The POS Software Blog

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

CategoryShop locally

Is our POS software right for your local community?

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The question we are asking today may sound a bit obscure, but it is 100% relevant to local small business retail.

Is our POS software right for your local community?

We pose the question to retailers considering POS software because embedded in the question is the bigger question abut what is right for your local community.

If you pitch shop local at all in promoting your business in-store or on social media then this question is key for you, because in calling for your local community to shop local you would want to back this up with your own shop local approach to your business decisions.

Is our POS software right for your local community?  This question is all about shop local – for our POS software is locally made and supported for local specialty retailers. We have competitors in the marketplace that are overseas businesses with overseas software developers and overseas help desk people.

Shop for POS software with us and you are supporting local IT. This is why we like the question Is our POS software right for your local community?  If shopping local matters to your local community then that is a factor in the software you choose.

Of course, you need to choose software that is right for your business and the software company that is right for your business. But, if after all your research it is us and someone else and Tower Systems, being local could be the factor that is the differentiator because our situation aligns with your situation, our value proposition aligns with your value proposition. These are factors when shop local matters to your local community.

We are proud to support local software innovation and to develop local IT skills. These are things that are important for Australia and our small software business plays a role in this.

Is our POS software right for your local community?  Only you can know the answer to this question. Today, we hope that our words were useful in your consideration as to the right POS software for your business.

Tower Systems is a specialty retail focussed POS software company. We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 local small business retailers across a broad range of specialty retail channels.

How our locally made POS software helps local small business retailers pitch locally made

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Our locally made Tower Systems POS software is made for local retailers who are keen to encourage shoppers to shop local.

Within the software there are tools and facilities that make it easy for a local retailer to draw attention to and to feature locally made products. These teens help local retailers to draw attention to their own shop local credentials.

These tools and facilities help local retailers to drive sales to people looking to source locally made products. we make this type of pitch easier for you.

Noting products as Australian made, or made within the state our territory or even made in town, you have a number of ways you can do this with the software, to pitch a thoughtful and factual locally made pitch.

Yes, we have thought a lot about this and built within our POS software facilities that enable you to pitch shop local in a more nuanced and practical way than the usual more whiney approach that you might see on social media from some businesses.

Our approach through the software is show, don’t tell.

A valuable shop local pitch is where you find the tools you use in your business, like POS software.

If you want locals to shop with you. If you rely on the local community to support you. If you have ever pitched shop local on social media…

Local does matter.

Local businesses hire locally, support local community groups, engage on local matters, often buy from local suppliers and spend locally.

Local economies benefit from local independent retail businesses.

Local does matter.

We are a local POS software company serving Australian and New Zealand retail businesses in specific retail channels.

Engage with our POS software and you support the local IT community and you tap into software that helps you pitch local.

Yes, using our software you can pitch your local difference.

We develop and support software for: giftsjewellersbikestoysfishing/outdoorsgarden centrespet shopsproducefirearmsadult shops and newsagents.

Call us so we can find out more about what you do, to see if our specialty retail software could be of value to you and your business.

Now, for a personal pitch:

Thank you for shopping local

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It’s the tax contribution by local businesses that can make a big difference to the local community.

We have competitors based overseas who shift revenue to minimise the tax that’s paid in Australia. Any time that is done it reduces income for the government that could have helped fund health, schools, education, infrastructure and more.

We are grateful for the support of Aussies, for this is what helps us be successful and our success is success for Australia.

Whether you shop with us or another locally owned and run business, thank you. #ShopLocal #grateful #AustralianMade #community

How our Aussie made POS software helps local retailers serve local tourism opportunities

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With local retail businesses relying on local tourism while the international border remains closed due to Covid, Australian made POS software from Tower Systems is helping local businesses promote local tourism opportunities.

Embedded in our Australian POS software are facilities through which local tourist locations and opportunities can be pitched without additional labour investment from the business for each pitch. Being able to do this consistently and in an automated way is key to efficiently pitching local in retail.

Our locally made POS software makes it easy for regional and rural businesses to shine a light on nearby and local tourism attractions and situations. here are some marketplace examples that show what can be done:

  • Camping businesses can share local camping opportunities, places off the beaten track people can love.
  • Music shops can share details of local music groups, with which local visitors could connect, especially if they are having events.
  • Fishing  businesses can use these local tourism marketing facilities in the POS software to help people visiting an area to have a more successful fishing experience.
  • Bike shops can use these local tourism marketing facilities in the POS software to promote local riding tracks and cyclist destinations worth visiting.
  • Garden centres can use these local tourism marketing facilities in the POS software to feature local gardens of note and bush trails sure to excite a gardener.
  • Pet shops can use these local tourism marketing facilities in the POS software to highlight local pet locations where they can date the dog for a play or otherwise enjoy what the local area has to offer.
  • Produce and farm supply businesses can use these local tourism marketing facilities in the POS software highlight local crop and related information to encourage a better yield.

Other local businesses can use these local tourism marketing facilities in the POS software to encourage the visiting of local tourist destinations in a structured way to help local tourist operators and thereby more broadly help the local town. The software could serve providing collective loyalty opportunities too.

These facilities in our POS software are loved by our customers as they make it easy for them to pitch their local community engagement and through this to demonstrate community support. They help better integrate the business with the local community and tourism opportunities the local community has to offer.

With so many of our POS software customers in regional and rural Australia, these facilities made sense when we first offered them years ago.

Tower Systems is grateful to help regional and rural retailers to support their local communities.

Sunday small business retail advice: 6 ways to promote your shop this Winter

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Winter can be tough  for retail as traffic is often down. Local indie retail businesses have an opportunity to leverage the season, to make it more enjoyable. Here are six suggestions to get you thinking abut winter differently:

  1. Provide a warm and welcoming Winter experience. Offer hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Maybe have a slow cooker with some delicious home cooked vegetable soup. Offer warm cookies or muffins. Play warming / comforting music. Maybe project a movie onto a wall for something fresh and different. Have a place for wet umbrellas. Offer a place people can dry themselves. The goal here is to make your shop the shop locals talk about loving in Winter.
  2. Host a Winter event. Create your our ‘season’ your own in-store experience where people can relax, have some fun and enjoy the business. Warm cider or mulled wine wold be good for this after-hours event.
  3. Reach out to retirement villages and nursing homes. Pack up key items from your shop and take them on the road – go to those customers who can’t come to you because of the cold.
  4. Offer free delivery. If option one does not work for you promote a delivery service so people shut in can still get their  fix. Be the retailer who goes the extra mile.
  5. Have a summer sale. In the middle of winter, at the coldest, have a blow-out sale and call it something like a SIZZLING SALE. Get people warm with great prices.
  6. Host an art event. A wonderful way to brighten up the shop and those who visit is by displaying art, photos and things made by your shoppers.

If your shop is in a really cold area consider an outer door to keep the warmth in. They do this a lot in Europe and the US in Winter.

These ideas are all about relaxing things, bringing opportunities for joy to the business and evolving the narrative associated with the business. This is what having fun through Winter is about. It’s abut the less obvious, you doing things you can and that a bigger business are less likely to try.

EPOS now – British software in Australia and New Zealand

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EPOS is the term the Brits use for POS software. We’re not sure why they have the e in EPOS. If you see a company using EPOS in their name or for the name of their software or the type of software they sell, it could be they are not making software locally or may not be a local company.

This may seem like a trivial point, writing about EPOS now, talking about the term EPOS. The thing is, we have been asked the question as if we are missing something because we don’t have the e in our description that we are a POS software company, that we are not an EPOS software company.

The only difference is we develop software locally for local marketplaces using local terminology. This local focus matters to local businesses. You can see our local roots and focus in our software and documentation. It’s 100% local, made for local businesses. We are not using terms that are not local, we are not using a software label that makes sense overseas but not so much here.

This is why we are writing about EPOS now, because there is software being pitched in Australia and New Zealand that emanates from Britain yet it is being pitched as being local. It’s not. It was developed in the UK, which is okay in that the UK has some fine programmers. But, there are fine programmers in Australia and New Zealand who live locally, who shop locally, and who speak using local terms. We think these are factors that matter.

Local software development matters. Think of it as local film and TV making in that they tell local stories. Locally made POS software tells local stories too. We know that in our POS software we have ways you can shine a light on local, we have ways you can use your local voice in support of your business. That we have included such tools is part of a suite of ways we represent local with and for you, in ways we think you won’t find in EPOS software.

Tower Systems makes POS software, without the e, for specialty local retailers. Local retail businesses matter, especially to local communities. We are grateful for the thousands of local businesses that have supported and continue to support our locally focussed business.

Shopping for Back to School needs? Shop your local newsagency

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Your local Aussie newsagency can serve your Back to School stationery and textbook needs. We are proud to say that our POS software company serves many of these local newsagency businesses, we help them offer quality Back to School products at competitive prices and in a way that supports local school and community groups.

Back to School is a competitive space in Australia. The local Aussie newsagency is often calls upon by school and community groups for support. The best way to help them support community group and school group fund raising is to shop for Back to School from these local newsagency businesses.

Too often we see Back to School purchases going to companies outside Australia and national retailers who chase on price and often neglect the all important product quality.

Your local newsagency delivers quality goods since they are local and easily contacted is the quality of a product does not stack up. Big businesses tend to not have this local care. This local accessibility is another reason to shop for back to School locally.

For Back to School stationery needs, start at your local newsagency. Supporting them helps them support your local school community. You see that every day through local newsagent support for school students, school groups. Every day newsagents are asked for support and donations for local community groups, including school groups. They can only do this if there is robust local support for their businesses.

Please don’t be duped by the truckloads of cash poured into advertising by competitors chasing your back to school spend. They have the cash to do this, to make it look like they have good products and good prices. Often, when they say they will price match, they don’t sell the same brands, often selling cheap imported products only available through them.

Your local newsagent is a perfect place to shop for back to school for quality, service and community connection.

Tower Systems is proud to support 1,750+ local Australian newsagency businesses with newsagency software that helps them deliver a good Back to School experience and through which they can support local community and school group fundraising.

For Back to School 2021, please shop local, shop with the locally owned and run business that supports the local community.

Aussies embracing Australian made when shopping locally, to help the local community

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It has been great to see the renewed interest in shopping locally, especially in sourcing locally made products. So many of our small business retail POS software customers have shared with us stories of shoppers specifically seeking out locally made products.

Stories of support for locally made products warm the soul.  

Local makes are grateful for this support. We have spoken to plenty – local soap makers, local artists, local scent makers, local craftspeople, local pointers, local plant farms, local card makers … they are all loving the stronger support for locally made that we have seen in recent months.

We share the delight of local makers and excitement for what this may mean for 2021.

Buying locally made is good for the community in which those making the locally made products live, the communities in which they spend their money.

Tower Systems is a local POS software company.

We live and work locally, in communities in Australia and New Zealand. You can’t get more local than that when developing POS software for specialty retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

We love helping local retailers to support local makers and shopping locally through smart tools and facilities in our local made POS software. Integrated in our software are opportunities for local retailers to pitch local products, to demonstrate their own local credentials and to shine a light on what being local is all about … and through these things to separate their business from non locally owned and operated alternatives.

This all matters in today’s retail world of heightened awareness of shopping locally and supporting local makers. We are proud to help our retail partners to do this in our POS software, to do it easily, consistently and with commercial outcomes in focus.

With the world disrupted politically, economically and health wise, shopping local matters more today than in recent times. However, telling people, to shop local is not enough. We need to be smart, actively engaged and supporting of the shopper and local makers, serving their diverse needs. This is where our POS software can help with the encouragement and the storytelling.

If you own a local retail business that relies on people to shop locally, consider our locally made POS software. We’d love to show it to you.

Gift shops you can shop online

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Tower Systems is grateful to bring the local gift shop to your keyboard. Through our gift shop software and the websites we have created for gist shops have plenty of gift shops in our awesome list of gift shops we encourage you to shop for an authentic shop local gift shop experience:

These gift shops and more are part of the quite of local gift shops that Tower Systems has supported in getting online, to sell to Australians and, in some cases, to sell overseas, bringing gift giving opportunities to plenty of people in different situations.

The local gift shop is no longer the shop down the road. No, it is the shop online that you find the you search for the gift occasion you are purchasing for.

In supporting local gift shops with POS software made for local gift shops and with websites created for local gift shops, Tower Systems is able to being these opportunities to life for local communities as well as for local shoppers who who are shopping for niche and specific gift needs. This is where helping gift shop owners to bring to life solutions online and on the high street makes sense.

While people can shop for gifts overseas, our encouragement is that they support the local gift shop because shopping locally delivers the most important value to gift shops that are themselves called on to help the local community in myriad ways.

With a fully integrated POS software Shopify website solution, the local gift shop is able to take online their carefully selected and curated range of gifts too make them available across many location.

As we head to Christmas 2020, our encouragement to everyone when it comes to gift purchases is to shop locally, seek out local gift shops that can serve your gift purchase needs. Local, of course, can be down the road or elsewhere in Australia. This means that a shop online, interstate maybe, that offers locally made gifts could be better than a shop closer to you that sells imported gifts.

Tower Systems is grateful to serve hundreds of local gifts shops with its POS software. This is a terrific marketplace we serve.

An early look at Christmas 2020 in local small business retail in Australia

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We are grateful to the many retailers who have shared recent year on year comparative sales data. This has enabled us to a deep dive into shopper traffic, basket depth and product category performance. We have done this to get an early look into what Christmas 2020 in local small business retail might look like.

The headline is that Christmas 2020 looks good in local small business retail.

Local high street retailers are doing considerably better than shopping mall retail. Suburban, regional and rural high street retail businesses, for which we have comprehensive sales data, are doing very well. They are experiencing solid double-digit year-on-year growth. For the dataset of 60+ businesses in our latest analysis, the average year on year revenue growth is 22%.

What is interesting is that the spike in revenue growth is not matched in a spike in shopper traffic. Rather, the revenue spike has come from shoppers buying more in each visit, driving better shopper efficiency. We are seeing average sale value increase by between 10% and 25%.

The dataset includes business across all states and territories except for the Northern Territory. The results are universal. There appears to be no difference between Victoria, which was in lockdown for some of the weeks under analysis and other states that were not in lockdown.

In terms of Christmas specifically, data indicate excellent year on year growth in Christmas card sales. The same is true for Christmas decorations, Christmas-themed home decor and gift wrap. Year on year growth is, again, 20% and more.

Locally made products are doing particularly well. Shoppers continue to engage with supply chain questions. A common question relates to sourcing from China.

Also of note is excellent growth in sales of calendars and diaries. The diaries growth encourages an optimistic outlook on 2021. Smart retailers are pitching it as that and having some fun with putting 2020 in the past.

Back in March, in the early days of Covid in Australia, jigsaws were hot. They sold out fast. Some expected the surge to fade over time. The latest sales data for October and even into the first two weeks of November suggest otherwise. Yes, jigsaw sales remain strong. half of the stores in the latest dataset sell jigsaws and every one of them is reporting year on year growth. The average of that growth is 150%. Key is breadth of range of supply.

In addition to the jigsaw growth, crafts, art, maker kits and similar are all showing strong results.

Comfort gifts are especially strong. Core in this category is plush. Plush is often dismissed as being tired or ho hum. We have seen sales in the plush space up as much as 50% off a strong base. In one local high street retail business in one recent week, for example, they did $1,850.00 in everyday plush, more than double their usual sales. Range, again, is key this this success.

Not reflected in the POS software collected data is anecdotal evidence that people are spending more this Christmas. Many retailers spoke to this. They spoke of shoppers saying they were spending more on loved ones as well as buying gifts for some they would not usually buy for.

There is the wonder as to the role of government stimulus funding on the sales results. While retailers think is is a factor, they do not see it as the key factor. If time does reveal it as a key factor, local small business retailers will respond accordingly. They are an agile bunch.

Considering the sales data and the and the anecdotal comments, Christmas 2020 looks strong. Plenty of retailers are already talking up the first quarter of 2021.

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.

Politicians need to follow the principles of low hanging fruit in stimulating the economy our of the Covid recession

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Reaching for low hanging fruit is something we in small business know about. It’s about reaching for what is close, within reach, what will deliver tangible benefits in the short term.

This is what I wish governments, federal and state, would do when making decisions designed to stimulate the economy out of the Covid recession.

There are low hanging fruit opportunities, especially in the small business space. We see this here at Tower Systems, through our work across a range of specialty small retail channels. Some channels are already growing while others are stalled.

We also see broader low hanging fruit in small businesses compared to big businesses as the are known to act faster and invest more locally.

While we understand the need for financial support for businesses in distress because of Covid, we think there are opportunities to support businesses that do not meet the current JobKeeper criteria, businesses that are growing without current support as it is these businesses that present low hanging fruit opportunities. These businesses have proven resilience. Resilience is a good foundation for growth.

Businesses that do not meet JobKeeper qualification requirements could grow further and faster, add more jobs, increase local spending, if stimulus was targeted to encourage more growth for them.

I’d like politicians to look more closely at the businesses that are growing, businesses not on JobKeeper, to understand what they can do to leverage their success.

It is frustrating reading of public companies getting JobKeeper and increasing executive bonuses and shareholder dividends.

Thinking about low hanging fruit opportunities for businesses already doing well, I’d like politicians to consider … reinvestment rebate on reported profit, a reinvestment rebate on every new full-time head count, a reinvestment rebate for capital investment with Australian businesses.

I’d like governments to look at where jobs have been created in recent months and to talk to folks in those businesses to understand what they could to achieve more of this. I’d like them to specifically focus on jobs that could be created now without an education lead time, jobs that on themselves lead to other investment that could benefit the economy.

I see opportunities in plenty of niche retail channels as well as in local Aussie tech companies and a range of supporting service providers.

I want to see reward for local sourcing and local spending, and especially anything with a short lead time.

Them more spending today that can provide an impact this quarter has to be a priority. While I get that news outlets like big infrastructure stories, the more beneficial moves are those focussed on the next step as it’s that step that has more valuable potential right now, it’s that step that will help small businesses reach for more low hanging fruit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If Australian jobs matter to you and your family…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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