We are grateful for the plenty of views of this video we published last month in which we discuss some of the enhancements to our small business POS software in recent years. The feedback from the video has been terrific. We are grateful to have welcomed new customers for our POS software as a result.
Thanks to smart hooks in the Tower Systems small business POS software, we are able to help local small business indie retailers and their suppliers work more closely and efficiently together.
The hooks include easy and accurately two-way flow of data, thereby enabling more timely and accurate supply of inventory to retailers and through this a strengthening of the supplier relationships.
Delivering this through a seamless, data-driven, relationship is key to both the retailer and wholesaler businesses. This is where good POS software shines, helping both sides of the commercial relationship to benefit. It sits at the heart of a good commercial relationship and feeds mutual respect.
Our POS software is a beautiful glue for retailers and wholesalers who appreciate working together.
The connections we offer have been built into our POS software to worldwide data sharing EDI standards. This ensures that they will serve the needs of larger businesses with more rigid IT infrastructure. This is important where small business retailers need to connect with IT systems in large business suppliers. The Tower systems approach means that small business retailers are not disadvantaged.
Through or work in this area of seamless two-way data flow, we are able to help smaller wholesalers walk the path of better IT connection with small business retailers. There are many case studies we can share showing the success of this work. regardless of internal systems in use in wholesale businesses, we are usually able to help them take the steps necessary to achieve a beneficial connection.
Our work in the area of EDI for retailers in channels such as fishing and tackle stores, produce businesses, bike shops, garden centres, jewellers and newsagencies is well established and consistent.
Tower Systems is committed to helping independent small business retailers to compete effectively and successfully in a rapidly changing retail landscape in-store and online. We do this by providing best practice software backed by friendly, human and local support, helping retailers to compete and to enjoy their businesses.
EDI is key in retail today for retailers and wholesalers who want an efficient apply chain. Tower Systems is ready to help both sides of the EDI relationship.
Local gift shops are vital for local communities, offering access to gifts that are thoughtfully selected and displayed. These small business retail shops are in a competitive space both in-store and online.
Tower Systems, through its gift shop software, helps these local small businesses compete … through guiding efficiency, reducing mistakes, helping to reach out to past customers and with a loyalty solution that can be tailored to the needs of the business.
This gift shop software has evolved over the years to serve the evolving needs of local gift shops. More recently, the focus has been on webstore integration. the gift shop software integration with Shopify is especially sweet and seamless, helping local gift shops to sell online, anywhere and easily.
Tower Systems has developed plenty of Shopify websites connected to the POS software from the company, including these websites connected to the gift shop software:
There are plenty more than these, developed in-house by Tower Systems to the requirements and specifications provided by the retailers themselves.
If you run a local gift shop and being local matters to you, our locally made and locally supported gift shop software may be of interest. We are grateful that hundreds of gift retailers use our software already, and help it continuously evolve.
Find out more at www.towersystems.com.au/gift.
Take a quick look at: https://vimeo.com/455694613
Watch a one-hour demonstration: https://vimeo.com/571958406
From sales to special orders to pre-orders, from Xero integration to Shopify integration, from loyalty that works to easy shopper postcode tracking, from smart ways to pitch shop local to featuring locally made products … our gift shop software is made for gift retailers, made to help you enjoy your business more.
See it for yourself. Talk to one of our gift shop software specialists by calling 1300 662 957 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local gift shops serve local communities with what they expect local will love and want to give to others. This is what Tower systems does, too – developing POS software for gift shops they will love and want to use locally in their shop.
The best solution for a local business will be the one from a local business that itself gets being local.
With retail back around the counter, Boxing Day 2021 is set to be the big. here at Tower systems, we are helping retailers who use our POS software to prep fort an awesome Boxing Day Sale.
Using our PSO software, retailers can manage offers and deals designed to maximise the value of a Boxing Day Sale. We help local small business retailers compete in a busy and noisy retail space.
We made a video recently in which we looked at what we think stands out in our POS software. here it is …
Local small business retailers are asked to support local schools, community groups and charities on an almost daily basis. While community groups and charitable organisations beat a path to the doors of local businesses, so do individuals engaged on personal fundraising of their own for a cause or for an other individual.
It is tough making the call about which organisation to support or not for there is a real fear that declining will hurt the business. Often, small business retailers do not look for an uptick in business from a charity support decision but they do worry about a decline.
So how do you choose which local business you support?
Requests from schools, charities and other community for donations can be a challenge for any size business. If you do not take a structured approach to this you will find yourself giving away plenty for little or no return.
Requests are often loaded with guilt. People can be passive aggressive in their approach. Often, people requesting help leverage pester power. It can be hard to say no. There are too many stories of retailers giving a gift as a prize, receiving the Thank You poster and achieving no benefit for the business.
Our advice is to manage your philanthropy as you would any business activity.
THE PRIZE / GIFT
Decide the amount in cash or product value or both that you are prepared to donate in a full year, calendar year or financial year.
Our recommendation is you give away cash, but in the form of a voucher to spend in your business. This ensures that value of the gift or prize is greater than the cost of it to your business.
The best mechanism for giving away cash or an amount to spend in-store is to do it by way of a gift voucher. Use your software to manage this as any manual approach is dangerous and time-consuming.
YOUR PITCH, NOT THEIRS
Get on the front foot and write to local community groups outlining that you budget a year in advance. Seek their submissions. With this advice sheet we have included the text of a suggested letter. Please read the letter as it outlines the approach we suggest and why. It is important you communicate this with all community groups.
On the page after the letter is a suggested notice for use in-store when you are asked for donations.
HOW TO PICK GROUPS TO SUPPORT
Focus on community groups that support you. That is, groups with members who support you. The more they support you the better you are able to support the community.
Be prepared to ask where people shop for the items you sell in your business. Ask if they will change in return for your support.
Asking these questions underscores to you the importance of approaching the decision as a business decision.
Be thoughtful and deliberate. Support the groups that support you. This is important as it helps you stay within a budget.
LET YOUR SHOPPERS CHOOSE
If you run discount vouchers and if customers say they don’t want the voucher, invite them to contribute the voucher to a local group – one of three you setup for in the business. Every month, two months or three months, tote up the vouchers and give the group a parentage of the total voucher value ‘voted’ for them.
This idea could be in addition to any giving program you run in the business. It offers a daily reminder of your commitment to local giving.
Grill’d burgers run a program kind of like this where each shopper is given a bottle cap, which they place in a tub to vote on a group to receive a cash donation for the month. The process of groups submitting to be considered is onerous. You can find out more about that program with this link – it is a good place to research what others do: https://www.grilld.com.au/localmatters/
In addition to any direct gift, consider an offer whereby anyone who is a member of the group who shops with you accrues an amount you donate to the group. You could manage this through your software. It could be you offer a discount to the shopper as well as accruing a value for the group.
This type of program could also be in addition to your core giving program as the value here is driven by sales – hopefully, incremental sales.
EDUCATE GROUPS ABOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT
Here are things groups you support can do to help your business. You should ask them to do these things:
- Tell members to buy from you.
- Write about your business on their Facebook page.
- Distribute flyers of your offers.
- Have you speak at a meeting.
WRITE ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT
Once you have a decision on which groups you will support, write about this in your newsletter and on Facebook. Not just once but multiple times. Invite them to provide you with content to publish too. Talk about their good works.
Ask them to write about you too.
Your giving has to serve your heart and serve your business. Going about it in a structured way will ensure you meet your objectives.
In the Tower Systems POS software, small business retailers can tap into terrific holiday season help. This can be in the form of inventory buying guidance, marketing help, co-location assistance and shopper nudging support … plus more.
Helping small business retailers with holiday season facilities is an important role for any POS software. It is something Tower Systems has offered it’s thousands of small business retailer POS software customers for decades. Over time, the holiday season advice and tips have evolved, as have economic and consumer needs.
Leveraging holiday season inventory guidance, for example, retailers can make more informed purchase decisions that better serve the needs of the business based on prior holiday season experience and taking into account trends from this year.
Oh, and when we are talking here about the holiday season in retail, we are talking about holiday seasons like Christmas, Easter, Black Friday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas in July, back to School. You see, a holiday season in retail is any season that a retail business can respond to in any to leverage the business opportunity and serve niche customer need.
Holiday seasons in retail do not necessarily have to be the holiday season you think of in a traditional sense.
Using our POS software, beyond knowing what to stock for a holiday season, our retail business partners are able to make shop floor decisions that guide shopper engagement with the holiday season product opportunity ties. These could be loyalty, price, packaging, bundling or post purchase re-visit invitation. these and more can be leveraged thorough the Tower Systems specialty retail POS software.
Leveraging the surge in traffic that a retail business sees from the holiday season can be key to through the year growth, benefiting the business between holiday season shopper traffic peaks. This is key to any retail business achieving a smoother sales flow. While a spike in shopper traffic and revenue are good, less of a spike makes management of a retail business easier and more cost friendly.
Tower Systems, using its considerable retail experience, can help small business retailers cross the divide between tech and real world to offer a better and more beneficial holiday season experience. That is our goal in the software we develop and the advice we provide through our customer help desk.
The POS software from Tower Systems offers serial number tracking of products sold. This is a powerful point of difference for the POS software as serial number tracking is not common in POS software solutions.
Developed originally for jewellers, the serial num her tracking facilities have been found to be useful for bike retailers, farm supply businesses, firearms dealers and selected other specialty retail settings.
Using the Tower Systems POS software, retailers can record the serial numbers of all items arriving in-store that have unique serial numbers. These can be tracked at the point of sale. They can also be tracked for warranty, servicing, valuation and insurance purposes. Stores can also record serial numbers only when they sell – when they record, at arrival or sale, is up to them.
The serial number tracking facilities in the POS software become valuable in almost any retail situation in which they are used.
Thera are some retail sectors where suppliers require the tracking of product serial numbers at the point of sale. There are some regulatory situations where tracking serial numbers is key. Doing this through the POS software brings certainty and consistency to retail businesses.
Tower Systems is proud to offer serial number tracking in its POS software. We are grateful to the many suppliers and retailers who have guided us on this over the years, keeping us on top of the needs of all stakeholders in this serial number tracking space.
Serial number tracking in our POS software has been available for many years. Sure, it has been enhanced over time as needs have evolved, but we first started offering it in software we sold close to 20 years ago. Of course, the software we sell today is completely different, made for today, for today’s needs.
Using the serial number tracking tools in our POS software, retailers can also maintain good records that are useful for themselves in their own management of their businesses.
From the moment stock arrives in the business we manage serial numbers, recording each serial number. alternatively, you can enter the serial number of the item when it is sold – the retail business decides on the appropriate time for them to manage the recording of a serial number. This is a local management decision they can make.
Tower Systems is grateful to serve more than 3,500 small business retailers across several niche retail channels – with specialty POS software offering facilities like serial number tracking covered here.
The area of quote and invoice management varies between types of retail businesses.
Through its work with garden centres, jewellers, farm supply businesses, landscape supply businesses and pool maintenance businesses POS software company Tower Systems has found some similarities. It has developed software to serve these common needs.
While not the deepest and most sp[ecialist solution, it is cost-effective and useful ion a variety of situations, as our customers how us.
here is a recent video from us in which some of our team discuss and show quote and invoice management facilities in our Tower Systems POS software:
Whether your shop is big or small and your quote and invoice management needs are complex or simple, these tools from Tower Systems are part of the software for a range of specialty retail marketplace versions of our POS software. The key is to see if they fit your needs. The Tower team would be grateful to personally demonstrate them to you.
We are grateful to be hiring for our help desk. If you know someone with good small business retail experience and good tech skills, please have them make contact: email@example.com.
We are grateful to the views from local small business retailers who have engaged with our new POS software YouTube channel.
here is the link to the Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrSQkP8ee91L-oh7LJgGwcw/videos
In-store and online, Tower Systems helps fishing and outdoors shops connect with shoppers and add value to your contact with those who love fishing. Our software has wonderful opportunities through which you can demonstrate your point of difference and nurture helping customers create memories fishing.
Here are some websites we have created for fishing and outdoors businesses – they are connected to our POS software:
- Camping World Dalby:campingworlddalby.com.au
- Sportfishing Scene:sportfishingscene.com.au
This QR code will take you to a video of a new demonstration of our software. This demonstration covers some of what’s unique in our software.
Here are answers to some of the questions we have been asked about our Fishing and Outdoors Business POS Software over the years
When you are ready, we’d love to show you our Fishing and Outdoors Business POS Software and through that show you answers to other questions you have.
Can I connect the software to a scale to sell bait by weight? Yes.
Can I sell products in fraction units, like 1.25? Yes.
Can you pass on local fishing maps and information? Yes, you can load files, images, documents or PDFs for products (information sheets, advice, notices) and have them automatically included in emailed receipts.
Can I bundle items together like a rod, reel and line? Yes.
I sell at events away from the shop sometimes, can I do this with the software? Yes, using our Retailer RoamTM software you can sell anywhere, any time.
Does the software handle club member pricing? Yes, this can be a great marketing tool, getting local community group members support the business and fundraising at the same time.
Can I share local fishing and camping tips on receipts? Yes.
Can I set an age check on age restricted items? Yes.
Can I run BOGO pricing, buy 1 get 1 or similar? Yes.
Does the software let me manage my own time-based catalogue pricing? Yes.
Can I sell gift cards for my business? Yes.
Does the software have a facility for encouraging infrequent shoppers to spend more? Yes, it’s proven to work well at achieving this.
Does the software let me buy in bulk and break up to retail packs? Yes.
Does the software produce WAS / NOW price labels? Yes.
Can you manage quotes with the software? Yes, you can create quotes and then turn them into sales if they proceed.
Can you reach out to customers based on past purchases? Yes, you can select customers for marketing past on a range of criteria, including past purchases.
Does the system handle account customers? Yes, you can setup and manage customer accounts.
Does the system produce invoicing and statements? Yes, these can be printed or emailed.
Does the software track product serial numbers? Yes. You have a couple of different ways you can do this.
I sell clothing, can I manage this by colour, size and style? Yes.
Does the software connect with my website? We partner with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce and offer direct links to these.
Can I email receipts? Yes.
Can I track where my customers come from? Yes.
Do I have to pay for software on additional computers in my business? No.
Can I connect with my EFTPOS terminal? Yes. We have a direct link to Tyro and through Linkly we connect to all major banks.
Can I use my existing hardware? Yes, as long as your hardware meets our minimum standards.
Can I use my existing data with the software? Yes. We’d like to check your data to be sure. We will advise what can be safely brought across.
Does it integrate with Xero? Yes.
Our fishing shop software links to Xero, Shopify and suppliers – we’ll work with any supplier to help you run a more efficient business.
To talk to one of our fishing shop software experts, please call 1300 662 957 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is another in our series of retail management advice based on our decades of service to local small business retailers using our Tower Systems POS software:
How to calculate gross profit by floorspace and how to use this information
With retail space usually costing between 11% and 15% of (non agency) revenue, it is usually the next highest cost outside of the cost of stock itself.
Spend half an hour on what we suggest here and the result could provide clarity on immediate steps you can take in your business to improve what you make.
This is not advice you will get from your accountant or from reviewing your P&L or computer reports. It is designed to be practically helpful in managing your business.
Please follow these simple steps.
- Take a blank sheet of paper, ideally A3, and roughly sketch out the layout of your shop, marking in display units, wall shelving, the counter – everywhere you have product.
- The floor plan layout should also include your back room if you have stock there.
- Colour-shade the layout by department. For example, shade all areas with magazines in yellow, all floor space for gifts in blue etc.
- List the departments on the side of the floor plan.
- Calculate the percentage of total space taken by each department. This does not need to be accurate to two decimal places. List this next to each department you have listed.
- Use your computer system to report on gross profit dollars earned by each department over the last year.
- Calculate the percentage of total gross profit contribution earned by each department and list this next to the floor space allocated to each department – on the floor plan map you have done.
- Circle in green those performing the best and in red those performing the worst. A best performing department will typically be responsible for a significantly higher percentage of gross profit than percentage of space allocated whereas a worst performing department will be contributing a percentage of overall gross profit considerably lower than the percentage of floor space allocated.
Once you have the marked-up floor plan with the space percentage and percentage of total gross profit, think about your floor space allocation.
The above steps do not take into account product size and the average gross profit percentage from each dollar of revenue for a department. For example, ink is a lower margin product than stationery, gifts are a higher margin magazines. Typically, the analysis will highlight challenges with lower margin product.
Here are actions the work you do could lead to:
- Changing the location of a department within the business.
- Increasing floor space for a department.
- Decreasing floor space for a department.
- Working on improving the GP achieved for a department through better buying.
- Working in increasing sales for a department to lift the overall GP dollar contribution achieved.
You can take the analysis a step further by looking only at one department and analysing performance by category, using the method outlined above.
For example, in one business we saw pens taking 7% of stationery space while they contributed more than 40% of gross profit earned from all stationery.
The type of analysis we are suggesting here is intended to give you a fresh view of your business as you engage in the process of constant change.
A few of us from Tower Systems got together recently to talk through some of the key software enhancements to our POS software from recent years, for a video to share with our customers. The reaction has been terrific. here’s that video:
Stamping a loyalty card in a coffee shop, gift shop, pet shop, toy shop and other settings can be a thing of the past thanks to terrific tools in the smart POS software from Tower Systems.
Here is a new video we shot a few days ago explaining how to set this up in our software and how to drive sales through it…
What Tower Systems offers in terms of nurturing shopper loyalty is not new. It is something the POS software company has done for many years. And, it is something the company continues to evolve in service of better solutions for POS software retailers.
For years, retailers, especially independent and small business retailers, have been told to follow retail giants and reward loyal shoppers with points that can be redeemed for gifts and discounts.
Dutifully, many small business retailers acted on this – but without a thought-through strategy to achieve the best outcome for the business.
Without a financially rewarding outcome for a business, a loyalty program is worthless.
This is why retailers, in any retail channel and in any retail situation – high street, shopping mall, rural and or regional – need options in terms of shopper loyalty rewards.
While a points based program is useful, it could be that the business will benefit from a different approach.
Good POS software will offer flexibility. This flexibility can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line performance of a retail business each year.
The Tower Systems Point of Sale software supports multiple loyalty options that include: a traditional points based approach, interfacing to the respected Vii Accumulate loyalty platform, interfacing to the equally respected Transactor loyalty platform, interfacing to Flybys NZ and offering a unique and flexible front end loyalty solution.
Having so many options available provides Tower Systems retail partners with commercially valuable flexibility.
The loyalty platform selected by a business depends on the needs of that business. A business that chooses POS software without broad flexibility will be limited in what they can achieve for their business with their software.
Offering flexibility as well as certainty provides loyalty solutions that local small business retailers can embrace and love, and their customers can love.
Check out this video in which we demonstrate the Tower Systems POS software for jewellers:
Deeper still, check out the repairs management in the Tower Systems POS software:
Tower Systems develops specialty retail POS software for independent local retailers. we are a local business supporting local businesses.
We are often asked at our Tower Systems POS software company for help when it is too late. In this article, we share 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 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?
- Did you not make changes to your business when you should have?
- Has something local and unexpected impacted your business?
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Market within your budget. Photocopied black and white flyers designed with care can be cheap and effective.
- Attract people who don’t know what you sell. Run a no-cost or low-cost campaign to reach out to shoppers who have no ideal what you sell yet which could appeal to them. They are not to blame for not knowing what you sell.
- Different retail options: Consider becoming an outlet shop selling items from a supplier keen to quit bulk items. Rent space in your shop to another retailer. If you have higher priced items consider offering employees commission on sales. Maybe become an outlet for local artists taking on items on a consignment basis.
- Stop unprofitable behaviour. If you are doing things in your business which lose money or do not contribute to a good future for the business, stop doing them. Regardless of history or what your business might stand for, continuing with unprofitable activity only makes your situation worse. If you know something to be unprofitable and yet you say you can’t stop it, think carefully about that, about why you can’t stop losing money.
- Get suppliers to help. Suppliers often have old stock themselves which they want to quit at a substantial discount. Buy items you have not stocked before, negotiate good prices and put the stock out with a healthy margin but still at a discount to what others would be charging. Negotiate to pay once you are paid by customers.
- Trim employee costs. Cut employee hours and work more in the business yourself if you are not doing so already. While this can have a significant personal cost, the less you pay others the more be business benefits in financial terms.
- Trim overheads. Cut everything you can: cleaning, power usage, insurance, freight, banking. Look at every supplier relationship you have and see if you can negotiate a better deal to cut your operating costs. However, do not turn off lights as darkness is death in most retail businesses.
- What assets can you sell? Do you have computers, retail fixtures, vehicles or other assets you no longer use in the running of the business? If they are not being used, turn them to cash as quickly as possible.
- Get a job. If you have a partner in the business with you and the business can run with one partner, one of you should get a job outside the business. This is especially helpful in a husband and wife situation where the family income can benefit.
- Talk to your landlord. A good landlord will prefer a good business to stay rather than have then close down and a new tenant having to be found. Talk to the landlord, be honest with them about your situation. Given the landlord all of the information they need to make the decision you need them to make. This information will include sales figures, expenses and margin information. Usually, the more transparent you are with the landlord the more they will support your business.
- Talk to your bank. While banks tend to not get involved in lending to businesses that are struggling, it may be that they have contacts that can help you navigate to a solution. Maybe talk to another bank.
- Talk to colleagues. If you have nearby business colleagues in the same line of business, they might have stock they are happy to provide you for free or at a discount to give you stock to move for a good price.
- Refresh the business. Make the business look, smell and sound fresh. Beyond the products you sell and where tings are located, change the environment itself using scents and sounds. Too often when a business is struggling, those involved let standards slip and the business does not look attractive to shoppers. Avoid this laziness at all costs.
- Deliver amazing customer service. When serving customers be the perfect shop assistance and not the owner of the business facing closure. Keep your mind on the job at hand and not the cliff you’re worried might be a few steps ahead.
- Whoever is pressuring you the most to close or contemplate closing, talk to them. If it’s a supplier, the tax office or some other organisation or individual pressuring you about debts, be upfront with them, lay out for them your plan detailing the action you will take to turn your situation around, be clear about what you are doing and outline a timeline step by step for them. Seek their support.
- Set a timeframe. Decide where you want to be in a week, four weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks. Set realistic goals. Measure yourself against those goals. Know what you will do if you fall short.
What we offer here is general advice, a shopping list of advice from which you can choose. It is intended to get you thinking of ideas that could work for you.
No two situations are the same. No situation is impossible. No business is dead until the doors are closed for the last time.
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.
In 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.
A fresh look from at retail today and the opportunity for intentionally pursuing change for a brighter future.
Find a private place, hang a do not disturb sign on the door, put on music you love and please read on.
In this blog post, we share what we hope will prove to be valuable ideas, which help you create a more successful business and a more enjoyable business life. You will have seen some members embracing some of these ideas already as we have shared our thoughts through a process of evolution.
While this is advice from our Tower Systems POS software company, it is advice from us as retailers – yes, we own and run successful retail shops.
To us, conscious intention is deliberate decision making, pursuing change, for a better outcome for you, your business and all it serves.
WHERE ARE WE AT?
Retail is changing, faster than ever. In change, you can create opportunities. This is exciting. The key is to be deliberate in your embrace of change.
Yes, you have heard that before, probably so much that you ignore it. What we share here is important, new, and written for you.
Today, the pace of change is faster and the extent of change more comprehensive, most likely beyond what you see. There are myriad factors at play, myriad pressures on retail.
There are more competitors, many you will never see.
Shoppers are more empowered.
Shopping is less like shopping.
No business is immune: city, country, high street and shopping centre.
The days of making major changes and leaving them in place for years are over.
The borders between types of retail businesses are blurred.
Your customers can easily now be more than locals.
People want to be able to buy when they want to buy.
What constitutes a shop has changed, forever.
It is okay to keep doing what you are doing. Our advice is you make your decisions and take your actions with conscious intention. Drifting is not an option, unless you do it consciously, with intent. If your decision is to not change, we 100% respect that.
WHAT IS DIFFERENT TODAY?
In summary, to get you thinking, here is a list of what we see as different:
- Whereas in the past, a shop-fit would have a life of five or more years. Today, shops must look significantly different every eighteen months. We say this based on the rate of change we see in retail.
- Whereas in the past, fixtures were fixed, today fixtures float, can be moved, are flexible and enable rapid change without cost.
- Whereas in the past, lights were either on or off, today, darkness and shade are used to bring texture and emotion to parts of a store.
- Whereas in the past, a shop was made up of shop fixtures, today, everyday items make the best support for displaying products. Rugs on the floor, couches, easy chairs, rustic looking floors, natural looking walls.
- Shopkeeping is out. Engaged retail is in. Shopkeepers operate from the back room and behind the counter. Retailers engage on the shop floor.
- Local is more important than ever. Supporting local makers reinforces your local credentials.
- Whereas in the past, you did what you did because it was expected of the shingle, everything in the business now, all decisions, need to be about demographic targeting, a layered multi-demo strategy – chasing new traffic.
- Whereas in the past, your business was dominated by rules, today rules are gone for many product categories. Choices are at your doorstep.
- Whereas in the past, supplier representatives were a valued source of innovation advice, today, you are the innovator.
UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION.
Every business needs a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), that which is unique about their business in the area from which they draw customers, that which separates the business from other businesses.
It is vital that you know what your USP is and that you are mindful of this in all business decisions. Please see our knowledge base article on USP.
HOW WE CHANGE HAS CHANGED.
The process of change itself has changed. Whereas in the past we would plan, plan and plan before execution, today, we are in a world of rapid change and more change if the changes are not delivering what we need.
Motion (change) is and must be perpetual. It is almost like every day you asking what can I change today?
It is easy to feel overwhelmed. We suggest a small steps strategy. Undertaking many small steps can make any project more digestible and affordable. You do not have to do everything at once. Take small steps, but keep taking them.
Your inventory determines who your shop will appeal to, the occasions they will buy for, whether they talk about you, whether they will come back and if they trust you.
- Buy consciously. Buy with outcomes in mind: know the shopper and the occasion, think about how you could market a product externally and know where a product fits in the story of your business.
- Be demographic conscious. The age of shoppers and those they purchase for is determined by what you stock. Buy for multiple demographics: pre-teen, teen, young adult, adult / family, mature / retiree. All product purchases should fit the demographics you preference.
- Be price-point open. Two similar items at different price points can perform better than one product at one price point. Choice can drive sales.
- Don’t buy for yourself. You are not your customer.
- Tell stories. A cool item may not sell if it is the only item of its type or category in the business. The same item placed as part of a story could perform much better. When you buy, buy to a story.
- Measure and cut. If items are not performing, cut them. Stocking items because someone may want them some day is not good. Use your data, act on it. Set your stock turn goals and use these to measure against.
The more your business looks like a traditional business in your channel, the more it will be judged as traditional, the more it will perform traditionally. There is nothing wrong with this, if it is a conscious choice.
We encourage you to not run a traditional business because there is no evidence in performance data or in retail history to indicate that traditional model has any upside.
The best way to not be considered traditional is to not look like one.
Here is what this means:
- Keep visual noise to a minimum. This means less posters and signs. Let your products be seen and be the heroes.
- Your shop should push back against what shoppers used to expect from your type of business.
- Make the front third of the shop open with non-permanent fixtures that are flexible and easily moved. These are best if they are everyday items: tables, a couch, boxes and more. The more colour, texture and style the less like a shop your shop will feel and the more relaxed shoppers will be.
- Floor rugs are effective too, under a table fixture especially.
- No tradition at the counter. Use the counter for products that are easily purchased on impulse, that play against expectations.
- A feature wall behind the counter that can be changed easily.
- Different colours and textures rather than the usual shop-fit look.
- Different lighting to highlight different part of the business.
- Less shop-fit made fixtures and more personally made or found items.
- Product placement such that it encourages people to explore. Embrace treasure hunt retail … where people wander the shop hoping to find treasure.
- Move tasks, pricing, returns and more to the shop floor. This will reduce shopper theft and increase sales.
- Have the least amount of staff resources behind the counter as possible. On the shop floor the same people can guide purchases.
Be grateful people are in your shop and show this in your interaction and the interaction of all team members.
Saying hi to shoppers is nice, but not out of the ordinary.
Encourage team members to change up their greeting: good morning, nice to see you, thank you for coming in today…
Work on farewells: thanks for visiting, it was good to see you, take care out there…
In-store, offer experiences that are unexpected and / or appreciated.
- If you sell any type of candy, offer tastings.
- Have filtered water or iced tea to cool people in summer.
- Have homemade soup in small takeaway cups for winter.
- Structure times to demonstrate products. Hire people who are happy to demonstrate.
Love your customers. Consider a wall of customer love with photos you have taken of customers and photos customers have brought in.
Reset your customer interaction with a focus on more fun and happiness.
What you do, say and share outside also defines the business in the minds of shoppers and would-be shoppers. It is vital that your out of business communication and representation is intentional and reflective of how you want the business seen.
The more you post on social media and talk about products and services that are not known to be in your type of shop the more you become your own thing.
Be intentional in what you do and say outside your business. Further your mission ahead of the mission of the channel or channel traditional suppliers.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T CHANGE?
If you do not change your business it will perform in line with its current trajectory. If you are happy with that, embrace it.
If you are not happy with the current business trajectory, change is essential.
HOW WE CAN HELP?
Tower Systems, through its local small business experienced retail team can provide insights, suggestions and encouragement for you to reset your business.
We all have current retail experience.
We can bring detached perspective to help you combat store-blindness.
Leveraging our engagement starts with asking.
Not all point of sale systems are the same. Indeed, the differences between point of sale systems are considerable, from software function, to ease of use, to support, to price, to inclusions.
Our advice to local small. business retailers considering point of sale systems for their business is do your research, take your time, choose the software that BEST serves your needs, the software backed with the type of service that you want. The company providing the type of training and support you know your need. Then company with the software upgrade and enhancement commitment that suits how you see the needs for your business evolving.
Take your time. There is no rush.
Be sure what is important to you. Your needs come ahead of the needs of the point of sale system software company.
Compare apples with apples. Some point of sale system software sales people are good at playing smoke and mirrors. Be in control of how you compare software. Your needs matter.
Know the true price. Some play games with the total cost of ownership. Get to a true understanding of this before you commit.
Shop local. If you want your customers to shop local, shopping locally yourself is a good position to take.
Here at Tower Systems we are a transparent business, offering you easy access to the software before you make any decision. Plus, we will record the demonstration with you and make this available for you to share with others in your team. This helps you bring others in your business on the journey of point of sale system software with you – which is important.
So, yes, take your time, be in control, be sure that the choice you make is the choice you want to make, the choice that is right for your retail business and those who work in the business.
You know your needs better than an accountant or a consultant. Back yourself.
Tower Systems is grateful to serve thousands of local small business retailers. We have been doing this for many years. We’d love to support you with our years of experience. But, we promise, we will not pressure you. We will be here when you are ready …
Thanks for stopping by.