If you’re running a retail operation, you’ll know how hard it is. As if the coronavirus apocalypse wasn’t disruptive enough, retailers have had to suffer though supply chain issues and severe staffing shortages. This is why it’s more important than ever to have the right tech to do the job. One of these is retail management software, but what is it?
What is retail management software?
Rather than running around trying to find individual tools to support their retail business, many companies opt for all-in-one retail management software.
These platforms provide a variety of different services all in one place. Offering a range of tools which automate tasks, support staff and provide a simple overview of different areas of the business.
Features of good retail management software
Good retail management software will have several distinct but connected elements. But what can you expect from such a package?
Customer relationship management (CRM)
CRM’s will form the basis for your relationship with your customers. They will track and store information regarding sales and habits, allowing your staff to identify and understand them.
While some CRM’s provide additional features, the most fundamental part is a simple and secure hub for all your customer information.
Sometimes customers want to get in touch. While it’s rarely to congratulate you on a job well done, it’s something that you cannot ignore. A poor experience dealing can turn an already bad situation for a customer into an unsalvageable one.
In fact, a Zendesk study found that 50% of customers would switch to a new brand following a negative customer service experience.
Good customer service software will provide your staff with everything they need to get the job done. This included training materials, omnichannel support and reporting to assess trends.
As much as your customers might want to talk to you, you’ll certainly want to be speaking to them. Whether it’s to highlight the offers you have or guide them through the sales funnel, you want to make sure you are connecting with customers at the right points.
Having an automated and intelligent system allows you to do with with a minimum of effort.
Understanding stock levels and sales is one of the cornerstones of any successful business. Inventory management tools do just this, providing a clear and concise view of the commerce side of the business.
At their most simple you will be able to see what you have and what’s sold and what’s left. More advanced pieces of software will be able to generate intuitive reporting, providing valuable insight.
Customers are more fickle than they used to be. Brand loyalty holds much less power in the modern age as people are much more happy to shop around in favour of better deals.
This is why it’s vital that you have something in place to reward those who shop with you regularly, making them feel valued. Zinrelo have identified that around 80% of revenue can come from as little as 20% of a customer base, showing why a loyalty programme is sort important.
It identifies those loyal to your brand and rewards as per your specifications. Meaning you can rest easy knowing your best customers are being looked after.
Point of sale (POS)
The final piece in the puzzle will be the tool that actually allows customers to buy something. Whether in store or online, Point of Sale (POS) software ensures a seamless transaction, allowing customer to pay through a variety of means.
It should also provide you with valuable and data and feed into your customer comms to provide post-purchase contact.
Reporting / analytics
One of the advantages of having all of these tools in one place is that the information all sits on one system. That’s why you need good reporting to analyse the data and help your business make informed decisions.
When understanding the reporting key things one thing you should look out for is the ability to create custom reports tailored to your requirements.
How to pick the right retail management system?
To say that you a The first thing to work out is which of these features you require. If you already have some of these tools available to you might want to consider a customisable solution.
Something that allows you to pick and choose the services you require, rather than requiring you to pay for things you don’t need. Once you’ve identified a few suitable solutions you’ll want to research extensively.
Websites like Capterra give a good overview but you will also want to plug your network to see if you can get any first hand recommendations. It’s important to remember that many products will operate on a 12 month license and often don’t come cheap, so take your time.
Top picks for retail management systems
While everyone will have different requirements, we have identified these three as our front runners.
They offer a wide range of tools and most importantly, are highly rated by users.
One of the leading global software providers, Oracle Netsuite provides a feature rich solution for retail operations. Their package covers all the bases, ensuring a one stop shop for any retail operation.
On Top of the usual tools, Netsuite offer best in class business intelligence to inform decision making
Brightpearl offers a plug & play yet comprehensive product which ticks all the boxes for the modern retailer.
It also comes equipped with integrations for a range of third party retailers such as Ebay and Amazon so you can reach a wider market straight away.
Lightspeed retail software seamlessly links up all facets of a retail business in one easy to use product.
They also offer 24/7 support from dedicated specialists and have an inbuilt loyalty programme, something which isn’t always available in RMS.
Lost property management, the missing piece
Any bricks and mortar retail operation will know that lost property can be a problem. Staff often aren’t set up to handle to properly which can waste your team’s time while creating negative customer experiences.
While some retail management software may have a form of lost property management, it is unlikely to be comprehensive. More often than not, it’s inclusion is a box ticking exercise for compliance reasons, unlikely to provide real value.
This is where Notlost comes in. Our tailor-made software ensures a slick process for all involved and provides two major benefits.
1) Customers get items back without delay, helping to improve the overall experience and turning a bad situation for a customer into a good one.
2) Staff spend far less time wasted on labour intensive enquires. This means they have more bandwidth to do what their paid to do