Ultimate software solution guide for Retail Industry
The retail industry is undergoing considerable changes under the influence of consumer behavior shift. In essence, people 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 determine 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 to keep pace with competitors and attract loyal clients.
Developing retail software is the right decision for companies of different sizes. Such software can integrate 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).
Benefits of retail solutions for business:
- Automation — you can automate store tasks such as inventory auditing, pricing regulation, billing, reporting, payroll records, returns processing, etc.
- Real-time visibility — systems allow you to control warehouses and shop floors in 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 the system performs other tasks automatically.
Retail software can be on-premise and cloud-based.
On-premise solutions are installed on computers or retailers’ local servers. In this case, you’ll need IT specialists to maintain the system, handle updates and fix issues.
When you use cloud-based retail software or Software as a Service, you don’t need to install it on your hardware. All you need is an internet connection. SaaS solutions are managed automatically by providers.
General features and capabilities of retail software include the management of products, orders, inventory, supply chain, financial transactions, marketing campaigns, human resources and customer relations.
Types of Retail Software Solutions
Retail software comprises various digital solutions that enable retailers to manage and automate in-store and out-of-store processes. Such solutions can offer general functionality for the retail sector or industry-specific features such as software for supermarkets, clothing stores, etc.
1. Payment Processing Software
This type of retail software connects stores with banks and payment systems. Its functions include:
- credit card processing and online payments
- secure storage of customer payment records
- customizable invoice creation
- creation of reports about all transactions and their statuses
- bank reconciliation
2. Inventory Management Software
Inventory software systems control warehouse stocks and automate some processes. Here are some examples:
- Automatic synchronization of stock with orders allows for instant updating of inventories and enables informed supply chain decision-making.
- Automatic invoicing saves much time and makes price formation and revenue transparent.
- Automatic report generation provides real-time insights for planning the procurement, optimizing stock and making sales predictions.
- Automatic expiry tracking eliminates issues of delivering goods of inferior quality to end users, thus increasing customer satisfaction.
Retail inventory management software can integrate with barcode scanning, RFID and tracking technologies.
3. Point of Sale (POS) Software
Retail POS systems consist of hardware (tablets, computers, cash registers, barcode scanners) and software and are implemented in brick-and-mortar stores to conduct sales on the spot.
Point of sale solutions unify functions such as financial processing, inventory control, the management of discounts, layaways and returns.
The categories of point of sales software depend on the hardware it runs on:
- Mobile POS solutions allow for moving around and performing transactions on the go. They usually run on smartphones and tablets and can be used by couriers.
- Desktop POS systems are installed on computers in stores. Typically, they are more powerful and comprehensive.
- Self-service kiosks are the type of POS solutions highly popular in fast-food restaurants. They enable clients to make orders and pay for them without cashier assistance. Such solutions reduce wait time, eliminate lines and can increase the average check size.
4. Retail Management Software
These are comprehensive digital platforms for retailers that integrate a set of tools to manage business activities.
A single retail management solution provides multiple services, such as:
- inventory management
- invoicing and billing
- customer relationship management (CRM)
- marketing management
- stock verification
- data analysis and report generation.
5. E-Commerce Platforms
The demand for selling products and services online is growing and many retailers have to be involved in the e-Commerce industry. That’s why online retail platforms are becoming a must.
Critical features of e-Commerce solutions include:
- Product catalog
- Search options and filters
- Shopping cart
- Payment processing
- Inventory management
- Marketing management
- Customer management