The POS Software Blog

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

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Our local small business economic stimulus package suggestion for the federal government

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Back in March we pitched a package of stimulus ideas to federal politicians and here with little interest. Today, we pitch a modified version, reflecting feedback from small business retailers in our POS software community of 3,500 businesses.

These are ideas from people living it, not economists. They are immediately and locally beneficial successions designed to serve local communities and retailers in those communities.

Covid stimulus package for local small business retailers and the communities in which they serve.

Small business retailers are nimble and able to lift local economies faster than big businesses and certainly better than online businesses.

Here are six tips for politicians on steps they can take, decisions they can make to help lift retail, especially small business retail, as well as those local businesses with which small business retailers can quickly connect.

  1. Local shops refresh grant. Give every local retail business a grant of at least $25,000 with the stipulation that it is spent locally (at least within the state or territory) on capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. It could be for painting, carpentry, electrical, new aircon, new carpeting, staff training or similar. Proof of local spending in the form of an invoice from a local tradesperson or small business company with and ABN and more than a year of trading as recognised by the ATO – to avoid fraud. The management of this should be online with quick approval and payment. Note: the $25,000 is suggested to provide sufficient local economic stimulus.
  2. Local visual merchandising support. Keeping in-store displays can be a challenge for small business retailers. Fund a network of merchandisers to make a 2 hour call weekly on qualified independent small retail businesses, sub $1M retail product turnover (i.e. not including agency), ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the campaign at six months and then assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. not an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  3. Local artists grants. Offer cash grants to fund buskers for local high streets, to make shopping locally more entertaining. Make the application easy. Focus on local artists entertaining in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of injecting cash locally as well as fostering the local arts. The application process should be online, approval fast and payment immediate.
  4. Direct all politician electorate spending to be with local small businesses. For printing, subscriptions, gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year purchased through a politician’s electorate to be through a a business in their electorate. Have the results assessed independently. Ensure that spending is fair, too, to benefit a variety of local businesses, and not dolled out as political favours. Shop local, shop small.
  5. Run a national shop small shop local ad campaign. Make it educational, smart, encouraging … guiding Aussies on the value to them from shopping local, shopping small. Help to understand the true value of shopping local, shopping small compared to the alternatives. The ad campaign should run regionally across multiple media platforms, giving preference to locally owned platforms with a track record for not managing their business to minimise tax. Yes, Amex does this. We need a campaign that is not credit card supported.
  6. Establish local currency systems. These work overseas on regional towns where local currency has more value than the national currency. It supports shopping local through a smart value structure. the government role could be on the tech back end to manage the currency – taking away capital cost from local councils. To find out more ab9out this, read up on the Bristol Pound.

This list could be much longer. It is offered here as a start, to get people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

Corona is challenging the economy. While we am not economists, we suspect that giving money to people likely to spend it quickly and spend it locally would be good for the economy and at a pace that is helpful to overall economic performance.

This is all about boosting local.

Advice for small business retailers considering a POS software connected website

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We have heard from another retailer who has been ripped off by someone for website development. This is happening too often, with small business retailers carrying the cost of the rip off financially and operationally.

In this latest instance, they were promised the world and delivered a mediocre website that is not POS software connected.

Based on years of experience developing POS software connected websites and decades of experience developing POS software, we have advice for small business retailers considering having a website developed for their business and connected to their POS software:

  • Choose a local web developer. Choose a person or business who is local, in the same country (and state even) as you.
  • Be careful. Some businesses may present as local when they are not. Sometimes, an offshore business will use a local agent who comes across as the web developer.
  • Look at recent sites. Ask for a list of websites they have developed in recent months. Look at the sites. Talk to the business owners to determine their happiness.
  • Know what is included. Get a list of exactly what will be delivered with the website and any costs associated with choices you will be asked to make along the way.
  • Be clear about what you want. The site is a key tool for your business. It is essential that you are clear as to your requirements, clear about what you want.
  • Know what you like and don’t like. It can be very helpful if you have a list of websites you like and a list of websites you don’t like.
  • Get it in writing. Ensure that what is agreed is documented, fully documented. Do not sign off to proceed until you have happy with the documentation.
  • Be in control. The website is your shop window. Control your images and text to ensure this window on your business is what you want to see.
  • Pay on completion. While paying a deposit is important and, indeed, fair and essential, holding a portion of payment for completion is important. It keeps the web developer focussed.

Getting the best website for your retail business depends on your level of engagement before starting the project and through. Our encouragement to retailers is that they engage because it is this engagement that will deliver the commercial outcomes you seek.

Tower Systems releases free Covid contact training tool for small business retailers

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We have released to our POS software customers today a free contact tracing initiative through our website that enables our customers to easily collect the details of people entering their business in a format useful to health authorities should that be necessary.

We have done this because state and territory governments have not agreed on a consistent approach and because we think manual record keeping is not ideal in times when health authorities will want a fast response.

Using our approach, we collect and securely store customer details and allow our retailers, and only our retailers, to download these based on selection criteria you enter.

We generate a QR code unique to each business. Customers scan this and are taken to a page we create for each business where they enter their name and mobile number. They can optionally enter their email address. We tag this data with the date and time. That’s it. Their visit is tracked. If asked, retailers can show authorities that they have a process in place for collecting this data. For those without a phone, collect the data manually, on a clip-board.

As we gain use experience with this facility we expect to enhance it further.

We have also shared a template document to use at the front of a store, with the sample QR code replaced with the store’s QR code:

We have developed this free QR code based contract tracing tool to help our small business retailer community to be well equipped for helping health authorities should there be a Covid diagnosis that connects with the retail business in some way.

This is another way we can give something back to the small business retail community, a community that is so important to our business.

We have seen with Covid that the ability to quickly track those who may have had contact with someone who tests positive it critical to the public health response.

This contact tracing initiative from our POS software company could be a useful tool. From the outset, we knew we have to deliver this without cost to small business retailers.

We are grateful to those on our team who have brought this to life and our own retail stores where we tested this to ensure its practical usefulness.

With Covid here for a while longer, having tools like this for rapid response is critical for the economy, critical for our small business retail community.

Here’s what life in stage 4 Covid lockdown has been like for our small business in Victoria

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Our head office is located in Hawthorn, Victoria, in suburban Melbourne, which has been in stage 4 lockdown since early August.

The gap between the end of the first Covid lockdown and the start of the tougher stage 4 was barely a month.

Back in March, when the impact of Covid became known, we made some decisions about the operations of our business that have meant the changes to restrictions have not impacted our business. These were changes any business could make. Indeed, with hindsight, they are changes we could have made years ago.

Even though our business is considered essential given the nature of our work and the customers we serve, we decided, back in March, to move to a remote operation for 85% of our work force of more than 50.

This meant bringing forward transition to our new VoIP phone system, expanding our Zoom capacity, expanding our Microsoft Teams capacity, providing team members with tech at home and putting in place financial compensation for folks working from home.

The tech changes were implemented over 2 days. They have served us well.

With plenty of our workforce usually in retail every day, helping our customers, we had to fundamentally change the way we worked. You cannot do online what you’d usually do in a shop installing software or training people. We adjusted and our customers adjusted.

Today, we’re almost 100% online in what we do and in our service delivery. If, however, a customer wants us in-store and it is essential to their business, we can do this, in stage 4 and outside of stage 4, and we have done it.

From a sales and marketing perspective the changes have been significant. We used to do at least 16 trade shows a year. This year we have done 1 and next year we have none planned. Instead, we have found new and, indeed, more useful ways to connect with prospects.

The result has been an increase in sales. This is good news for us, our team members and our customers. We are sincerely grateful.

Over recent weeks, we have brought several more people into the office as we have some team changes and new colleagues to meet.

While Victoria waits to hear when stage 4 will end, here at Tower Systems we see no major changes to how we operate through the remainder of 2020 and into the early months of 2021.

This new way of operating is offering team members more time with family, lower out of pocket costs and opportunities for healthier lifestyle choices.

We have learnt plenty navigating Covid, benefiting our business and all who work here. This is the good news story we’d like to see media outlets cover – what we have learnt and the benefits leveraged as a result. There are plenty of good news stories like ours.

We get that stage 4 restrictions in Victoria have been challenging. They have also provided opportunities.

We are optimistic about 2021 as we have a terrific base from this year on which to build … and for this we are sincerely grateful.

A marketing tip small business retailers can leverage into additional revenue, easily

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Use this unique facility to drive sales in any retail business and nurture optimism in the business and among customers.

It’s a bold claim. A true claim though in that we have the evidence to show that what we talk about here works, and works well, in hundreds of retail businesses.

Loyalty points are dead. Big businesses killed them, made them useless.

While our specialty retail POS software has a loyalty points program you can use, it is our smart discount vouchers that retailers in our community of 3,500+ retail; businesses love. Discount vouchers are part of broader loyalty tools we offer.

Note, we call them discount vouchers – you can call them what you like. The facilities give you leverage that you can employ to encourage shoppers to spend more and shop with you sooner.

Here’s a video from June this year in which we show how vouchers work and provide examples of the value they offer the business for little or no cost.

Here is a video we shot in August this year where we look at discount vouchers in more detail and explore what it looks like inside the business.

We use discount vouchers in retail businesses we operate and have done so since we first released the functionality in February 2013. They work a treat, delivering net beneficial value at no cost to the business.

The fundamental question for any retailer is do you want to grow your business? The answer, of course, is yes. Discount vouchers provide the means through which you can do this. It starts by changing the conversation, by offering something your competitors do not offer and, most likely, cannot offer.

By changing the conversation you drive a different shopper expectation and that helps shoppers see your business through a different light.

People like being rewarded for doing what they would do anyway. Through fine-tuned levers, you are able to nudge their engagement to go beyond what they would do and you can factor the cost of nudging into your pricing.

Across plenty of retail channels, discount vouchers deliver commercial benefits for retail business. Plus, they offer a community group connect that further enhances their value to the business as well as to the local community.

Tower Systems is encouraging retailers on POS software screen design

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Using our POS software, small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand have plenty of control over the design of their main POS screen. Changing this is easy. No coding is required. Our customers are proving to be creative in tailoring the screen to their unique business needs.

To celebrate some awesome POS software screen designs, over a week ago we announced a POS software screen design competition for our customers. We are giving away 6 bottles of wonderful champagne.

Our goal was to encourage folks in our retail business community to inspire each other, to show what is possible and to share how they have improved their businesses by embracing design change opportunities in our POS software.

Today is the day of judging. We are excited to have had so many retailers engage with this. The entries are terrific. Our customers are innovative, creative. They have shown a real love for our POS software.

Here is what we announced in our regular customer service email a week back:

Win a bottle of champagne.

Hey, Retailer 3 users, share your POS screen design to get in the running to win one of 6 bottles of Heidsieck And Co Monopole Gold Top 2010 champagne. We will choose 6 well-designed R3 POS screens as winners, each receiving a bottle – sent to you, free.

To enter, post a photo of your POS screen on our private customer Facebook page. Or, email support@towersystems.com.au with the subject – POS Screen competition. We will post it to the private Facebook page for you. Now, if you want to play with your design, this video may help: https://vimeo.com/387825075

We will keep this competition open for a week, until 9am Monday October 19, 2020. We will choose 6 POS screen designs as the winners and send a bottle of this champagne as a price.

Why are we running this competition? Because we are seeing some awesome POS software screen designs, designs that we think could inspire others to create better POS software screens. You have excellent flexibility in the software. We hope seeing the designs inspires you.

Here is what you could win: Heidsieck And Co Monopole Gold Top 2010. Heidsieck and Co Monopole are one of the oldest Champagne houses in the Champagne region. Gold Top 2010 is balanced and pleasing with hints of roasted and dry fruits, hazelnut, reminiscent of honey with a gingerbread dominance. This is a nice drop.

Practical advice for small business retailers in going online with a POS software connected website

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

Each one of these orders was 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.

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

  1. Create your online presence as a start-up business. Our recommendation is that you not take your existing shop online under your existing shop’s branding.
  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.

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.

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. We 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 written 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Gift shop POS software for $72.50 a month for small business gift shops

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Australia gift shops can rent this Australian made gift shop software for $72.50 a month. There is no finance contract to sign, no long term commitment, no credit check.

Businesses can cancel their use of our software at any time without penalty.

Oh, and the $72.50 a month rental cost for the software is locked in for as long as you use the software.

Here is what it can look like using this gift shop software:

  • Get rid of manual books at the counter for LayBys, special orders, stock you need to order and more.
  • Guide shoppers to spend more with loyalty tools we think you will love.
  • Drive community group member engagement with group pricing.
  • Pre-sell hot items – get paid before the stock arrives.
  • Leverage your knowledge on receipts and elsewhere. Sell you.
  • Reach beyond your four walls with a directly linked Shopify store.
  • Eliminate LayBy and get paid sooner with buy now pay later.
  • Cut dead stock and re-order based on data facts.
  • Cut theft by knowing what is being stolen.
  • Make price comparison harder with bundled packs.
  • Easily and consistently pitch locally sourced products.
  • Bring customers back with reminders on dates important to them.
  • Save money on bookkeeping by integrating with Xero.

The gift shop POS software from Tower Systems is made specifically for gift shops in Australia and New Zealand. Designed to serve needs unique to gift shops, this software is specialty in nature, as these retail businesses are specialty too.

This list is a taste of the benefits delivered through the Tower Systems gift shop software.

With hundreds of gift retailers using this POS software, its usefulness is well established and proven. We are grateful to retailers who help us evolve the software, to see it grow as the needs of these specialty retailers evolve. Indeed, the evolution of the software is key.

Australian made matters to local Aussie retail businesses. We are more likely to serve your need than you might see from software developed overseas.

Using the Gift shop Point of Sale software from Tower Systems, retailers can expect to:

Cut costs.  Thanks to electronic invoicing, the cost of processing new stock is lower than with manual processes.  This can help cut your labour bill.

Increase sales: reward customers.  A good loyalty program works.

Increase sales: easy lay-by.  Lay-by run properly and using technology can be highly profitable.

Increase sales: market to your customers.  A coupon on your receipts, an email newsletter, a printed newsletter or up-sell script at the sales counter for staff – these are all ways you can use your point of sale system to help guide your existing customers to spend more money with you.

Increase sales: social responsibility.  Connect with a local charity and help them help your business.

We are thrilled to offer this Aussie developed gift shop software for $72.50 a month. This is a SPECIAL OFFER which will end soon.

Website advice for small business retailers

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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

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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.

 

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

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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.

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

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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.

Smart POS software helps small business retailers eliminate loyalty cards

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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…

Rental makes POS software affordable for small business retailers

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A year ago, Tower Systems launched a new rental solution for acquiring access to its POS software for small business retailers. What this means is that any business owner wanting to access our POS software can do so through a rental offer.

Making our POS software available to rent for a few dollars a day makes it cash flow effective.

There is no finance agreement to sign. No contract to lock in.

Customers can cancel the rental at any time, meaning their rental obligation is no more than 30 days. This makes the cost of accessing our POS software lower than ever.

By renting POS software, small business retailers are able to put this in place quickly and easily without having to invest significant capital, leaving those funds for products and other more practical investments in their businesses.

Included in the few dollars a day rental price is everything on this list:

  • Access to the POS software itself – on as many computers in the business as you need.
  • Help desk access for assistance with use and more relating to the software. This is human based, working out of Melbourne, with one of our team members also working our of New Zealand. Help desk access is through the phone, email, our website and more.
  • Access to more than 600 articles in our online knowledge base – online and searchable documentation.
  • Unlimited access to personal one on one training.
  • Backup check help – where we check your backup to ensure you are actually backing up properly.
  • Theft check, where we look at your data and apply use principles to look for behaviour that could speak to employee theft.
  • Access to professionally tested electronic stock files from suppliers.
  • Help with access to direct connected EFTPOS, like Tyro.
  • Help with everyday support for e-commerce links from the POS software side.

All of these support and assistance tools are built into the low daily rental cost. Making the cost of the software rental valuable and easy for businesses.

POS software rental makes accessing our software easy. From a technical perspective, ur customers can run the software on their desktop computers or in the cloud – the choice is theirs. We are happy to serve whatever need customers have in that situation.

POS software rental is here for the long term. We think it’s what small business retailers want.

Fixed price website development for small business retailers

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If you are in a retail channel with big competitors, we suggest you think carefully before you take your current products online. Do your research and see if you feel you can compete with this online already, especially the big competitors.

This advice from us is especially relevant if your online plans are about attracting shoppers located outside your current catchment area.

Take the pet space. National pet retailers have a strong presence as do several online-only businesses. They own the value space, where people are buying on price, as well as the service space where people need it now. This is especially true with everyday pet food.

You have to ask yourself what is my point of difference? and can I make enough money off this to justify the website investment?

In terms of pet food and unless you are selling products unique to your business, it would be a tough road to find new shoppers outside your current catchment area. If you think about it, what do they have to go on, especially if you are selling known brands. Service and price are the two key factors. The big players will out spend and out service you.

Look at dog food, there are currently 8,800 searches a day in Australia for this. Once you add in the 65,000 variations to dog food related searches in Australia every day you soon hit almost 700,000 search results. That is the pool in which you would play if you are selling dog food. This is data from a respected data tool we subscribe access to.

Click here to see a summary report we ran recently on dog food. Click here to see a spreadsheet of of the first 30,000 keywords relating to this.

This example is relevant to all of our customers, regardless of whether they sell dog food. Each marketplace faces big business online challenges where keywords have been richly and widely mined.

If you are considering going online and want to reach shoppers beyond your current catchment area, your website will need to pitch in a way that differentiates to others.

So, if you are considering online and want to attract new shoppers, what is unique about your offer and is it financially viable.

We can help. We will research keywords for you, before you set on a path for a new or reinvigorated website. If you would like us to do this, feel free to email me direct (mark@towersystems.com.au) with keywords that you are considering. I will check out traffic volumes for you and email a report with data to help guide your consideration.

If the dog food example does not connect with you, let’s look at toys. In Australia right now, there are 40,500 searches for toys. On top of this, there are 528,000 keyword variables relating to toys with 7 million results. Click here to see a summary report based on current searches in Australia for Toys, which we ran recently.

Our core point here is that planning before you go online is critical to ensuring success once you are online. There are many opportunities online. They are often outside what retailers see as their preferred online solution.

Taking your business online is like creating a start up business. Researching before you begin is critical.

Buy now pay later helps small business retailers replace LayBy

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The Tower Systems POS software is integrated with Humm and ZipPay / ZipMoney and have been since they launched. Both offer small business retailers valuable tools for buy now pay later trading in their specialty retail businesses.

Using Humm or Zip, retailers are able to offer easy over the counter purchase to customers who might otherwise have wanted to use LayBy. This way the customers can take their items immediately and the retailer is paid the next day.

There are rules and processes, which are managed by the POS software.

Tower Systems delivered the first POS software integration for Humm, pioneering years ago a solution that has been beneficial for many small business retailers. This was followed by the ZipPay and ZipMoney integration with the Tower POS software.

Offering buy now pay later is particularly helpful in retail situations where a business is supplying one time only shoppers or infrequent shoppers as it helps the business capture sales that the old LayBy approach may not have served for those businesses.

Integration is easy and payment is seamless. Tower Systems helps retailers connect with bot the respected buy now pay later finance companies, delivering beneficial access and providing front line support to serve these business needs.

While our POS software continues to offer LayBy, it is being used less as businesses seek to use less space for then storage of LayBy goods. Also, consumer legislation covering LayBy can sometimes present more onerous challenges for retailers than nis the case for buy now pay later operations.

The Zip and Humm integrations and just two of plenty of integrations delivered by Tower Systems in this space of helping small business retailers offer broader solutions beyond the core POS software functions. Tower has a long track record of working with other businesses, connecting with them and helping small business retailers to leverage these connections for their own operations.

Tower Systems is a vertical market POS software company serving thousands of independent and small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand with fresh and innovative POS software that is tailored to the unique needs of each retail channel in which it serves.

Helping small business retailers pivot online

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All through Corona we have been helping retailers pivot online thanks to our fixed price Shopify website development. We continue to run open, transparent and interactive online workshops for retailers, where we answer questions and provide plenty of examples. Here is a video of one of our recent sessions.

Shopify website development in Australia

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Tower Systems continues to develop beautiful Shopify websites for small business retailers in Australia.

Our Shopify development work is 100% done in Australia, by developers who work for our company, in Australia.  This matters because our team members understand Australian retail. They also understand how to connect the Shopify websites to POS software, like our own POS software.

Our Shopify website development is done on a fixed price basis. We do this in service our our retail business customers, specialty retailers with specialty needs. We provide a comprehensive plan as well as a terrific hand over document that outlines how any retailer can get the most from the Shopify site.

As a partner of Shopify, we bring the latest insights and tools to life in each website that we develop for our our customers. As Shopify evolves, so do we. we participate in Shopify conferences, face to face in Las Vegas and Toronto as well as online, to ensure we are up to date and reflecting the opportunities of their platforms.

Our POS software connected Shopify websites that we develop offer easy access to AfterPay, ZipPay, Humm, PayPal, click and collect, Sendle and more in terms of seamless integrations. These, plus social media integrations, offer true connectivity between our Shopify websites and the retail businesses they bring to life online.

Designed to serve your needs, the Shopify websites we develop are done in collaboration, with regular communication, offering our customers opportunities to learn with us so as to make using and adjusting the site in the future easy and smart of the retail business.

Tower Systems undertakes Shopify website development primarily for small and independent retail businesses. These customers are at the core of our business. The work is done 100% in our website development team, which is based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We have a separate development team for our POS software.  But … both teams work together to deliver seamless connectivity from which our small business retail customers can benefit.

Our fixed price approach to Shopify website development is clear, transparent and thorough. we have a wonderful portfolio of sites delivered already. we’d be glad to share details with anyone interested in Shopify website development for their retail business.

To find our more, please reach out to our sales team at sales@towersystems.com.au.

Small business retailers benefit from POS software tools made for them

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Details matter when it comes to specialty POS software for speciality retailers. Here are some highlights of detailed facilities in our specialty retail POS software:

  • This software doesn’t care about your feelings. It cares about facts and report those facts to you, so you can make decisions based on them.
  • It comes with a free therapist. If our software does hurt your feelings or does something unexpected, we have real Aussies & New Zealanders ready to make you (and the software) feel better.
  • It won’t forget your mates birthdays (or any birthday).  Excellent marketing tools allow you to keep in touch with customers based on previous purchases, special events, and yes… birthdays.
  • This software does not play favourites. If a staffer is stealing from you or misbehaving using the software, it will out them, without emotion.
  • You can your experts. Take product care and use knowledge from your best people and share it with customers on receipts, easily.
  • Stick it to big business. They can’t compete with our awesome loyalty tools.
  • Sell anywhere, any time. Retailer Roam is awesome.
  • The online pivot. We develop websites and awesome POS software.
  • Click and collect. It’s easy, safe and managed.
  • Seasonal reordering. Based on evidence.
  • Pitch local. Consistently, through your software.
  • Age check. Offering compliance check for age restricted products.
  • Getting rid of customer order books. Paperless is faster, safer.
  • Postcode capture. Knowing your reach can amaze you.
  • Product care advice. Selling you and your knowledge can drive sales.
  • Product warning notice. Ensure they understand care of what you sell.
  • Bundling for safer shopping. Bundles / hampers that make shopping easier.
  • Contactless EFTPOS. Integrated. No keystrokes. Great rates.
  • Job service management. Track repairs and jobs from the quote on.
  • Reducing rep contact. Order on evidence and not on their social skills.
  • Serial number tracking. When it matters, it matters.

Tower Systems developed and supports POS software made for specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand. Our focus is only on local, indie, small business retailers, specialty retailers who differentiate by being specialist at what they do, like us.

We are grateful to our more than 3,000 customers who have faith us us every day.

Affordable POS software for gift shops helps these small business retailers compete

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The gift shop POS software from Tower Systems is made specifically for gift shops in Australia and New Zealand. Designed to serve needs unique to gift shops, this software is specialty in nature, as these retail businesses are specialty too.

This gift shop software delivers a range of benefits for easy rental at $72.50 a month

  • Get rid of manual books at the counter for LayBys, special orders, stock you need to order and more.
  • Cut dead stock and re-order based on data facts.
  • Cut theft by knowing what is being stolen.
  • Eliminate LayBy and get you paid sooner with buy now pay later.
  • Make price comparison harder with bundled packs.
  • Easily and consistently pitch locally sourced products.
  • Drive community group member engagement with group pricing.
  • Get one-time-only shoppers spending more with loyalty tools.
  • Bring customers back with reminders on dates important to them.
  • Save money on bookkeeping by integrating with Xero.
  • Leverage your knowledge on receipts and elsewhere. Sell you.
  • Reach beyond your four walls with a directly linked Shopify store.

This list is a taste of the benefits delivered through the Tower Systems gift shop software.

We are grateful to the hundreds of gift shop POS software retailers we serve today for their support, advice and guidance.

Using the Gift shop Point of Sale software from Tower Systems, retailers can expect to:

Cut costs.  Thanks to electronic invoicing, the cost of processing new stock is lower than with manual processes.  This can help cut your labour bill.

Increase sales: reward customers.  A good loyalty program works.  Not like FlyBys which is of dubious financial value to customers.  No, a serious loyalty program which guides your customers to spend more money with you.  I have see stores grow sales by 10% on the back of a well constructed loyalty program,  a good POS software package will run this for you, points and all.

Increase sales: easy lay-by.  Lay-by run properly and using technology can be highly profitable.  The software can manage the rules and ensure that your shop operates as professionally as a national retailer.  You set your own rules and the software manages the paperwork.

Increase sales: market to your customers.  A coupon on your receipts, an email newsletter, a printed newsletter or up-sell script at the sales counter for staff – these are all ways you can use your point of sale system to help guide your existing customers to spend more money with you.

Increase sales: social responsibility.  Connect with a local charity.  Use your gift shop software to make it easy for a local charity to promote your retail business shop and raise money for themselves at the same time.  Each sale earned for you by the charity can be tracked so that you are able to reward them with an accurate donation at the end of the campaign.

Helping small business retailers offer POS software connected click and collect

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Click and collect is now universally understood and embraced as a consequence of corona. This is especially true in Victoria Australia where in metro melbourne there is a 6-week hard hard lockdown in place. Click and collect is a lifeblood for retailers in the large lockdown area.

Here at Tower Systems we have been serving small business retailers with click and collect enabled POS software connected to Shopify and other websites all through this. Indeed, click and collect is something shops working with us have been offering for years.

Through Magento, Shopify and Woo POS software connected websites, our click and collect solution can be for drive by curbside contactless pickup, home delivery and traditional click and collect the flexibility is powerful, appreciated and easy for small business retailers as they play in this now important space for small business retailers.

Click and collect is here to stay and even more important, shoppers and retailers understand it. They understand how it works, the opportunities it brings and the health and safety imperative. It is good news for newsagents.

We are proud to have helped many small business retailers bring the click and collect opportunity to life in their businesses and to do this through a seamless connection between our POS software and their e-commerce site.

We do it ourselves in our own websites, too, offering click and collect in the shops we run, where we use our software and websites that our web team have developed, to show off our tech and business operational skills.

retail has fundamentally changes thanks to corona and wee are grateful to the thousands of retailers who partner with us, embracing software we develop and leveraging the tech integrations that we support in the work we do across a range of specialty retail channels.

While corona is challenging for so many, if we can provide income certainty for small business retailers and those who rely on these businesses then it is one less stressor for them. This is where click and collect plays a vital role, in offering an alternative and safe path to revenue for a retail business.

2020 is a year of massive change with tech being at the core of so much change. It’s not done yet as more changes are coming. Our message to small business retailers is that we are here, we have your back through these changes.

Specialty retail POS software for specialty retailers

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Our specialty POS software offers many specialty retail benefits for specialty small business retailers, including:

  1. Colour, size and style: Easily track sales at a granular level.
  2. Club pricing: Helps you attract community group members.
  3. Repairs: Easily track & manage repairs & communicate with customers.
  4. Sell by weight. Sell by fractions. Yes, this software is integrated with scales.
  5. Smart loyalty. While you can use points, we also have something better. In fact, the software offers multiple loyalty options for flexible and engaging loyalty with shoppers.
  6. BOGO: Increase sales with buy this and get that bundling.
  7. Age checking. Giving you the operational structured protection to ensure your front line people are guided to trade within the rules.
  8. Chemical risk notification by products.
  9. Product care information. This is where you can personalise advice to products and thereby better serve your customers, and differentiate your retail business.
  10. Local location product use information.
  11. Warranty: Track details and leverage this for customer service.
  12. Bring them back: Target market for birthdays, anniversaries and more.
  13. Sell anywhere: Using our Retailer RoamTM sell anywhere app.
  14. Sell anytime: With our Shopify / Magento / Woo integrations.
  15. Image flowing to online websites – flowing from the POS software.
  16. Special orders: Easily manage special customer orders.
  17. Jeweller specific product labels.
  18. Outdoor, weatherproof, product labels.
  19. The ability to design your own product labels.
  20. The ability to design your own receipts.
  21. Awesome loyalty: Guide one-time and regular shoppers to spend more.
  22. Seasonal reordering: Easily reorder inventory based on seasonal sales.
  23. Integrate direct with Xero.
  24. Integrate direct with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, this includes the feeding of images of inventory items to these platforms for easy online selling.

This is not the complete list. Our POS software is packed with specialty tools through which indie small business retailers can differentiate and deliver more useful outcomes to the business, those who work in the business and to customers of the business.

Our goal is to empower small business retailers with tools that encourage and nurture, tools that are at the core of the business, appreciated, loved and respected. Those are our goals for our POS software and the services we offer our specialty retail customers.

Click & collect easy for small business retailers with Shopify connected POS software

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Click & collect is the buzzword retailers are talking about and have been talking about for several years. Too often, the talk is ignorant.

What is click & collect? It is when a shopper makes a purchase online and they travel to a store and collect the item. The online purchase is the click and the in-store pickup is the collect.

Click & collect is fundamental in any retail business today as it enhances the shopper experience and shopper efficiency. It also enables retail businesses to better manage time and resources in-store.

\Also, in 2020, being the year that it is, click & collect makes for safe retail, contactless retail.

In a click & collect scenario, the shopper chooses what they want online, browsing store inventory and making their selection. They pay on line, too. The goods are gathered together and set up ready for the shopper to collect in-store or even through curbside collection arrangement, meaning they might not even have to leave their vehicle. This is the ultimate click & collect situation, the ultimate convenient shopping experience.

Click & collect is something we have offered in our small business POS software for years, thanks to our integrations with Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. We have helped many retailers bring this experience alive in their single shop situations as well as their multiple shop situations, where shoppers purchase online and can select, if they wish, the location from where they make the collection.

Click & collect is fundamental in retail today, it is a core service, a core consumer expectation and core to the revenue model of many retail businesses. It can be easily managed from the online purchase through to the back end store management.

Tower Systems is pleased to serve small business retailers in the click & collect space, pleased to help these businesses offer this useful and beneficial service as these businesses trade in evolving and unique retail circumstances.

Click & collect has come into its own in 2020 through the greater need for contactless retail. Making it accessible to and understood by small business retailers has been another part of the Tower Systems small business focussed mission, where we help small business retailers more effectively compete with big business.

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