You need retail POS software because it is now an invaluable tool to operate your business. But software can be clunky, confusing and expensive.
Thankfully finding the right retail management software can help you nurture relationships with customers, increasing loyalty that will add to your bottom-line.
Regardless of the size of your business and the industry you operate in, one thing is the same and that is POS software can make your life easier.
Read on below for more info on how to go about finding a software solution to help grow your business.
Retail Management Software Core Features
Even with the litany of software options, there are four clear-cut features that almost all these systems will offer:
- Reporting. You’re going to want to record, and analyze sales data so you can make informed decisions
- Management of Customer Records. This software should allow for the tracking of purchase histories and help with marketing automation
- Inventory Management. Keeping on top of stock counts will help you determine reorders
- Employee and Human Resources. A clock in/out management as well as team scheduling, and payroll.
Point of Sale System Defined
A central component of most retail businesses, the Point of Sale or POS is a hub where everything comes together.
The POS is the place where customers complete payment for their goods, or services, purchased with your business.
Perhaps the best definition of a POS is that it is a combination of software and hardware, that allows the merchant to quickly make daily business operation related tasks.
Depending on the industry or category of the business, different companies will use retail management software for different reasons. For example:
- Restaurants. Use the software to track the inventory of ingredients and supplies as well as order processing
- Jewelers. May require POS software to track repairs as well as quotes and processing sales
- Pawn or consignment. Software for this industry is a bit more specialized since these shops don’t own their inventories
Retail POS Solutions
A lot of POS systems can offer retailers a variety of capabilities in one package.
As mentioned in our example above for pawn shops, sometimes a custom capability needs to be built out that can provide more a more specialized solution
In retail, here are some software features that may be necessary to have built into the retail management software:
- Inventory management to track product
- Sales analytics to track performance
- A customer relationship management (CRM) to increase customer loyalty
- Accounting for retail-specific payroll, taxes and other accounting related tasks
One Size Does Not Fit All
Retail management software needs to be able to scale accordingly, for the size of the business utilizing it. A small business may only require a basic POS system with limited hardware.
For a business that is medium sized, such as a handful of store locations, there are POS systems that will enable support of multiple locations with analytics to reflect this.
A large, enterprise-class business, say 5 or more locations will need software that can account for complexities like warehousing and shipping logistics.
Advantages of Using Retail Management Software
Believe it or not, a lot of retailers still operate without a POS installed. If that’s the case, you better hope the store manager is a whiz at Excel, since POS can really make one’s life easier.
For example, using retail management software can enable your business to scale.
Key insights provided by the software allow you to track trends, in addition to strengths and deficiencies. Being able to monitor top-selling products to see what your customers are focused on can be invaluable.
Efficiencies made possible by modern software helps provide automation. By automating more redundant tasks, shop owners and managers get to spend more time working directly with customers and employees.
Current Market Trends
There is a lot going on in the enterprise software realm. Some trends to keep an eye on are below:
- Inventory control. With advanced inventory control, you can keep on top of vendor inventory and purchase orders so you can keep the shelves stocked
- RFID. This is a technology initially utilized by large firms but has trickled down to smaller companies and enables inventory data to be updated much faster
- Software as a Service (SaaS). The trend towards SaaS has really impacted just about every retail operation with a web-based system allowing for data to be shared remotely without a large upfront cost
- Integration online and offline. The current trend is for retailers to look at their stores as mini distribution centers to avoid over and understocking, which are both really prevalent in retail.
To better stay informed of the latest trends in retail management software check out a blog like the one over at findabusinessthat.com.
Depending on what size company you operate, this can inform the software provider that you eventually sign on with. Listed below are some retail management software companies that are worth researching:
- If you are a small company Comcash, Retail Pro and Microsoft RMS are options to look at.
- For a large, integrated suite company look at Retail Anywhere, Celerant, VuePoint OneVue
- Large enterprise suite buyers should consider Epicor, Cybex, and Jesta Vision I.S.
- Multi-channel buyers look at Counterpoint, RunIt RealTime, and Retail STAR
The good news for retailers is that the costs of retail management software continue to decline. This is due in part to competition from the various vendors and the decreasing cost of hardware.
There is a lot of variety in the prices that retailers will encounter, depending on the specific industry segment that a business operates in.
One option that seems to be popular across almost any category is real-time inventory control. These feature allows for control across a variety of locations and does add considerable cost.
One thing to consider with pricing, however, is that once the system is implemented, over time you will begin to generate a positive return on your investment.
What is Right for Your Business
Securing a retail management software solution is a major investment in your business.
Hopefully armed with some of the detail mentioned in this article you will be able to start researching a software solution that will scale for your operation.
To save valuable time in the process of searching for a software vendor, check out findabusinessthat.com.