Best Retail Management Software
Looking for a tech-solution for running your retail business? Find the best tool at GoodFirms' list of best retail management software to aid your needs. RMS software is all-in-one tools that provide overall retail management system solutions; that includes a range of operations such as accounting, point-of-sale, CRM, inventory management, e-commerce integrations and much more. With the help of this retail management system or online retail software, retailers can generate and use real-time reporting to be updated with business dynamics and make smart decisions.
List of Retail Management System | Best RMS Software
List of Retail Management System | Best RMS Software
- Introduction to the Buyer’s Guide for Retail Management Software
- What is retail management?
- What are the various elements of retail management?
- What is Retail Management Software?
- What are the different types of Retail Management Software?
- How can retailers address the key industry challenges with the help of the retail management system?
- What are the benefits of Retail management software?
- Can a robust retail management software contribute to better customer experience?
- How does the retail management system meet the growing demand for business process automation in the retail industry?
- What retail management trends should a retailer be aware of before buying a retail management system?
- Which factors to consider before selecting a suitable retail management software solution?
- What are the features you should look at before buying retail management software?
- What is the average cost of buying retail management software?
- What are the trends that will affect the Retail Management Software industry in the future?
- Why refer to GoodFirms' list of Retail management software?
Today the idea of a nearby convenience store is not as lucrative as it used to be before the advent of online shopping. The popping up of new competitors from the ecommerce space is making the retail marketplace more challenging and complex day by day. Retailers have to offer an additional quantum of service with advanced technologies to attract buyers into their stores. Successful retail businesses know that -'In-store shopping experience' is the only addon asset that they have as an advantage over the online shopping business. For instance, IKEA, the iconic furniture brand, allows customers to see the 3D rendering of its products through augmented reality, Amazon Go, unleashes the checkout-free shopping experience. The French supermarket chain Carrefour uses beacon technology to send in-store routes and promotional messages to customers inside the store. Such success in retail requires businesses to implement an integrated buying experience with software technology and systems that equip them to operate their retail businesses efficiently.
With retail management software, traditional retailers can make fundamental changes to their operating models to provide a robust customer experience that increases the store footfalls, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction. Therefore, this buyer's guide to retail management software is intended to assist buyers in understanding the potentials and limitations of retail management software along with their pricing, features, benefits, and usage.
Today buying online is getting popular with consumers of all age groups and demographics, but there are products and tactile experiences that people can't get online. Even ecommerce companies prefer to have a physical presence to showcase their proprietary products. For companies to gain omnichannel presence, efficient retail management is crucial to capture business both in the online and offline sphere.
Retail management is the process and strategy to run, manage, and optimize the day to day activities of the retail stores. Retail management ensures that customers can shop hassle-free for their desired merchandise.
Retail management ensures that even a small detail that increases the overall customer experience is not missed. For example, retail management teaches retailers to pay attention to even minute details about the color schemes of the shelves, eye-catching displays, spaces for signage for customer testimonials, shelf heights, etc. It is the management of various elements together, such as the inventory, product categories, payments, customer service, retail shelves, promotional activities, and even the employees. The retail management spectrum is so large that it is impractical to take care of each aspect manually. Therefore, retailers use technology to manage their retail outlets efficiently.
Retail management consists of various elements that shape the retail store's activities to provide operational excellence to the retail business. Retailers have to manage all elements such as visual merchandising, retail marketing and promotion, customer service, Point of Purchase (POP), and Point of Sales (POS), etc. to achieve success in the retail business.
Following elements are the essential components of the retail mix that define the retailer's overall management strategy:
- Product: Managing the quality, variance, quantity, and range of products is the foremost requirement of retail management.
- Price: Managing the pricing strategy, costs involved in procuring products, and managing the factors affecting the prices is a crucial retail management element.
- Place: In the retail context, the place where products are kept and sold is a place of strategic importance. Managing Stores, their timing of the operation, their internal layout, etc. is essential to selling products without hassle.
- People: Managing customers, staff, suppliers, and the activities associated with them come under this element of retail management.
- Promotion: Allocating budget and resources for promotional activities, branding, and advertising to prompt customers to flock into the stores and creating a strong store image is an important element of retail management.
- Process: It involves the management of how everything is done in the store and outside the store. It delineates the entire process of retail business operations such as: how supplies are procured, how products are delivered, how the staff is recruited etc.
- Physical Environment: This element takes care of the aesthetics of the retail store to elevate customer experiences. It is the management of the internal design of the store, color schemes, position of the shelves, POS point, interior space, etc. Creating a pleasing environment for shopping is essential for brand image.
Characterized by omnichannel operations, a retail management software can assist retailers in having a strong offline and online presence. With features such as managing inventory, sync inventory with POS, automating order of inventory below pre-set levels, inventory forecast, customer shopping cart, retailer-customer relationship management, reporting, branding, staff scheduling, and many more, a retail management system is a complete software solution for retail operations.
A retail software can propel sales and margins, take merchandise planning to the next level, and assist retailers in providing seamless customer experiences.
These types of retail management software are licensed, and retailers can install them within their systems. On-Premise retail management solutions are highly customizable in nature. Multi-store retailers seeking to keep their cumulative data from all stores on their own servers can opt for on-premise retail management systems.
Third-party online retail management software providers offer web-based online retail solutions that can be accessed from anywhere with internet accessibility. Retail store owners, retail managers, and staff can access the service with a secure id and password. Web-based online retail management systems are popular as they don't require any hardware installations apart from computers and internet access.
The cloud-based retail management software is popular with mega-retailers and retail chain owners who require high-speed real-time information, massive data storage capabilities, and high-end security. Hosted through a third-party cloud service provider, cloud-based retail management software is a SaaS (Software as a Service) based solution.
The open source retail management software allows retailers to modify programming codes, change default settings, and customize features, and integrate external plugins and addons to enhance the functionalities and utility of the retail system. Retailers requiring tailored solutions can opt for an open source retail management software
Industry 4.0 blurred the lines between physical and digital worlds by its powerful technology, real-time access to data, and predictive algorithms. Digital disruptions, changing consumer behavior, liquidity issues, and many other challenges are faced by the retail industry. However, technological platforms can help businesses to eradicate many specific industry issues. Let us analyze the same in detail:
Traditional retailers used to create massive demography based segmentation that couldn't be used for personalized offerings, whereas modern retailers can create micro-segmentation by using data-analytics of the RMS technology to provide targeted, personalized services to the customers.
Traditional retailers focussed on the in-store experience of the customer, while modern retailers can make the entire customer journey pleasant by integrating retail systems with AI, virtual, and augmented reality. For instance, virtual trial rooms, 3D try-on service, etc.
Multiple touchpoints for data can create issues for multi-store retail chains. Without a centralized data management system, retailers will have to depend on cross-store communication for various needs. A retail system can centralize data to mitigate this issue.
Another challenge is to keep data safe when it is exposed and shared with third parties and vendors. Partner vendors are no doubt very trustworthy people, but there is no guarantee that they also have robust data protection measures at their end. RMS technology has robust admin controlled access to the data vaults. It safeguards data by controlling information access.
Data redundancy is also a concern for retailers. When multi-store retail businesses store data at multiple POS points, then duplication of data can create confusion.
Traditional pricing methods in retail with physical product tags won’t allow retailers to benefit from the demand-supply theme. The electronic shelves edge technology integrated with Retail management software allows retailers to price their products dynamically. Such advanced tools allow retailers to provide personalized discounts and real-time deals to the customers who are in the store.
Supply chain management
For retailers ensuring an uninterrupted supply chain is crucial for survival in the competitive retail world. With retail management software’s continuous automated monitoring of inventory, automated orders for low inventory items, and digitally sync logistics abilities, retailers can gain tremendously from an infallible supply chain. Retailers can also share real-time POS data to suppliers to give the supplier an accurate estimate about when a refill of a particular item will be required.
The retail management software helps to monitor and control quality in multi-store agreements or in the franchisee business models by implementing similar strategies, real-time collaboration, and driving sales without compromising on brand image.
Retailers who provide their customers with multiple buying options are the ones who can survive the present economic adversity. The omnichannel approach increases the retailers' ability to upsell and cross-sell and thereby increases basket size.
Retailers can ensure a faster checkout during billing with the retail POS system. The modern retail management software is compatible with multiple modes of payments in multiple currency forms.
Retailers need not waste time in managing inventory spreadsheets as the inventory management features of retail management software can automatically update products sold, products procured, items ordered, low running stocks, surplus inventory, etc.
Losses can be evaded, and profitability can be increased by predicting sales, peak times, exact inventory requirements, customer's most preferred products, highest selling items, frequency of shopping, employee performance, etc. Retail management software is capable of summarizing and analyzing financial reports to come up with critical business information. With intelligent business analytics, retailers gain an edge over their competitors.
Efficient employee management
Retailers can better manage staff scheduling by having a clear understanding of the fundamental building blocks of scheduling using Operationalizing ‘lean-retailing innovation’ into store operations using a retail management software, can boost productivity and reduce waste time.
Eliminate redundant tasks with process automation
With process automation, retailers can make a meaningful difference in brick-and-mortar economics. Retailers can automate frequent activities and focus on upstream activities that influence the store’s profitability, such as customer experience.
Robust supply chain management
Retail management systems can bring a real transition from poorly structured supply chains to digital supply networks. Leveraging real-time supply data, retailers can make better decisions to achieve maximum efficiency.
In the retail sphere, by implementing a retail management system, retailers can gather unique data sets about their customers and generate insights that help them to create, design, and deliver the best products to their customers. It saves retailers from losing several dollars in revenues if customers leave their store empty-handed due to poor service.
From a multi-store or franchisee model perspective, retail management software helps in monitoring and controlling the quality and alignment of business goals at every store equally.
Customer segmentation analytics is another major area where RMS software has revolutionized the retail field. Earlier retailers could gather limited details about their customer’s demographics and preferences. With Retail software in place, retailers can identify the complete buying pattern of their customers and can divide customers into more comprehensive segments for providing personalized services. Tracking social media activities of the customers, such as the posts where users ‘like or dislike’ products, and share their ideas can help retailers to tailor products according to the interests of their customers.
Today customers do preliminary research about the products they want to buy before visiting the stores. Reading online reviews, analyzing prices, features, and finding the list of showrooms where these products are available has become a norm. Handling such techno-savvy and well-informed customers require retailers to focus more on customer service rather than other redundant tasks in the store. Retailers have to consistently eliminate routine activities, and simplify tasks by automating to remain relevant in the dynamic business environments. With a retail management system, retailers can automate the following processes to save time and focus on interaction with the customers.
- Customer segmentation and positioning
- Pricing of products
- Staff scheduling
- Marketing and communication
- Customer Loyalty programs
- Inventory orders
Predictive algorithms serve as the recommendation engines to the retailers to offer the best customer experiences. Using past data, factual information, machine learning, big data analytics, and AI to predict the future behavior of customers is a popular current trend in the retail sector. Retailers are leveraging predictive analytics generated insights to develop marketing campaigns, improve employee training, and offer personalized products and services to their customers. Retailers are designing products that mitigate the risk of being unsold, based on the results obtained from predictive analytics.
Beacons transmit Bluetooth signals to nearby smartphones via battery-operated wireless devices. Retailers use beacon technology to transmit messages to shoppers perusing in a particular aisle or shelf inside the store. Existing customers who have the Bluetooth enabled application downloaded onto their mobile phones are served with in-app ads for relevant products, discounts, rewards, etc. while shopping. The practical use of beacons can increase customer experience, satisfaction, and basket size significantly. For instance, a customer who is standing in front of a jeans section gets a push message on his mobile phone, informing him that the jeans he is looking at are available at a 20% extra discount-an offer just for him.
Augmented reality assists retailers to provide their customers with unlimited trials of the product without wasting time. With one click, shoppers can envisage and test various products for making purchasing decisions. Virtual trial rooms, 360-degree view of products, virtual try-on of products also helps the retailers to provide the trial of products without actually handing the product to customers. In the post-pandemic era, this technology can prove very useful in proving contactless and touchless trials.
AI and machine learning
In a recent survey by Gartner, 77% of retailers agreed to a survey plan to implement AI by 2021. 87% of retailers surveyed by Gartner indicated warehouse robotics as the number one use case. AI has a larger role functioning as the nervous system for the organization, supporting continuous adaptation. Retailers can deploy AI-enabled self-learning systems and cognitive modeling to receive customer feedback from past experiences, and based on it can optimize the shopping experience for consumers.
Customer data analytics
Customer data analytics in retail empowers retailers to understand various key facts about their customers' preferences, for example- the products customers buy the most, the most preferred color of apparel, most preferred time to shop, etc. Using such customer data analytics retailers can not only personalize the in-store experience for their customers but also reach them at the right time and the right place.
Contactless payments/Automated checkouts
The entry of the e-commerce giant Amazon into the retail brick and mortar stores with its Amazon Go Grocery stores, Amazon Pop-up stores, Amazon Book stores, Amazon 4-star stores, Amazon treasure trucks, etc. have proved the importance and relevance of the omnichannel retail approach to serving the end consumers. Amazon Go's automated checkouts without any manual intervention is a revolutionary step in the retail field. A retail management system integrated with Mobile POS, contact sensors, and facial recognition technology can make such checkout-free shopping experiences possible.
Buy Online Pickup in-Store is the evolution of retail to combat the proliferation of ecommerce. It is a competitive differentiator that allows retailers to squeeze more profits by eliminating shipping costs and providing customers with a fast and convenient buying experience. While ecommerce orders can take from a minimum one day to upto several days for delivery, many BOPIS retailers can expedite delivery by offering products within two hours of order. Many stores provide store-to-car delivery so that customers can pick up their orders without even stepping out of their vehicles.
The subscription-based retail model is getting traction for products that customers buy at regular intervals such as shaving blades, hair oils, shampoos, sanitary napkins, diapers, beauty products, health products, etc. Discounts are offered for customers who subscribe to the offers. Traditional retailers' foray into digital subscription-based format is a revolutionary trend.
Retailers should meticulously consider the following factors about the retail management software they are planning to have at their disposal before making an actual purchase:
- Can the retail management software integrate with other technologies such as AI, AR/VR, beacon, or not?
- Whether the software provides an encrypted server for all transactions and customer billings or not?
- Is the system scalable to accommodate features when your retail customer base grows?
- Is the retail technology solution accessible on all devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones?
- Can online retail software work smoothly with low bandwidth internet connectivity?
- Is the software user-friendly, sophisticated, and easy to navigate?
- Does the software vendor provide reliable, 24/7 customer support?
- Does it support multiple languages, and multiple currencies, etc.?
- Does the retail management solution ensure regulatory compliance for protecting user data?
- Does it provide all essential features as required for your business?
- Whether customization, training, updates, and upgrades are available easily?
- Does the vendor provide a freemium, free version, or free trial/free demo of its services?
Customer Management module keeps a record of the customer data and provides retailers with a holistic view of their customer's choice and preferences. It can tell retailers minute details about their customers, such as their favorite mode of payment, records the modes of payment, frequently purchased items, transaction history, etc. It keeps track of the consumer's purchase history for providing loyalty points and rewards.
With charts and visual data, an interactive visual dashboard feature of retail management systems software presents you with a snapshot of your business performance, including financial health, retail store activities, customer activity, employee activity, and more.
All manual paper inventory counts, statements, invoices, staff schedules are made electronically with minimal effort with a retail management system. It isn't always easy keeping track of the wealth of data that your business produces.
Track sales and orders
The POS application of the retail management software tracks the sales data such as the items selling consistently across your store, peak times, sales gaps, pairs or groups of items that customers buy together, etc. You can glean the insights to seize more sales opportunities. It also manages all orders of the store.
This feature of retail management software organizes and classifies products based on their features, types, categories, sale process, price, weight, segment, color, size, expiry dates, season, etc. It also keeps records of each product's manufacturing data, handling information, warranty conditions, etc.
This feature of retail system software enables retailers to manage the price and discounts on their products in all categories. Retailers can create sales price lists, discount lists, make real-time pricing updates, provide special offers, buy one get one free offer, etc.
Retailers get information about real-time stock levels and key inventory metrics of all outlets. This feature of the retail system keeps inventory levels accurate and notifies whenever inventory falls below pre-set limits.
This feature allows suppliers to access the POS and inventory data about the products that they supply to the stores. Based on the POS details and inventory levels, automated orders for inventory refills can be generated. This module also records all previous transactions with suppliers, billing details, invoices, default cases, late supply information, etc.
The employee management module of retail software keeps track of employee hours, shifts, schedules, leaves, overtime, etc. It can track peak times and forecast labor requirements in stores and warehouses.
Reporting and analytics
With the reporting and analytics function of retail software solutions, retailers can get real-time custom reports of sales, suppliers, inventory, etc.
- POS integration for payment and checkouts
- Business forecasting
- Multi-device capabilities
- Multi-currency support
- Bulk Email support
- Marketing Management
- Exchange and Return management
The costs of retail management software depend on a large number of factors such as:
- The number of stores you want to monitor and manage
- Features and functions it offers
- Type of deployment service sought: Cloud-based, Web-based, On-premise software, or open-source system.
- Whether it can work on Multiple Devices or not
- Separate mobile application
- Quality of service offered
- Integrations it offers
- User interface and experience
These digital variations and extensions can significantly alter the costs and estimations of the retail software. Moreover, the cost of buying retail software with full-fledged functionalities and robust integrations is significantly higher than the one with limited features and basic functionalities.
The enterprise version of Shopify POS will cost you around $299 a month, while the basic version of Shopify POS is available for $29 only. LightSpeed POS will cost you $229 a month for its Pro version, while its basic version is available for $69 a month. Tillpoint retail software will cost you $229 for its enterprise plan and $99 for the basic plan. Piik will cost you $159 for the pro plan and $69 for the basic plan. Software such as Giftlogic comes with a one-time payment of $1295 for its pro plan. If you need a free and open source retail management software, you can opt for Openbravo. For other online retail management software or free retail software such as NCR Counterpoint, Ginesys, Shopkeep, and Fusion Retail, you need to contact the vendor for detailed pricing. You can get the list and all information from the GoodFirms Retail Management Software Page.
Global retail sales were projected to amount to around 30 trillion U.S. dollars by 2023. But the recent pandemic situation has affected the retail industry massively. According to a recent Forrester report, owing to the COVID-19 led chaos around the world, retail will see a $2.1 trillion loss globally in 2020. Fighting for survival in the pandemic era may compel retailers to adopt stringent measures for cost-cutting, such as understaffing stores. But this isn't a long term solution. The solution should be unique. Gartner says that the pandemic has caused profound shifts in the retail landscape, and to survive, retailers need to make the right technological investment. Therefore, retailers are turning towards technological upgrades to tackle the current market disruptions. RMS software is bound to benefit from this approach of retailers in the near future.
A new breed of tech-savvy consumers, disruptive technologies, high-engagement experiences, and consumer's influence on the value chain are the trends shaping the retail industry's future. The retail management software industry will have to meet the demands of the post-pandemic world and align itself with the future trends to provide industry-ready solutions.
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