The retail industry is redefining not only how people shop, but also, how businesses use technology to attract and retain customers, streamline operations, and drive sales. This year continues to see a surge in demand for retail solutions, thanks to evolving consumer habits.
Today’s shoppers have grown to love online ordering as well as local delivery and pickup almost as much as they love shopping in person. They now expect retailers to offer alternative ways to pay for items. Thankfully, tech companies are developing innovative retail solutions software that allows businesses to gain a competitive edge.
What are Retail Solutions?
A retail solution is any “software specifically designed to manage the retail business process and pump up sales with its functionality and features.” A custom retail solution is designed to meet the unique needs of a retailer and provide insights into its operations. Custom solutions are built by taking the business and its targeted audience into account. An integrated package of retail solutions helps businesses tackle a variety of challenges and achieve a set of expected results.
Types of Retail Solutions Software
A variety of retail solutions software is currently available on the market. Features and benefits vary according to the process involved. Following are the most in-demand solutions today:
Point of sale (POS) software enables transactions between retailers and customers. It is ideal for physical stores that utilize a combination of payment devices, barcode scanners, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, etc. It allows retailers to take transactions and simplify day-to-day operations. Key features include:
- Inventory tracking
- Sales reporting and analytics
- Customer profiles
- Employee management
- Custom sales
e-Commerce software allows retailers to sell products and services online. They can use it to build a website, create a product catalog, add and remove items, create product descriptions, set up a shopping cart, fulfill orders, and process payments. With a social media presence, retailers can reach anyone, anytime, from any location. Key features include:
- Product catalog
- Search function
- Ordering system
- Shopping cart
- Payment processing
Inventory management software is designed to organize inventory and facilitate a smoother workflow. It can handle all aspects of a retailer’s inventory – from planning and intake to delivery and stock prediction. It works with barcodes, RFID tags, and wireless tracking technology. Key features include:
- Inventory control and optimization
- Order management and fulfillment
- Inventory reports
- Batch and expiry tracking
- Price lists
Customer relationship management (CRM) software tracks customers’ purchase history and contact information. Thoughtful analysis of this data allows retailers to build lasting relationships by focusing attention on retention efforts and sales growth. It also plays a key role in providing exceptional customer service. Key features include:
- Customer data management
- Analytics and reports
- Sales automation
- Market segmentation
- Loyalty and rewards programs
Payment processing software connects e-commerce sites via a virtual terminal with payment systems. It provides a secure platform that allows customers to add credit/debit card or bank details and retailers to communicate with financial institutions to approve or reject transactions. Key features include:
- Invoice creation
- Online payments
- Bank reconciliation
- Storage for credit card details
- Credit card processing and reporting
The Importance of Investing in Retail Solutions Software
Retailers who fail to invest in retail solutions software risk losing customers and revenue. Although the initial investment may seem high – especially if additional hardware is needed – it is worth it in the long run, as retailers see improvements in both front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) operations.
Front of House
With the use of retail solutions software, FOH staff can focus more effectively on providing customers with best-in-class service during their shopping journey.
For example, equipping sales associates with individual tablets allows them to offer shoppers a more sophisticated, personalized experience. With robust data at their fingertips – like current inventory, customer purchase histories, discounts, and promotions – employees can use retail solutions software to drive sales and increase customer loyalty.
Back of House
Behind the scenes, retail solutions software allows businesses to streamline processes and create more efficient workflows. For example, when inventory falls below a pre-set quantity, merchants receive a notification regarding the need to restock.
Transaction details are automatically included in all necessary reports (e.g., end-of-day reports, gross sales, items sold, employee shift reports, customer reports, etc.), and a digital footprint of the entire transaction is created, indicating what time it occurred, which cashier processed it, and from which register. The software also records the name of the customer who made the purchase and the method of payment used. This information can be used to improve customer service, create customized marketing campaigns, and increase sales.
Benefits of Implementing Retail Solutions Software
Retail solutions software provides a variety of benefits to customers, employees, and businesses, including the following:
- Boost Customer Loyalty: Businesses can use CRM software to increase customer satisfaction. Shoppers are able to track shipped items and have direct contact with service people who can troubleshoot problems and fix errors. This helps create a seamless and consistent shopping experience across all channels and builds a stronger bond between customers and retailers.
- Improve Employee Satisfaction: Businesses can use retail solutions software to track every detail related to employee management. They can manage payments and other factors associated with compensation. They can check performance and decide internal matters such as promotions. They can also ensure commission and payroll accuracy and identify and reward top sales associates.
- Automate Processes: Retail solutions software can be used to automate operational tasks and business processes, which can lead to improved efficiencies. This ensures a faster checkout process, easier inventory management, and more accurate accounting. With day-to-day tasks automated, managers and sales associates can focus more on customer relations.
- Improve Stock Management: Being able to handle stock with ease through the use of inventory management software improves both FOH and BOH operations. The staff has instant access to stock information so they can better assist customers in the store, and stock is replenished automatically when inventory dips below a pre-set level.
- Increase Data Security: With retail solutions software, businesses can protect customer records with greater confidence. These tools provide an added level of security through encryption and network segmentation. Managers can also assign permissions to staff based on their responsibilities, which limits potential breaches.
Choosing the Right Retail Solutions Software
While the benefits of investing in retail solutions software are numerous, the success of any implementation depends on finding the right products to meet a company’s unique set of needs. That’s where customization comes into play.
Custom Solutions from Ombori
Ombori is an innovative tech company that specializes in identifying and developing the right apps, infrastructure, and other tech support to meet the needs of retailers around the world. It recognizes that consumers have come to expect a smoother, more efficient shopping experience – both online and in-store. Its customizable solutions enable businesses of all sizes to elevate the customer experience and streamline operations through easy installation and integration.
Ombori Grid for Retail
To assist retailers in finding the right solutions to meet their needs, the company has developed the Ombori Grid. This unique “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) platform allows retailers to bring digital experiences into physical spaces. By mixing and matching a wide range of apps and technology, they can streamline omnichannel operations, create memorable customer experiences, and manage visitors. Here are some of the more popular solutions powered by the Ombori Grid according to function:
- Managing Traffic Flow: digital signage, Wayfinder, queue management, appointment booking, virtual queues, occupancy control, people counter
- Creating a Memorable Experience: guided selling, product designer, selfie mirror, interactive screens, smart recycling bins
- Improving Operations: order pickup, omni visit, Web kiosk, endless aisle, customer remote, self-checkout
Ombori Interactive Kiosk
One of the key products that help retailers improve operations and create an unforgettable shopping experience is the Ombori Interactive Kiosk. This device combines the best of all retail solutions software – POS, e-commerce, inventory management, CRM, and patent processing – in one place. Using the kiosk, customers have an opportunity to engage with digital signage via touch or voice to access information, products, and services. They can even pay for items when they’re ready to check out.
Utilizing Retail Analytics
The information collected by retail solutions software is invaluable to businesses. With the right suite of products, they can see accurate inventory levels, understand supply chain movement, predict customer demand, identify areas for improvement, and more. The ability to utilize retail analytics is one of the most significant benefits of implementing solutions like those developed by Ombori.
Retail Solutions Software Transforms the Industry
Retail solutions software has come a long way in the past decade. It’s now more affordable, scalable, and efficient than ever before. Advances in hardware technology, data communication technology, software development, and cloud computing have created the perfect storm and paved the way to change how retailers do retail. With the ability to develop custom retail solutions software, tech companies are working hand-in-hand with retailers to streamline processes and provide an unforgettable shopping experience for today’s consumers.