Retail Software: What It Is And Functions
Retail software has, due to the nature of the sector, very particular characteristics that differentiate it from other software. Close contact with the end customer or the continuous generation of invoices and orders are two of these particularities, but there are internal processes among workers (for example, data analysis) that have an impact on the quality of service perceived by the customer and that can also be treated with software.
Digitizing retail means offering a better service to the ordinary citizen, both at the time of direct service and in the preparation of inventory or in the creation of marketing plans for the stores. In this article, we review everything you need to know about retail software.
What is Retail Software?
Retail software is a computer program, generally installed on a store’s computer, although it can also be in offices or warehouses for other tasks (marketing, accounting, inventory…). Its objective is to facilitate the tasks of this sector and improve, through digitization, the traditional processes of the retail trade.
The Main Functions of Retail Software
Among the functions of the retail software are:
- Inventory processing.
- Redesign of marketing plans and planning of offers and promotions.
- Status of products in the store, warehouse…, to know if it is necessary to order more stock.
- Improved customer service (e.g., with chatbots to answer questions).
- Control and management of invoices, receipts, and the like.
- CRM to manage customer relationships.
- Grouping and updating of information in real-time, with easy access by any employee and from any terminal.
- Data analysis to make new decisions.
Retail ERP Software: Retail Management Software
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or retail management software can cover all the processes and departments of a retail business, from the warehouse to after-sales service and returns management. They can also help in the design of new products, services, and promotions, thanks to the processing of data generated by customers and employees.
It is good that this software is integrated with other software you use and run in the cloud, to store more information and facilitate access from different points.
Part of the ERP software is the POS or point of sale management. These are the ones that are more specifically in charge of the processes of buying and selling and collections. They are used to generate the aforementioned invoices and also delivery notes or tickets.
Advantages of Using Retail Software
As we said at the beginning, software is very important to digitize and automate processes in such a traditional sector as retail, which is subject to specificities such as dozens of small continuous transactions, continuous inventory replenishment or direct contact with the customer.
By opting for retail software, company variables improve, such as:
- Performance: Faster and more efficient warehouse management helps to organize the warehouse and better serve customers. Warehouse and store planning is less chaotic and other internal processes are streamlined: shelving, stock checking, etc.
- The benefits: Digitization and automation bring savings on various items that no longer have to be done manually. These can be, for example, the dumping and management of invoices and receipts, or the analysis of data to design marketing plans.
- Customer relations: The focus of some retail software is for consumers to get a better shopping experience, both in physical stores and in e-commerce. Data analysis leads to better marketing actions or to changes in the layout of physical stores and web design.
In addition, as we said before, this software generates enough data to create new marketing plans, design products or services, and rethink the relationship with the customer.
Plain Concepts and Retail Software
Lately, trends in the retail sector are moving towards omni-channel and e-commerce. Therefore, digitization is necessary to follow these trends that are becoming more and more important. At Plain Concepts we have worked on very diverse software projects for the retail sector.
For a department store, we created a tool to help them interact with their customers and obtain data automatically. It collects comments on purchases and transmits incidents. As a result, the store’s salespeople make better decisions, while customers have a better experience.
We have also created an application for a supermarket chain that provides real-time information on what customers are doing in each center, with heat maps of movements and 3D maps of the city on which to compare stores. In this way, it is possible to change the location of items if they are not sufficiently attractive and, as we have seen before, improve the user experience while shopping.
Similarly, a fashion brand relied on us to develop a customer service chatbot to help visitors to their website while at the same time allowing their employees to focus on other tasks. And speaking of websites, we have transformed the website of an American clothing and accessories brand (watches, jewelry…) that hadn’t done so for ten years, with special emphasis on a microservices-oriented architecture: cart, stock, prices, shipping…
On occasion, we have also given new meaning to existing data platforms. This is what we did with a German beverage manufacturer, for which we optimized its data platform based on a Data Lake. In this way, the company was able to reduce the associated maintenance and operational costs.
The development of retail software also reached mobile applications. For the TresAguas shopping center (in Alcorcón, Madrid), we created an Android application in which users could easily find information about events and activities, as well as movie listings, including schedules and movie trailers.
As you can see, our experience in retail software is very varied and covers very diverse fields and technologies. If you want to know all the utilities while saving costs and making your work more agile, contact us: we have the ideal solution. And if you want, you can download our ideas on how Artificial Intelligence solves retail challenges. They will inspire you to improve the experience of your customers and the work of your employees.