Every industry has its own software, and retail is no exception. For retailers, the needs will vary depending on the nature of the inventory, the size of the business, and its projected revenue. However, the overall theme remains the same.
You want software that allows you to spend less time on paperwork, bookkeeping, and inventory control; moreover, software should allow you to spend more time advertising, promoting, marketing, and ultimately increasing sales.
Software solutions can fulfill a wide spectrum of needs. Retail point-of-sale (POS) systems allow you to keep track of sales and pricing on all of your products. Inventory maintenance is another key benefit of such software programs, taking the place of manual lists and counting widgets. Software can make it easier to maintain vendor data, customer data, billing, and shipping information, as well as bookkeeping and employee payment and management. The selection of functions depends largely on your needs, your overall comfort level with computer programs, and your budget. For anywhere from $2,000 to upwards of $50,000, you can use one of the many retail specific software programs. As is typically the case with software, it’s easy to end up paying for features that you don’t need.
To decide whether a full-blown POS system is required, see Do You Need a Point-of-Sale System for Your Small Business?
Before listing some of the leading retail-specific software programs, it’s important to note that as advanced as technology is, a software program is typically only as good as the person using it. Therefore, an elaborate system is useless if your employees struggle with it. The software system needs to be user-friendly, easily maintained, and provide excellent tech support. Of course, you should always have backups of your data and be able to shift to a good, old-fashioned manual sales process if necessary. There’s nothing worse than having to shut down for the day because there is a glitch in your software program or your computer is down. In other words, do not let yourself become overly dependent on retail software.
All that being said, here are a few of the many retail software programs available:
- CORESense On-Demand Multichannel Retail Software. A Web-based system, with a monthly fee, CORESense provides small and midsize businesses with Multi-Channel Management, Order Fulfillment, Inventory & Supplier Management, and Customer Relationship Management.
- Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System. This complete retail software package handles Point-of-Sale Operations, Inventory and Purchasing Management, Pricing, Payment Processing, and Office and Accounting Integration. The easy-to-use system is particularly effective for small and midsize retail businesses.
- NetSuite. For taking your retail business online, NetSuite covers all the bases, starting with Web Building and Web Hosting and continuing through Credit Card Processing and Fraud Protection, Integrated Inventory Management, Customer Services, Invoicing, Tax Calculations, and all you need to function as an retailer online.
- CommercialWare. Utilizing POS capabilities, CommercialWare includes front and back of the store functions such as Inventory Management, Store Administration, Labor Management, Shipping and Receiving, Customer Portfolio/CRM, and reporting.
- mPower Retail. Including POS technology and Inventory Control, mPower can serve to watch over your inventory in real time. The product is also designed for retail chains, providing smooth integration between locations.
These are just a few of the leading players in the retail software market. Compare prices, features, and available modules within each before making your decision. Trade magazines and good old word-of-mouth among retailers can give you the heads-up on what is best for your specific needs.
For more information, be sure to check out the AllBusiness.com Buyer’s Guide for POS Components.