Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

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Thank you for shopping local


Ideal bike shop POS software for Trek and other bike retailers

We were recently asked for information about our bike shop POS software and its suitability for Trek bike retailers. Here is our response:

Tower Systems serves in excess of 3,500 small business retailers across 9 specialty retail channels. We serve 300+ bike shops with software made for them. Our most recent bike shop software update was two months ago.

We are an Australian company providing Australian developed POS software, which is backed up with Australian based support.

Below, we answer your specific questions.

  • Pricing. Our software is available for rental. It’s $185.00 a month, as noted on our website. There is no locked-in contract.
  • Additional computers. The one $185.00 per month rental cost provides access from as many terminals as a business has in a location.
  • Setup and training. We charge $2,750.00 (inc. GST) for installation, training, setup and data conversion. This includes an allocation of 2 days dedicated to the site.
  • Lead time. This varies through the year. We are able to help with urgent installations. Usually, we are booking 3 to 4 weeks out.
  • Integrations. We have done more than 100 integrations across multiple specialty retail channels. The scope of integrations depend on the tech available at the supplier end. For bikes, we have the fully functional Specialized integration as one example and years of work with Sheppard Industries in NZ prior to that.
  • Payment processing. Yes, we directly integrate with Tyro and have 1,000 of our customers using this. We were the first Aussie POS software company to integrate with PayPal. We also integrate with Humm and Zip Pay. Plus, we integrate with PC Eftpos (linkly) among others.
  • Customer orders. We offer comprehensive tracking. To fully understand what we do, though, it is best to demonstrate this.
  • Text / email to customers. We offer this at various touchpoint in our software including for special orders as well as repairs and workshop jobs.
  • Foot traffic. We did work in the foot traffic space but have found retailers disinterest in this as other more important metrics are relevant today.

Our bike shop POS software is accessible on the road, through our Retailer RoamTM App. We also offer business performance insights through a cloud based data representation app.

We are grateful to bike retailers for their support of our bike shop software. This is an important and appreciated marketplace for us.


Aussie made Gift shop software


Tower Systems helps small business retailers who are working from home

We are grateful to be able to continue to help small business retailers who are working from home or who have some of their team working from home.

Due to compromised health situations, local movement restrictions and other factors, there are still many people working from home.

The help we are providing in these circumstances varies from free, no cost, access to additional software licences, easy access to an awesome cloud based data insights platform from us as well as access to our Retailer RoamTM sell from anywhere POS software solution.

Add to these tangible software benefits our on-going unlimited training offer, we are helping small business retailers where they are, helping them to run successful businesses without having to leave their businesses. We are thankful to our own team members for the work they do every day to hell our customers in these ways, to run their businesses remotely, thereby minimising the impact of Covid on their businesses.

Helping small business retailers work from home also includes helping them to sell online. We are doing this through a beautiful and seamless link to Shopify and the creation of beautiful Shopify sites on a fixed price basis. Our POS software connected Shopify solutions have seen small business retailers connect with more shoppers from outside their usual catchment area. It is a thrill to see.

Other help we are providing small business retailers who work from home is easy access to our local help desk resources. This is through our expanded help desk team – we have added two more people to this team, two new hires in the last 2 months. We are grateful to be in a position to need to too this – thanks to terrific growth in our customer base.

We think the work from home situation is here for the long term. Our support for it is long term. We arenhelp to help small business retailers to work from home, and their team members.

Our small business POS software is flexible in this regard, helpful to these businesses with people working from home.

2020 has been a wonderful year of learning for us, delivering wonderful insights and providing excellent opportunities. Working from home is one of them. We appreciate being able to help.


Tower Systems releases POS software update

We have move to beta an update to our POS software for small business retailers. This latest update has been made available to customers following comprehensive testing, including beta release, to ensure it is stable and capable.

Developed in consultation with many of our POS software users, this latest update includes enhancements suggested and voted on by them – through a transparent process in which all customers can engage.

The update also releases Tabcorp Connect, a platform for connecting our POS software to data collected through the sale of lottery products on behalf of Tabcorp’s TheLott. This integration work has been delivered as another integration solution from Tower Systems. It is in addition to direct integrations already delivered by the company for:

  • Tyro.
  • ZipPay.
  • ZipMoney.
  • Humm.
  • Specialised. FlyBys NZ.
  • PayPal.
  • All major Aussie banks.
  • Xero.
  • Shopify.
  • Magento.
  • WooCommerce.
  • Scales.
  • Fuel dispensing.

… and more.

Tower Systems customers can choose when they want the update.


What does Q4 2020 look like for small business retailers

Welcome to the last quarter of 2020. What a year it’s been already.

For many in retail, what happens over the next 3 months traditionally determines the success of the full year for the business. We have been asked several times recently what the next three months look like.

Considering sales data from plenty of business and from many different types of retail businesses, we share some thought below on what we expect. Of course, our expectations are based on current Corona trajectories as at the start of October 2020. Any change to that will impact these.

  • Christmas is here, now, early. Christmas purchasing started over a month ago with sales of specific Christmas products including cards, decoration and Christmas themed items already good. People appear to be shopping to be prepared for possibly another lockdown. Some are also buying because of worries regarding the supply chain.
  • Working from home is here to stay. retailers selling products that help with working from home should have a good quarter if they continue to leverage this opportunity. There is no sign of working from home slowing, which will impact businesses that rely on major CBD business worker traffic.
  • Regional / rural property sales are strong. Property sales in regional and rural locations have surged, bringing in more people and plenty of new faces, which bring in new shopper opportunities. Serving new residents plays well for some retail sectors like garden centres.
  • People want to be happy and give happiness. Offering products that will make people happy is key to a good fourth quarter.
  • Locally made. This matters more than ever.

Focussing on these and related points positions your business well for a good last quarter.

Thinking predictions, we think that businesses that rely on strong Christmas trade have reason to expect this year to be at least as good as last year. We know one business that does more than 50% of their revenue through the Christmas season and current indications comparing this year to the last 2 years suggest they will be up this year by 20%. The product mix is the same.

The success of this last quarter really relies on your product sourcing, in-store messaging and out of store marketing … your connection with the emotional messages that matter to people, that will get them purchasing through you.

The time to act on Christmas 2020 was months ago. If you are starting now, go for it, quickly and engagingly as Christmas shoppers are spending today.

We hope that this last quarter of 2020 is awesome for your retail business and all who rely on it!


Some retail businesses are having an awesome 2020

Yes, some retail businesses are having an awesome 2020, plenty in fact. However, most of those having success this year do not want to talk too much about it. They want to keep a low profile because most of what’s in the media about business in 2020 is negative and they do not want to distract with what they think is a unique good story. Some even feel ashamed at their success.

The reality is that many retail businesses, especially local small retail businesses, are having a good 2020.

Yes, there is excellent good news out there. Here are some good news stories we see in our work with specialty retail channels, without identifying store details. These are channel-wide stories with many businesses in each channel having success.

  • Garden centres are doing very well, offering customers the ability to grow their own produce, be more self sufficient, eat more healthily. Many garden centres we are working with have been challenged to keep up with demand. They have risen to the occasion, helping many folks into their first ever veggie patch.
  • Farm supply / rural produce businesses have had a big and successful year. Sales are up as more people are living in regional and rural locations and needing more materials as they work on their properties in these locations.
  • Toy shops are doing well helping people enjoy their time at home. Those who engaged online have done especially well. Those that expanded their jigsaw, game and relaxation product ranges have done well.
  • Pet shops have done well as pets have become even more important this year, offering comfort and company, making isolation easier.
  • Bike shops are having a terrific year as they offer people enjoyable ways to remain healthy in a safe way.
  • Fishing and outdoors businesses are doing well, too, thanks to their ability to help people be more self sufficient for food.
  • Newsagents are having an awesome 2020 as they have become more relevant through offering essential services, keeping people informed and helping people enjoy home time more through their games, jigsaws, crosswords and more.

We know many small local and independent retail businesses that have done so well that they do not qualify for government pandemic assistance. Double digit growth in 2020 is real for them. They are loving being in business and serving their local community. They are loving that local shopping is more popular in 2020 too.

So, while the TV news and current affairs programs focus on stories of doom and gloom, there are many, hundreds and thousands of good stories, happy stories, stories of growth and success in small business retail … stories of success in 2020.

For many of the business owners enjoying success this year, they have made it happen through their decisions and actions, they have pursued success and for this they have every reason to be proud.

Well done to all of these small business retailers having an excellent 2020, well done!

We are grateful to be part of this, part of the community of businesses having a good year. We are thankful that through what we make we are able to play a role in helping retail businesses find and nurture success.

Now, if only media outlets could share some of the good news stories. They don’t have to look far to find them.


Small business retail management advice: make every day your pay day

In our work with more than 3,500 small business retailers, independent retailers, mainly high street retailers, we have developed a kit of advice from which we draw to help these retailers run more successful and enjoyable businesses.

One piece of advice that we have found to be most useful is what we share here today. It is advice that is rooted in practicality and personal accountability. We offer it today and hope you find it useful…

Make every day your pay day.

Some retailers consider the day the sell their business as their pay day.  Smarter retailers know that every day the business is open and trading is a pay day.

It is unrealistic to look on a retail business as a bank accruing interest which is repaid in the form of goodwill when the business is sold.  However, this is how many retailers do view their businesses.  So much so in fact that they lose focus on the profitability of the business on a day to day basis.

The Small Steps Strategy for Growth outlined in the previous chapter is vitally important to ensuring the best possible pay day every day.

By making every day your pay day, you focus on profitability today and not next year or the year after, when you ultimately sell the business.

If you run your retail business this way, focusing on driving traffic, leveraging sales efficiency and ensuring the best possible margin every time, you will see profitability improve.  While this will drive up the ultimate sales price you can achieve for the business, it will also put more money in your pocket from the business every day.

By driving profitability on a day by day basis, as if this is all that matters, you will take more notice of employee costs, sales efficiency and other more micro factors and drivers in the business.

You are more likely to make changes if you view sales and profitability data on a daily perspective rather than for a longer period such as quarterly or annually.

Did you make enough yesterday to pay for the rent, employee costs, cost of goods sold, marketing and utility costs as well as to pay yourself?

If not, what can you do to change this?

If so, did you make enough?

These are the challenges and the opportunities we will explore in this special report.  By looking at your business as if every day is your pay day, you are more likely to look more closely at your business than if you are focused on the day you sell as your pay day.  Obsess about these things and you are more likely to bank the results.

If you don’t know how you are doing daily or weekly, you need to put in place manual or computer based systems which enable you to track and report on this.  Good or bad, it is information you need to make better business decisions.

So, how did you do today or this week?  Make enough to pay all your bills, your employees and yourself?  Look on and work on every day as your pay day.


Website advice for small business retailers

In our work with small business retailers we provide advice on website development, often before the website is created. This advice is based on our own Xperience as well as the experience gained in service of other retailers.

Here is up to date advice for any retailer considering a website for their retail business.

We are not usual POS software company. We are retailers too, with 3 shops. The advice we share here is based on what we have done in one of our small shops, a high street business in Mount Waverley Victoria.

Advice for small business retailer going online.

We received an online order the other day in one of our own retail shops at 1:33pm worth $800.00. It was one of 12 online orders for that business yesterday totalling $1,800 in value.

Each one of these orders that we are receiving right now is a pre-order – fully paid for up front for stock that is another week away from arriving in-store and two months away from being paid for by us. It is the nature of the specific product category that products are released to a calendar schedule.

The specific products are not relevant to what we share here today as what we share below could apply to plenty of products and product categories – in many different retail situations. What we have done in this two and a half year old suburban high street business is what anyone could do and what I know some retailer colleagues are doing to win online sales.

  1. Create your online presence as a start-up business. My recommendation is that you not take your existing shop online under your existing shop’s branding. Big businesses, of course, take their retail brand online as they think shoppers search for them. In fact, shoppers search for product outcomes.
  2. Choose a product niche or category that is sought after, that is being searched for. This could be a brand, a licence, an end use or some other segmentation that makes sense to the shopper.
  3. Look for brands and categories people could be loyal to for some time.
  4. Source key suppliers. Preference suppliers who might work with you on geographically exclusive items.
  5. Register a domain and business name that speaks to the shopper for the chosen category.
  6. Develop your approach to packaging and shipping, remembering that this process has to be delivered as a brand extension. Add value here and you will bring them back.
  7. Create a site that serves the shopper.
  8. Include on the website unique knowledge / information that lifts you up as an expert in the product category field.
  9. Include a chat facility on the site, so you can answer questions from people who do not want to email or call with their queries.
  10. Create a separate Facebook page to support the website. Regularly feed contact to that page, content specifically for that page.
  11. Ask your suppliers to link to your website and appreciate them for any promotion they offer on their social media pages.
  12. Search out other social media pages that reach your target shopper and engage with those communities.
  13. Email shoppers, appreciating their business. Find ways to remain connected with them as this connection can help bring them back.

Our advice for the first step revenue goal with online for any business entering that space has to be 5% (or less) of total revenue. Once there, the next goal is 10%, then 15% and so on. Goals are important. While the ultimate goal will vary by business category, it is vital to have a staring point.

Treat your online business as a start up. Manage it as such. Embrace mistakes and failures as they are the foundation bricks to success – cliché yes, but true.

  • Do you have to stock in your shop products you sell online? No. I say this as many retailers think the answer is yes. Seriously, think of your online business as a start up – doing this frees you to be more open to what you sell.
  • Can I put my existing shop online though? Of course. It’s 100% up to you.
  • Isn’t shipping hard? Offer what enough people want and shipping can be resolved by building it into the price or you looking at online as cream sales, sales from which you can give up some margin.

Our POS  software company develops websites for small business retailers. While what we have shared here does relate to the online success at my high street shop, it is the same advice we provide all retailers who contact Tower Systems querying about website development.


Staff management tips and advice for local small business retailers

In our work with more than 3,500 small business retailers across a diverse mix of retail channels, we have collected, along the way, a kit of tips and advice for managing staff in retail. We share some of these tips today here as an insight into the help we can provide beyond our POS software, beyond what you may expect from a POS software company too.

We are interested in retail business management, especially small retail business management, as we own and run shops ourselves and have done so since February 1996. We bought our first shop to give us a live test site. It’s grown since then.

Before we get to the tips themselves, we like this selection because it focusses on the management challenge as well as on the financial outcome for the business.

Here are some of the small business retail staff management tips we like:

  1. Set sales goals. In our experience, people perform well when they know the goal. It could be individual goals or a business-wide goal.
  2. Track performance. If not for reward, at least for active management engagement.
  3. Reduce mistakes and theft. Get employee code or number entered for each sale. It works.
  4. Skill your people. Make sure they understand the software and how they can use it to achieve more for the business.
  5. Change the roster. Roster changes can push back against predictability, they can also uncover opportunities.
  6. Set standards. In your POS you can establish standards for data to be followed – product naming conventions, department descriptions and more. The more consistency in your data the more valuable your data.
  7. Stop using the back room. You can’t sell product from the back room. Have staff do all pricing and other usual back room tasks on the shop floor.
  8. Track location performance. Train your staff in the process of tracking the performance of impulse locations. Moving a product could help it find customers. Make sure staff understand what you are looking for.
  9. Share basket insights. Knowing what sells alone and what sells with what can help staff make better decisions as to what is placed where on the shop floor.
  10. Ask them. Yes, ask them what you should / could stock, ask them what think a product is worth. Value their input and they will value more working for the business.
  11. Cut data handling. At every possible point, stop touching data. Having it flow from electronic supplier invoices through the POS to scanned sales through to Xero for accounting can reduce mistakes and possible fraud opportunities.

There are many opportunities for managing staff through and with your POS software. This can improve the business and enhance their experience with your business.



Australian made and supported Garden centre software

We are grateful to the hundreds of businesses already using our Aussie made and supported garden centre software. Here’s a video we shot just over a week ago where we explore some of the features and benefits of this software for independent garden centres.


11 mistakes small business retailers make with their websites when selling online

Here at Tower Systems we develop POS software for small business retailers. We are grateful to serve 3,500+ customers in Australia and New Zealand. We also develop beautiful websites for small business retailers.

Leveraging that experience, we have evolved a suite of knowledge about works for small business retailers going online. We have plenty  of advice to offer retailers about going online.

Today, we flip that consideration, we want to take a look at common mistakes retailers make when they go online, mistakes that can cause their shop connected websites to fail or, at least, to not achieve what they hoped for.

These are mistakes we have seen retailers make, advised against and, often, had to fix once the retailers agree they were mistakes. They make our mistake list once corrective action is shown to fix an issue, thereby proving the first move was a mistake.

  1. Poor navigation. A site that is hard to get around will see people leave quickly.
  2. Unclear shipping charges / policy. People want to know what it will cost.
  3. Inadequate payment options. Credit card is as essential as PayPal, buy now pay later like Afterpay, ZipPay and Humm, Apple Pay and Shopify pay.
  4. Using photos are are blurred or with more than. one product in them. Good photography is key – yes, you can do it yourself.
  5. Using stock photos that are already on many other websites. Google likes unique photos. Take them yourself.
  6. Using the same text that is on plenty of there websites. Google likes fresh text, fresh content. Write this yourself and follow consistent standards.
  7. No chat. Chat is key because shoppers have questions.
  8. Secrecy – not including an email address, phone number and actual street address.  People want to know they can trust you.
  9. Having no USP – unique selling proposition. Really, why should people shop with your website if your website offers nothing unique.
  10. Poor fulfilment. If you take too long to fulfil, people will know and they will complain to others.
  11. No support. Your website needs support online and elsewhere, so people can find it. This could be marketing, links on other sites, links on socials and more.

Our advice for small business retailers with websites goes beyond the 11 points we have noted here. Take these as a start. Anyone with a website can address these without additional cost. Fix these mistakes and you should start to see growth non engagement with the website. This is another step to growing online sales.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve thousands of small business retailers. Working with them helps us learn every day, which we love.


Retail management advice to guide stronger, more valuable, retail businesses

As owners of retail businesses, especially small retail businesses, local retail businesses, know … everyone is an expert, everyone has advice on what to do, what to stock, how to grow the business.

Our retail management advice has been fine-tuned over decades of service of local small business retailers in a range of specialty retail channels. It has come, too, from our own ownership and operating of a range of retail businesses across four different specialty retail channels. We own three online shops and several online businesses today.

The retail management advice we share here is a taste of the support we offer small business retailers beyond the POS software we make, sell and support.

Today, in this post, our focus is on what we consider to be the most important advice for small business retailers. We call it bankable advice, advice you can rely on to add measurable value to your business.

  1. Use your data. Yes, that sounds boring. The thing is, the data curated by your POS software can help you buy better, sell faster, make more from each shopper visit, reduce theft, get more value from employees, make fewer mistakes, cut labour costs … and more. Yes, good data, leveraged consistently, will achieve all this and more.
  2. Connect. At every opportunity, connects your systems and processes from suppliers to your goods inwards to your POS to product returns to your business accounting software. The less you rely on manual processes the better your business decisions and the lower your costs.
  3. Look under the hood. Good POS software gives you eyes in the back of your head, it can show you what you don’t know and may not want to know. Ask what you can find out that may surprise you as it is in these surprises where you may find more value.
  4. Set goals for the business and measure performance. Revenue. Unit sales for key products. Sales by team member. Revenue by supplier. ROI. ROFS. Measure, report, discuss, improve.
  5. Reorder what sells.
  6. Place products next to products they are usually purchased with.
  7. Ensure your staff know how to use the tools you have. Take POS software, too often we see poor use hurting the performance of the business.

Success in small business retail is there for the taking, through management action. Success comes from consistent pursuit of success. Systems helps you consistently pursue success.

Good POS software companies can help you with this, they can help you drive a more successful and valuable retail business. That’s certainly our goal at Tower Systems.


3 shop local community connection and marketing tips for small business retailers

2020 is the year of shop local with a surge in people shopping locally. In our work with 3,500+ small business retailers, we have seen a surge in sales, both in -store sales and online sales with small business retailers.

It is wonderful to see, this authentic support for shop local in 2020.

Today, we share some tips for small business retailers on how to maximise the shop local opportunity, marketing advice on how to make shop local work better for you. These are marketing tips you can use right away without spending any money in most cases.

  1. What makes your business local? Know this and you can know much more about your message and how you can leverage it. For many retailers, their local connections are a point of difference. usually, what makes your business local is local knowledge. If this is you, serve this knowledge through touchpoint in your POS software. It is easy to encode local knowledge is related to what you sell and auto-serve this through customer purchases.
  2. Connect with the local community. Offer community groups fund-raining opportunities when your members choose your local business over other local businesses. It’s easy to manage through your POS software, to track the purchases by group members, given them a benefit and gift the community group itself a benefit in appreciation for their recommendation. This can be a perfect win / win / win for all in the local community.
  3. Stay connected. Through social media, email and other platforms, keeping connected with locals by sharing locally relevant information you can connect and share knowledge and this will be appreciated by locals. Your POS software can capture email addresses and share these with mailChimp for safe and spam free emails.

Know where your customers live. It’s easy to capture the postcode of shoppers. In every business we see doing this they learn things about shoppers that they can leverage, for better local community engagement especially.

Nurturing local shoppers really is all about your local community connection. It helps to have ways to do this that do not take too much time, ways that are consistently leveraged. This is where good POS software with tools for pitching your local connections can help.

Here at Tower Systems we care about small business retailers. We care for your businesses, those who rely on the business for income and your local shopper customers. We only work with and help local small business retailers with our POS software.


Australian made and supported Bike shop software

We are grateful to the hundreds of bike retailers in Australia and New Zealand who use our bike shop software. Here’s a video se shot just over a week ago were we explore some of the features of this software.


Working through Victoria’s stage 4 lockdown

Here at Tower Systems, weeks into this second lockdown in metro Melbourne due to Covid we’re doing okay. We have a core group at the office for necessary work with 90% of our team working from home.

Thanks to our infrastructure investment in VoIP and other technology, our customer service, POS software development, customer training, sales and other work has continued unimpeded.

We are grateful to our customers for their understanding and their faith in us. We sincerely appreciate their business.

While the world does look different to what we anticipated for 2020, being here and being able to connect in new ways is terrific.

Regardless of what happens in our home state with this latest lockdown, we plan for our team members to continue to work from home into 2021, to provide for them the safest work situation.


POS software for produce and farm supply businesses

Tower Systems has released a major update to its Aussie made and supported business software for produce / farm supply / stockfeed businesses. This specialty produce business software offers many benefits including:

  1. Quote and invoice management. Strong, flexible, fit for purpose.
  2. Trade pricing profiles supporting pricing flexibility for your customers.
  3. Customer account management: Professional and accurate control.
  4. Pricing profiles. You can set pricing rules based on types of customers.
  5. Sell by weight, including fractions.
  6. Bagging up feed. Bag feed into smaller packs, with accurate stock data.
  7. Colour / size / style. Track what you sell at a granular level.
  8. Genuinely informative receipts.
  9. Pre-orders – pre-sell stock and be ahead of the game.
  10. Special orders – easily manage special customer orders.
  11. Awesome loyalty through which you can easily differentiate.
  12. Seasonal reordering. Easily reorder inventory based on seasonal sales.
  13. Weatherproof labels.
  14. Electronic supplier invoice support – cut mistakes and save time.

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 can promote 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 an 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.

You can rent our produce business software for a few dollars a day, giving you:

  1. Australian developed and supported produce business POS software.
  2. Software updates as we release them.
  3. Unlimited computer licences for your location.
  4. Shopify / Magento / Woo link. Easily sell online from your POS software.
  5. Xero link. Easing bookkeeping costs and streamlining accounting.
  6. Our OzBiz link. This helps you link to MYOB and Quicken through OzBiz.
  7. Tyro link – safe, fast and easy EFTPOS link for streamlined sales.
  8. PC Eftpos link. This offers easy EFTPOS processing for the major banks.
  9. Easy buy now pay later options with Zip Pay and Humm.
  10. Support – help desk access.
  11. Training – unlimited one-on-one training over the phone.
  12. User documentation. Access to our searchable knowledge base.

New help desk team members now on-stream

A couple of months ago, we hired Matt for a new role on our help desk and around a month ago we hired Eric. These are net new roles for us, an expansion of our team.

Following comprehensive training, they are participating in help desk calls, helloing to deliver timely and professional help to retailers using our POS software.

With more retailers joining our community every month, we needed to expand our capacity. Matt and Eric are helping us do that.

While 2020 is an unusual year, delivering unexpected situations, we are grateful that more small business retailers are partnering with us and the tech we develop and sell.


If Australian jobs matter to you and your family…

There is plenty of talk from politicians, in the media and on social media about the need to create local jobs, in Australia, for Australians, about the need to provide opportunities for job growth.

Too often, the talk is the end of it, the talk is only talk.

The best way to create jobs is to buy locally. However, buying locally applies to all of us, including us in business. We need to buy locally as much as possible.

While I am not an economist, I think I am right in saying that the more of our money that we spend entirely pithing Australia, the more the Australian economy benefits and the more local jobs that will be created.

This is why in the retaIl shops I own we preference Australian made. Now, by Australian made we do not mean the products that limp over a line that says a percentage of the product has to be from Australia. No, we want the whole thing made here if at all possible as it is this that adds real value to our economy.

In our own business where we develop POS software, our biggest competitors are overseas companies that spend huge sums promoting through search engines and social media. We don’t spend dollars advertising on those platforms. Our investment is in our people, our software designers and developers, our help desk team, our admin people, Australians who will spend their pay check in the local economy with that spend helping the types off businesses we sell to.

To us, this is what shop local looks like. It is about understanding your place in the economy and knowing that your buying decisions can make a difference to other local businesses and hopping that those in control of those other local businesses support more local businesses.

The ripple effect of shopping and sourcing locally can be wonderful not only for the individuals benefiting but for the whole local economy.

The importance of this is something we leverage in our POS software by providing retailers easy ways to indicate locally sourced products, to help them in their shops and online to shine a light on locally sourced products. We have coded these tools into the software to make it easier for local retailers to monetise locally sourced products.

Shop local to us is much more than a poster or a slogan. It is about active decisions we make that help other local businesses, in the hope that their decisions, too, help other local businesses.

Now, if only politicians went beyond lip service on the shop local front, if only they actively engaged in this in terms of their personal spending and any spending then engage in on behalf of their constituents.

The real power in the shop local discussion is in the dollar. Spend the dollar in your hand locally and you make a powerful, and appreciated, contribution.


Rent POS software and reserve cashflow in small business retail

Retailers are loving that they can rent the POS software from Tower Systems without having to pay to own the software.

Tower Systems introduced rental as an option over a year ago, in 2019, with the daily cost sitting at a few dollars a day for most marketplaces.

POS software gently is every 30 days with no long-term contract lock-in. Customers can end their rental through the month, prior to the start of the next month.

This provides small business retailers flexibility and ease of access.

There is no finance check, no debt check, no finance agreement. POS software rental is easy and fast to organise. Rental can be stopped. It can also be paused in the need arises.

This is a cash flow beneficial solution for small business retailers, enabling them to preserve capital for other purposes in the business.

By renting the Tower Systems POS software, small business retailers have access to, at no extra cost:

  • Software updates. These are released regularly and offer an evolutionary path for the software.
  • The opportunity to propose software enhancements. There is a public forum through which this is done, where all users can vote on suggestions.
  • Software help desk support. This is office based and staffed by humans who know the software well.
  • After hours support. This covers you for those urgent situations.
  • An online knowledgeable with more than 600 articles advising how to use the software.
  • Software training videos. Our top subjects are covered on easily accessed videos – learn at your own pace.
  • Group training workshops. These are on topics our customers suggest.
  • One on one training after the system is installed and initial training provided.
  • Theft check service.
  • Backup check service.

All of these facilities as well as the software itself are bundled into the low 30 day rental cost.

Making POS software rental even more appealing is that there is no cap on the number of terminals on which the software is used in a business. A shops cold run 7 terminals and the low cost per day is the same as it would be if they were running it on one terminal. This is another differentiator for Tower Systems and its POS software rental arrangements.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve customers in a diverse spread of retail business channels. It only services locally owned independent small business retailers.


Small business retail advice: using POS software to encourage shopper efficiency

Shopper efficiency refers to the commercial value a business derives from a shopper, usually from a visit of a shopper, a single visit.

Smart POS software plays a key real in guiding better shopper efficiency. It does this through insights into business performance as tracked and curated through the POS software.

Small business retailers can learn, through smart POS software:

  • What products sell with each other. This is often a dynamic situation and often different to what retailers and those who work in retail assume.
  • What products work better where. This can be insightful as it is usually not where you think.
  • What time of the day products sell. This, too, can be s surprise, especially in online situations where we often see more than half the products selling overnight, when the shop is closed.
  • What occasions products can be purchased for. This data, when it is available, usually surprises as it demonstrates occasion connections that are unexpected.
  • What bundle opportunities can be leveraged to drive shopper engagement with products.
  • How families shop together.
  • What triggers can work best to bring shoppers back sooner.
  • Which are efficient products. This is based on shelf life and therefore sa return on space, inventory investment and more.
  • Which are inefficient products.

Smart POS software is key to harvesting these insights and more for small business retailers, to help them see what they may not have known about their businesses.

Tower Systems develops smart POS software and it backs it with advice, training and support to help retailers make the most of the software, to gain the insights to which we refer here that can show retailers ways they have not expected for their businesses.

We leverage our own retail experience to help;p small business retailers to go beyond the technology and into the realm of business insights so they can find their own business advice, relevant to their businesses, through using the software.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve more than 3,500 small business retailers using its specialty retail POS software in Australia and New Zealand. Through years of service we have built up a deep chest of advice and insights, which we willingly leverage for our POS software user customers.


5 unique ways the POS software from Tower Systems helps small business retailers

Not all POS software is the same. Thank goodness for that! There are companies, like Tower Systems, that invest in creating unique POS software to serve niche needs of specialty retailers. In doing this, for example, for jewellers, we have created facilities that serve the needs of other specialty retail channels.

No, not all POS software is the same. There is generic, off the shelf and, then, there is specialty POS software for specialty retailers.

Here are 5 unique ways the POS software from Tower Systems helps small business retailers to run more successful and enjoyable businesses:

  1. A no overhead, easily understood and sales driving loyalty solution that you can turn on in seconds and have delivering sales results today. This is smart loyalty, innovative and designed for today’s shopper. It does not leverage legacy loyalty that shoppers are sick of and that supermarkets continue to use.
  2. Seamless online with easy flowing inventory detail and image data between the POS software and Shopify thanks to smart and engaging integration for in-store, online and click and collect sales supported by many payment options including several buy now pay later options.
  3. Sell anywhere thanks to Retailer RoamTM, the on the road POS solution from the shop floor, at local markets, from a truck or from the roadside. This innovative, cloud based, solution is smart, engaging and ready for the new normal of 2020 and beyond.
  4. An access from anywhere insights platform that is your own personal business insights tool, shining a light on a pathway of data that reveals insights into your business andkopens you to considering opportunities ahead.
  5. A leverage-me platform that allows you to leverage intellectual property unique to your business, through which you can pitch your knowledge to shoppers and thereby differentiate your offer over the offers of others operating in a similar marketplace. This is a genuinely differentiating opportunity as it is about you.

In the POS software from Tower Systems retailers have access to many opportunities, many more than the 5 listed here, opportunities through which the businesses can more efficiently operate and can reach more new traffic shopper opportunities.

It’s all about business growth for growth is the lifeblood of any retail situation. Pursuing this consistently and professionally through the POS software is key to success in 2020 and beyond.


Small retail business marketing tip: leveraging shop local authentically

If there is one good thing that 2020 has delivered for local small business retailers, retailers located on the high street, or strip shop as Aussies refer to it, it is that shopping local matters, is valued, appreciated and preferred.

Local retailers have shown their businesses as being safe, accessible, flexible and relevant in the middle of a pandemic. Shopping local has surged in Australia and for good reason.

The opportunity is to turn the 2020 surge into long-term engagement with shopping local.

Today, we write to share marketing tips with local small business retailers on leveraging shop local authentically. These marketing tips are based on discussions with some of our 3,000+ POS software customers and from our experiences running shops since 1996.

  • Talk local. The more you speak to local news, local locations and local features on social media, on your receipts and in flyers included with products the more locals will feel your localness.
  • Buy local. Seek out local makers of products that make sense in your shop. Your support of them can easily demonstrate your own local commitment toad this plays well for local shoppers supporting your local business. You can, through your POS software, indicate locally sourced products. Supplement this with collateral placed with the products to indicate they are local.
  • Help local community groups support themselves. You can run a program where community group members present a cars at purchase to get special pricing,. This enables you to track the purchases so you can donate to the group a percentage of revenue driven by community group members. This program can see community groups encouraging their members to shop with you.
  • Add local value. If you sell products that can be used differently in your local situation, as would be the case for a garden centre, fishing and tackle shop, pet store, bike shop and even toy shop, you could share local use insights that demonstrate your local knowledge and add value to what you sell to locals.
  • Appreciate. One of the most important steps you can take to encourage locals shopping locally in your retail business is through appreciating them. A simple thank you at the counter, a thank you on a note you include with their purchase and a thank you on social media … these all play to appreciation.
  • Personalise. Be sure through any communications from your business on social media and elsewhere that you show what shopping local means – the jobs created, the support to community groups you provide and more. be sure to help people to understand that what they spend with you helps so many, who have names and faces.

While we share these as marketing tips for small business retailers designed to encourage shop local, they are code business ideas designed to help you spread your local connections. It is critical in doing these things that you are authentic and authenticity is key in local retail.


Small business management discussion: Do reopen the borders calls ignore an opportunity? 

While we understand the desire for borders to be open and restrictions to movement to be lifted, there are plenty of businesses that have changed what they do and how they do it so as to not be as impacted by closed borders as they may have been.

We are not writing this to be political. Rather, we are writing it from a business strategy perspective.

What if shutdown / open / shutdown / open is something we have to contend with beyond 2020? What does that world look like? While calling for borders to re-open is one approach, another could be how we adapt for what could be a new normal.

In our own situation here at Tower Systems, for decades we relied on in-person trade shows, in-store demonstrations and in-store installation and training. From early March this year we moved online. Online demonstrations, online installation and training. And, no trade shows. Sales are up. 

Thinking about the calls to open borders, it’s understandable. It’s about going back to where we were, where business was. 

What if there were alternatives for businesses? What is there were other ways businesses could grow that were not as reliant on open borders? Not that we are calling for borders to stay closed, because we are not. Rather, we pose the question because some business people will embrace the exercise to think about how they could adjust their business to do better in that situation.

Through online you can reach shoppers outside your usual catchment area. Through an expansion of range you can reach more people locally.

It’s interesting watching the news and current affairs programs and seeing the conga-line of big business representatives calling for things to go back the way they were. Owners of small businesses are more flexible and innovative and, we suspect, less likely to want things to go back the way they were.

Again, thinking about our situation and other office business owners we speak with, we think that working from home and working regionally is a long-term shift. This one shift presents opportunities to local businesses. There will be other shifts too. For example, big businesses with now decentralised workforces are embracing ways to remain connected with customers. For example, locally delivered care packages are popular.

We have shared this today to encourage considering of thinking about next year and beyond in what could be a new normal business environment.


5 steps guaranteed to cut theft in any retail business

Theft in retail costs more than money or goods taken. There is an emotional cost, which can play into an impact on business management.

In our work with thousands of independent retail businesses we have tuned a list of actions that we see work well in cutting theft in retail.

  1. Spot stock take. Allocate time daily to spot check stock on hand. We suggest 15 to 20 minutes a day to different areas of the shop could reveal customer theft challenges. Spot stock takes are fast, easy and guide data accuracy. Most important, they reveal theft.
  2. Track everything you sell. The moment a retailer does not track stock that comes in and goes out of a business is the moment the retailer takes their eye off the ball and allow people who till steal to steal. While it sounds boring, managing stock is key early identification of theft, especially employee theft.
  3. Eliminate manual handling of data. Every time data is handled manually you create a weakness that a thief can exploit. For example, if sales data do not flow automatically from your POS to your accounting software, there can be an opportunity for someone handling cash to skim prior to banking. From receiving inventory invoices electronically to scanning everything you sell to a direct connection between your POS and your accounting software, like Xero, every keystroke eliminated is potential theft avoided.
  4. Look under the hood at keystroke patterns. Smart POS software will maintain, in a secret location and under appropriate security data that could reveal misbehaviour by staff as part of a systematic theft program. This type of analysis has uncovered the deletion of sales to enable the removal of cash from a til by an employee stealing from the business.
  5. Surprise moves like roster changes, spot checks in-store, mid-day cash-outs and more can break a pattern and make it difficult for anyone who seeks to leverage a consistent pattern to engage in theft. We know of one case where the rubbing bins were emptied an hour earlier than usual and by someone who does not usually do this work and in doing so a roll of notes was found, which led to long-term theft discovery.

Theft hurts retail businesses in many ways. Independent retailers can cut the cost of theft by following steps like those outlined here.

Tower Systems works with small business retailers using its POS software to help them cut employee and customer theft. We have provided expert help to police and prosecutors. We have people in our business who have been used as expert witnesses in court cases.

We are committed to helping small business retailers cut employee and customer theft. Every Tower customer has access to a free theft check service.

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