The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

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

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AI generated content can show why a business is not worth doing business with

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Plenty of AI generated content online is junk put there to try and drive the position of a website. Often, it offers little genuine value. It’s text written for the tech bots, and not for humans.

You can see it on plenty of company blogs: boring content with the same bubbly emotions, similar lists and the ever present use of bold text.

There is a sameness to AI generated content that shows it for what it is – filler put there as a marketing exercise.

Here at Tower Systems we serve local small business retailers, independent retailers. Their point of difference is their product knowledge, their local knowledge and their ability to share this. An AI engine is unlikely to capture the knowledge of those in the business and share it in a meaningful way.

Our advice to our customers is: the more you share your knowledge in ways that are genuinely useful to your customers the more they will trust you, the more your business will grow. Retail is human at its core. AI content is unlikely to add value to the human contact. While it will save time, it is unlikely to add appreciated value.

We get that local small business retailers are time-poor and looking for ways to do more in less time, using AI to generate content about your business and what you do is not the saving you think it might be for your AI generated content joins data centres full of AI generated content. It’s value is limited.

We think a local small business could get more value from one authentic and genuinely useful blog post than ten AI generated blog posts on the same topic for in that one human-generated blog post you can share genuinely new information or insights that add real value to what is know about the product or service of which you write.

AI cannot replace you, it cannot replace your innovation. This is your point of difference, it is what you need to share so people see the value of you and your business. It’s what helps you stand out.

With the advent of more tools available for identifying AI generated text and image content, it is easier to rank content, to determine the authority of it. AI generated fodder will be seen for what it is, and we think this is a good thing. By all means use AI tools as a springboard or to treat a thought drought. For the content you publish in your name or the name of your business, give of yourself for that is what matters the most.

We sometimes play a game here at Tower Systems: spot the AI junk. It’s fun for a while and then it makes us sad that businesses feel it’s okay to publish what they publish, thinking that something is better than nothing, except that it’s not.

Our difference is us, each of us here in this business. We interact with our customers authentically, one-on-one. What we publish here reflects that. Retail is human after all.

Hey news outlets and reporters, not all businesses and CEOs want employees to return to the office

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It is tiresome reading news reports claiming that businesses and business CEOs want employees to return to the office – often backed by a survey of CEOs.

Sure, some do. But, plenty don’t.

These stories about returning to the office are often vested interest based: landlords wanting their commercial space to be filled, companies wanting the space they have leased to be filled, businesses needing office-based trade to thrive and consultants serving businesses in these situations.

Think about local retailers benefiting from people working from home, regional retailers too. Force people back to the office and they lose the business they have won.

Landlords, property developers and others wanting people to return to the office for selfish reasons need to stop being selfish.

Smart employees of workers who want work from anywhere want their people to work where they are happiest. If that’s home, let them work from home.

Happy employees are valuable to any business.

Journalists and news outlets need to stop being boosters for the selfish demanding people work at the office and not from home.

Families benefit from more time with people able to work from home rather than losing family time to a commute.

Local communities benefit from people working from home shopping more locally and having mor time for local engagement.

Those calling for people to return to the office think their needs are more important than family time or local community time. They are wrong.

At our POS software company, Tower Systems, where people work is up to them. We actually started on this model in 2019, ahead of the pandemic, and then we escalated it to be companywide. We are lucky to be in a business where work location is not an issue.

We hire people we trust, provide them with resources they need and offer as much flexibility as we can in terms of their work situation. We have some team members saving close to twenty hours a week – that’s money in the bank for them.

Sure, we have a small crew in the office, where the job requires it. We support them. We are also grateful that each member of this crew actually prefers to be there, in the office.

Now, we do have a vested interest in all this. We make software for local small business retailers. They benefit from more people who work from home. So, of course we will support work from home from a commercial perspective. But our pitch makes sense right – happy people = productive people = people less likely to look elsewhere = a more successful business.

We think it all comes down to how you view people working in your business. If you see them as a line item on your P&L, a cog in a big machine that serves a P&L result only, you miss the opportunity to see people working in your business as people, families, members of local communities.

We don’t support the calls for people to return to the office and we wish news outlets would stop being used as mouthpieces for the vested interests making these selfish pitches.

We think the payments pitch by Lightspeed is wrong, inaccurate, and here’s why

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A massive competitor of ours, Lightspeed, the HUGE Canadian POS software company, is promoting Lightspeed Payments as being revolutionary, delivering to retailers new benefits. Check out this pitch, which they published recently via Inside Retail.

At the forefront of this transformation, new payment systems are now advancing the way retailers handle transactions and manage their businesses. Instead of manually inputting sales into separate payment terminals after processing them on their point-of-sale (POS), retailers are now increasingly turning to systems that sync their POS with their payment processors, allowing transactions to seamlessly flow between the two platforms. These setups are commonly referred to as integrated payment systems.

There is no advance, no new technology.

Tower Systems has offered integrated payments for more than 15 years.

Lightspeed Payments is new to Lightspeed and so it makes sense that they pitch it a an advance. For them maybe it is an advance, bot not for Tower Systems and plenty of other software companies that have delivered this for may years.

The big Lightspeed Payments advance is that they integrate with their own payments platform, a payments platform off of which Lightspeed makes money from every payments transaction in a retail business using their software.

This is the advance – that Lightspeed makes more money from its customers.

It is disappointing seeing news outlets publish news of an advance that is really a tool or tax of retail transactions conducted through specific software.

Is this fair for retailers?

If you are Lightspeed customer and you choose to not use their payments platform Lightspeed has started charging customers a fee to compensate for them not making payments revenue from you.

In our opinion, what Lightspeed claims is an advance in its technology solution for retailers via Lightspeed Payments is, in fact, a price increase in the use of its software, something imposed on retailers but dressed as some great advancement.

Here at Tower Systems we believe that retailers should get to choose the payments platform that is right for their business. This choice can lead to significant savings in the cost of payments. We know of retailers paying way less than if they were using Lightspeed and were locked into the Lightspeed Payments platform.

But let’s go back to the article at Inside Retail by Lightspeed and check in on another claim.

Where Lightspeed takes things a step further is in conjoining these linked systems into a single, comprehensive platform that combines POS and payments, allowing every aspect of the transaction process to be seamlessly synchronised.

In 0ur opinion, this is a misrepresentation of the facts.

Okay, Lightspeed Payments may take things a step further compared to what Lightspeed did in the past. But for many POS software companies, for manny years we have provided a single, comprehensive platform that combines POS and payments. And, we have done that for a lower cost and with more control offered each retailer.

Lightspeed is a mighty and successful company for sure. We are not even the size of an ant in comparison. The size difference does not mean they should get a free kick in terms of marketing spin. In our opinion, the claims being made in relation to Lightspeed Payments are inaccurate and shallow.

Our advice to retailers is to do your homework, look at the total cost of ownership, and, choose the software that serves your needs best as functionality and customer service are the two most critical factors. All good POS software puffers integrated payments, what Lightspeed claims as an advance is not – they are late that party.

Aussie news outlets publish nonsense about work from home

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There is so much nonsense in the media at the moment about work from home and the push to get back to the office 5 days a week. Just today there was a story reporting that CEOs claim work from home will be history in 2 years. We think (hope) they are wrong.

Here at Tower Systems, we are grateful for a terrific team creating and supporting our software for local retailers. They are welcome to work where it suits them. We trust them. Always have. More than two thirds of our team have worked from home since March 2020 and there is no pressure on them to return to the office.

We think the media stories about people getting back to the office are likely from landlords who want to fill offices and businesses that rely on office workers for food, clothing and other sales. These sales are still occurring, but closer to home, for which local retailers are grateful.

We have work colleagues who have 15+ hours a week for personal and family time that they did not have prior to opening up to working from home. That’s 720 bonus family time hours in a working year. The value of that for individuals and families is extraordinary.

The whole community benefits from this. This is even more true in regional communities.

Is Arielle Executive right when it promotes 7 Best POS Systems In Australia For 2023?

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Arielle Executive claims to list 7 Best POS Systems In Australia For 2023.

We think what they actually promote is software companies that pay them to be on the list. We think theirs is an ad platform.

Why do we say this? Because they’ve not assessed our software. Okay, we’re a small company. But we do have 3,500+ local Aussie business customers.

We think that if you are going to pay Google to rank well for listing the best POS systems in Australia you should have at the very lease actually looked at POS systems made for retailers in Australia. Like, you should have done the work to enable you to make the claim.

Oh, and by looking at POS systems we mean looking at the actual software, comparing functions, getting into the total cost of ownership and understanding each product before making an assessment leading to the claim you promote.

We are suspicious about comparison websites like that offered by Arielle Executive because in our experience they are ad platforms you pay to list your product to be considered ‘best’, when really the ranking comes down to an amount of money you spend.

Arielle Executive is a commercial business that offers a range of services. None of the services listed at the Arielle Executive claim expertise in assessing the best software of any kind.

We get that Arielle Executive is running a business and has to make money. We wish they were clearer about what they were doing with the ads they are running on Google claiming to list the 7 Best POS Systems In Australia For 2023. And while they products they list are well known and loved by many, whether they are the best comes down to much more than whether they have paid money to be on the marketing list promoted by by Arielle Executive.

Here at Tower Systems we are a transparent company, clear in what we offer. People considering us can see demonstrations of our software on our website and on our Google channel. We’re not pushy either. Folks who enquire about our software are respected. We are keen to understand their needs. If we think we are good fit we will say so, and show how.

If you are considering POS software for your business, take your time, do your homework, trust what you discover and not a marketing lost others have paid to be on.

Advice for small business retailers on dealing with increasing retail theft

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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.

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

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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.

It’s easy to spot AI bland in marketing and blog posts from companies

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Have you read a blog post or article from a company recently and thought about how generic and bland it was. It’s happening more thanks too AI. AI bland we call it.

AI tech is grinding out content fast and doing do by regurgitating what others have written and trying to make it sound new and from the voice of the person giving the AI machine the prompts. The blandness is one of several AI tells. You can see it in the words, the formatting and more. Ho-hum.

It’s okay, businesses can use AI for their posts if they want. But, here at Tower Systems, we prefer the real, the human, the emotional, the reality with feelings, because, after all, local indie retail is all about feelings. You know what we mean 0- you walk into a local shop and there’s a warm smile from a local, locally relevant conversation, useful local knowledge and engagement with the local community that locals understand.

AI doesn’t get any of this, because it has no feelings, no local roots. It can only fake it so far.

In our POS software we reflect the humanity of what we do by bringing to life enhancements our customers ask us for. Every enhancement we deliver in response to a customer requests, and votes from their colleagues, enhances the humanity of our software, the connection our software delivers to our customers, to0 its users.

Here at Tower Systems, our knowledge base articles are written by humans, our videos are made by humans, our software is written by humans. We do all this in service of local indie specialty retail – a very human local retail endeavour. Locals feel the heartbeat and that’s something that AI cannot give you.

So, next time you read something from a company and it feels bland or middle of the road, wonder to yourself if it is AI bland, wonder if the company cared about the reader in a way that they used an AI bot to write for you rather than having a human from their team write it.

What are we in small business if we are not ourselves, real, human, authentic, and in the moment? Sure, AI can provide useful tools, but when it comes to communication abut who we are, what we do and why it matters to customers and prospective customers, being human is our difference.

Happy Easter

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We’re on Easter break, returning April 11. Our after hours numbers are available for urgent queries. Our self-serve online resources, including videos, advice sheets and our awesome knowledge base are available all through.

If you’re on a break too, have an awesome time. If you’re working, we’ll be available for urgent matters.

Happy Easter!

Here’s an easy local small business retailers can better connect with their community

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Community connection is vital in local small business retail, authentic community connection at a level that is loved by folks in the community.

Back in the day, sponsoring a local sports club, donating prizes for a raffle or helping the local Rotary or Lions were the go to ideas for retailers. And while those ideas continue today, there are another local small business retailers can engage in providing community support that is funded buy the community itself.

Through our loyalty tools and, in particular the discount voucher tech we offer, local small business retailers can reward shoppers and they can offer in store a way for these shoppers to pay it forward, to support a local charity or community group organisation.

The Grill’d burger chain was an early adopter of something similar with their bottle caps and giving customers the caps to vote for one of three local charities the store would donate cash to.

Our suggestion is to invite shoppers to donate their discount voucher to one of several local charities in your business, which you could have every month or so, accruing the value of the vouchers for a gift card donation to the charity, or you making a cash donation of a portion of the voucher value to the charity.

It pitched well this could see people who support the local charity shopping with you so that funds are raised for the charity.

We know form years of data that around 20% of all vouchers handed out to shoppers are used by those shoppers within 28 days. This means there are other vouchers that expire unused. A nuanced campaign in-store connected with loved local charities and community groups could drive engagement, do good in the community and show the business as community connected in a fresh and loved way. That is the goal here.

Of course, the execution will be different in each location. Our job as a tech company is to provide opportunity. Our job as retailers ourselves is to share what we have seen work well, and what we have learned.

Your job as a local small business retailer is to make decisions that are right for you and your situation.

Using the discount vouchers generated by the software in this way, to support loved local community groups and charities, could be the reset you want, the engagement driver the business needs. The beauty of it is that it is low cost, self funding and truly community focussed.

We are grateful to the feedback from our customers and this has guided our own activity in this space of local community group connection.

AI can’t compete with what sets small businesses and local retail apart – being personal

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ChatGPT is being talked-up everywhere, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and more. It and AI more broadly are being pitched as time-savers, new tools for business owners and leaders.

While, for sure, ChatGPT and other AI offer tools of interest, they cannot compete with what matters most in small businesses and local retail keen to differentiate.

People are what matter most. People are our difference. The in the moment experience based on human to human connection are what can make a business shine.

Big businesses see people as a cost, a burden. This is why they obsess more about AI. Profits matter more than people and if they can cut costs it’s the win.

So, yeah, I have played with ChatGPT since late 2022, and will continue to play, but the most important investment I make in my tech company and in my retail shops is in people. People are our difference.

Beware comparison website www.compareposquotes.com.au since they have not compared anything

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The folks are at it again today, if you do a Google search for Tower Systems, an ad comes up for www.compareposquotes.com.au.

They are encouraging those searching for Tower Systems by name to look at comparisons. But, the www.compareposquotes.com.au business does no such comparison. You have to do that work.

Theirs is an ad platform that other businesses pay to be part of to be found when people are looking for a business, like Tower Systems.

We think it is lazy advertising to directly target us and to use our name or part of our name in their advertising.

The best way to research POS software is to do your own research, and not use a faux comparison website, like www.compareposquotes.com.au. Since it costs money to list with them, the businesses that do list with them have an advertising cost that they would surely want to recoup somehow. Businesses that do not pay to list with a comparison website may not have these costs.

One of the main drawbacks of using comparison websites like www.compareposquotes.com.au from Comparison Advantage is that they often only display a limited number of options. This means that shoppers may not be aware of all the options available to them, and they may not be able to find the best deal for their needs. Additionally, some comparison websites may only display options from certain companies or providers, which can bias the results in favor of those companies.

Another issue with comparison websites is that the information they provide may not always be up-to-date or accurate. Since the websites rely on the companies themselves to provide information about their products and services, there is a potential for bias or even misinformation. Additionally, prices and other details can change rapidly, so the information on a comparison website may not always reflect the most current situation.

Furthermore, using comparison websites can also be time-consuming and confusing. Consumers may have to sift through a lot of information and compare different features and prices in order to make a decision. This can be overwhelming, especially for people who are not familiar with the products or services being compared.

If you click on their ad it costs them money, which is something we suppose.

If you are looking for POS software for your retail business, take your time, figure out exactly what you want, search for yourselves for the software that serves your needs.

The POS Software Blog

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