Beyond the ERP: Questions to Ask Before You Commit to a Retail Management Systems

Businessperson Checklist Retail Management System

In today’s dynamic business environment, retailers require a business management system to help them seamlessly and efficiently handle day-to-day operations and automate workflows to maintain customer satisfaction, enhance employee efficiency, and ensure compliance with regulations while saving time, resources, and costs. On top a the Retail Management System must be able to adapt the top retail technology trends for future success.

Finding a suitable Retail Management System to manage your shipping and fulfillment, inventory, orders, and other essential retail processes can be daunting. Retail businesses must also consider other processes, such as managing warehouses, post-purchase operations, and back-office functions.

A generic ERP with relevant features is often not enough to do the job. In many cases, it takes a tailor-made ERP developed explicitly for the retail sector to help you automate and manage your business successfully.

Choosing the right retail management system for your business can be confusing. However, if you take the time to ask the right questions and find accurate answers before making a decision, you will be able to make the right decision quickly. A casual look at the ERP market will reveal dozens of vendors, each offering competitive functionality to manage your retail operation.

This article lists the essential questions you must ask to find the best software to help you manage your retail business.

Is it designed for retail businesses?

Control Image Retail ERP

It can be tempting to purchase an all-in-one ERP. However, An ERP system is often complex, and a comprehensive ERP may work against your best interests. A generic ERP software doesn’t usually include retail-specific functionalities such as fulfillment, retail business intelligence (BI), or other post-purchase functions like loyalty programs and personalized promotions. If the answer to this question is a “no,” you should probably abandon the seemingly obvious choice.

Instead, try looking for a business management solution specifically geared toward the retail industry, emphasizing extensive customization capabilities, integration with third-party applications like Amazon and Shopify, and customer upkeep functions to help you make data-driven decisions, automate processes, and keep up with your customers’ ever-changing demands.

What are the essential retail management systems features?

A retail management system should, first and foremost, be flexible and lean. An RMS works best if it is tailor-made for your operational workflows without requiring significant customizations. Ensure that your chosen product comes with basic e-commerce integrations to help you eliminate additional integrations.

You can always add features and integrate your RMS with other competitive applications on an as-required basis.

What is your budget?

Every vendor has a different price list, and it is essential to determine your budget. Try not to overstretch your budget just because you want to buy an RMS with “all the features.” You might need an easily customizable, retail-oriented ERP rather than a full-fledged Retail management system.

When shopping for a retail MANAGEMENT SOLUTION, have a clear idea of your budget and ask the vendor if there are any hidden costs. Hidden costs may come in the form of extra fees for integrations, customizations, after-sales support, etc.

How long will it take to set up your ERP/RMS?

Time IS money. Look for a solution with plug-and-play features that allows you to deploy it across your organization rapidly. However, keep in mind that “quickly” is relative. The more complex and feature-rich the system you require, the longer it will take to implement- Deploying a holistic, unified commerce & retail management system usually includes ERP software, which can significantly lengthen the implementation timeline.

Do you have a team in place to oversee the implementation?

ERP implementation phases

Implementing an RMS organization-wide will change how you work and probably affect your organization’s culture. Make sure you have a team to oversee the implementation and provide users with guidance and training.

What sort of customer support are you getting?

Most people need support while using an RMS in the initial stages. They may have questions regarding features or specific issues they may face. As a result, it is essential to have access to customer support 24×7. When you scout for a retail ERP, ensure that you have access to customer support that is knowledgeable, friendly, and supportive. Customer support must be available across multiple channels; email, telephone, and live chat.

Is the retail ERP scalable?

Retail businesses can quickly grow in size and stature. Consequently, their software requirements can change dramatically as well. You may be mistaken if you run a small business and assume that you won’t need extensive features in the future. The opposite is true too. You may be successful at the moment, but you may have to downsize your operations due to unforeseen circumstances. In any case, make sure that your ERP is scalable and adaptable to your changing business needs.

Does the vendor offer a tailor-made solution?

All retail businesses are different; hence, all business management software solutions will only work for some. Although a retail-focused system is more specific than a generic one, it may require customizations and specific integrations before implementation. These integrations may require development if your retail business works in a particular niche. Ensure that your vendor offers customization, but don’t forget the rule of thumb; customize to a minimum.

Does the system feature artificial intelligence and machine learning?

Your RMS needs AI-enabled mechanisms that help it detect consumer trends and make accurate forecasts. It should also include tailor-made loyalty programs for each segment of your target audience. As ERP tools generate a large amount of data, AI can help process it meaningfully and help you create sales, marketing, and personalized loyalty programs.

Are you ready for a retail management system?

Even the best management system will only work if you are ready to use it.
Ensure your organization maintains an open and receptive approach toward adopting new technologies before purchasing a new technological solution.

Choosing a retail ERP requires time, but vendor assistance can help.

An RMS is a powerful tool that helps you manage and automate multiple processes, paving the way for business success and productivity. However, it can take a lot of work to choose the right one when there are numerous options in the market. Make sure to ask yourself all the questions listed above, and pay particular attention to the most important features:

●      Retail Workflow Automation  – Helps you bring omnichannel experience to your customers.
●      Advanced Inventory Management – Ensure that the ERP offers a seamless update of inventory-related information across channels and locations. It should also help you implement Demand Planning and Inventory Forecasting.
●      Warehouse Management – Getting products to your customers when they need them depends on how efficiently you manage your warehouse. A hybrid wholesale and retail functionality helps you manage both vendors and customers.
●      Easy Order Fulfillment – Ensure your new RMS supports partial fulfillment, back orders, drop shipping, etc.
●      Accounting, CRM, and Returns Management – These are essential and self-explanatory features of any ERP.

If you still can’t decide, you probably need professional ERP consultation. At Priority Software, we believe in helping our clients choose the right software program that suits their unique needs. Contact us today to understand how Priority Retail works and which features your business may specifically benefit from.

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The Author
Olly Lukatski

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