A modern retail store has to provide exceptional customer service in order to remain competitive. That’s why it’s important to effectively manage all store processes and automate numerous manual operations. Develop software for retail, and your staff will get powerful tools to run operations seamlessly and complete tasks in a timely manner.
Retail Software for Small Business: Why Is It Important?
Developers around the world create retail software for companies of different sizes, and they all benefit from such solutions. This kind of software can be integrated with any retail business. It is scalable and can meet the needs of both a single shop and a retail chain consisting of hundreds of points of sale (POS).
There are three categories of advantages that software for retail business provides:
- Automation of store tasks (inventory auditing, pricing regulation, billing, reporting, payroll, returns processing, etc.)
- Real-time visibility (systems allow you to control warehouses and shop floors in the online mode, quickly identify whether certain items are in or out of stock, send instant alerts if something is out of order, and help avoid downtime)
- Improved customer service (employees can spend more time engaging with customers whilе other tasks are being performed automatically)
As a result, the implementation of software for retail stores improves operational efficiency and the quality of services, saves much time and money, increases conversion rates and leads to enhanced customer satisfaction.
According to Statista, total global retail sales reached $23.45 trillion. By 2020, sales are projected to amount to $27.73 trillion.
Total retail sales worldwide from 2015 to 2020 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
The retail industry is undergoing considerable changes. The greatest shift concerns consumer behavior — they are becoming increasingly impatient:
- 87% of shoppers leave the store if an item is unavailable and there is no assistant nearby
- 30% of customers wait no more than two minutes to find out whether an item they want to buy is in stock
- 78% of buyers would not use a retailer again after three late or incomplete deliveries
Hence, brick-and-mortar stores must undergo a technological shift, if they want to stay competitive.
Basic Retail Software Features
Software for retail store is a comprehensive system that performs a range of functions for different departments:
- Point of sale (POS) automation — the cash register interface allows scanning barcodes, processing credit cards, managing discounts, layaways, returns, voids and other banking operations; it also ensures payment security
- eCommerce integration — the system provides tools to integrate an eCommerce site with the existing inventory, as well as to deliver online services
- Customer relationship management — a CRM system analyzes buying patterns and tailors your operations to changing trends and customer behavior, providing a personalized shopping experience
- Purchasing — the system automatically orders and reorders goods, manages purchasing budgets and duplicates information to every application involved in the process
- Inventory — retail management software (RMS) can handle the inventory, categorizing items by any attribute you define, e.g. vendor, size, color, material, etc.
- Reporting — built-in reporting templates track and analyze daily task performance, generating detailed reports; you can get accurate and centralized data over any time frame without third-party programs
- Real-time store management — investors, owners and managers can control store buildings from the inside and outside via cameras, accept customer complaints or alerts about other incidents in real-time mode and on one dashboard; this allows them to address issues faster and from any location
- Internal сommunication — the system provides centralized communication between employees, managers and retailers within one platform; this allows them to monitor task compliance, create schedules and seamlessly distribute information
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Five Steps to Create a Software for Retail
Have you realized that this type of solution can simplify your business? If so, it’s about time you learn how to make software for retail.
Choosing the Right Vendor
Selecting a suitable software provider is one of the most important and challenging tasks. Take the time to make your choice carefully. This determines how smooth the implementation will be and how positively a future system will impact your business performance.
For a number of reasons, the main recommendation is to opt for vendors that cater specifically to the retail market:
- You will need minimal software customization
- You will get a ready-to-use database, while databases for other industries differ significantly and they must be reshaped or developed from scratch
- Your vendor will speak the same language as you, eliminating numerous misunderstandings
- You will be able to obtain valid references from peer companies and learn from their experience
Another point is to choose between cloud and on-premises hosting. Since the system can be deployed anywhere, you should be guided by your company’s needs and your budget.
The next step is to discuss the key features your system should include and to create a detailed plan. Consider the following functionalities:
- Omnichannel — to provide a seamless shopping experience no matter what channels the customers use
- Integrated CRM — to improve engagement with consumers and to better understand them
- Integrated POS — your cash register should be integrated with the whole system to provide relevant information to the in-store staff
- Integrated warehouse management — the inventory updates should be automatically and accurately reflected across all sales and financial channels
- Integrated accounting — to manage financial records within the system, not in a separate program
The planning stage may take from two to five weeks.
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During the implementation process, your company will undergo significant changes, both technical and cultural. Hence, it is important to:
- Assemble the internal team of technical specialists with the appropriate expertise who will participate in the implementation
- Prepare the staff for the new system, explain its benefits and provide necessary training
- Perform data cleansing (make determinations concerning documents and other items in your legacy system; eliminate inactive accounts and records that have not been processed for years to simplify the migration)
Depending on the circumstances, this stage takes from a couple of months to more than a year.
The management system is sophisticated and requires control and testing. Most companies adhere to continuous testing, so the process will happen simultaneously with the integration.
Be prepared to address numerous issues and make adjustments. The main goal of the final testing is to simulate the lifecycle of your business with go-live processes.
A successfully implemented system needs further support and maintenance. It can be ensured by the software provider or by your technical specialists.
Finally, we have come to the most exciting question you may ask: “How much does it cost to build a retail software for business?” Nobody can give you a precise answer since the cost depends on many factors:
- The size of the company (number of users, departments, offices)
- The number of needed functions and applications
- Hosting type
- Customization level
- Required resources (consulting, staff training, etc.)
- License fees
The table below can give you a general idea of the retail management software costs depending on the company size.
The general rules concerning software system costs are:
- The bigger the company, the higher the cost
- The software itself costs less than spending on human resources (employees, consultants, etc.)
- The cost of initial implementation is less than the cost of further maintenance
We can put expenses into a formula:
Every vendor provides their pricing policy by request, including additional expenses that may arise. However, the total cost can be calculated only when the project is finished.
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Examples of the Best Software for Retail Business
Thousands of retail management solutions are available in the market. We have picked out some examples of this type of software to demonstrate what it may look like, along with the description of some core features.
This is the world’s most deployed cloud-based business management solution for enterprises of all sizes across all industries, including retail. It is deployed in 160+ countries by more than 40,000 companies.
The system runs key back-office operations in the cloud, providing a single comprehensive platform for the following processes:
- Financial management
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
- Inventory management
- Supply chain and warehouse management
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Professional services automation (PSA)
- eCommerce integration
- Real-time analytics and reporting
RQ Retail Management
iQmetrix created a cloud-based full-suite point of sale (POS) and retail management system — RQ Retail Management — especially for retailers.
It provides sales staff with tools to perform:
- Customer management
- Inventory tracking
- Accounts monitoring
- Reporting and analytics
- Human resource management
- Targeted marketing campaigns
Due to built-in functions such as suggestive selling and compatibility indicators, sales staff can make personalized offerings for each customer. RQ also integrates with third-party applications, e.g. а tax library or automated payment processing systems.
iVend Retail is an integrated solution for retail companies with 5 to 500+ stores. It is scalable and can meet the requirements of multi-store, multi-language and multi-currency organizations. The solution is available on different devices.
- Improved customer engagement
- Enterprise-wide visibility
- Inventory management
- Loyalty programs
- Personalized offerings
The retail industry needs a significant transformation to redefine the way it engages with today’s consumers and the way it provides services.
SaM Solutions’ expertise for retail software development is based on SAP C/4HANA and Magento software platforms. Our clients have access to flexible technology capacities and can build better retail experiences.
- Modernization of legacy systems
- Migration to modern engines
- Delivery, maintenance and operation of eCommerce solutions
- Software testing and quality assurance
For more information on SaM’s solutions for retail, fill out the contact form.