Retail Software – 4 Essential Factors to Consider.
Retail software is a critical purchase for a small retail business running a retail shop. Choosing retail software wisely can increase the amount of sales made, make your business more efficient and also make your customers happier. Whereas selecting poorly can have a negative effect, restricting how many sales are made, slowing down processes and frustrating your customers (not to mention your staff). Here are few of the essential factors to consider when your selecting your retail software
Retail Software – Web Based or On-premise?
The first thing to think about is whether you would like to have the software on-premise or hosted in the cloud so you can log in via an internet browser. Having it on-site gives you the advantage of immediate access if something were to go wrong with the software so you can fix it yourself. However, you will need the IT skills to be able to repair it yourself, or else have to employ someone to do it for you. You will also need to buy hardware for the software to run on, as well as a backup system in case the hardware fails. You will be responsible for the systems security too, and need to complete any software upgrades that might be necessary.
Generally, when you choose to host software in the cloud you will sign up for a SaaS (software as a service) model. You pay for your software on a month-by-month basis as opposed to having to fork out a lot of money upfront as you would with an on-premise solution. Getting web based retail software means that you would not need to buy hardware or be responsible for system security, backups and software upgrades. All this is done for you by the software vendor. The one thing you are reliant on though is the internet, as without connectivity you will not be able to access your software, so you will need to make sure you have budgeted for a high quality connection if you opt for this type of solution.
Retail Software - CRM, Accounts and Inventory considerations
You will need to work out which different areas of your business need to share data when selecting your retail software. The main systems to think about are CRM, accounts and inventory. Each area has information about the products you are selling, such as what products have been sold (inventory), how much were they sold for (accounts) and who did you sell them too (CRM). By making sure this data is distributed across all these system you will start to be more efficient and make more sales.
All-in-one software solutions are a great way to get these systems working in harmony as they integrate them in a single piece of retail software. This eliminates the need for lengthy data transfers between software programs that may not even be in the same format. You save a lot of time with this type of solution and the other advantage is that all your systems will updated simultaneously rather than waiting for the data to synchronize so everything is available in real time.
Retail Software - Staff considerations
The people who will use the retail software to make sales are your staff. So when you’re making a choice about retail software make sure you bear them in mind. Select software that will make their lives easier and they will be more likely to provide a good service to your customers. Higher customer satisfaction will ultimately result in more sales and more repeat business.
Speak to your staff members about what they think would improve their working day. They are doing these things every day and may have some useful insight into the processes that could be made more efficient. This will help you to assess the features that would really benefit them and what type of system will best fit their needs.
It’s not all about the staff though; you must make the choice based on what suits your business as well. You need to make sure that you are able to limit the amount of access your staff has to your back-end systems appropriately. Whilst you might want them to be able to see stock levels, you probably won’t want them to have free rein over your accounts. Select retail software that works for you both.
Retail Software - What hardware will you need to accompany it?
You will need to buy some hardware to go with any retail software you buy. On-premise solutions will require a server, a backup system and a firewall as well a secure cabinet for this equipment to be stored in. Web-based solutions do not need this much equipment, but both solutions will entail the purchase of some additional hardware. A central cash till for cash payments and credit receipts is essential, and you need to connect this to your retail software so the till is triggered to automatically open when a sale is made.
Having a barcode scanner will allow you to quickly scan products in so they are automatically picked up by your retail software. If you have multiple staff members working at once that it will be worthwhile to invest in a few of these scanners so multiple sales can be made at the same time. You will also need to produce a receipt once a sale has been made so make your that the retail software you select can be hooked up to a thermal printer that allows you to print these automatically.
Retail Software – Your company, your decision
No two companies are the same so make sure have thoroughly assessed what functionality it is that you need. Identify your requirements and research the market properly so you can find the best retail software for your business. All in all it is your company, so make sure the decision you make is the best one for you.
Brightpearl’s business management software for small and medium businesses is designed specifically to save time, increase sales and make customers happier. It’s multi-channel retail software solution that integrates your inventory, accounts, CRM, order management and more with your online web store, POS and online marketplace listings.