What software is used by retailers?

Whether you run a combination of bricks and mortar and ecommerce stores or operate almost solely online, you need software that’s built with you in mind. Retail technology is currently helping thousands of on and offline merchants to grow their retail businesses. 
Retail solutions include the infrastructure to centralize and automate:

  • Inventory
  • Order management
  • Warehousing
  • Fulfillment
  • Shipping
  • Purchasing
  • Accounting
  • Supplier management
  • POS
  • CRM
  • Retail business intelligence

Once all your core operations are optimized (with the help of ELDEVELOP), you’ll become more agile and efficient – and be able to stay competitive amidst the most testing of market conditions.

Key features you’ll need for your retail software stack

Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, you may not require all the features offered by a full retail management system. However, there are some basic features you should always look for. These include POS, inventory management, and a CRM solution. Let’s start with a quick overview of these key retail software features.

1. POS retail software

If you have physical stores, Point of Sale automation can assign pricing to items at checkout and process payments. This can help to mitigate human error and streamline operations. Amongst many other functionalities, POS technology is capable of adjusting inventory levels in real-time with each purchase. 

2. Retail inventory management

Retail inventory management is the process of making sure the merchandise that shoppers want is available – with neither too much or too little in stock at any time. With more efficient inventory control, retailers are better able to meet customer demand without running out of stock or holding on to excess (expensive) supplies.

3. Retail CRM (Customer Relationship Management system)

Many retailers keep their customers’ details, interactions, and order history within their CRM system, making it easier to provide customers with a truly personalized experience at every stage of the customer journey.

Advanced features that can grow your business

From POS and inventory management to CRM and reporting features, integrated features can help you improve operational efficiency. Let’s look at some of  key functionalities in more detail: 

1. Integrated POS 

Point of Sales system enables you to sync inventory, orders, and customer information between both on and offline sales channels. That way, you’ll avoid the risk of overselling. And when items aren’t in store, you can check their availability – as well as fulfilling items from another site if possible. Or mark them as unavailable (or perhaps mark them for back order – saving those precious sales to be fulfilled later). 

POS software solution enables you to elevate your customers’ experience, too. For example, you can provide customers with a range of in-store services, instantly, such as issuing gift cards, refunds, or sales credits – as well as creating automated email receipts. You can also check stock availability at other locations while customers are waiting in-store. 

Point of Sale solution is fully integrated, and offers real-time synchronization with sales, inventory, and customer data, as well as integrating with other Point of Sale systems, too. 

Key benefits of Point of Sale software

POS software can available as an iPad app that works with a range of iOS devices and synchronizes with back offices. This allows you to take orders on the go. It’s also operational offline, so you can take orders when you have no internet (like at a trade show), and sync when connection re-establishes. 

  • The POS system can integrates with your CRM and order history, for a truly omnichannel experience.
  • Having instant access to data in the POS means you can complete all customer journeys in-store.
  • Advanced fulfillment means you can ship bulky items later or place them on back order.
  • See stock levels across all locations and tap into inventory control.
  • Gain real-time insights into a store’s performance with integrated accounting software.

To illustrate how useful POS software is, here’s a recent user-case example. 

Jewelry designer Alex Munroe keeps up with customer expectations using POS

Jewelry designer Alex Monroe has been in business for over 30 years making unique, nature-inspired handmade pieces in the UK.

They said goodbye to manually entering details into spreadsheets to track items, and turned to help them identify live stock items. Being able to quickly see what’s being sold –  and who is buying – in real-time, has helped boost efficiencies in terms of fulfillment and dispatch. 

Without retail POS software “ it would be much more difficult for us to report on the performance of the store, which would make decision-making more difficult”- according to Ecommerce Manager, Tom Graham. 

Taking manual processes out of the equation has also freed up precious time – time that can be spent on customer service. By being able to spend less time looking at their screens, sales staff can spend more time on useful conversations, and give more jewelry demonstrations. Thereby getting customers more involved in the brand. 

Now let’s move on to another essential retail software that’s helping ecommerce businesses achieve success: inventory management.

2. Advanced inventory management

Retail inventory management software gives you a centralized view so you can manage inventory, orders, warehouses, accounting, fulfillment, and shipping. So no more manual errors or lost data.

Inventory management software enables users to make real-time adjustments as products are purchased, and alert retailers when stock levels fall to predetermined levels. 

This allows for a more detailed and efficient organization of inventory. It’s also possible to draw up inventory reports to give you an overview of what’s trending.Then, you can put money into the most profitable products and replenish the right quantities of inventory at the right time. 

With automation engine, you can also set up customized rules enabling you to route products automatically to warehouses, replenish items via the low inventory report, fulfill items, and select the appropriate shipping providers. 

Main benefits of retail inventory management system

  • Multichannel inventory management: Instant updates across all your ecommerce platforms, marketplaces, and physical retail stores.
  • Barcode inventory: integrated warehouse order management system allows you to scan barcodes on items and update inventory levels automatically
  • Multi-location control of inventory: Levels of inventory at all locations are updated based on sales, warehouse-to-warehouse transfers, returns and restocks, etc.
  • Demand planning: Insights into seasonality, best sellers, historic data, and out of stock periods – all to help with replenishment forecasting
  • Amazon FBA reconciliation: Inventory reconciliation.
  • Accurate accounting: Use functionality or integrate with existing systems. Make First-in/First Out valuations, cost calculations, and landed-cost reporting.
  • Integrated shipping and order fulfillment: Manage carriers in one place – partially fulfill, dropship, and manage back orders.
  • Product analytics: Key product metrics and SKUs at category level. Identify best and worst sellers by segment, channel, and geography.
  • advanced_inventory_software

Luxury bathroom brand saw 50% a revenue increase with inventory management system

Automated inventory management ensured had enough stock at the right locations to meet demand. The reporting feature was also invaluable when it came to making purchasing decisions on different stock lines. 

Another important retail software is your CRM setup – an essential system that helps you keep tabs on and improve customer relationships.

3. Retail CRM

CRM enables you to track, tag, email, and update data quickly, streamlining the  sales process and boosting lead generation efforts. With a 360 degree timeline of all your contacts’ activity at your disposal, it’s ideal for customer service agents when they need to address queries quickly. 

By having CRM and accounting integrated in one single system , it’s possible to see how much a customer has outstanding on their account before processing further sales. There’s the option to keep a tight rein on finances by setting credit limits and creating debtor and creditor reports. 

Main benefits of CRM system

  • Create personalized customer experiences: Use accurate, up-to-date information to tailor each customer’s individual journey.
  • Perfect your target marketing: Integrates with most marketing platforms so you can segment customers and create targeted offers.
  • Build strong relationships with wholesalers: Access audit trails and order history, and work more effectively with wholesale clients.



What is a retail system?

A retail management system (RMS) is an all-in-one platform that combines several useful tools together – tools that are designed to help in the running of a retail business. These tools generally include, at the very least, an inventory management system, point of sale (POS) tool, and a customer relationship management (CRM) system. 

Retail Digital Operations Platforms help boost business management efficiencies by providing a centralized place for managing multiple services. They help to streamline everyday back office tasks including managing and buying inventory, keeping tabs on customers, and overseeing finances.

The benefit of retail management software is that information can be shared seamlessly across the platform. If you include an analytics feature, data can easily sync across the entire system – so you can pull up useful reports that will help you to improve your business.

What are the 4 types of inventory?

There are four main types of inventory: 

  • Raw materials 
  • Unfinished products
  • In-transit inventory
  • Cycle inventory

Importantly, a robust inventory management software system helps retailers distinguish between the items on shelves meant for customers and the materials allocated for business use. 

What are inventory management techniques?

Traditional inventory management techniques involve lots of counting and reconciliation to make sure physical stock matches what’s in the books. Keeping track of stocked goods minimizes the risk of holding excess (expensive) inventory and alerts retailers when it’s time to replenish or buy more items. Also known as inventory control, inventory management is much easier with a centralized system. Inventory management techniques provided: 

  • First in, first out (FIFO)
  • Manage relationships
  • Auditing
  • Accurate forecasting
  • Just-in-time (JIT)
  • Reorder point

And more. System can help you avoid dead stock, save on storage costs and enjoy better cash flow management.

What are the other features we need in retail software?

In order for your ecommerce business to operate at maximum efficiency, it’s worth considering investing in a comprehensive retail management system. From accounting software to warehouse management, all can all work together as part of a complete retail management ecosystem. This takes the guesswork out of the equation, reduces manual errors, and gives you a competitive advantage. 

As part of your retail software stack, the following features could prove invaluable for your business:

1. Retail accounting software

Retail accounting software affords you real-time insights into sales performance across your entire business. There are often two types of accounting softwares available on the market:

  • Standalone accounting softwares like Xero, QuickBooks that can be integrated to your retail tech stack.
  • Integrated accounting softwares that comes along with a complete retail operations platform.

From inventory and orders to warehousing and purchasing management, accounting software synchronizes data automatically in a centralized place – giving you a holistic view of your finances. 

2. Warehouse management software

Warehouse management software can help you eliminate those all too easy to make – yet expensive – warehousing errors. Barcode scanner and automated pick, pack, and ship workflows are effective in helping retailers reduce mispicks and mispacks. The added bonus of this is the resulting increase in faster deliveries leading to positive customer reviews.

Warehouse management software takes away the burden of manual inventory counts, enabling partial counts by zone, location, item value, and other product attributes. With sales channels updated automatically it’s easy to stay in control of inventory and avoid forgotten, misplaced, or missing merchandise.

3. Workflow automation

The ability to automate repeatable post-purchase processes allows you to focus on core business operations – and identify and rectify the problems holding your business back. With automation you can process more orders in less time, with fulfillment, shipping, inventory allocation, and invoicing all covered. This means you can concentrate on your exceptional orders and suppliers or the customers that demand your attention most.

With fewer errors creeping in, the customer experience is improved – so customers will be happy to shop with you again. With reliable workflow automation features in place, high order volumes and multichannel order fulfillment won’t ever overwhelm you again, since you can configure automatic workflows for orders and inventory automatically. 

4. Retail business intelligence systems

Robust analytics can help you make smarter decisions and drive company growth. With valuable product and customer insights, and detailed financial reporting features in place, you can better plan demand and make more accurate forecasts. 

Software integrates with existing third party software, too. The ability to combine real-time sales, margins, performance data, and inventory levels with feeds from existing marketing solutions and ad campaigns means it’s possible to achieve a 360 degree view of how your business is operating.

It also reduces handling time, with batching, scanning, optimized pick routes, and automatic fulfillment on pre-defined rules. This results in faster delivery times with orders shipped rapidly to satisfied customers. Plus, the refunds and returns process is streamlined, with customers able to simply package and send items back directly to you. 

Business intelligence software ensures all your employees from the warehouse team, finance department and customer service reps, to sales and marketing have the metrics they need to drive better decision making. 

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