The new social distancing norms, consecutive lockdowns and other restrictions have triggered a paradigm shift from physical to digital retail. Independent retailers are directly competing with big-box stores like Walmart and Amazon. So, suppose you want to stay relevant and successful beyond the COVID-19 era. In that case, you must deliver an exceptional customer experience in a contactless manner. This is where retail technology can help! Blurring the lines between online and offline sales, retail software enables store owners to optimize processes and operate efficiently. It is while ensuring minimal human intervention. Read on to know the different types of retail software solutions, their key benefits, must-have features and steps to develop your retail software. Different Types of Retail Software Retail software solutions enable retailers to automate their daily workflows, expand their reach, and offer a touchless shopping experience. These solutions can range from off-the-shelf POS systems with basic features to custom retail software with industry-specific functionalities for apparel stores, supermarkets, etc. Major Types of Retail Software Solutions include the following: eCommerce Platforms: Due to ever-changing customer preferences and the increased popularity of online shopping, feature-rich eCommerce platforms make it to the mainstream. Key Features Product catalog Inventory management SEO functionality Email marketing Multi-channel marketing Customer management Shopping cart Payment gateway Reorder management Payment Processing Software: This retail solution essentially connects retail stores with different payment systems for secure and seamless transactions. Key Features Online payments Mobile wallets Card payments Customizable invoice templates Auto-generated reports Bank reconciliation Retail Inventory Management Software: Inventory management system offers real-time insights into warehouse stock and goods movement. It also integrates with tracking technologies, barcode scanners & RFID tags for optimized inventory. Key Features: Automated invoicing Synchronization of stock with orders Reports Expiry tracking SKU management Product identification Reorder management Social Media Marketing Systems: This tool allows you to manage social media posts and online marketing campaigns. It can also track analytics across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Key Features Content management Customer targeting Scheduling & publishing Conversion tracking Point of Sale Software: Retail POS systems typically deployed in brick-and-mortar stores help process on-the-spot payments. They also integrate SKU module, inventory tracking, reward program management and return management, among other features. Key Features Mobile POS system for on-the-go transactions Desktop POS system for in-store payment processing Self-service POS systems for cashier-less stores Retail ERP Systems: Enterprise resource planning software offers a comprehensive suite of features for controlling several aspects of a retail business. You can integrate it with third-party systems or develop a custom module depending on your business needs. Key Features: Customer management module Staff management module Financial resource management Supply chain management End-to-end product management Customer Relationship Management Tools: An all-encompassing CRM system makes it easy to manage inventory, sales, marketing and customer support from a single interface. It enables retailers to personalize customer interactions and create a competitive edge. Key Features: Workflow automation Third-party integration Customer service Social media monitoring Lead management Invoicing Analytics & reporting Sales forecasting Customizable email templates Omnichannel Retail Platforms: An Omnichannel retail system is a one-stop solution that ensures transparency, scalability and security across all touchpoints, be it a physical store, a mobile app or an eCommerce website. Key Features: Product and order management Customizable interface Integrated payment gateways Inventory management Shipping and returns management Multi-currency support Personalized customer support Data security Retail software solutions empower store owners and staff with powerful tools that boost efficiency and ensure smooth operations. They help improve service quality, save a lot of time and effort, improve customer satisfaction and lead to increased sales. What are the Benefits of Retail Software for Your Business? The benefits of using retail software are pretty much the same as using a car instead of a horse-drawn carriage. It’s faster, efficient, and convenient! The essential functions in every process will be optimized using retail management software in the foreseeable future. A few key benefits of using retail software solutions are: Time-efficiency: Retail software allows you to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks such as reporting, inventory tracking, regulating prices, recording payroll, billing, processing returns, etc. Increased Reach: Retail software eliminates all geographic boundaries. So, anyone can run a retail store from anywhere across the globe with just a few tweaks in the payment system. Speed & Accuracy: Retail software leverages ML, AI, big data and analytics to automate and optimize end-to-end retail operations. For instance, an inventory tracking drone takes just a few minutes to accurately audit inventory management, which earlier consumed hours when conducted by humans. Real-time Visibility: Retail software enables store owners to control their shop floor and warehouse anytime, anywhere. With real-time visibility into inventory levels, retailers can instantly identify out-of-stock items and reorder them. Automated reminders for out of order items also help avoid downtime and keep the store up and running. Enhanced Customer Experience: Retail software automates all manual tasks and frees up your valuable time, which can be used to engage better and serve customers. Market Leader Status: Do you regret not investing in bitcoin when it was worth a few dollars? It was early adopters who invested. Today, they’re raking in record profit! Similarly, in any industry, and specifically retail, brands that embrace change and adopt technology can vault way ahead of their competitors in a short period. By integrating innovative technology early on, you too can deliver an enhanced customer experience in this contactless world and create an edge. So, if you’re ready to streamline and skyrocket your business with retail software, follow these six steps to building a secure, scalable and reliable solution. How to Build Your Own Retail Software in 2021 Partnering with the Right Retail Software Company: A custom software development company with extensive experience will save you considerable time and money instead of an inexperienced vendor. Your choice will determine how smooth the deployment will be and how positively the retail software will impact your business performance. So, partner with a company that caters to your niche and has developed custom retail software. Cloud vs. On-premise Hosting: Retail software can be cloud-based or on-premise, depending on your business needs and budget. On-premise solutions are installed on your local servers. So you will need IT specialists to maintain and support your systems in case of issues, updates, and downtime. For cloud-based retail software or SaaS solutions, all you need is a reliable Internet connection. Must-have Features & Budget: Retailers need to identify their key features and third-party systems that they’d want to integrate into their retail software. You can either choose an off-the-shelf solution or opt for custom-developed omnichannel software. Your idea of future-ready retail software should also fit your budget. Development and Implementation: Custom retail software development takes time as opposed to a cookie-cutter solution. But whether you choose to develop custom software or deploy a ready-to-use solution, your business will have to undergo considerable changes during the deployment process. Make sure your staff is trained to make the most of the new system. You may also want to eliminate inactive accounts and delete unwanted data from your existing legacy systems to speed-up the migration. Testing: Ideally, retailers adhere to ongoing testing during the integration process. This puts you in a much better position to identify and address issues and make adjustments in time. The final testing is performed to simulate business operations with processes that are to go live. Maintenance & Support: Even successfully deployed retail software needs technical assistance from time to time. This can be provided by a retail software company or by your technological specialists. The Bottom Line The future of retail is undoubtedly bright for those who are willing to embrace technology. Retailers who’re upgrading their physical and digital strategies with new-age retail software continue to witness a surge in sales. What are you doing to capitalize on this new retail world?