The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

News from Tower Systems about locally made POS software for specialty local retailers.

CategorySmall retail business management advice

5 ways small business retailers can use POS software to help improve sales counter workflow


Here are 5 valuable and easy to implement ways retailers use our Point of Sale software (POS software) to reduce labour costs in their local retail businesses:

  1. Sales counter workflow. Smooth. Easy. Smart. Accurate. Few keystrokes. Easy for even casual staff who are not in the business often. In our POS software it is smart, efficient, streamlined and labour cost saving.
  2. Match revenue and roster. Focussing on rostering to revenue and revenue opportunity is a challenge for small business retailers. Tools in the POS software from Tower Systems help indie retailers do this with ease and consistency. These are tools retailers love as they can drive revenue reduction and / or labour cost reduction.
  3. Smart stock control including reordering. By eliminating manual processes around placing orders for replenishment stock, retailers are able to, in one place and at one time, accurately create orders based on business performance data.  By ordering based on business activity (sales) the business do working based on success rather than gut feel. A business switching to ordering from within their Point of sale system can expect to free up cash by reducing non-performing stock. This process is further improved through digitally engaged supplier relationships.
  4. Customer management including accounts and loyalty. Through computer-based customer accounts and loyalty management, the retail business is able to transact with customers accurately, in a timely manner and in a way which puts customers first.  Generating monthly customer statements, for example, could take a few minutes whereas manual processes could take many hours and face challenges with accuracy.
  5. Fact assisted decision making.  Too many retail businesses spend too much time spinning their wheels pursuing decisions because they are not using business facts to feed these decisions.  All to often we see poor business decisions made based on emotion and or ignorance rather than historical business data.  Replace the error prone and fact-less approach with a fact-based approach and a business will soon find that decisions are more right than wrong.  Retail businesses can bank on the results.

These are just 5 of the ways in which our Point of Sale software helps 3,500+ small business retailers in Australian and New Zealand to improve the management of their businesses, streamline processes and drive more efficient allocation of labour resources.

Local retailers in Australia could benefit from engaging with Halloween


I am back from a quick trip to the US – New York, Wisconsin (several small towns and Los Angeles).

It was fascinating to see the total embrace of Halloween, in all retail sectors: jewellers, garden centres, bike shops, pet shops, toy shops, homewares shops, fabric shops, gift shops, landscape businesses, bookshops, fashion stores.

While I have seen Halloween in the US plenty of times before, this time I paid attention to the range of retail businesses engaged.

Retailers in every category embrace Halloween as an opportunity for fun. They also use it as an opportunity for in-store events to reconnect with the local community.

What I saw was much more than candy and trick or treating … it was a seasonal embrace with fun at the heart. There were events, sales, photo opportunities and plenty more. Most were very local, and engaging.

Many retailers use it as an opportunity too ease into Christmas with Halloween prep starting in early September.

I like the idea of Halloween right after Father’s Day and as something prior to Christmas being put up in store. While we have done Halloween in our shops previously, in 2024 I think we will take a more US local retail approach and create something quite different for here.

I mention it today because events in-store, in any type of retail business, are vital to helping to be noticed, and attract new shoppers, and new shoppers are vital to all of us in retail.

This photo is from a bike shop / coffee shop in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. I saw people crouch down for a photo. Simple. Effective. Engaging.

There are so many opportunities local retailers can embrace with Halloween beyond what we have seen as common locally.

Bike shops, jewellers, garden centres, toy shops, pet shops, bookshops, gift shops, homewares shops, newsagents and even farm supply businesses all have opportunities in the Halloween space and I saw plenty of examples in the US recently.

In our POS software it’s a season we can help you track, too.

I am grateful for what I got to see. It was heaps fun.

Mark Fletcher
CEO. Tower Systems 0418 321 338

PS. Retail is personal and Halloween leans into this opportunity.

What is the best POS system for small retail business?


It’s an interesting question, What is the best POS system for small retail business?, one plenty of local small business retailers ask.

We are Tower Systems We only make POS software for small business retail. We are not chasing big business. We are not chasing franchises with hundreds of shops.

Our focus is on local small business retail, local shops, specialty shops, small business shops.

So when you ask, What is the best POS system for small retail business?, we think a good response has to be – software from a company that makes software for small retail businesses, software from a company that only makes software for small retail businesses.

This is important because if you are a small retail business and you go with software from a company that serves plenty of big chains and big groups, your small business could get lost in the mix, not listened to, forgotten. While their marketing will likely pitch that your business will matter and that you will get personal service, one way big, massive, software companies serve their customers is through offshore services centres and automation.

Retail is personal, local retail especially.

Here at Tower Systems we provide personal service. You see this reflected in our POS software and in the support services to local retailers we provide for our POS software.

Each POS software update includes enhancements suggested directly by our customers. We discuss these with them, and let them know when and how they are proceeding. This direct contact between our software development team and our customers is unique as is the direct, easy and personal contact between our POS software customers and our help desk team – all of whom work for us and are local in Australia and New Zealand.

Okay, well, all of what we have shared so far here is about choosing the best POS software company for a small retail business. In terms of the software itself, it’s easy …

Be sure of what you need and what you want, and know the why s to each of these.

When looking at software, ask them to show you, using their software, how each of your needs is met. Don’t just take their word.

If they say sign up and test it for yourself rather than taking the time to understand your needs and wants and showing you this reflects on the personal service they will, or will not provide.

The best POS system for a local small retail business is the one that serves the needs of the retail at a price that works for the retail business.

Take your time, do your research. Get everything in writing.

This is a long-term decision, one worth taking time over.

Advice for small business retailers on dealing with increasing retail theft


We know from the news that retail theft has increased. Shoplifting, stealing, retail theft, call it what o=you like, has a financial cost as well as an emotional cost. It can debilitate business owners, managers and team members, multiplying the total cost to the business.

Employee theft is easier to uncover, track and address than shopper theft.

Good POS software will offer proven tools for indicating potential employee theft and do this in a way that empowers business owners to act before the cost to the business is out of control.

The challenge is that many small business retail owners and managers do not use theft discovery and mitigation tools in POS software. We know because our Tower Systems POS software is well resourced in theft detection and mitigation and too often in talking with customers it is discovered later rather than earlier.

Our advice for retailers on employee theft is to use your software, check regularly, act on the indicators to see if there is something concerning there. In our case here at Tower systems – call or email – one of our senior theft mitigation specialists will help. These are people who have worked with the police and insurance companies on such situations. They will Bring that experience to the table for you.

Shopper theft, shoplifting, stealing of products is best discovered by a regular process of what we call spot stock takes. Choose several high interest product categories and every week check stock on hand. This will indicate if there is an issue. If there is not, choose another.

Having a consistent approach to spot stock takes if key to the discovery point of shoplifting.

The best deterrent is your action. Here is our advice to be known as a shop not worth stealing from:

  1. Greet people when they enter the shop. Them seeing you see them, eye to eye, will deter some people planning to steal.
  2. Have systems to collect evidence: CCTV and, when appropriate, matching POS software data.
  3. Always report people caught to the police.
  4. Write about reporting it to the police on social media.
  5. If you have camera evidence of theft but no knowledge of the name, use the photo to try and figure out the identity.

If the problem in your shop is serious and at a point where it is distressing you, consider bringing in a uniformed security guard for a week or two. While there is a cost with that, it makes a physical statement about your approach to the security of your space.

Complaining about theft is not action.

Catching someone and getting your goods back is inadequate action.

Not acting on a hunch because of a fear for what you might discover is not action.

Theft requires action. Typically in local small business retail it is costing the business somewhere between 3% and 5% of turnover. In our experience, retailers trend to not act because they are not sure where to start.

Here at Tower Systems we offer guidance to retail business owners on what to do, actions to take, processes to establish to at least get a handle on what might be happening. That is the best place to start if the business has not been acting consistently up to that point.

Aussie small business retailers love using AI to create better product descriptions


ChatGPT integrated POS software from Aussie company Tower Systems auto-generates more meaningful products descriptions, saving time and removing a pain-point for small business retailers.

Released in February 2023 and fine-tuned since, the ChatGPT integration is loved by retailers.

The product descriptions are concise and tuned for search engine success.

“We run 3 shops ourselves and love the time this saves,” commented Mark Fletcher, Managing Director of Tower Systems. “The ChatGPT integration generates the description based on simple prompts. The retailer can review the text, and adjust if necessary.”

“Local small business retailers are time-poor so anything we can do to save time is a win.”

In a typical shop, coming up with a description for a new product can take several minutes with a range of factors to be considered. The ChatGPT integration eliminates this. The feedback from customers using the new facility are encouraging and motivating to the software developers as it recognises the practical value of their focus on productivity enhancements.

“Looking at product descriptions from many small business retailers, we found many were overwritten and not tuned to search engine needs, thereby denying sales opportunities to these businesses.”

The ChatGPT integrated POS software update was provided to the Tower customer community for no cost. Retailers using the software have the option to not use the AI integration.

It is part of a suite of POS software enhancements that targeted productivity improvements for local small business retailers who use the Tower Systems POS software.
Here is what the ChjatGPT integration looks like live:

Tower Systems serves more than 3,000 local specialty retailers in Australia: newsagents, pet shops, jewellers, garden centres, farm supply businesses, bike shops and gift shops.

The company also owns and runs 3 high street shops in Melbourne and 6 online retail businesses.

Advice for retailers following the Google core update


Four days ago, Google announced that it had released a core update. This has implications for all businesses that are found via Google searches.

Whenever Google updates its search ranking algorithms, your website can do better or worse in the search results. It is important to watch how your website is impacted.

Google offers useful advice on dealing with the implications for a core update, including this excellent and practical advice:

We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward. To learn more about how to create content that’s successful, see our help page on how to create helpful, reliable people-first content. It has questions that you can ask yourself when assessing your own content.

This is key for any local small business retailer with a website: ensure your contact is unique, fresh, and valuable to the reader.

Our advice to retailers for whom we have developed websites connected to our POS Software is to ensure content is fresh, useful and updated as appropriate. 

We recommend against paying content farms, AI platforms or others to write content for you. If you are an expert, be the expert. Consider using your name, as a byline, on pages you have written.

Consider deleting pages that are out of date. Quality matters more than quantity.

Ensure product descriptions are your text and not that supplied by a supplier to all retailers they supply. Unique content matters.

Consider questions you answer. Do your answers on your website make you an authority? What changes could you make to be more of an authority?

Make sure page headings are relevant to the content.

Think about the humans you want to attract to your business, write for them and not for a search algorithm.

Every page on your website needs to have a human related purpose, the Google algorithms consider this.

If your business website contains any pages written by others, especially if those pages were created offshore, review them thoroughly and ensure your voice is heard, ensure the pages reflect what you want said about your business and its offers.

Here at Tower Systems we create and support POS Software for specialty retailers, and we create websites for retailers using our software. 

We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 local and independent retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re looking for new POS Software, we’d love to find out more about your needs:
Australia: 1300 662 957
NZ: 0800 444 367
Website: – where you can easily access videos of software demos and our pricing.

Thanks for reading.

Mark Fletcher
Managing Director
Tower Systems International (Aust.) Pty Ltd
ABN 61 007 009 752

PS. Your web developer may say that they will update the content on your website to leverage the Google changes. While that may appeal as a time saver, it is important that the content in your website reflects your expertise.

The most important competitor a local small business retailer has is themselves


Too often in local retail business we get in our head about big business competitors when the most important competitor any local small business retailer has is themselves.

Here at Tower Systems we develop and support POS software for local specialty retailers. We are retailers ourselves, too.

We’ve worried too much about big business competitors ourselves when wonderful opportunities can be seen when we look at ourselves as our own competitor.

This short video speaks to this opportunity.

POS software digital receipts, roster integrations and self-checkout help local independent retailers shine


New in the Aussie made and supported Tower Systems POS software:

  • Roster integration solutions direct connected to our POS software: Tanda, Deputy and Planday (by Xero).
  • Digital receipt platform Slyp – for businesses and customers who prefer a digital record over paper receipts.
  • Shopper self-checkout using indie-retail focussed hardware and a new release of our software.

Plus, Tower Systems customers have free access to our FREE online marketplace:, a place designed to drive in-store shopper traffic. Simply tick a box and your products are listed at FindIt, helping you be found by more people.

FindIt is a marketplace where you will find a broad range of products from local small business retailers. If you prefer to shop local and shop small, FindIt is a platform sure to interest you. Retailers connect to FindIt through their Tower Systems POS software.

Local shopping is good for the local community since local businesses tend to hire locally, spend locally, source inventory locally and engage locally.

Those who care about the local community will; tend to support local businesses for these reasons.

Local shopping is a win for everyone given the circular nature of the local economy.

The more we shop where we live the more those businesses can support local community groups and hire locally.

We all benefit from this.

The other benefit of local shopping is that it tends to be at local small businesses. These businesses tend to h

Our goal is to help local independent retailers run healthier, happier and more valuable businesses. We nurture this through our POS software, our engaged customer service and through free enhancement opportunities, like FindIt.

We have demos publicly available for each specialty retail channel at You don’t have to register, give your email or your phone number to watch.

Our free marketplace for retailers using our POS software is gaining traction with Google and Bing.

We have more than 100,000 items not currently showing because of lack of images of images. Google wants images. What you can see live is products with good images and good descriptions.

To list your products for free, start by clicking here:

Small Business Retail Advice: making your business more secure


Security is important in any retail business. Over the years, in our work with local small business retailers and in our own shops we have collected advice on shop security. Here are some built point tips you may find helpful from the basic and simple to the more tech. oriented:

  1. Know how many keys there are to your premises and who has them.
  2. Keep a spare key is a safe place away from the business.
  3. Change the most powerful / valuable password for your computer software monthly and share it sparingly. Passwords should be complex. Check the strength of your password here:
  4. Keep a current data backup off site, in the cloud preferably. Regularly check that you can restore the data from your backup and that the data is current.
  5. Regularly check the use of your business software for the deletion or alteration of sales as this could indicate employee fraud.
  6. Have current reputable virus protection on all your computers.
  7. Have current reputable firewall installed on your network.
  8. Never open a zip file sent by email.
  9. Never open an email from a bank, the ATO or the police.
  10. Be discrete when talking about the business and its performance.
  11. Do not do the banking at the same time every day or every few days. Do not follow the same route. Do not carry the same bag.
  12. Have a camera system installed to get a good shot of the faces of everyone entering and leaving the business.
  13. Consider registering your CCTV with the local police – this is an option in some jurisdictions.
  14. Ensure customers can see they are being filmed.
  15. Train employees to make eye contact with customers.
  16. Train employees on emergency procedures for handling: theft, aggressive people, shoplifters.
  17. Use the full stock control facilities of your software to understand the financial cost of shoplifting.
  18. When doing magazine returns, check discrepancies weekly to understand magazine theft.
  19. Ensure your windows are not cluttered. The police advise cluttered windows are a security risk because of what they can hide.
  20. Ensure there is good lighting outside if the store is locked up when it is dark.
  21. Ensure you have the best possible sight lines of the shop from the counter.
  22. Have a no personal items at the counter policy.
  23. If you catch someone in the act of shoplifting ask them to wait in the store, and call the Police. Also (advice from NSW govt. Crime prevention):
    1. Tell them who you are.
    2. Tell them why they have been asked to stay in the store. o Advise them that Police have been called
    3. Ask the person to surrender any property that doesn’t belong to them. Remember, retailers and other citizens have no legal right to search a person.
    4. Most importantly, do not put yourself at risk.
  24. Have a clear refund processing policy and ensure all employees are trained on this.
  25. Track all sales by employee code.
  26. When hiring: ask if applicants agree to a police check, check their references, do not hire friends of employees, explain your commitment to zero tolerance re employee theft.
  27. Have an employee theft policy in full view.

Some of this may read like common sense. We continue to be surprised when hearing of a business that has experienced a security breach that has not considered most of what is on this list.

Develop your own list. Check it regularly. Follow your own advice.

We are a POS software company, making and supporting POS software for specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

Bankable Advice for Small Business Retailers


Engaged local small business retailers know that everyone’s got an opinion on how to run a shop. But what’s the best advice for small business retailers?

Here’s our top 7 tips, based on our own experience and decades of working with small businesses in providing POS software and even running shops ourselves:

  1. Use your data. Your POS software can tell you a lot about your business, from what products are selling to how often your customers visit. Use this data to make better decisions about your inventory, marketing, and staffing. yes, this sounds boring. But, it’s true. How your business has performed can be the best guide as to how it could perform.
  2. Connect your systems. The more you can automate your processes, the less time you’ll waste on manual tasks and the more accurate your data will be. less keystrokes = less mistakes = time saved = better business decisions.
  3. Look under the hood. Good POS software can give you insights into your business that you might not even know you need. Ask your POS software company what kind of data their software can track and report on.
  4. Set goals and measure performance. What do you want to achieve with your business? Once you know your goals, you can track your progress and make sure you’re on track. Our POS software can measure and report on valuable local retail business goals.
  5. Reorder what sells. Don’t waste time and money on products that don’t move. Keep an eye on your sales data and reorder the products that are selling well.
  6. Place products together. People often buy products that go together, so place them near each other in your store. This will make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for and increase your sales.
  7. Train your staff. Make sure your staff know how to use your POS software and how to provide excellent customer service. This will help you create a positive shopping experience for your customers and keep them coming back.

Following these tips can help you run a more successful and profitable small business. Use your data, connect your systems, and look under the hood!

Now, for some extra advice:

  • Be customer-centric. Put your customers first and everything else will fall into place.
  • Be innovative. Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with different marketing strategies.
  • Be persistent. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Keep working hard and never give up on your dreams.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve 3,000+ local independent small business retailers in a variety of specialty retail channels.

Small business retail advice: How to manage community group donation requests


Requests from schools, charities, and other local community groups can be a challenging, difficult, for small business retailers. If you don’t have a structured approach, you’ll end up giving away a lot for little or no return.

Guilt is a powerful emotion, and some representing charities and community groups know this. Take a beat and think through how you want to handle such requests in advance of them coming your way. If you have a process you can deal with the requests consistently and with less stress.

Here’s our advice for local small business retailers on handling community group donation requests:

  • Manage your philanthropy like any business activity. Decide how much money you’re willing to donate each year, and then stick to that budget.
  • Get on the front foot. Write to community groups at the start of the year and ask them to submit a proposal if they’d like your support. This way, you can choose the groups that are a good fit for your business and your community.
  • Support the groups that support you. Look for groups that have members who are also your customers. This way, you’re helping both the group and your business.
  • Let your shoppers choose. If you offer discount vouchers, you could let customers donate their vouchers to a local group. This is a great way to get your customers involved in your community giving.
  • Reward engagement. You could offer a discount to customers who are members of a local group. This would encourage them to shop at your business, and it would also support the group. This is critical advice. There has to be a commercial benefit for your business if you are to be able to help these community groups into the future.
  • Educate groups about good engagement. Let groups know that you’re looking for ways to work together to benefit the community. You could ask them to do things like promote your business on their social media pages, or write about you in their newsletters.
  • Write about your engagement. Once you’ve chosen the groups you’re going to support, write about it on your website and social media. Don’t be boastful or arrogant, be grateful. This will help to raise awareness of the groups, and it will also show your customers that you’re committed to giving back to the community.

Remember, your giving should serve both your heart and your business. By following these tips, you can make sure that your donations are a valuable investment for both you and your community.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Be clear about your expectations. Let groups know what you’re looking for in a partnership, and what you expect from them in return.
  • Be professional. Even if you’re dealing with a small community group, it’s important to be professional in your dealings with them.
  • Be grateful. When a group partners with you, be sure to thank them for their support.

By following these tips, you can build strong relationships with community groups and make a real difference in your community.

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

Small business retail advice: nurturing happiness in your shop


Let’s talk about happiness in retail, in local small business retail especially.

There’s no doubt that being happy in your work makes a big difference to your overall wellbeing. And in retail, it’s especially important to be happy, because your mood can rub off on your customers and your colleagues.

But happiness isn’t something you can just decide to feel. It takes desire, planning and commitment.

Here are a few tips for finding, nurturing, and managing happiness in your local small business retail shop:

  • Create a happy place. From music to scent to shop layout to lighting to things shoppers can engage with, make decisions that lean into happiness. These are physical things you can control, things that can easily tell everyone in the shop that this is a happy place. In our view, this first tip is by far the most important.
  • Have good data. This might sound boring, but good data is essential for making informed decisions about your business. And when you make good decisions, you’re more likely to be happy with the results.
  • Be in control. Don’t let suppliers or other people push you around. Use your data to make your own decisions, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
  • Price for margin and turn. This means setting prices that will give you a good profit margin, but that will also sell quickly.
  • Lean on others. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Build a team of happy and talented people who can help you run your business.
  • Set your narrative. In your marketing and social media, be positive and optimistic. This will help to create a happy and welcoming atmosphere for your customers.

Of course, there are also some more practical things you can do to create a happy retail environment.

Happiness is good for business, and it’s good for you. So make sure you’re taking steps to find and nurture happiness in your retail shop.

Cheers! 🍻

P.S. Don’t forget to smile! 😃

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

Small business retail advice on how to handle and leverage low margin products


We know that low margin, high volume businesses can be tough. The traffic is good, but the profits are slim. And it can be hard to know how to make the most of those low-margin products and services.

How do we know this you ask? Here at Tower Systems we serve thousands of local small business retailers. This provides us with broad experience. It is surprising the crossover value of knowledge across retail channels. As well as helping retailers leverage our POS software we are grateful to share this business management advice.

No, back to low-margin products and how dealing with them can feel challenging for small business retailers.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of five must-do things to leverage your low value traffic.

  1. Place at least one offer or stand at the door. This is a great way to catch people’s attention as they’re leaving. Make sure the offer is clear and relevant to people walking in or walking by.
  2. Use a portable table for pricing stock. This is a great way to keep your stock looking neat and tidy, and it also gives you a chance to upsell other products to customers as you are pricing items.
  3. Pitch other products to customers who are buying low-margin items. This is a great way to increase your average order value. Like, use the traffic of low-margin product to sell other things.
  4. Have an offer at the counter that’s unrelated to the low margin purchase. This is a great way to tempt customers into impulse buys.
  5. Establish a floor unit to guide counter traffic. This is a great way to showcase your products and services, and it also helps to keep your customers moving through your store.

Oh, here’s a bonus tip. Offer a sample, a taste, or a feel (if appropriate). People engaging with a product are more likely to purchase. We have seen this happen in a. range of different types of retail businesses.

We know that these tips might seem like a lot of work, but they’re worth it. By following these tips, you can increase your profits and make your low margin, high volume business more successful.

If you need any help, we’re here for you. We have awesome tools to help low margin, high volume retailers, and we’d be glad to give you some practical advice.

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

Thanks for reading.

Small business retail advice: how to discover fresh ideas


You know what’s important, especially in local small business retail? Coming up with fresh ideas. Big ideas, small ideas, ideas for new traffic, products, and services.

But it can be tough to come up with new ideas, right? Sometimes you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Sometimes you feel alone. Sometimes you feel like you are growing in … stuff!

Well, we’re here at Tower Systems to help you out. We serve thousands of retailers and have experience in local small business retail ourselves.

Here are some suggestions for ways to clear that blockage, to discover fresh ideas:

  • Try a sensory deprivation tank. It’s weird at first, but it’s a great way to relax and let your mind wander.
  • Cook a complex meal that you’ve never cooked before. Or bake a cake. Or do a jigsaw puzzle. Or build a model. Just do something that you’re not used to doing.
  • Go to a ballet or opera. Or a comedy show. Or a walk in the forest. Or sit in front of the ocean and look out to the horizon.
  • Shut yourself in a dark room and put on your favourite music and sing along. Or try yoga, or meditation, or have a massage.
  • Read a novel from cover to cover without interruption. Or do some gardening or other backyard work, or go for a long drive.
  • Have a romantic dinner with your partner at a place you’ve never been before. Or take an unexpected day off and treat yourself to some guilty pleasures.

The point is to get lost in experiences that are unrelated to your business. By getting lost, getting truly lost, ideas have a better opportunity of surfacing.

So go out there and have some fun! The great ideas will follow.

Why this advice from our POS software company matters.

Every day we connect with small business retailers about their businesses, through our help desk, in sales situations and elsewhere. Owning and running a local small business retail shop is challenging, time-consuming. Coming up with fresh ideas is hard. It’s necessary though. The ideas we share here are things we have tried, and found to work.

We love trying new things as we have found that in those unknown places creativity thrives.

Advice for any local small business retailer who thinks closing their shop may be the only option


As small business retailers, we understand the overwhelming obstacles and uncertainty that can cloud our vision of the future. When faced with the prospect that closing our doors may be the only option, it’s essential to pause, gather data, and separate fact from emotion. In this article, we offer a beacon of hope by exploring the opportunities hidden within the evidence and guide you towards finding a path forward for your business.

Let’s start with pause. While the situation may feel hopeless, go for a walk outside, regardless of the weather. Walk, walk and walk. Look around. Breathe. Sit. Take a moment. Clear your head.

Unveiling the Opportunities Data as a Compass: Amidst the chaos, it’s crucial to gather and analyse data—the backbone of informed decision-making. Dive into your sales records, financial situation, and local economic circumstances. Focus on the facts, not the emotions or hearsay. Within the evidence lies potential opportunities obscured by obstacles and uncertainty.

Breaking free from the “end is near” mindset requires a strategic shift. Instead, concentrate on four key areas that can turn the tide:

  1. Attracting new shoppers
  2. Increasing the purchasing power of existing shoppers
  3. Maximising revenue from your current offerings
  4. Reducing costs without compromising quality

Seizing the Opportunities Attracting New Shoppers: In the realm of local retail, attracting new customers can be challenging. However, introducing a completely new product category can be a game-changer. Choose something captivating and unique that aligns with your interests and appeals to the local community. To succeed, position the new category well in-store and leverage social media to create buzz. Look beyond your existing network for advice and be the local expert in your chosen category.

Encouraging Increased Spending: To encourage existing customers to spend more, implement a smart loyalty program and create a welcoming store environment. By offering incentives and personalised experiences, you can build stronger relationships with your customers, boosting their loyalty and spending. Our discount vouchers are fast and easy to implement. Customers love them.

Optimising Profitability: Increasing your profit margins can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Explore opportunities to charge slightly higher prices or find ways to improve your sourcing and procurement processes. Even small improvements in gross profit percentage can yield substantial benefits.

Navigating the Journey Embracing Proactive Planning: The key to a successful turnaround lies in early action. Instead of waiting for obstacles and uncertainty to block your path, anticipate change and cultivate assets that can be deployed when needed. Look beyond the immediate horizon and be proactive in your planning, ensuring you’re prepared to adapt and thrive.

Cost Reduction as a Piece of the Puzzle: While reducing costs can be a viable strategy, it’s rarely the sole solution. In well-managed businesses, costs are often already optimised. Although cost reduction can play a role in the overall strategy, it’s important to focus on holistic approaches that address revenue growth and customer engagement.

Reaching Out for Support: If the thought of closing your shop becomes overwhelming, remember that you are not alone. Reach out to fellow retailers retailers who are willing to listen and offer advice. Reach out to us. Together, we can navigate these challenging times and discover new avenues for success.

In local small business retail, challenges and uncertainty are inevitable.

By approaching these obstacles with data-driven decision-making, a proactive mindset, and a focus on attracting new shoppers, maximising customer spending, and optimising profitability, a brighter path forward can emerge.

Remember, you have a community of fellow retailers ready to lend a helping hand. Together, let’s build resilient and thriving businesses.

Advice for local indie retailers on how to thrive through the valley of death of retail: June – August every year


June, July and August are tough months in many local shops, independent shops. There is no major season, and, it’s winter. Brrr. Some who have been in retail for ages call these months the months of death.

This year could be tougher because of interest rates and the penchant in newsrooms for stories negative about the economy and the future.

Here are 7 ways you could make these three months work for you.

  1. Be happy. Make the shop bright, happy, smelling good and sounding good. Good lighting. Have a candle burning. Have an awesome playlist. Make your shop a place people enjoy. And, reflect this in your social media posts.
  2. Pitch your offers consistently: discount vouchers, buy x cards and get a card for free. If you have value offers, pitch them in-store as well as on your socials.
  3. Google My Business. Post several times a week. Be found by people nearby searching for what you sell.
  4. Christmas in July. Get out any Christmas related stock you have and sell it off. Heck, host a Christmas party to launch it. Load the sale with other stock you’d like converted to cash. Consider a local charity or community group connection.
  5. Bring in something new, something you’ve never sold before, something you thought you’d never sell. Challenge yourself to reach new shoppers. Launch it with an event. Put on some drinks and nibbles. Give people a reason to come out.
  6. Get a second opinion on your business performance. Gather your data and ask someone to look at what’s working and what’s not. It could be that fresh eyes help clear a better path ahead for you. We gladly help retailers with this.
  7. Pitch occasions like you would seasons. Bring together cards, gift bags and gifts to make it easy for people to celebrate: new home, baby arrival, engagement, wedding, congratulations and, yes, even sympathy. Choose one for a week or two and bring all the options together. Sometimes we have to show people what to do. The best opportunities here are the ones other retailers ignore.

Our point with this list is that this valley, June, July and August, separates retailers. Those who do well tend to be engaged, they tend to embrace opportunities to make their own success.

What’s this got to do with POS software? Plenty. Here at Tower Systems we serve a community of local indie specialty retailers. Our interest in their businesses reaches beyond our software and for they use it. We share ideas and inspirations to support their businesses because we want local indie retail to thrive.

Small business retail advice: if you think the only option left is to close your shop for good


We get it. Sometimes, the road ahead can have so many obstacles and the air is so heavy with fog that a pathway can be hard to find.

In any indie local retail business you can collect a ton of obstacles and feel surrounded by fog if you are drawn to the end is near talk and have your business rooted deep in out of date practices.

If you feel like closing is your only option, we are writing this for you.

Stop. Take a month to first of all breathe. That;’s important, breathe, take in the outdoors. Find a calm. Then, collect data – your sales data, your financial situation information, local economic circumstances. Gather all the facts together, and go over them – not the emotion, the hearsay – stick to the evidence, the facts.

Usually, in the evidence, there is opportunity. The challenge is that often opportunities cannot be seen because of the noise of obstacles and fog. That’s why we say stop, get your evidence and sit with that.

Our hope is that in your evidence there is sufficient opportunity to find a path forward for the business, and for you.

Turning a situation away from closing is my only option can only come about by one or a mix of:

  • attracting new shoppers
  • getting existing shoppers purchasing more
  • making more from some of what you sell
  • reducing costs

It’s pretty simple when you read the list. The hard part is the action, that’s where retailers can get stuck. We mean, attracting new shoppers is difficult, especially in small business where the levers we can pull are limited.

The best way to attract new shoppers in any local retail business is to introduce a completely new product category, to represent it well in-store and to pitch it appropriately on social media.

Your existing suppliers won’t have helpful advice in this area because they are your existing suppliers. You have to look outside your current pool of advice and influencers and look outside what people know your shop for. Choose a category that is fun, appealing and for sure traffic-generating. Ideally, it will be something not easily found locally, something that interests you. That last bit is important because one way to drive traffic for a new category is to be a bit of a local expert.

We get that it may be challenging to find the energy and money to make things work with a new category. If the survival of your business matters you’ll find a way.

The best way to get existing shoppers spending more is through a smart loyalty mechanic and having a shop people enjoy.

The best way to make more from what you sell is by charging more or buying better, or both. Don’t go crazy. A modest increase in GP% could work wonders.

Key to the success of any turnaround is starting on the road early, before fog and debris block the past. It’s important to all of us who own businesses to be looking well ahead, over the horizon, cultivating assets we can deploy when we think change may be needed.

Before we leave the topic we want to touch on cutting costs. That’s a common approach to saving a business. While it could help, rarely in our experiences serving many local indie retailers have we seen cutting costs alone be enough to save a business. Sure, it can be in the mix, but it alone is not enough. And the truth is that a well run business has trimmed costs already.

If you think closing your shop is the only option, reach out. There are plenty of indie retailers who will listen, and offer advice if you’d like it.

You are not alone.

Oh, and this all matters to us because we only serve local indie retailers, and we own and run local indie retail businesses ourselves.

Your local Aussie newsagency is likely not the business you remember


Many Aussies think of the local Aussie newsagency as a papers, magazines lotteries and car shop, around the corner, close, a bit dark, run by someone old, carrying a bit of everything, expensive for some things, probably out of date for today.

That’s the narrative pitched in too many stories. It’s out of date, many years out of date.

The local Aussie newsagency, the one serving where you live, is most likely not like that old narrative. It’s changed.

We made this video Tuesday for one of our own newsagency shops, to promote it on social media as well as YouTube. Below we explain how we made the video and, more important, why we made the video.

We took the photos on my iPhone and used to assemble these, add text and lay music underneath. All up it took less than 10 minutes. I share these details to illustrate how easy it is for anyone to make a video like this.

Now, the why.

This video is important as it is us pitching a narrative for this shop. For decades, the narrative of the local Aussie newsagency has been controlled by others. Today, in 2023, the narrative about our shops is rooted in decades ago. It is out of date. It challenges our relevance. It does not help us.

We wanted to have a crack at recasting the narrative for this one shop in a suburban Westfield centre in the bayside area of Melbourne. While for sure we are biased, we think it’s a good video that does re-cast the narrative for this newsagency, while at the same time making a statement about the channel, calling for others to see us differently and not as others so wrongly and ignorantly pitch us.

We’d love to see more newsagents do this, make videos and other social media content that pitches our businesses with a fresh and relevant to 2023 narrative. Points about lottery jackpots and the major seasons are predictable, expected. The more we play outside of what is expected the better for us, the more we are likely to attract new shoppers to our businesses.

As we noted above, this video took less than 10 minutes all up. There are plenty of platforms you can use to make videos just like this one. While we pay a commercial licence for, there are others out there that are free.

As for the products we chose to highlight, plenty are made in Australia. In fact, half the air time of the video features Australian made, small business sourced, products.

We want to call out the final frame. This features a pair of colourful stud earrings on a card that says you inspire me. That is a very deliberate choice to pitch that message at the close of the video.

Hopefully all this background is helpful enough that other newsagents create content to recast the narrative of not only their newsagency businesses but the channel more broadly.

But back to the video. In 24 hours it passed 20,000 full views thanks to a nudge through the YouTube ad platform. Tonight, Friday night, it’s at 37,000 full views. That’s 37,000 people in the area of Melbourne I targeted who watched the video in maybe the first newsagency pitch they had seen in years.

We appreciate it’s not call to action advertising. It’s not intended to be. As we wrote above, this is about the narrative relating to the Aussie newsagency.

Here’s a footnote about why we’re writing about this here at a blog for our POS software company.

Tower Systems is not your average POS software company. This video speaks in a small way to that, it shows us engaged beyond the software, in service of one of the local small business retail channels in which we serve.

The advice in this post could relate to any of the specialty retail channel s in which we serve.

Advice for local retailers on how to deal with EFTPOS fees


It’s an easy complaint for a retailer to make – my EFTPOS merchant fees are too high, it’s not fair, time for me to consider another supplier or to consider charging customers a surcharge.

Customers hate surcharges, especially if there is another retailer selling what you sell who does not charge a surcharge.

Every method of payment has a cost, including cash. In my experience working with retailers, the cost of cash is higher because of theft. However, it is not easily seen, especially in retail businesses that do not research or teach theft.

Here are some business ideas for addressing the cost of EFTPOS:

  1. Promote cash payment – if you want the costs associated with cash of course.
  2. Be clear as to the cost of using a card. You could apply a surcharge, which I think is a ridiculous idea though.
  3. Price knowing that cards will be used by customers. Build the cost into your pricing model. Keep the bump under 1.5% and it is less likely to be noticed.
  4. Lower a cost elsewhere to cover the cost. Shaving a hour of employee rostered time can save you around $30.00, that’s equal to purchases of $3750.00 on a card – depending on the type of card used.
  5. Increase sales. While you should be focussed on this anyway, increasing sales helps you address the EFTPOS cost and more in the business.

If you are annoyed/upset/angry about EFTPOS fees, I’d like to gently and respectfully suggest you look at parts of your business over which you have control and that offer a better return from your physical and emotional attention. These are things that I regularly see ignored in favour of complaining about someone or something else:

  1. Dead stock. A problem not seen is not a problem to too many. In the average indie retail business, dead stock is equal to at least 3% of turnover.
  2. Stop running out of stock. Manual process for stock reordering, by retailers and suppliers, regularly result in sell-outs, and, therefore, missed sales. Every time that happens it is a cost to the business. In a retail business I looked at recently, the cost of sell-outs was more than $12,000 in a year, or $6,000 in gross profit, all because of poor re-ordering management.
  3. Bloated roster. Some prefer to spend money on people so they have time to themselves for relaxing, golf or to sit in the back office, where no customer purchases from. I often see a bloat cost equal to around 10% of the roster.
  4. Wrong trading hours. Some stay open too long while others are not open long enough. Either way has a cost to the business.
  5. Being blind to theft. Theft in local indie retail costs on average between 3% and 5% of turnover. Not watching for it, tracking it and mitigating against it has a cost to the business.
  6. The wrong product mix. GP% is a key measure of retail business performance. Increasing yours beyond what is traditional for your channel provides you with a buffer. For example, transaction count / sales can decline and you can be okay. Measure GP%. Set a goal. Chase it. The air is cleaner in above average.
  7. Ignorance. No, it’s not bliss. There are insights in your software that can guide better decisions, faster decisions, more financially rewarding decisions. Yet, too many in retail don’t want to know. That failure costs them plenty.

The items on the above list are all on the retailer to address. The benefit is that addressing these results in a stronger, leaner and more valuable retail business.

Adding a surcharge to each EFTPOS transaction is an easy step, but the wrong step in my view as doing that could shield you from more important and valuable business moves you can make.

One of us here at Tower Systems ate at a Melbourne restaurant recently while in the city for the Comedy Festival. The bill was $195.00. They only took payment by card. They presented the EFTPOS terminal. After navigating the tip screen on the EFTPOS terminal a message appeared: If you proceed a surcharge may apply. There was no option but to proceed. The surcharge was $2.14.

What was annoying was that paying by card was the only option and that they control the prices of what they sell.

Maybe we are ignorant about restaurant management but this place could have charged 10% more on each item and not charged a surcharge and customers would be happier than with them now. In fact, customers would probably have been more likely to return than now.

We think EFTPOS fee question is more one about acting on what we can change rather than what we cannot change.

We worry too much about price in local indie retail. A retailers we know selling a range of products widely available increased their price by 10%. Unit sales continued on their upward trajectory. This business now makes more GP from each item sold. The owner does a back of the envelope calculation about the value and tips the additional GP into a bucket, a buffer if you like, for when they see something not going their way.

In the Tower Systems POS software you have facilities for addressing the 7 points listed above. If you’d like help navigating these, please reach out.

We are keen for you to maximise value from your Tower software.

POS software EFTPOS machine options that help small business retailers save money


A modest Aussie gift shop was paying more than $9,000 a year for their POS software from a US company by way of EFTPOS fees. They went with the company because the software was free.

It was only when they needed the software to do something that it did not do that they started looking around.

The owners of this awesome local gift shop were shocked to discover that switching to us cut their POS software and EFTPOS costs in half. It was a bonus that our software had the additional facilities they were seeking.

The cost of ownership of POS software is something retailers need to consider if they are required to use EFTPOS services provided by their tech company.

There may be circumstances where it works well operationally and financially. There will be other circumstances where it does not.

This is why we say to local small business retailers, do your research, be sure you understand the total cost of ownership. What is pitched as FREE is unlikely to be free as every company needs to make money.

EFTPOS machines connected to POS software are a valuable tool. Partnering with a POS software company that connects with multiple EFTPOS machines offers the retailer choice and from choice flows competitive opportunity.

Tower Systems connects with multiple different EFTPOS machines through its POS software. retailers choose what is right for them. The company has offers available, retailers are also welcome to choose their own. The key is to make an informed decision about what is right for the business.

And, thanks to smart POS software EFTPOS machine integrations, charging a surcharge can be done, mistakes are reduced, end of shift reconciliation is easier and handing EFTPOS transaction queries is managed with ease. The EFTPOS machine POS software integrations from Tower Systems serve many different retail channel requirements.

The key, though, is retailer choice.

As our gift shop customer found, the saving could be worth thousands of dollars to the bottom line of the business. “Who’d have thought that something promoted as free cost more than something not wormed as free”, the gift shop owner commented to us after making the shift and experiencing the significantly lower operating cost.

We own and run retail shops ourselves, where we use our own software. We see first hand the value of getting a core cost such as EFTPOS fees right for the business. We know that smart retailers appreciate choice. That’s what we offer a Tower Systems, choice.

Retail business cash flow advice: using POS software to improve your position


Every day in local small business retail it is vital to focus on cash flow, vital to know where you are at, how you are tracking and what you are doing to maximise your position.

Poor cash flow = poor business performance and rocky roads ahead.

Too often, local small business retailers leave tracking business cash flow to accountants and others who may not be in the business on a day to day basis.

Managing cash flow in local small business retail is a day to day task.

Using the smart POS software from Tower Systems you have access to tools and facilities that help you navigate to a better cash flow performance for the retail business. You don’t need to be an accountant or someone with good financial skills. What do you need to be is an engaged retailer.

In our POS software we help you:

  • Make better business decisions. Decisions like inventory purchasing, shop floor placement, trading hours, loyalty rewards and more.
  • Identity poor performing inventory. Knowing what is not working can stop you reporting that mistake.
  • Knowing when you are likely to sell out. Many retail businesses bmiss absolutely for certain revenue by not having in stock inventory when shoppers wish to purchase.
  • Do more business with more valuable suppliers. Tracking suppliers by financial benefit helps you make more money with and from them./
  • Motivate employees. Employees can make better decisions for your business if you empower them with knowledge.
  • Calibrate business settings to benefit cash flow. When you open and close, who you roster, when you discount, when you price inventory at a higher price … these are all decisions that can be informed by data collected and curated by smart POS software.

These are just some of the ways the Tower Systems POS software can help a local small business retailer improve their cash flow position.

The real benefit when it comes to cash flow and our POS software is the business insights and advice we can provide to those interested. We have hands on retail experience and we will gladly engage this with and for any retailer in our community keen to improve their position, including their cash flow position. We will talk with and work with, one-on-one, with any retailer in our community to help them.

We’re a full service POS software company helping thousands of retailers, and we love it, every day!

The POS Software Blog




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