Preparing For Growth: 3 Features Your Retail ERP Solution Should Include
Integrated technologies certainly have made it easier to run a business, but mid-market retailers still must ensure that their retail ERP solution is more than a shiny new toy. It’s important to take advantage of ERP features that make managing your operations simpler while still adapting to long-term changes in the industry.
Here are three features to look for in a retail ERP solution that help to serve your current business needs and grow with them.
A single platform system: You’ll be able to overcome a lot of technological hurdles from the start if your retail software solutions share the same platform. Retailers often run into trouble when they think that it’s manageable to maintain information in separate systems. With different systems, retailers risk data getting lost in communication between platforms.
Consider the workflow of special orders, which requires interaction and logistics between back-office and point-of-sale (POS) systems, no matter how simple or complex the process. In most situations, customers initiate the special order at a POS register. Then, for the special order item to be shipped, the process is transferred to back-end shipping systems. But if the customer wants in-store pickup, the POS system needs to know the status of the order, accept the payment, send a notification when the order arrives, and close the order after the customer picks up the item.
To promote that coordination, it makes sense for the retail systems to draw from the same database. That makes the process much more straightforward. Otherwise, retailers would have to determine how to communicate with multiple platforms and what each of those platforms should communicate back.
Flexibility to customize features: The ideal retail ERP solution should include a broad range of features applicable to nearly every retailer, but also have the ability to add custom functions specific to your business needs or industry.
For instance, consider a custom ERP solution for a medical uniform apparel retailer with voucher programs for medical offices or hospitals. A custom retail ERP feature could include capturing additional customer information, such as employee name and workplace, at the POS register. The register could then display additional questions related to the organization that issued the voucher being redeemed.
Another custom feature might be a function that accepts the voucher as a payment, but also keeps track of the vouchers that need to be submitted to the medical office or hospital for invoicing. The retail ERP system could create invoices for these organizations, and then follow the software’s normal features and functions to receive payments for outstanding balances.
Visual decision-making tools: Visual decision-making tools communicate key performance indicators in simple terms and in a quicker fashion compared to analytics, which focuses on crunching numbers and drilling down into data. A visual snapshot is helpful in making decisions that require immediate action — like paying specific invoices — or long-term planning, such as what to stock next year.
Also, it’s beneficial when the retail ERP software is able to create a role-tailored client visual cue or a dashboard custom to an employee’s role. For example, visual indicators important to an accounts payable clerk might include frequent vendors or outstanding bills. For a buyer, the visual indicators may include the top selling items or unpaid vendor purchase orders.
These three tips should help you in choosing an ERP platform that’s customizable to your current needs, but also adaptable to trends like omni-channel and mobile shopping. After all, you don’t want to have to start from scratch every time new technologies or strategies enter the retail market.
Author: Wm. Matthew Street, Solutions Consultant/Retail Product Lead at ArcherPoint
To learn more about how a retail ERP solution could benefit your organization, schedule a demo of ArcherPoint's Retail Management Solutions.