What is Retail Management Software?
Retail management software is a valuable tool for controlling the multiple facets of any retail business. The software comes in many different forms that can vary based on the size of the business, the features offered and of course, the price point.
To determine what type of retail management software is best for you, you must first analyze the scope and size of your business, the types of services you offer to clients and the features and functions of the software that you will use most often. While this sounds overwhelming, calling around to different retail management providers can give you an idea of the endless possibilities for customization that will ultimately optimize your business operations.
Many websites and providers offer detailed demos to give you an idea of the scope of retail management software capabilities. The following is a breakdown of some main components of of many retail software programs, and a short overview of how they affect your business:
- Point of Sale: handles transactional data, captures customer information, sales and workforce productivity.
- Mobile Marketing: allows you to utilize SMS messaging and text updates in order to increase promotional and customer experience efforts.
- Order Fulfillment: makes it easy to fill orders for pick-up from any location.
- Operations Management: helps organize the day to day operations and streamline stocking, ordering and supply chain responsibilities.
- Integrated Accounting: provides a means to analyze all financial aspects of your retail chain and organizes it into graphs and spreadsheets.
- Merchandising: records interpretive data to make ordering stock, pricing and other components more efficient.
- Product Management: helps track and organize inventory as well as loss prevention.
- Planning: allows you to break down information into units, dollars, classes etc.
- Retail Budgeting: sets up sales objectives, compares rates of sale and establishes key measurement initiatives.
- Retail Analytics: helps with future planning and improved decision making with pre-configured reports, queries and graphs.
- Warehouse Management: increases warehouse efficiency and order shipment.
- Wholesale Management: allows you to monitor every order and check inventory.
At minimum, your chosen provider for retail management software should be able to provide you with detailed descriptions of features like the above, and explain to you how each one can contribute to increasing efficiency and ultimately profitability within your business. The company's software experts should be happy to show you their retail management software in action- if they aren't, they may be trying to hide something.
Be aware that almost every one of these providers will offer demonstrations or consultation sessions, but you want to make sure they will continue to offer support when it really counts- after you have purchased the software. Some companies will hand over the software and then magically fade into the background, while others stay remarkably supportive and offer round the clock technical support. While this extra support often comes with an increase in the overall price of the software, remember that it may save you the many headaches and frustrations that often come with integrating new software company-wide into a retail business.
View your options as a chance to improve you business rather than acquiring another expense. Finding a good fit between a retail management software and your business can be a thing of beauty and the hassles it saves you in the long run will be well worth what you are putting up front. It is not an expense but an investment that will pay off for a long time to come.