Look for growth and once you see growth, think about what you can do with and around the products achieving growth so that you can achieve other growth.
Any product achieving year on year increases in unit sales is a product to be appreciated, nurtured and used to help grow other products that can sell to the same customer.
This is how you grow optimism. Find those small green shoots, leverage them with some small steps and, over time, build more success for your business.
While overall revenue, traffic count and profitability may be down, growth even at the smallest data point, such as for one or two products, could be enough to get you looking at your business differently.
In the Tower Systems POS software, the best initial reports for good news are: Monthly Sales Comparison (department level, category level and / or supplier level), the 10×10 Report, Ranked Sales Report (by units) for one period and then for the comparative period.
We’re here to help you find the good news in your business. Your business data is the key.
Based on our work with 3,500 retail businesses across a range of specialty retail channels, here are our five top ways any small business retail store can reduce dead stock in their business. These top ideas are all about ensuring the problem does not occur in the first place.
- Track everything that comes in and that you sell. Good data drives good business decisions.
- Order what sells. Use a re-order report from your POS software to order replenishment stock. And, yes, good POS software allows you to add to this for new items or extra stock you are certain you need.
- Set a budget. Use your software to control stock weight so you do not over order without thought.
- Track stock turn. Stock turn is the best indicator of efficiency of stock. Focus more on your best performers.
- Centralise buying. Ensure buying for the business is done by limited people who do use business data and who operate to a strict budget.
There are more ideas and tips on reducing dead stock. These suggestions are the best-practice starting point.
We are thrilled at the number of small business retailers engaging with the free marketing advice and collateral at our POS software company website. Any retailer can download the free posters and other materials and use them how they want to promote these marketing pitches for and through their businesses. Here are some of the free poster artwork Tower Systems has made available.
Everywhere retailers look today they are confronted with a new paradigm, a new approach to doing business, regardless of their area of specialisation.
Over recent years the fundamentals of retail have changed and some retailers are yet to notice and embrace the change.
The new paradigm, while impacting all retailers, is not universal. There are nuances by channel and there is where specialist Point of Sale software can help a retailer navigate to the change in circumstances.
The customer is at the heart of retail today, more so than ever before. Thanks to universal access to pricing, product and other information, the customer is more informed and powerful than ever before.
Whereas in the past a retailer knew of their key competitors based on their geographic location and could therefore research and understand them, today’s competitors could be anywhere in the world. Indeed, many shoppers are spending time with a competitor of a retail business while actually in the business… such is the power for the customer thanks to smartphones and easy access to the online world.
Many retailers have made them mistake of thinking that the new paradigm is merely about bricks and mortar retail versus online. That is barely the beginning of the new paradigm. Indeed, it goes way beyond such a basic comparison.
The only way to compete in this new world of retail is to genuinely and wholeheartedly place the customer at the centre of everything you do. From the moment they step near, physically or virtually, your business you need to embrace them with an embrace unlike ever before. No, not a hug, nothing physical.
The customer embrace in this new world of retail is about value, from as soon as a customer is nearby. Value in service, advice as well as price. This is where bricks and mortar businesses can win against online… if they understand how to demonstrate value through a range of touch points in their business.
Central to delivering value is the core efficiency of the business itself. Retail businesses need to operate at a level of efficiency which enables them to compete on price. At the same time they need to ensure that all sales associates are able to transact with shoppers wherever they are in the store. They need to be able to be the most knowledgeable people in the store without necessarily having the most experience.
This is where good Point of Sale software, ideal software for the type of retail business, can provide a retailer with a point of difference and a structure through which to embrace the new customer-centric paradigm.
It is not enough to operate a basic cash register type system as that will deliver only basic results and basic will not cut it today with competitors around the globe. Retail businesses which specialize need specialist software. The result is a stronger, smarter and more nimble retail business.
Good specialist Point of Sale software will, if used well, enable a bricks and mortar business to not only compete but grow in this world. This is an opportunity for retailers, an opportunity to embrace change and to thrive against what may seem to some like insurmountable odds.
Drive your relevance, use your software, chase change.
The shop local movement has a good profile. Locals do tend to prefer to shop local. Retailers need to actively and consistently leverage this through a regular reminder but such a reminder is hollow unless you offer local benefits such as community engagement, hiring locally and sourcing locally made products. Actively engaging in the business through locally focussed decisions helps any retailer bring power and strength to their calls for people to shop local.
This is our advice today – if you pitch shop local, live in in your shop every day and show you yourselves believe in it.
Tower Systems helps retailers actively pitch and live the shop local mantra through its POS software and through the business support the company provides in its training and on its website.
Tower Systems is adding to the free marketing resources for small business retailers. New digital art is being loaded to our website for small business retailers to download and print and to load into digital marketing platforms.
This latest collateral from our in-house creative team is themed to provide retailers more options for pitching their businesses.
We are grateful to the encouraging feedback from small business retailers – customers and not – who are using the facilities we have created and made available through our website. This feedback is what has encouraged us to do even more.
Tower Systems provides access to these free marketing resources without asking for any details – making the resources genuinely free.
To all small business owners: Happy New Year. May 2015/16 be prosperous, healthy and happy for you!
One a year there is a focus in the media and elsewhere encouraging people to shop in small businesses. Here at Tower Systems we would like to broaden that pitch.
Make every Saturday your shop small day.
With people home for the weekend, shopping at local shops is easier.
It puts money back into the community where you have your home.
It supports where your kids are going up, will grow up or have grown up.
It creates local jobs.
It builds local expertise.
It supports retailers of locally made products.
It supports small local businesses who support local community groups and charities.
It supports the narrative of the area.
It saves fuel.
It saves time.
We at Tower Systems encourage everyone to go out and shop local this Saturday and at the very least every Saturday.
Small local businesses thank you for your support.
Mark Latham wrote in The Australian Financial Review on May 30, 2015:
Self-evidently, if small businesses were any good they would’t be small. They would be big monstrous things with massive levels of profit, employment and economic grunt.
As the owner of a small business that solely serves small businesses I say Mark Latham is wrong. I know of many small businesses that are profitable and making excellent contributions economically and socially in their areas.
I started Tower Systems in 1981 to serve small businesses like yours. Today we are thrilled to serve close to 3,000 independent small businesses.
Our mission is to help small businesses owners run their businesses efficiently and profitably, with foresight and confidence about the right business decisions. Our assistance goes way beyond the software itself.
This makes us very different to the likes of MYOB, Retail Express, RMS, Lightspeed, vend and others who offer generic retail management and POS software.
Thanks to our specialisation you can expect more from us, more facilities specific to your type of business and more after sales services for your type of business.
Like any good small business, our business is personal. That is, from the moment you contact us you will deal with someone by name. You’ll have their mobile number and their email address. This continues when you speak with our help desk – we have real people using their real names, people you can call back and talk to further.
You have access to me as the owner of the company too. My number is 0418 321 338 and my email email@example.com. By sharing this I am backing the claims I make – that using my software will help you enjoy your business more, make more money and make your business more valuable.
As a customer you would have easy access to senior management. This keeps us connected and demonstrates that we take good personal customer service seriously.
If you want to make your independent retail business worth more and more enjoyable to own, give us a call and let us show you want a good POS software company looks like.
Our retail consultants are here to listen to you and to help:
- NSW/ACT/TAS/QLD. Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148.
- WA/SA/NT. Tim Batt. 0401 833 917.
- VIC. Mike Hill. 0423 848 482.
My name is Mark Fletcher. I am the owner of Tower Systems. I believe in small business. My contact details are: 0481 321 338 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
A retailer who shifted to our POS software commended last week to us on our comprehensive video training library and the technology platform we developed for providing access to this training library.
I love it! I love that I can watch a video over at home. I love that I can get my staff to watch videos of the parts of the software they use.
The Tower Systems video training library is a unique and valuable resource, enabling retailers using the software to be able to access training as they want, as they get further into the software.
The investment by Tower Systems in creating the training resources reaps dividends for the company as it enables us to demonstrate a valuable point of difference.
The Tower Systems sales team provide access for business owners considering the use of our software – to show first hand the value of our training facilities.
Every day in our POS software company we see and hear examples of optimism in small business retail from a boost in traffic to an increase in sales revenue to an increase in the overall average gross profit percentage achieved by a business.
We are thrilled to play a part of helping independent small business retailers realise their dreams through our software.
In one situation this week we learned how a retailer using our software achieved thousands of dollars of incremental business in a three month period by using a facility they had never used before. By turning on this facility in their software, for no additional cost, they were able to achieve sales they were up until then losing. This was done with no increase in inventory investment.
Small business retailers can increase sales through smart shopper engaging tools in our software. Beyond the usual help desk facilities, we enjoy talking business management with our customers – to help them leverage even more value from their relationship with us.
Here at Tower Systems our focus is solely on independent small business retailers in a select number of retail channels. This helps us provide specialist advice to our specialist retailers.
Tower Systems is thrilled with the use small business retailers are making of the free small business marketing resources we have made available in our website.
These free resources are another practical way Tower Systems helps small business retailers beyond our terrific POS software.
Our development and free access to these resources demonstrates are acre for and commitment to the small business retail channels in which we serve. It is easy for a business to say they support their customers in a variety of ways. This investment by us is us being true to our words – walking the walk if you will.
We have happy for these and other free downloads we place on the site to be used widely.
Note we have not included our branding as we don;t want to get in the way of the businesses using the materials.
Small business retailers want to grow, who doesn’t? With rent and labour costs increasing each year, growth is mission critical. POS software company Tower Systems helps its customers grow by providing advice on how to use the software to grow.
As retailers ourselves we can provide practical advice on how to use the software to more than transact sales, we can help retailers use the software to grow their businesses. We do this every day on our help desk, through our consulting services, through our knowledge base and through our business mentoring assistance.
We encourage, guide, educate and support our small business retailer customers in their desire to grow their businesses. it’s something we take serviceably.
Even on the weekend. Take today, Saturday … we have been helping one business owner understand opportunities in their slow selling inventory pool to unlock cash and space for more productive use.
We are serious in our commitment to small business retailers from our software through to the practical advice and support we provide.
The cloud backup service launched last year by small business retail management software company Tower Systems is proving to be popular with retailers. The backup process is seamless, not taking any noticeable time thanks to the smart technology engaged. The result is double protection offering peace of mind to small business retailers.
While Tower Systems has supported external and automated backup services for years, this new even more hands-off cloud-based backup service that offers excellent protection to participating small retail businesses users of our POS software.
Run on a subscription basis and backing up to the cloud real-time through the day, this is a comprehensive replacement of the old end of shift backup approach for small and independent retailers.
POS Software company Tower Systems is helping small and independent retailers to promote the support of local retailers through an innovative campaign of collateral created by the company for its retailers.
We are thrilled to be investing our creative resources in support of our retailer partners in this way.
This latest artwork is part of a series we have developed in-house through our amazingly creative marketing team to give our retailers different voices and platforms through which to pitch their shop local credentials.
This is another Tower AdvantageTM.
The free marketing collateral will be released next week.
Small business retailers using the Tower Systems POS software are able to easily and succinctly show the discount a shopper has achieved with a purchase on the professional receipt produced by the software. Many receipt styles are supported – retailers can choose what works best for them
Available for many years and enhanced thanks to new even more flexible receipt options, publishing savings on receipts is a successful way for retailers to promote to existing shoppers and bring them back in store more often.
Tower Systems shares with retailers ways of using receipts, describing savings and highlighting other benefits so that retail partners get more from smarter use of their smart PO software.
Tower Systems has started contacting customers to invite them to be part of a trial group to play with something completely different. In return for confidentiality, early adoption and detailed feedback, participating retailers will be given free access to software that breaks with tradition.
Two years in the making, this project is another example of Tower Systems investing in software for small businesses. Leadership in action will be clear when the software steps into the public eye, soon.