Christmas Eve on the POS software help desk

We have all hands on deck today to help ensure we provide the service our customers need to deal with any Christmas eve challenges. We will close early, as has been tradition here for decades, once all calls are done and the phone has stopped. After this, our after-hours network will be available for urgent calls.

Kris Kringle in the office a heap of fun

We did our Kris Kringle in our head office a couple of days ago with presents under, behind and deep in the tree. We play with a model that allows stealing of other’s gifts, with cash and wine prizes thrown in got bonus fun.

It was another wonderful event this year, celebrating with our work family.

This, plus our party and our Christmas treats in the lunch room and some very special treats on each desk make Christmastime a wonderful time of the year at Tower.

And all through this, we serve our customers, helping them make good use of our POS software through the Christmas season … because that is what we are here for.

POS software for farm supply, rural supply and produce businesses

Tower Systems is grateful to the many farm supply, rural supply and produce businesses that have helped us build beautiful and useful POS software for this unique retail niche.

From the truck to the depot to the counter to out on the floor of the business, our software serves the needs of the business for accurate record keeping and activity tacking, helping the business serve the local rural communities in which they are situated.

Every day, rural supply businesses serve local customers providing personal service based on years of local experience. Specialist rural supplies businesses need specialist software to serve these types of needs.

From managing the sale of bulky goods to respecting risks of hazardous materials to providing meaningful delivery dockets to managing special orders, the rural supplies / produce business software from Tower Systems is tailored to serve.

An asset of your business is that you are a local expert on local crops, common local farm animals and more.You canpromote your expert local knowledge through local notes on receipts.

Automatically, receipts, invoices and delivery dockets can include locally relevant information. This free information pitches your business as different to an online shop or a big business that is less focussed on personal service.

Another way we can help maximise sales is with smart shopper engagement. This is where you easily leverage customer data to reach out with reminders.

Using rules that you control, you can send an email or letter to shoppers based on seasons or other potential relevant local purchase triggers. Experience shows that such contact leads to purchases.

Smart shopper engagementstarts with accurate business data, captured at the point of sale and backed by tech that helps you leverage this.

Our rural supplies / produce software also offers:

  1. Quotation facility where you quote ahead of winning business.
  2. Selling by weight.
  3. Reporting on hazardous goods when these are supplied.
  4. Group discounts, where members of a local group loyal to you save money.
  5. Easy loading of electronic invoices from your suppliers.
  6. Linking to a website for online sales.
  7. Handling special orders, where you order items in for a specific customer.
  8. Linking to Xero to cut bookkeeping and external accounting costs.
  9. Rewarding loyal shoppers with points and / or cash off their next purchase.

See the software live.Contact us for an obligation free demonstration: Email: sales@towersystems.com.au. Call: toll free 1300 662 957. SA / WA / VIC: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917. QLD / NT: Justin Randall.  0434 365 789. NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148. Check us out online: www.towersystems.com.au.

This software is affordable. You can purchase the software outright, lease it or rent it. You can use it in your business loaded on local computers or in the cloud. How you purchase and access the software is 100% up to you.

Supported by humans, in Australia.Our help desk is in Hawthorn, Victoria. Everyone who works on the help desk has experience in retail. To access the help desk you can call, email, post a Facebook message Tweet or text us.

Training is personal.We come to your business and train you in the software. The training is tailored to your specific needs. Like I said, training ispersonal. Long after we install, you have access to one on one training, at no additional cost.

Ten ways the Toy Shop POS software from Tower Systems helps indie toy shops

The Tower Systems Toy Shop POS software has been designed and developed here in Australia for Australian toy shops. It serves local needs, works with local suppliers and is more finely tuned to your business needs.

Tower Systems started in business in 1981. The company serves over 3,000 small business retailers. The software it sells today is not the software from the 1980s. That is long gone. No, the software the company sells today is made for today and tomorrow. It’s based on current level technology with the software being completely re-written several times to leverage new technology.

The Tower Systems Toy Shop software is one of the more recent versions of the software released with the latest major update barely a few months old, released in time for Christmas 2018 trade.

Here are 10 ways this Toy Shop specific software can help your business:

  1. Get customers spending more.Forget the old points approach, our loyalty facilities get customers engaged to spend more and spend it sooner.
  2. Buy better.Buy more of what is selling and less of what is not. We recently we showed one owner $7,500 worth of stock which had not moved in a year.
  3. Easy LayBy.More expensive items can be attainable if you offer a LayBy service. Ours is easy to use and brings structure to offer a consistent service.
  4. Bring customers back. With no extra work, make a pitch customers see when they get home. We can bring as many as 25% of shoppers back in.
  5. Increase your Gross Profit.In our Toy Shop Software we have facilities which help you maximise gross profit. We’d love to show you these.
  6. Cut your bookkeeping and accounting fees.From GST reporting to having an up to date P&L, we can save time and money by linking to software like Xero.
  7. Connect your online with your shop.Our Web Store facility handles this.
  8. Cut theft.We you are not there, our software tracks behaviour. Our free Theft Check service has been successful to catching theft before it is too late.
  9. Managing suppliers for success.Our smart reporting given you better data than your suppliers. This will empower you to get more from them.
  10. The Tower AdvantageTM. Our professional and friendly help from training to support to business advice. We are not your average software company.

Christmas party

We were thrilled to catch up with team members and some partners at our Christmas party on the weekend at The Royston  in Richmond on the weekend.

We booked out the restaurant for an afternoon and enjoyed drinks, lunch and more drinks, before kicking on to other venues.

Our Christmas parties are a cherished tradition.

POS software for teddy bear shops

Tower Systems offers POS software fort specialty retailers, including teddy bear shops, collectible shops and similar businesses that so well serve local and o9nline collectors with beautiful handmade products.

Using our Australian developed and supported retail management POS software, bear shops can easily handle:

  1. Special customer orders such as pre-orders for collectors. This enables you to sell before you have th stock in the business.
  2. LayBys: tracking from the moment of sale through to the last payment. This includes managing the location of the LayBy.
  3. Bear birthdays.
  4. Customer birthdays for tracking and marketing
  5. Customer special occasion tracking and marketing.
  6. Collector special interests for targeted marketing.
  7. Product care information included on receipts, to help you provide a level of service and care beyond usual for retail.
  8. Professional product tags. To respect the nature of the product.
  9. Professional, gorgeous, receipts to your design, which can be changed over time.
  10. Website integration with accurate stock on hand matching your shop. Especially for Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce.
  11. Website development – offering you a professional online presence that is easily found through Google.
  12. Integrated EFTPOS to eliminate the need for an extra phone line.
  13. Marketing based on purchase history.
  14. Care instructions included on receipts.
  15. Easy – buy now pay later payment options.

These are some of the many ways our software can help you serve your customers with consistency and professionalism.

Bear shops can rely on  this specialty software to serve the needs of specialty bear shops where serving the collector is key to the business. ore so than generic POS software, this software from Tower Systems is unique, strong and useful as it helps retailers to separate their businesses from others.

Working with specialty bear retailers, the team at Tower Systems learns as needs evolve and this is reflected in the software itself, evolving over time. This continuous improvement approach results in more useful software that fits the needs of the businesses as they serve in their unique retail niche.

Bear shops need specialty software that serves their needs. This is sits at the heart of what makes them special. And we share as heck need bear shops because of the good they do locally and in the world.

Hug a bear today!

What the Tower Systems POS software offers, what it does

The POS software from Tower Systems is a comprehensive and flexible Point of Sale software package offering facilities in many areas of retail business operation. It has evolved over many years and have been enhanced thanks to generous support and advice from small business retailers.

The software have been re-written from scratch as new technologies have evolved for more efficiently serving the needs of the software and the businesses that use it.

The software offers plenty, including…

  1. POS sale scanning. Scanning product barcodes.
  2. POS sales using user configured touch buttons for fast and easy selling.
  3. Selling by weight.
  4. Selling by measure.
  5. Selling by fractions.
  6. Tracking sales by employee, by time of day, by day of week, by time and date, by supplier. There is plenty of flexibility into slicing and dicing the sales data for views you can love and learn from.
  7. Control over the look and feel of the Point of Sale screen.
  8. Control over the look and feel of receipts. In fact, you have extraordinary control over receipt design – to serve the visual representation of your business that you want.
  9. Smart receipts that add value to the customer experience with local knowledge, care instructions and more.
  10. Customer receipts that contain a $$ discount off the next purchase if loyalty engagement is achieved.
  11. Structured end of shift process to reduce mistakes and more easily track fraud.
  12. Employee theft mitigation controls.
  13. Inventory control.
  14. Multiple price levels for products. You can see by account type, business type – allowing you to be different to different customers.
  15. Multiple customer types.
  16. Customer marketing facilities to enable targeted marketing.
  17. Importing supplier stock files.
  18. Importing supplier invoices.
  19. Exporting orders.
  20. Generating orders based on sales.
  21. Four different and valuable types of loyalty facilities.
  22. Comprehensive business performance reporting.
  23. Customer age controls.
  24. Serial number tracking.
  25. Repairs management.
  26. Product manufacturing management.
  27. Multiple POS terminals in a store.
  28. Multiple stores connected.
  29. More than 100 reports with extraordinary options to facilitate insights into the business performance.
  30. Marketing by purchase history, account type, categories and more.
  31. Business intelligence interface – key business data when and where you want to access.
  32. Linking to Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce.
  33. Linking to Xero, MYOB and more.
  34. Linking to suppliers.
  35. Linking to EFTPOS terminals to cut time, keystrokes and mistakes.
  36. Linking to scales – government authorised.

This list is not complete. To find out more, to find out how it fits with your specific type of business, contact us.

Tower Systems: POS software for independent retail businesses

Our company motto here at Tower Systems is we’re here to help. We take this seriously. Everyday, our motto challenges us to help our POS software customers in ways they do not expect, ways beyond the software itself.

Founded in 1981, Tower Systems has evolved as technology has evolved. The software we sell today is generations away from where we started. We are proud to have served some of our customers for decades.

More than 3,500 specialty small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand use our specialty POS software.

To us, a specialty retailer is one that offers services unique to the channel, services that define the business.  We embed in our software for each retail channel facilities that serve needs unique to that channel. We take pride in doing this and enhancing these channel-specific facilities as the needs evolve.

We appreciate software cannot stand still. Every year we release significant enhancements, serving the needs of our customers.

POS software RETAIL MARKETS

There are versions of the software serving the business specific needs of many specialty requirements including:

  1. Bike shops.
  2. Garden Centres.
  3. Book shops.
  4. Gift Shops.
  5. Homewares Shops.
  6. Farm supply businesses
  7. Produce businesses.
  8. Fishing and Outdoors shops.
  9. Toy Shops.
  10. Confectionery Retail.
  11. Stationery retail.
  12. Pet Shops.
  13. Pet Grooming.
  14. Whole Foods Grocers.
  15. Swimming Pool Supplies.
  16. Firearms Retail.
  17. Adult Shops.

Linking directly to Xero enhances the time-saving gained through the software as well as facilitating the accuracy of data managed by the software. Our Xero link provides for a data feed of sales as well as purchases.

With a CPA working full time in our business we are configured to provide a technical solution that has been overseen by our own Accountant, to ensure it is a viable solution for the small business retailers we serve.

INTEGRATIONS

Our Xero integration is one of many approved integrations provided by the software to serve the needs of retailers. Other integrations include:

  1. Tyro broadband EFTPOS.
  2. Links to all major banks through PC-EFTPOS.
  3. Magento e-commerce. Magento is an excellent platform for website sales for small to medium businesses.
  4. Shopify e-commerce. Shopify is an excellent entry-level solution for small to medium businesses.
  5. FlyBys in New Zealand.
  6. Transactor loyalty in New Zealand.
  7. Scale integration for selling by weight.
  8. Touch networks for vending event tickets, phone recharge, fishing licences and more.

Advice for small business retailers on theft

Most theft from independent retail businesses can be identified and reduced through a consistent application of simple management processes and smart use of specialist retail software. Tower Systems has been helping retailers cut theft for decades through issuing advice, responding to requests and by continuing to provide functions in our retail software that allow business owners to identify and track suspicious behaviour – by shoppers, managers and store employees. Over the years our expertise has been called on by police and prosecutors as well as individual retailers.

Follow this advice on how to use our specialist retail POS software to hamper opportunities for theft and bolster the certainty of detecting it before it’s too late:

  1. Employ stock control for high volume items. Enter new stock as it comes in, scan all sales and only reorder based on what the software says. Perform a stock take regularly each month. High volume item stock discrepancies are an indicator of theft.
  2. Scan everything you sell. Do not use department tracking only – your data needs to be granular to prevent employees taking advantage of loose stock on hand quantities. Not scanning individual stock items is unfortunately an invitation to dishonest employees.
  3. Use the software-based end of shift procedure and have a zero-tolerance policy on cash balance discrepancies. Reconcile banking to your computer software at end of shift. We have seen businesses failing to do this: one was being skimmed regularly of $200 a day.
  4. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One business owner needing to perform banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to the discovery of systematic theft.
  5. Mix up your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One retailer found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  6. Check your audit Log. Look at cancelled sales, deleted sales and items deleted from a sale. Leaving a cash drawer open from the previous sale, scanning items, taking the cash and cancelling the sale is the most common process used by employees to accrue cash they then take from you. Our software tracks cancelled sales and what was in them. This can be matched with video footage.
  7. Check GP by department. If GP is falling outside what you expect, always research further.
  8. Publish a theft policy. Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. At the bottom of this page is a sample theft policy.
  9. Keep the store counter area clean. A better organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft. Reducing nooks and crannies makes detection of any cash hoarding easier.
  10. Have a “no employee bags” at the counter policy. This makes it harder for dishonest employees to hide stolen cash.
  11. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  12. Beware of calculators and mobile phones at the counter. Employees can use these devices to track how much cash could be stolen prior to balancing for the day – cash from sales not processed.
  13. Do not let employees sell to themselves. If an employee wants to purchase something ensure they purchase it from the customer’s side of the counter.
  14. Be professional in your management of the business. The more professional your approach they less likely your employees will steal as they will see the risk of being caught as high. Do not take cash handling lightly; if you respect your business procedures your staff are more likely to too. Never take cash from the till for your own personal use, i.e. to buy lunch.
  15. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.

These steps work. They are based on decades of helping small business retailers to reduce and manage employee theft.

Employee and customer theft costs a typical independent retail business between 3% and 5% of non-agency sales revenue each year. Management attention and smart use of retail software can cut this dramatically. It does not take much time – it is simply about smart procedures and professional processes.

Indie retailers benefit from discount vouchers in Christmas sales boost

In the middle of the craziness of the Christmas retail season we retailers can sometimes lose sight of the year round needs of the business.

In our POS software and retail business management training, we guide retailers on leveraging the Christmas traffic and sales boost for year round gain… without slowing processing Christmas sales.

There are steps you can take through Christmas and other busy seasons to benefit the usually quiet periods of the year.

This is where retail channel specific POS software can make a difference.  We have software designed specifically for: gifts,  jewellers,  bikes,  toys,  fishing/outdoorsgarden centrespet shopsproducefirearmsadult shops and newsagents.

Discount vouchers, smart loyalty, are one tool retailers can use this time of the year to set themselves up for terrific return business in the new year.

Discount Vouchers don’t need a card – they print on sales receipts and offer an amount customers can spend right away. Our experience and the experience of hundreds of our customers is that Discount Vouchers drive faster and deeper engagement with the business – making a shopping visit more valuable right away.

In our own retail experience, which sees us competing against major retailers in a Westfield shopping centre, several shoppers have stated they prefer Discount Vouchers over the rewards programs of our competitors.

We are confident that Tower Systems’ Discount Voucher facilities can help you:

  1. Get customers spending more in a visit.
  2. Bring existing customers back sooner.
  3. Attract new shoppers to your business.
  4. Drive impulse purchases at the sales counter.

We are keen for relationships with small business retailers that go beyond POS software that manages fast and accurate transactions. We want to help our customers do much more, to achieve much more.

One of our retail experts can tell or show you more…

  1. WA / SA/ VIC: Tim Batt. 0401 833 917.
  2. NSW / ACT / TAS: Nathan Morrison. 0417 568 148.
  3. QLD / NT: Justin Randall. 0434 365 789.

Small business retailers benefit from Tyro fast and secure EFTPOS

Tower Systems has partnered with Tyro broadband EFTPOS for many years as a preferred partner in handling over the counter payment by credit and debit cards.

We like Tyro. Their service is excellent, fast, secure and ideal for indie retailers, like our POS software customers.

We like the Tyro approach to business, like letting customers choose their settlement time. This and other features demonstrate a commitment to small business needs.

We also like the business banking services they offer our customers…

The Tyro Bank Account pays a base interest rate3 of 1.00% p.a. and for funds left for more than 90 days, you can earn up to 1.75% p.a. interest. Maintaining a balance of at least $10,000 throughout the year can give you an extra $166 in interest back in your pocket3.

To make the most of your money, have your daily settlement deposited directly into your Tyro Bank Account to begin earning interest right away, plus you can utilise the convenience of recurring payments, so you can help automate the running of your business.

From within our POS software, retailers can transact with Tyro with certainty and security, knowing that they are offering a best-practice credit and credit card solution to their customers.

We use Tyro ourselves in the retail businesses we own and operate. This gives us hands on experience that we leverage in servicing our customers.

Software for jewellers, from POS software co. Tower Systems

Let’s start with a story…

Frank got to the shop just before closing, in time to purchase a beautiful necklace as a gift for his wife for their seventh wedding anniversary. Talking about this at the counter, we explained how we could remind him next year so there was no last-minute rush.  Frank was thrilled.

Fast forward eleven months and Frank was in with two weeks to spare. He brought with him the voucher we sent as an early bird purchase encouragement. He spent $350.00 with us on another anniversary gift, bagging a $25.00 discount. Frank also told us about his daughter who had been born two months earlier. We asked for her birthday so we could remind him about that. “As long as you send me another voucher”, he joked. We will.

You can do this. It is easy. It takes a few seconds at the counter. Each time you add information about a customer you could be setting up future sales.

We can help you, through our jeweller software.

Embedded in our jeweller specific software are facilities like these and more on which you can rely to sell more to shoppers in a visit and to bring them back more often.

We believe in small business and everyday appreciate the value of locally owned businesses, like those we serve. We face big competitors too and do this head on, by following the advice we provide to you.

Software from Tower Systems has facilities designed specifically for jewellers, to enable you to do this, to leverage your point of difference at each touchpoint.

We believe that the more you leverage the specialisation in your business the more you differentiate your business from big business competitors.

  1. Club / community group deals / pricing.A great way to win new shoppers is through a community group. You can publish a card or voucher enabling members of a group to present this for a discount on each purchase. The software can track the purchases and at a designated time you can give the group a rebate in return for their member loyalty. Clubs are valuable places, they support businesses that support them. If they can encourage members to shop with you as a fundraiser you could attract plenty of new customers. The more groups and people you have talking about your business the better.
  2. Catalogues. Your marketing group or product suppliers can provide data files for any catalogues in which you participate. You can load these into the software making it easy to offer catalogue prices through the term of the catalogue offer. Never ever sell a catalogue line outside of the catalogue facility we have as this gives you the best level of control for your business.
  3. Events. Using this new facility, added Q1 2018, you can market to shoppers based on interests, past purchases, birthdays and other date related events in and around their lives. For example, you could run an email campaign for all who purchased a brand of jewellery or a type of jewellery item, pitching an add-on purchase. Here is another example: you could email everyone with an anniversary in the coming month, with an offer to encourage them in. Here is another example: send an offer of a free clean to everyone who purchased a ring a year ago.
  4. Special customer orders.  This is the ability to order stock from a supplier for a specific customer. On arrival of the stock item, a barcode is printed with the customer name, for placement on to the product. The software can be set to send an alert to the customer by text or email, advising the arrival of the goods into the store. Customers love this personalisation. Better still, pitch an offer to customers prior to ordering from suppliers. Pre-sell. Get a non-refundable deposit. Then place your order.
  5. Share knowledge. On receipts and other touchpoint documents, include product care knowledge that sets your business apart from others people can shop with.
  6. Multibuy. Reward your regular shoppers with a coffee card type offer. For example, buy five items, anything, over, say, six months and get 25% off your next item. We appreciate that some jewellers will consider this approach to marketing to be crass, beneath them. The reality is plenty of shoppers love deals. They show
  7. Instant loyalty rewards. Another way we can help maximise sales is with an instant loyalty reward. This is particularly useful where you see shoppers once a year or quite infrequently as is often the case in locally owned businesses. Using rules that you control, a receipt can include a voucher offering a specific amount off the next purchase if that purchase is made in a timeframe you set. An average 19% redemption rate for the vouchers with a third redeemed the day of purchase. Male shoppers are far more likely to redeem the day of purchase. This instant loyalty rewardfacility is another way we serve your type of business. In the software, we call it discount vouchers. We have one customer, a high-end jeweller, who sold a $20,000 piece for which the shopper received a $1,000 voucher. They immediately, in that visit, spent another $5,000, because of the $1,000 voucher. So, overall, they achieved $25,000 in sales with $1,000 off. The business prices on the basis of a percentage of every item being available for discount.
  8. Make what you sell. Using the manufactured goods facilities in the software it is easy to make goods. For example, you might put together a necklace and a bracelet in a single purchased pack. This is your pack, only available from you. It is easy to setup, sell and manage. This is a valuable point of difference.
  9. Gift vouchers. Sell customers who can’t decide what gift to purchase a gift voucher. Load on to this voucher any amount the customer wants. You set the rules on expiry and other voucher handling.
  10. Supplier comparison. Since you can purchase some items from multiple suppliers, use smart reports in the software to compare the performance of your various suppliers.
  11. Oxipay. Integrated in retailer is this buy now pay later finance option. You are settled quickly by the funder and the costs are like credit card costs. This can work better than LayBy in that you do not need to manage the goods in-store.
  12. LayBy.You have complete control over how this is setup including the terms, rules and more.
  13. Manage remotely. Plenty of our business owners are not in their businesses regularly. Our software has facilities that enable easy remote tracking and management. Some are obvious while others are hidden and secure, giving you peace of mind that you can leave your business.

Help for small business retailers to compete with big business

Tower Systems is not your average POS software company. Our help for small business, local business, independent business retailers goes beyond what is traditional for a POS software company.

We help small business retailers compete with big business. We do this through advice, help and support. We do it every day, with many different types of retail businesses.

Our help can be POS software related as much as it can be business management related.

We are here to help out thousands of independently owned small business retailers in any way we can, every time they ask. We are here for them, as a backstop, as a support, as a listening ear.

This support and assistance is often personal too, engaging in discussions about business performance and the intersection with family life. We draw on considerable experience to be able to do this, to help our customers confront and resolve the challenges they face.

Our help for small business retailers in confronting bug business competition is engaging and supportive. We do this because we believe in small business and the role this sector plays in any economy. While we in small business can’t beat big business in terms of buying power and might, we can beat then on the ground, in terms of local engagement and through clever flexible offers pitched through our software.

Our POS software has built into it tools that help it compete and engage at the local street level that benefits small businesses, which gives them mechanisms through which they can be competitive.

On price, service, knowledge and more our POS software helps small business retailers swim in a different ocean to big business, we help our customers to significantly differentiate their businesses to big business competitors. This differentiation can make a significant difference. It can be what is needed to calm a small business and to give them the competitive advantage they are seeking to make a strand against a big business competitor.

Using smart POS software backed by genuinely engaged and helpful POS software support you can compete with a big business competitor, you can attract new shoppers and run your business at an efficiency level that is personally and financially rewarding.

This is a Tower Systems advantage.

Advice for small business retailers doing it tough

We are often asked for help when it is too late. In this article, we outline steps any retailer can contemplate from them moment they realise their business is in trouble, from the first thought that closing may be the only option.

Tower Systems is more than a POS software company. We are retailers too. We cherish the relationships with our retail business customers. We will help whenever and wherever we can to help small and independent retail businesses survive challenges and grow. 

If your retail business is in tough times and facing imminent closure, you may be able to save it if you act quickly and ruthlessly. Based on years of working with many different retailers, I have found that some basic steps can successfully turnaround a business in trouble. But you need to be ruthless.

The following tips are designed for businesses with a little (but not too much) time available to fix things. While they are not appropriate to every business, the ideas can lead to others that may be appropriate.

This advice is also appropriate or businesses not facing imminent closure but certainly facing tough times.

Crucial to saving a business from closure is to understand why it is in this situation. You have to be honest with yourself about this. How did it get to this?

  1. Did you not make changes to your business when you should have?
  2. Has something local and unexpected impacted your business?
  3. Have you been a bad retailer, allowing the business to fade away?

Do not be afraid or ignorant in confronting these questions.

Make an honest appraisal of the state of the business as the truth can inform what you do next.

You have to own your situation. This means being realistic about what you face and what got you there. This is important as it opens you to what you need to do to resolve the situation, to rehabilitate your business.

Now, to the urgent steps you could take to avoid the closure of your retail business:

    1. Know your truth. If you run a computer system, analyse the data it collects. If you don’t know how to do this, find out. Look for surprise information in your data, things you did not know about your business. For example, look at the top selling items. If there are surprises there they could inform other decisions you make to urgently address your situation. Talk to your computer software company, ask for their assessment. Knowing your truth is key to owning your situation.
    2. Quit dead stock. If you have stock on the shop floor which is old – ‘old’ can vary between product categories – and for which you have already paid, quit it. However, stock that is greater than six months old is a reasonable guide – then take action to sell this at a substantial discount. Move the stock off display units. Line it up to look like clearance stock – stacked up on tables. Setup plain and simple signs indicating the discount prices. Create signage to show it as clearance stock. If you have enough clearance stock in your business, consider signs across your front windows. Give your sale a name that is unrelated to your situation. Here are some suggestions: MEGA SALE, FIRST EVER MARCH SALE, AUTUMN SALE, SMALL BUSINESS MIGHTY BIG SALE. Give it a name you can theme around.
    3. Run a loyalty offer. Immediately setup and run a loyalty program rewarding shoppers with dollars off their next purchase. The most successful loyalty offer in recent times is discount vouchers whereby vouchers are included on receipts offering an amount which is cleverly calculated by your software based on the items in the purchase. The goal has to be encouraging shoppers to purchase again soon based on the offer on the receipt for items they just purchased.
    4. Move things around. If your business is in trouble it is likely that it has not changed much in recent years. Change it. Move departments around, shake things up so your customers trip over things they did not think you sold.
    5. Review prices. Look at the common items you sell, consider a small increase in your prices. It could be a small increase will not hurt sales volume yet will add profit to your bottom line.
    6. Upsell well. At the counter, work to extend the basket for every sale possible. Do this with clever counter product placement and witty and engaging banter with customers offering upsell products. You goal has to be to make more from each customer.
    7. Stand for something. What is different about your business? What is special about it? What makes people want to come back? If you don’t know the answer to these questions you’re in trouble. If your answer is we’re the only shop of your type nearby you’re in trouble. If the answer is people have always shopped here you’re in trouble. You need to have a difference that people want and will talk about to others. It could be a product or a service. However, it cannot be a product line that is traditional to your type of business as that will not add value to your shingle in the way you want or need. What do you stand for?

This is a tiny snippet of advice we provide in this area, advice we share with our customers as a service beyond the POS software itself. Our advice has been developed over years of serving many different types of retail businesses. It is advice we have seen appreciated by many types of shops.

Never give up. Fight hard and fight smart to turn your business around.

Facing tough circumstances in retail can be like the deer in the middle of the road at night facing the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. Don’t freeze. Take action to mitigate your situation. A series of small steps could be the difference between closure and trading out of the problem.

I have prepared this in response to a comment from a retail colleague who asked for advice on how to deal with a business facing closure.

If your business data there are bound to be opportunities and insights around which growth can be achieved. If you are not sure where to look or what they could mean, ask us. We will help.

Serving Christian bookshops and church stores with POS software

Church stores and Christian bookshops have unique needs when it comes to POS software and webstore connected POS software.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve a variety of Church owned shops across Australia and across faiths with our POS software.

We have served the Christian bookshop / church store marketplace for several years, offering POS software, inventory management, webstore connection, subscription management and other solutions for these church community businesses.

Our handling of the GST and other factors have helped us deliver a solution of value and appreciation to the committees that run these businesses.

The needs of church owned businesses are unique and require thoughtful attention. This goes beyond the software itself and into the implementation in the businesses. We have a gentle and inclusive approach that ensures that all stakeholders within the church organisation are served.

Our accounting software integration, especially to Xero, makes our POS software solution for church stores appealing as it reduces the bookkeeping overhead and serves into the need for transparency when it comes to church funds. These are important factors.

Within our business we have team members with wonderful expertise in serving the needs of church owned businesses. This expertise is leveraged to offer our church business customers complete insights into business operation options using our software.

We have been grateful for opportunities to speak at church business conferences and other events, to outline what our software does and to share how the software can be used to further the mission of church owned businesses.

Church and christian bookshops and related businesses are another niche served by Tower Systems. This is what we do, we tailor our POS software to serve the unique needs of specialist retailers so that they, in turn, can serve their specialist mission.

In terms of acquisition, we are used to presenting to committees and being patent while volunteers go through a selection process. Our sales team members answer all questions and demonstrate the software as often as needed so that everyone responsible is comfortable they have the information necessary to make the right decision.

When it comes to church owned shop software, Tower Systems is ready to serve.

Why our POS software company only sells to small business retailers

Here at Tower Systems, we only sell to and support small business retailers with our POS software. There is a good reason for this.

Small business retail is different to big business retail.

A company with one big business customer and many small business customers will always put the big  business first.

By serving only small business retailers with our POS software we get to treat everyone the same. We respect everyone on the same level.

This is fair. This is just. This is how we want to run out software business.

All customers are equal. In a software company with big business customers and small business customers this is not the case. Indeed, in that type of company, small business customers can be lost and not heard.

Here at Tower Systems every customer matters, every customer has direct contact details for real people in our company, decision makers. There is no hurdle, no secret door, no access based on your size because, here, size does not matter.

We hear from politicians all the time about the importance of small business. Often, their words, from either side of politics, do not go beyond the words. We are different. We live, breathe and act small business every day. It has been in our DNA since we began.

Yes, we have said no to big business customers.

Yes, we have turned down opportunities to sell to a 50+ store network. That is not us.

We are comfortable serving independently owned small business retailers. We do it well and we know our customers appreciate it.

We say this today as there are POS software companies out there who take on all customers, big and small. If you are a small business owner and want your voice heard, consider this, consider how you might be heard as our customer versus as a customer in a business where you are mixing it with much bigger customers.

Size does matter. Being part of a community of like sized and like minded retailers is good for you and it is good for us as the goals of service will be more closely aligned.