The retail industry is one of the largest industries in the world which employs millions of people. It is also one of the most tech-savvy industries in the world. According to a research, global retail sales will grow up to 26.7 trillion US dollars by 2022. The phenomenal growth of retail sales can be attributed to the growth of e-commerce and globalization. Whether big or small, all retailers now need to evolve to cater to the customers’ growing needs. A robust retail software can help a retailer acquire the top position in their respective retail market. This article discusses the various types of retail software and how retailers can select the perfect software for their needs.
The ever-rising Need of retail software
With time, as consumers become more impatient, the retail industry is undergoing a tectonic shift. According to a survey, 30% of customers would simply leave a shop if it takes more than 2 minutes to determine whether an item is in stock or not. As customers are now accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, the brick and mortar stores must upgrade themselves to keep pace with their competitors and attract more customers.
The application and software for the Retail Industry can help the brick and mortar stores to run their business smoothly. Customized software for the Retail businesses of all sizes can be built and you can get one developed by one of the trusted top retail software development companies. These retail software tools can easily integrate with any retail business, whether a single retail shop or a big retail chain consisting of multiple points of sale (POS).
Benefits of retail software solutions
There are many benefits of having retail software products like a POS software, billing software, on-demand shopping and delivery applications, and store management system. In fact, today, in the digital era, such applications have become the backbone of any retail store or those with chain of stores. For a local grocery store to online shopping, retail solutions can be customized according to the sizes of the company or store and the number of visitors. Here are some primary benefits of retail store solutions mentioned.
The retail software allows a retail store to automate the tasks such as inventory management, processing the returns and regulating the prices. With this the retail business can have a better control over customers’ data and the transaction details. Since all these processes are automated it helps to minimize human errors efficiently.
Better customer service
With dedicated retail software in place, it is easier for the employees to spend more time helping customers while the system performs the other tasks automatically. In addition to this having a retail software will endow the retail business with enhanced payment capabilities providing the customers with a wide range of payment options like contactless payments (NFC), EMV chip cards and mobile wallets payments. A better payment option has found to a critical factor in improving sales by about 50%.
The retail software systems allow the retail entrepreneurs to control their warehouses and shops online. Real-time monitoring is possible for the business owners quickly identify whether any item will be out of stock. Inventory management using retail software can be a great help in properly managing the stock, updating the requirements timely and managing the availability of product.
Types of retail software
There are various types of retail software available in the market that help retailers run their business smoothly. We will discuss some of the major types of retail software.
Inventory control software
The inventory control software helps the business owners manage the company’s inventory. The inventory management software keeps track of product sales, material purchases, and other processes. Technology like barcode identification and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is used in modern-day inventory management systems. Such systems also allow the retailers to ensure that no item is out of stock; the system alerts the purchasing department whenever an item is running low in inventory. In addition, the inventory management systems also place orders to the concerned departments or sources eliminating human dependency.
Sophisticated inventory management systems can also help a retailer plan ahead as they can track product sales and extract information from the past to forecast a company’s sales. By using inventory management systems, the retailers can ensure that there are no delays in product delivery.
An inventory software solution also allows the customers to check the status of their orders and track the order movement. Even further, the inventory management system helps the retailers achieve high levels of customer satisfaction as all the products are kept in stock.
Key features and benefits of holistic inventory management software
• Inventory software product automatically updates stock levels after each sale
• Inventory management software synchronizes orders with an order management system and provides real-time sales reports
• Using inventory optimization, the retailers can also automate demand forecasting
• An automated invoice system provides better control over costs
• Accurate sales reports provide deep insights for making better business decisions
• A barcode-based inventory management system allows the retailers to speed up the process
• The batch and expiry tracking feature of an inventory management solution helps retailers to keep an eye on product lifecycles
• The inventory management system allows the retailers to manage different custom price lists for various customer types and product categories
In the fast-paced world of modern retail industry, inventory management software can prove to be a real asset. The businesses can track products and sell them efficiently to their customers using inventory management software. In the age of just-in-time inventory management, a robust inventory control system can aid a retailer in keeping costs to minimum, improving the company’s top line.
Payment processing software
Payment processing software provides a secure platform to the customers where they can add their bank details. On e-commerce sites, payment processing software connects the website’s virtual terminal with various payment systems that accept credit cards, UPI, debit cards and other payment methods.
• It helps retailers cut costs as they do not have to employ separate staff for invoicing and billing.
• It also minimizes the possibility of fraud and improves the security of payment transactions.
• The software improves the cash flow by improving the speed of invoice processing.
• The tool enhances the customer experience by reducing the time to fix and resolve payment-related errors.
Key features and benefits of payment processing software
• You can create customized and professional-looking invoices.
• It helps the retailers to extract valuable information regarding the payment patterns of customers
• Payment processing software can help retailers expand their business as it includes multi-currency support and in-line processing.
• Retailers get real-time information about full or partial refunds, payments and transaction statuses.
• The bank reconciliation feature of payment processing software helps a business keep track of money flow.
• The storage of bank details allows for one-click payment processing of regular customers.
• The reporting feature of payment processing software provides thoughtful financial reports to retailers.
The payment processing software allows retail companies to manage their expenses, generate bills, gain essential insights into their customers’ spending habits, and make the payment processing experience smooth for their customers.
Point of sale software
A point of sale software facilitates transactions between the merchants and the customers and helps the merchants simplify critical day-to-day business operations. There are different POS systems available for different businesses. The restaurant POS systems are different from the retail POS systems. The restaurant POS does not close the orders immediately since it takes time to prepare a dish. In a retail POS, the order is closed immediately.
Types of point of sale software
Here are the two basic types of POS software.
On-premise software is software in which the retailers need to purchase a license for the software and install it in their on-premise computer systems. The retailer is responsible for updating and maintaining the on-premise software.
Cloud-based or Software as a Service (SaaS)
In a cloud based POS system, the system has access to data stored on a cloud server. Most modern retailers are opting for a cloud-based model as it is easy to scale and is economical.
Key features and benefits of point of sale software
• The inventory tracking feature of POS alerts the store in charge regarding the short supply of products.
• The sales reporting and analytics feature provides vital data on product sales and helps predict future sales trends.
• The POS system highlights the products which need more marketing efforts.
• The customer profiles allow the retailers to learn more about the shopping behavior of customers and suggest the related products available and try up-selling different products to the customer and turn that customer to a high-value customer.
• The POS system reduces the errors as employees do not have to double-check every customer’s order manually.
• The custom sales feature of POS allows the system to change the price of any product.
• The order history feature of the POS system allows the retailers to view all past orders and search by customer, product or date.
• Many POS systems come with an in-built tax calculation feature that calculates the taxes for every sale.
• POS systems make it easy to handle replacements and returns.
• The POS system can integrate smoothly with other business systems like accounting software for eCommerce solutions and help retailers manage the entire retail process easily.
Both small and large retailers can benefit by installing a POS system on their premises. A retail POS system saves a lot of time for the employees, which is spent tracking sales, managing customer information and monitoring the inventory.
Retail ERP software
Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) allows retailers to collect, manage, store and interpret data from various business activities into one place.
Key features and benefits of retail ERP software
• The ERP software collects data on the customers’ previous purchases, allowing the company to identify its most important customers.
• The ERP software generates extensive reports about sales, purchases, and inventory positions to improve strategic decision-making
• The ERP software integrates with the inventory management software, helping the retailer manage inventory and keep track of goods.
• The rewards and loyalty feature of the ERP software helps the retailer offer various promotional and marketing schemes to its customers.
• ERP software stores employee information like performance data, shift scheduling and lead time.
• Using a store warehouse operations feature available in the ERP system, the retailers can streamline their warehouse operations.
• The product management feature of ERP software allows the retail companies to organize their items by category, use and type.
• The pricing and discount management feature of ERP software allows retailers to reduce pricing errors, helping them improve their store’s productivity.
Omnichannel retail software
Omnichannel retail is the latest trend that is garnering the attention of the retail community. An Omni-channel experience lets the customers seamlessly shop between a retail store’s physical and digital entities. Omnichannel software helps retailers integrate their online and offline channels.
Benefits and key features of an Omnichannel software
• Omnichannel software provides a better customer experience to the users as it nurtures users interaction with the business through both offline and online domains.
• Omnichannel software can increase sales by enabling the company to sell through new channels.
• Using the data centralization feature of Omnichannel system, the retail store can use its accurate inventory across offline and online channels to fulfill orders.
• Omnichannel system can increase the brand identity by helping the retail company engage with customers on different channels.
• Omnichannel software helps in improving the operational efficiency of a retail store by integrating various sales channels. The businesses that use Omnichannel software need not worry about double entries or mismatch in inventories.
• The purchase management feature of Omnichannel software allows flexibility in receiving, sending and tracking orders which help the retailers make faster and wiser decisions.
The purchase management feature of Omnichannel software allows flexibility in receiving, sending and tracking orders which help the retailers make faster and wiser decisions.
The inventory management feature of Omnichannel software automates inventory management across all sales channels. This automation helps retailers track inventory information on a real-time basis and accurately predict the supplier’s needs.
Many Omnichannel software tools come with a multi-warehouse inventory management feature that allows the retailers to manage several warehouses located worldwide from a single place effectively.
The order fulfillment feature of Omnichannel software modernizes the process of order fulfillment across sales channels and warehouses. The Omnichannel order fulfillment feature provides a high degree of flexibility to the retailers as it helps the companies pick up orders from a warehouse, process back orders and choose various shipping methods.
The Omnichannel software provides various in-depth reports to the retailers, which helps them track the performance of their retail store in real-time. In addition, the tool also allows the retailer to access a large amount of data, which helps them optimize their processes. The Omnichannel retail solution helps the organization to ensure seamless communication between its online and offline channels.
How to develop the best retail management software?
Now that we have seen the benefits of retail solutions and various types of retail solutions, let’s look at the ingredients that help to develop the best retail management software based on the requirements of your retail business.
Determine the needs
The first step is to determine the needs of the business. Only the business owners know how to run their business and where they need to automate the process to derive the best ROI. It is mandatory to brainstorm about the business processes and features that a business would require before actively looking for and selecting a retail software development company that would match their requirements.
Prepare a budget
While preparing the budget of the retail software, the retailers must ensure that they do not buy it only based on price. Consider the return on investment that the retail software would provide to the business. Software that is cheaper may not include many essential features and having them integrated would turn out to be expensive in the long run as the competitors will overpower your retail business by deploying more sophisticated retail software.
Get the team involved
While selecting the retail management solution, it is critical to listen to everyone on-board. This is because the retail management software will impact every aspect of the business and there are different departments that act as stakeholders in the business and every department must be upgraded with a better system to help complete the tasks more efficiently.
Select the right package according to the industry
It is essential to select the correct technologies and look to integrate the trending ones according to the industry. There is specialized software available for a specialty retailer, mass-market retailer and department store but if you need a more customized one look to get one built. The features and functionalities requirements for retail software will differ according to the area for which they are designed. It is always better to get retail software built by keeping in mind the unique features for that particular retail business rather than opting to integrate 5 different software to manage all your requirements.
Focus on ease of use
For retail software, ease of use must be kept on high priority. This is because the retail industry faces some of the highest turnover rates amongst all businesses. There is additional investment for the retail business to train new staff quickly. The retail software should be intuitive and easy to use and should not demand long training sessions. To ensure that the retail software is easy to use, the retailers should arrange for a demo of the software to the representatives of different departments so as to have a better insight and include the key aspects that will allow their employees to use the software.
Avail vendor support
Before developing the retail software, the retailers must ensure that their software vendor provides continuous support. Retail stores need weekend as well as nighttime support sometimes and hence it is a good idea to ask their software vendor whether they would be able to provide such kind of software support. The nature of support is also essential. The retailers should confirm whether they would get on-site assistance or on-call assistance.
Think about the hardware requirements
The hardware and software are highly interdependent and hence while selecting the software, the hardware requirements should also be considered. It can happen that the retail software that a retailer selects will be compatible only with specific hardware. Apart from the computer system, a wide variety of peripheral components like printers, signature pads and credit card readers and retail software must also be compatible with all these peripheral components.
A retail software solution is not just a requirement but a necessity in the current competitive market of the retail industry. While selecting the retail software, the retailers should ask the selected retail software development company to ensure that the software is easy to use for the users, employees and integrates easily with the company’s existing hardware. Thoughtfully developed retail software can prove to be a real asset for the retailer. The retail businesses looking for custom-built retail software can also consider approaching the top custom software development companies for a fruitful solution and better ROI.