The POS Software Blog

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

CategoryInventory Management

Inventory software for Australian retailers – boring but essential


The topic of inventory software can be boring for small business retailers. What we say is that inventory software is not boring. Indeed, the topic of inventory software is critical to the success of small business retail, core to the success of a retail business.

Aussie POS software company Tower Systems develops and supports inventory software for small business retailers.

Our inventory software is smart and focussed on the successful, timely and cost effective management of stock, inventory, for small business retailers.

Using our inventory software we help retailers:

  1. Reduce dead stocks had inventory.
  2. Track and mitigate theft of stock.
  3. Order inventory based on sales evidence.
  4. Better locate inventory in the business based on comparative sales data.
  5. Understand changes in shopper engagement re inventory with a business.
  6. Understand the performance on inventory suppliers compared to other inventory suppliers to the business.

Our inventory software is part of our small business POS software. It is a piece of a comprehensive solution for small business retail managing retail sales, supplier relationships, mitigating theft and more.

At the individual inventory stock item level to the category level and department level, invoice level and more this POS software helps small business retailers to make smart inventory management decisions. It is comprehensive in its function and everyday useful at the small business management end.

So, yes, inventory software can be a boring topic. However, it can be a valuable topic for any retail business, valuable to the financial performance of a business. It is not boring at all. Indeed, it is essential to any retail business for success with inventory is successor the retail business.

Inventory software is core to any POS software, essential, in fact.

Here at Tower Systems, our POS software continues to evolve and serve new and expanding needs in these and other areas. This is what you expect for POS software, evolving to serve market expanding needs.

Tower Systems serves in excess of 3,500 small business retailers across Australia and New Zealand with specialty retail POS software in a broad range of areas, serving niche retail marketplaces, and including this important area of inventory software.

Advice for small business retailers on how to quit dead stock


Beyond being a POS software company, Tower Systems often provides business management advice to small business retailers.

How do you identify product that is not working? When do you quit a product that is not working? Why should you quit stock? How do you quit the stock? How long should quitting stock take? What if the item does not sell no matter what you do?

These are all questions we will answer here for you in the form of suggestions. What you ultimately do is 100% up to you. Your choices need to reflect your own situation and circumstances.

Identifying product that is not working.

Product is not working if it is not paying its way – paying for the floor space it takes and the time you spend on it. Check your sales, rank all your stock based on sales – look at the bottom performing stock.  Your software should have a ranked Sales Report that lets you list all your stock ranked by unit or $$ sales. Use this to create your list of items to consider.

The other way to identify stock that’s not working for you is to check your back room or other storage facility. Stock that is not generating cash regularly has to be considered dead in our view.

When do you quit a product?

You quit, exit, products when they are not paying their way, when a season is done or when you want to exit that category for some other reason.

Let’s say your rent is $1,250 per square metre per year. If your gross profit averages, say, 50%, you will need to sell $2,500 worth of product to pay for a metre of space. However, this is not the complete consideration as you have labour, power and other costs to cover. The suggested rule of thumb is that your retail sales need to be at least three times that necessary to cover the cost of the space. In the scenario covered here, you should be earning at least $7,500 from a square metre of space. If stock is not delivering this, quitting it could be necessary.

Why quit stock?

To keep your shop fresh, to not be weighed down by dead stock to make your shop look more relevant, to stop hoarding.

How to quit stock.

Here is how we quit stock in retail businesses we operate. These businesses are in shopping centres where retail space is limited and expensive. We are necessarily aggressive.

  1. Set a deadline. We’d suggest two weeks for quitting a product or range of products.
  2. Choose your timing. The best time to quit stock quickly is on your busiest trading days. For many this will be the weekend. Consider structuring your quitting program to run from Thursday through Sunday.
  3. Set your initial price. The discount must be compelling. We’d suggest 50% off. A smaller discount in this marketplace will not get noticed. Think about your discount words: in some areas, HALF PRICE works better than 50% OFF. Sometimes, 2 FOR 1 can be even more effective. A $$ price can work better – for example a dump bin with everything priced at $1. People then don’t have to work anything out.
  4. Move the product to a high traffic location. Display it as a line you are quitting – in a dump bin or in open boxes. This must be in a location away from where the product is usually located. Do not make an attractive display. Consider placing the stock somewhere that people almost stumble over it.
  5. Put up a sign that is either black on white or white on read. Nothing fancy. Even a hand written sign is good. Do not make a complex or attractive sign.
  6. Adjust your price. If sales are not strong enough, go harder with your discount. From 50% off we suggest a drop to a $$ price point. It can be challenging selling something you would have sold for $20.00 at $1 but that $1 is better than getting nothing for the product at all.
  7. Give it away. If the products are not selling, consider giving the stock away to a local charity. Getting it out of your shop for no compensation can be better than it taking space and giving off the wrong message about your business.
  8. Keep track of time. If you decide to be out of the stock within two weeks, stick to that and make it happen with your pricing and placement decisions.
  9. Use the bin. If you can’t sell the item and you can’t give it away, use the bin.
  10. An alternative: If you have a large amount of stock to quit, consider hiring a local hall and running an off site sale. Talk to your suppliers about getting extra stock in for this. You could even plan to do this as an annual event. Consider, too, linking with a local charity to drive interest and create a fund raising opportunity for them.

Quitting stock takes strength and commitment. We urge you to do it to keep your business fresh. Product not selling gives shoppers a bad impression of your business.

Take a look at your shop floor and in your back room. Look at what you can get rid of right away to reduce the anchor of dead stock on your business.

Too many retail businesses have old stock gathering dust. One of the best ways to separate your business is to regularly quit stock that is not performing as it should.

POS software & helping small retailers manage inventory correctly


Tower Systems is hosting an important free online training workshop for retailers using its POS software tomorrow. Covering the proper process for receiving inventory into a business, this session will help retailers and retail associates to get the data right from the outset.

This is vitally important since getting it right here avoids issues further down the track.

The workshop is part of our on-going free live training opportunities for our Point of Sale software customers.

Massive interest in shop floor POS solution drives POS software further


handyRetailers are responding with haste to the portable wireless shop floor POS terminal we launched earlier this year and just started talking abut here a week back. They love the portability, ease of use, warranty coverage and price. They also love that they have access to all our software through our Retailer Tablet Licence facilities thanks to our smart software integration.

Being retailers we have been able to test this product in a more proactive way than most software companies.

We are thrilled that retailers can open an additional retail lane easily, sell from the shop floor and undertake more work in the business without being tethered to the counter or back office.

The HP ElitePad is a true Retail tablet. This device is the perfect POS unit perfect for interacting with your customers on your shop floor. Containing an inbuilt 2D barcode scanner and additional battery allows you to work for hours without being tethered to your desk or counter. Included is a full licence and copy Retailer transforming this device into a full service computer allowing you to perform stock takes, invoice arrivals and returns live via your wireless network.

Inside our POS software company part 7


Managing stock is a key function in retail and a key requirement for Point of Sale software. In this video meet Phil Prior, an expert in this area and a driver of our live online training workshops.

Through this and other videos tower Systems is showing the real people behind its exceptional support of small business retailers.

Free PDE offer with POS software


Retailers continuing our Point of Sale software are loving our July special offer of a FREE PDE with any of our package deals for new systems. The PDE is valued at over $700 and is the third gift offered by Tower this year to enhance the value of the systems we offer retailers in a range of retail channels including: jewellers, bike shops, homewares stores, gift shops and garden centres.

This PDE can be used for completely portable, fast and safe stock takes. It’s excellent value … especially for retailers purchasing this month as it is free with our system – for orders placed by July 31, 2012.

More and more retailers are managing stock on hand with our software, eliminating the need for a stock taker and delivering accurate data with which to drive better quality business decisions.

We are thrilled to be in a position to give a gift as good as a FREE professional PDE unit.

$10,000 in dead stock discovered in retail store


We have been working with a retail business which switched to our Point of Sale software early this year, helping them drive value from the business performance data we are now cultivating for them.

Using one of our reports, the powerful Ranked Sales Report, we have been able to identify more than $10,000 in inventory items which are not selling sufficiency quickly in the retail business to justify the floor space they occupy.

Using the data from our report, the retailer is working on quitting the items and creating a new category opportunity within the business.

Being able to identify the inventory items which are not performing, with certainty, is key to making these types of moves in retail.  It’s where we help not only in providing good reporting tools but helping our retail partners to make decisions based on what can be discovered through the reports.

This is another example of the Tower AdvantageTM in action for our customers.

How retailers can drive the value of their retail businesses


Stock is often the most valuable part of any retail business yet retailers often do not know the value of the stock in their businesses.  They leave it to an annual stock take to determine this and even then it is for the accountant and not the business owner.

Using our Point of Sale software, retailers can easily track and manage inventory and thereby know, immediately, the value of their investment in stock.  This is far more efficient and valuable to the business than an end of year stock take.  It is time small and independent retailers managed their stock asset as the big retailers do.

By using the stock control facilities in our Point of Sale software, a retailer is able to:

  • More accurately reorder.
  • Know the value of stock on hand.
  • Identify slow moving items.
  • Identify fast moving items.
  • Track and act on theft.
  • Track and report on stock in a variety of ways.
  • Sell the business thanks to accurate inventory data management.

Retailers who do not track stock with Point of Sale software make their businesses harder to sell, harder to manage and overall less enjoyable.

A good analogy is cash in the bank.  You and your bank track this … because cash is considered to be valuable.  Given the value of stock to the business why not take the same care in managing this?  It makes sense.

Here at Tower Systems we help retailers manage stock and through this unlock more value from it.

Increase in Stock Take Activity in Our Retail Community


We were thrilled to see a significant increase in stock take activity by retailers using our Point of Sale software last week, through the end of the 2010 / 2011 financial year.

By counting and recording stock on hand with our Point of Sale software, our customers are setting their businesses up for better use of the software.  Accurate stock on hand data facilitates time saving reordering through the software, better tracking of slow and fast moving stock, more valuable supplier performance comparison and overall tighter management of the inventory asset in the retail business.

Undertaking your own stock take also saves money on external stock counters.

While we cannot be sure, we think that the significant increase in stock take activity to end the 2010 / 2011 financial year was spurred on by our proactive training and encouragement to our retail customers to engage in this.

No matter what motivated the increased engagement, we are thrilled.  We are certain that our customers will benefit as a result.

Three Proven Ways to Use Point of Sale Software to Cut Labour Costs


Here are three valuable and easy to implement ways retailers are using our Tower Systems Point of Sale software to reduce labour costs for their businesses:

  1. Full stock control including reordering. By eliminating manual processes around placing orders for replenishment stock, retailers are able to, in one place and at one time, accurately create orders based on business performance data.  This sets the business up to save time on bringing the stock in.  It also improves accuracy.  However, the key benefit is in what is ordered.  By ordering based on business activity (sales) the business do working based on success rather than gut feel. A business switching ot ordering from within their Point of sale system can expect to free up cash by reducing non-performing stock.  It will also save time on the roster through use of automated processes replacing manual paper based processes.
  2. Customer management including accounts and loyalty. Through computer based customer accounts and loyalty management, the retail business is able to transact with customers accurately, in a timely manner and in a way which puts customers first.  Generating monthly customer statements, for example, could take a few minutes whereas manual processes could take many hours and face challenges with accuracy.
  3. Fact assisted decision making.  Too many retail businesses spend too much time spinning their wheels pursuing decisions because they are not using business facts to feed these decisions.  All to often we see poor business decisions made based on emotion and or ignorance rather than historical business data.  Replace the error prone and fact-less approach with a fact based approach and a business will soon find that decisions are more right than wrong.  Retail businesses can bank on the results.

These are just three of the ways in which our Point of Sale software is helping more than 2,000 small business retailers across Australia to improve the management of their businesses, streamline processes and drive more efficient allocation of labour resources.

Tower Systems serves retailers right across Australia as well as in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Electronic Orders Lead to Better Inventory Management


One of the best steps a retail business can take to better manage inventory is to order stock through their Point of Sale software.

Such orders will be based on factual information rather than gut feel. Their existence in the POS Software databases will make receiving the supplied goods into the business much easier than if the orders were placed manually, outside the software.

Ordering using your Point of Sale software takes time and effort to achieve. However, once achieved the result will be a reliable and valuable inventory database which will feed other valuable business decisions.

Here at tower Systems we are focused on helping our retail partners to use their Point of Sale software as a total business solution rather than a glorified cash register. This is one reason so many blog posts here are about practical use of the software … we want to encourage, guide and lead our customers to truly use their software.

We have seen retailers migrate from manual ordering to electronic ordering and shrink inventory investment by as much as 20% along the way. This capital investment saving is in addition to valuable time saving thanks to the elimination of manual and error prone processes.

The Tower Systems Help Desk team can help retailers migrate to electronic ordering.

Selling Coloured Card and Tracking Stock is Easy


c-paper.JPGFor Newsagents, Art Supply, Stationery and some other retailers in our user community, coloured card is an excellent point of difference product.

For many, carrying the range is a core product of the business, driving traffic and generating good margin.  the key is to get the product mix right.  This comes back to good inventory control processes.

Using our Point of Sale software, retailers are able to easily track sales right down to the colour sold.  While this can be done by bar-coding each sheet, we recommend using a touch screen menu.  With a few simple selections, the sales person can record the size and colour sold and maintain the integrity of inventory data.  This also means that the card itself is not damaged with a barcode label with an adhesive backing.

While there are other approaches, such as using a product swatch at the counter, we have found the approach of using the touch screen works the best as it is consistently available at each point of sale without interrupting the flow of the sale process.

The approach we suggest for handling coloured card is useful for so many other products in many different retail situations.    Our advice and assistance in this and related areas goes beyond how to use our Point of Sale software. It shows how to efficiently integrate the facilities of the software into the business to capture valuable business data, better serve customers and ensure that the business can make better quality business decisions.

How to Eliminate Expensive Stock Takes From Your Retail Business with POS Software


Using an external stock taker can cost a retail business thousands of dollars a year.  It often delivers little outcome except a stock value for the end of the financial year.

The best approach to stock taking in any retail business is to use your Point of Sale software.   Good Point of sale software offers a range of stock taking options from the portable to the hard wired. Regardless of the hardware technology you use, the result is the same: an accurate stock on hand count and value plus updated stock details.

Every time a count is done using Point of Sale software there are anomalies discovered in the stock database.  The stock take is a good opportunity to address this.  A manual stock take loses this opportunity.

Our recommendation is that once a business has undertaken a full stock take once using their Point of Sale software and if they have good processes around receiving, selling and returning stock,  a process of rolling stock takes would serve the business well in maintaining an accurate stock on hand figures.

Through the stock take facilities in our software, our retail partners have access to a suite of tools with tremendous flexibility, allowing a retail store to count in a way which suits their operational needs.  many of our customers operate with a program of rolling spot stock takes.  These are designed to ensure accurate stock on hand figures in the system as well as identify theft situations.

Expensive and single purpose stock takes can be eliminated from any retail business with the proper use of quality Point of Sale software.  Through our advice sheets, training videos, online training workshops and other opportunities, Tower Systems helps its retail customers to access the benefits of accurate stock on hand data.

Training Video A26 is the best starting point for learning about stock take using our software.

POS software drives better inventory management


Inventory management gets easier and better thanks to the innovation in our POS (Point of Sale) software.  Using our facilities, retailers are able to manage inventory more cost effectively, freeing capital for investment elsewhere in the business.

We free capital by providing tools which the retail business can use to order stock based on accurate sales data.  We also report on the return on stock investment, return on floor space and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) vital to assessing the performance of inventory in a retail business.

Our POS software provides retailers with tools to drive better quality business decisions around inventory.  This includes comparing supplier performance, analysing the speed with which items move and the basket efficiency of items.  By providing a range of perspectives from which to assess the performance of inventory items, a retailer is able to make better decisions which lead to a healthier bank balance.

The challenge for retailers is to get engaged in profitable inventory management. It does not sound enticing yet it can be lucrative. A business without a sound inventory management strategy can find savings of between 15% and 35% right off of the shop floor by implementing principles in the Tower Systems Point of Sale software.

Our team of retail experts go beyond software training and provide practical; assistance to retailers, guiding their more valuable engagement with the technology and thereby unlocking more value for the business and the families it supports.

Put in context, inventory management is an essential retail business focus.