Small business advice: How to stop your business data being useless

This advice has been written by us here at Tower Systems for use in businesses, particularly small businesses, where the business data has been found to be useless, faulty and / or of little value.

There is no doubt: poor business data = poor business decisions. We see this every day as to banks, accountants, business advisors and more.

If you ever hope to sell your retail business, accurate business data is vital, it will determine the price you achieve for your business.

Don’t be one of those business owners who only cares about accurate business data when you decide to sell as that could be too late.

Here is all you need to do to ensure you have accurate business data.

  1. Ensure you have a good department and category structure. This helps ensure the reports are useful. By good we suggest no more than fifteen departments and no more than fifteen categories within each department.
  2. Arrive all stock into your POS software. The best way to do this is to receive and import into your software electronic invoices from suppliers. This is done in Invoice Arrivals.

The slower way is to manually enter invoices into your software item by item. This is done in Invoice Arrivals.

If you created an order using the software and this order subsequently arrives, you can receive the order – to save time.

  1. Scan all stock you sell at the point of sale. Resist excuses like items are too small or too big or it takes too long or it is impractical. All these excuses can be countered.
  2. Scan all stock you return to suppliers. Use the Returns facility.
  3. Scan all stock you write off. Use the Write-off Stock facility.

Very simple, right?

Accurate business data is up to you. Not your software company, not your suppliers.

Accurate business data is 100% up to you.

Once you have accurate data, track business performance. Use the accurate data to see trends in your business, to guide better quality business decisions.

It is easy to create accurate business data. The operational and financial benefits are extraordinary.

How Tower Systems can help. We have articles in our knowledge base on everything discussed here. We also have training videos that show you what to do. We host weekly online training workshops, accessible from anywhere, where you can ask questions on any topic. Plus, supported customers have access to free one on one training.

Easter break

While our offices are closed for Easter, our after hours support crew are on standby for urgent issues. In the meantime, Happy Easter all…

Another POS software integration to help small business retailers

We are thrilled to have just passed acceptance testing for another major integration between our POS software and a very significant service provider in Australia.

This is a new integration for us and them. We are in a small pool of first to market POS software companies.

More will be announced after easter when their corporate marketing campaign kicks into gear.

We are thrilled to be innovating for our small business retail customers in a part of their business that is ripe for enhancement.

#WatchThisSpace

How our POS software company helps small business retailers compete

Owning and running a small or independent retail business can be lonely and challenging. Especially in this marketplace where big businesses have extraordinary tech tools they can deploy to make it look like their services are more human and personal than they really are.

Here at Tower Systems we help small and independent retailers in a range of specialty retail niches compete thanks to services beyond our POS software.

  1. We help or customers better understand the direction of their businesses through data analysis.
  2. We provide free small business marketing resources.
  3. We provide free social media content they can use to restate the value of small business locally and economically.
  4. We listen, often on topics far removed from our software.
  5. We provide free training, long after the software is first installed.
  6. We reduce operational friction between suppliers and retailers through engagement with suppliers on behalf of our retail customers.
  7. We provide access to a wide range of shopper loyalty options.
  8. We provide access to a successful basket-building strategy for businesses that see shoppers once or infrequently.
  9. We provide business context for software actions. Too often software company people say do this or that without explaining the business context.
  10. We walk in small business retail shoes. We own and run independent small business shops to provide personal experience that we then leverage for the benefit of our customers.

In these ways and plenty more we serve our customers in practical and valuable ways.

We believe in small business for the economic benefit of any country. This is why we only sell to small business customers, to help them to more effectively and successfully compete against big businesses.

Small business retail can compete through the engaged use of the smart tools in our POS software. This is where our deeper and more personal training and support plays a vital role in delivering to our customers not only knowledge but also vital encouragement and support to achieve this and plenty more.

Check us out, see for yourselves. Visit www.towersystems.com.au and ask us how we can help your type of retail business. We’d love to show you the Tower advantage.

Free POS software training for small business retailers

Tower Systems has announced details of free POS software training for April 2018 for retailers using its smart POS software:

Meeting Name: 10 ways to save time and money using retailer
Date: Wednesday 4th April
Time: 2pm
Description: 10 different ways you can free up time and money in your business using retailer.

Meeting Name: Understanding the End of Shift Reports.
Date: Wednesday 11th April
Time: 2pm
Description: Why is the End of Shift important? How do I check my settings are correct? What do the reports mean? And what parts of the report do I need to use for my accounting.

Meeting Name: Top 10 mistakes in Retailer and how to fix them
Date: Wednesday 18th April
Time: 2pm
Description: Let us show how to fix some common mistakes in Retailer quickly and easily.

The last Wednesday in the month is Anzac day so have not scheduled a session.

If you are a small business retailer and think retail is tough we have a question for you…

Yes, retail is tough.

What are you doing about it?

I’d love a dollar for every retailer who has told me how tough it is in the last few years.  Heck, I’d retire with the money I’d have.

The thing is, retail is tough, especially small business retail like a gift shop.  It’s always been tough for the little guy. I know because I own small retail businesses myself.

I really do think we need to stop saying retail is tough and start challenging ourselves. Hence the question: What are you doing about it?  Put another way…

  1. What are you doing to attract new shoppers?
  2. What are you doing to get your existing shoppers to spend more?
  3. What are you doing to drive down your costs?
  4. What are you doing to improve margin?

These are the four most important things for a retailer to act on. They sit at the core of every retail business failure and success.

Taking small steps in each of these areas can help you weather tough times. These same small steps can help you find success with less effort.

Tower Systems is a software company for small business retailers like you. We’re retailers too. We combine retail experience with tech smarts and a passion for small business to help our colleagues to grow their businesses. We’d like to help you.

Using our Point of Sale software for gift shops like yours we can help you

  1. Attract new shoppers.
  2. Get your existing shoppers to spend more.
  3. Drive down your costs.
  4. Improve margin.

Big claims yes … we have existing customers who will tell you that we do this.

Our system can cost as little as a few dollars a day. Besides great software, hardware you can trust, friendly training and software support, you have access to our business skills, acumen and passionWe have your back, helping where we can with advice and ideas to help you grow your retail business.

We’re not your average software company.  Tower Systems is a full-service passionate and engaged software company that wants you to succeed. We firmly believe…

In business, through our own actions we make our own success.

I’m the owner and founder of Tower and am proud to work with more than 2,000 small retailers like you. I’d be honoured to help you. So would one of our amazing, skilled and passionate account managers. Call one today…

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.

My name is Mark Fletcher. I am the founder of this company: 0418 321 338.

Introducing colour, size and style to small business POS software

Our Aussie developed and supported POS software is not a destination. Rather, it is an evolving solution, being enhanced to serve evolving needs.

For many years, we have resisted introducing support in the software for handling inventory items tracked and sold by colour, size and style. We resisted because this type of inventory was usually found in fashion retail, a retail segment outside the specialty retail channels in which we have been focussed.

Retail has changed. The lines between retail channels have become blurred. There are businesses in our specialty retail channels today selling inventory items they wish to manage by colour, size and style. To serve this changing need, we have developed support for handling colour, size and style within our Retailer software.

We refer to colour, size and style as variants as this is a better description for the facilities given that it can handle more than just colour, size and style.

Like any new functionality, how we handle this will evolve over time and based on user feedback.

Overview – This new function allows users to add Variants to new or existing stock items which identify variables of what are essentially the same stock item. For example – The product Sheridan Adkins 700TC Sheet Set comes in 5 different colours, with each of those colours coming in Queen, King & Super King sizes. All up, there is 15 variants of what is essentially the same item (15 barcodes, the main description, cost, sell, department and category etc are all the same, the only difference being the Colour and Size. This new feature will give users more flexibility and efficiency in areas such Arriving Stock, Creating Orders and checking Stock Levels.

Using the new variants facilities in our software now, small business retailers can track items by multiple variants, like colour, size and style, at the point of sale, returns and reordering.

You can report on inventory performance in a meaningful way to serve your business needs in this area.

The goal of the variants enhancements is to provide each user business with data necessary to better manage the inventory in the business and the business itself overall.

POS software WooCommerce link helps small business retailer sell online

Tower Systems offers a direct to WooCommerce link that enables selling from the POS software and a Woo Commerce website all from the one inventory database. Making ecommerce easy for small business retailers.

What Is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress. WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms because it’s free and open source. This means that there are a lot free or inexpensive extensions available to customise your site.

What Is The Retailer To WooCommerce Link?
The Retailer to WooCommerce Link uses the Tower Advantage Link platform to allow Retailer to connect directly to your WooCommerce webstore. The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the WooCommerce API.

How Does The Link Work?
The link works by using the TALink platform to connect to the WooCommerce API and synchronise your data.

Stock
Retailer is your master stock database. You flag what stock items you want to appear on your WooCommerce store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as product names and descriptions in WooCommerce. Newly flagged products are automatically added and if you edit items in Retailer you have field level control over how these are handled in WooCommerce.

Department And Categories
Your Retailer Departments and Categories become categories and subcategories in WooCommerce. If you choose to synchronise departments and categories, your existing structure will be mirrored and managed in WooCommerce automatically. If, however, you decide not link your Department and Categories in WooCommerce, you can allocate categories manually to products once they are added.

Classifications
Retailer’s Classifications are treated as Attributes in WooCommerce. If you choose to link these in WooCommerce your existing Classifications will be mirrored and managed in WooCommerce automatically. If, however, you do not want this to occur you can manually manage your own WooCommerce Attributes.

Prices And Quantity On Hand
You have control over your webstore pricing from within the Retailer Stock Screen. Bulk updates of the webstore prices can be performed in Stock Manager. Once new prices are set, your webstore is updated automatically. Quantity on hand is also managed automatically, when your sell or arrive an item into stock these adjustments are sent directly to WooCommerce. If the quantity on hand of an item drops to 0, the item is marked as out of stock in WooCommerce.

Images
The images you set against stock items in Retailer are automatically uploaded to your website. If images change, the old one is removed and the new one is added. You can upload as many images as you like per stock item.

Customers
Customers that purchase off your webstore are added as customers in your Retailer database, allowing you to track what they buy and market to them. Existing customers with an email address will also be added to your web store to facilitate easy sales if you choose.

Sales
Sales are downloaded on a periodic basis and imported into Retailer. They are imported into our Customer Invoice Maintenance facility allowing you to place orders and print invoices if needed. Once sales are imported it reduces your quantity on hand so you maintain accurate stock control. Sales can be allocated to a specific location or merged to your main sales data, giving you excellent control over how you report on your webstore sales.

Events facilities in POS software help small business retailers in marketing

Our Tower Systems POS software is not a destination. Rather, it is an evolving solution, being enhanced to serve evolving needs.

Customer service is more vital than ever in retail. One way retailers can provide better service is through tracking customer related events. When we started to look at this, however, we found wide variation in what is tracked, how and when. In pet stores where pet details are recorded the needs are different to what we see in jewellery where more traditional anniversaries are tracked. These both different to what we see in produce where an event could relate to the timing requirement for crop support.

We have developed a broad-based set of functions and support for what we call Events in our software. We have sought to cover the above needs and considerably more, to serve the needs we have seen across multiple retail channels.

Our goal is to help high street retailers offer a deeper personal shopper experience, to support a stickiness between shopper and retailer as this stickiness helps encourage the shopper to return to the business over another one or over an online site.

In our world, how we see it, events can be anything related to a customer. There can be any number of events too. Each event has a date or at least an anniversary related to it. This is key since we know that an event is something a retailer wants to track and respond to.

Like any new functionality, how we handle this will evolve over time and based on user feedback.

This new function allows users to add Events to Identities that are connected to a Customer. The Events are based on either a specific date or the date a product or service was or was not purchased. Once this data is collated we can then easily report and market to these customers using methods such as email or SMS.

Using the new events facilities in our software track many occasions and date based customer contacts and activities. You can do this as a customer service or as a return visit generating opportunity.

The events facilities have been developed with considerable flexibility, to ensure they serve the needs

A theft policy is vital to helping any retail business cut the cost of employee theft

Here at Tower Systems we often help small business retailers detect and stop employee theft. One piece of advice that we see as vital to this mission is for a business to have a THEFT POLICY.

Here is a policy we share with our customers. Feel free to use it, modify it and share it.

THEFT POLICY

  1. Theft, any theft, is a crime against this business, its owners, employees and others who rely on us for their income.
  2. If you discover any evidence or have any suspicion of theft, please report it to the business owner or most senior manager possible immediately. Doing so could save a considerable cost to the business.
  3. We have a zero tolerance policy on theft. All claims will be reported to law enforcement authorities for their investigation.
  4. From time to time we have the business under surveillance in an effort to reduce theft. This may mean that you are photographed or recorded in some other way. By working here you accept this as a condition of employment.
  5. New employees may be asked to provide permission for a police check prior to commencement of employment. Undertaking the police check will be at our discretion.
  6. Cash is never to be left unattended outside the cash drawer or a safe within the business.
  7. Credit and banking card payments are not to be accepted unless the physical card is presented and all required processes are followed for processing these.
  8. Employees caught stealing with irrefutable evidence face immediate dismissal to the extent permitted by local labour laws.
  9. Employees are not permitted to remove inventory, including unsold, topped, magazines, unsold cards or damaged stock from the store without permission.
  10. Employees are not permitted to provide a refund to a customer without appropriate management permission.
  11. Employees are not permitted to complete sales to themselves, family members or friends.
  12. Every dollar stolen from the business by customers and or employees can cost us up to four dollars to recover. This is why vigilance on theft is mission critical for our retail store.

PLEASE SIGN AND DATE YOUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

Yes, you can cut the cost of theft in any retail business. It starts with the right policies and processes.

Awesome POS software connected websites for small business retail

Australia POS software company Tower Systems is proud to offer POS software connected websites developed using Shopify, magento or Woo Commerce for specialty small business retailers in the retail channels in which we serve.

We have developed plenty of websites for different types of businesses in different situations.

we ovvero a one stop shop for POS software and web development.

Not offshore. Our websites are 100% developed in Australia. This is important. There is no middle person. You deal with us before, during and after.

The websites we develop are to your needs, covering the tech, aesthetic and other attributes that are important in your business. We sit with you to learn abut your needs, to ensure we get it right.

We also promise honesty through the process – this is better than promising something that may not be able to be delivered.

We welcome the opportunity to quote on stand-alone web development, where our sole service of your business is the development of a website.

Our POS software integrated websites serve a single inventory database between physical store and online store.

The Tower Systems web development team is skilled in WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify. The company has plenty of sites it can show in a live portfolio of successful e-commerce sites, serving shoppers in Australia and internationally.

Small business retailers can benefit from the retail management experience at Tower Systems experience that helps deliver a more retail focussed solution.

The Tower web team is also skilled at SEO and SEM services that help raise the website rankings in key search engines, ensuring the site is found ahead of others.

But best of all, Tower Systems provides professional advice and guidance to small business retailers keen to build their online presence. Our commitment is honest transparent advice on which any small business retailer can rely.

The Tower Systems web development team is Australian based, working out of the company’s head office in Hawthorn. This is important as many web development businesses are overseas. While you might have a locally based contact person development too often is done overseas, leading to challenges with delivery and usefulness.

Tower Systems is committed to local development for local businesses. Our developers understand retail in Australia and New Zealand. We leverage that to deliver practical and valuable business outcomes.

From simple websites to complex multi business solutions, the Tower Systems web development team for retailers is skilled and capable of delivering valuable solutions.

To find our more about our web development services, speak with a local Tower Systems sales person. They can point you to successful sites from us that are live and transacting today.

Here are some of the store linked websites we have developed:

  1. www.beanieboosaustralia.com
  2. www.popvinylsinaustralia.com
  3. www.willowbears.com.au
  4. www.willowbearsworldwide.com
  5. www.ittybittysinaustralia.com
  6. www.charliebearsinaustralia.com
  7. www.ezitask.com
  8. www.sendmytask.com

This is a selection of sites created by Tower Systems. Our web development skills are diverse. Our SEO and SEM skills are fine-tuned, to help you get the notice for your website.

If you are not happy with your POS software you can switch

Switching POS software is easy. If it is not easy then the POS software company you are with is probably offering poor software or poor service – backed by a strategy that makes switching hard as a mechanism of protecting their business.

If switching from your POS software is hard then you have even more reason to switch.

Good POS software companies with good service and good software make it easy to switch, as part of their commitment to being the best at what they do.

Here at Tower Systems we want you to stay with us because you like our software and enjoy the customer service experience. We do not want you to stay because we have a technical lock on you. That is false economy in your view.

Customer service in small business matters, especially in business to business situations, such as we are in offering and supporting specialty retail POS software as we do here at Tower Systems.

For us, the best pressure we can apply to ourselves to provide a good customer service experience is to make it easy for you to switch software. This puts you at the hear of what we do. It keeps us 100% customer focussed as we don’t want you to switch. This is why we continually improve our software and professionally manage the customer service resources – to provide you the best outcome possible, to deliver on the promises we make in ur sales process to you.

We have seen POS software companies that lock people in, make it hard to extract data. The customers hate it and it costs them plenty. In the end it hurts the POS software company because small business retailers talk to each other about their experiences and how they feel blackmailed into sticking with software they do not like.

Tower Systems is an Australian POS software company serving specialty retailers in a range of market channels. We only sell to independent retailers, delivering beautiful software backed by awesome customer service. We serve more than 3,500 small business retailers with software that is regularly and professionally updated.

We are grateful to our user community for their support and guidance.

POS software help desk support starts with a conversation

When a small business retailer calls our POS software help desk the call is answered by a human in our Hawthorn Victoria help desk. What following is a conversation, an unscripted conversation, in plain English.

All this matters.

We know people have computerised phone systems that want you to push this button or that button. It’s frustrating. We don’t like it and that is why we do not have it here.

We know Aussie small business retailers don’t like calling a local business only to be pushed to an offshore call centre. We don’t like it. We prefer to hire locally for customer service.

We know small business retailers can be frustrated when a help desk staffer pushes them through a script that is rigid – this is what happens when you call your ISP. 100% frustrating! We don’t like and that is why we do not do it here.

Support calls start with a conversation. You get to describe your query in your own words. We work with you to understand the query and the provide an answer, explanation or resolution.

Customer service matters. We try hard, every day.