Retail software is used by small-to-medium size businesses to calculate taxes, manage inventory, run payroll, and determine pricing. Users include point of sales (POS) stores, retail outlets, and warehouses.
Types of Retail Software
There are two main types of retail software. Applications that reside locally are installed via disk or download, usually to a personal computer (PC). Often there is an initial licensing fee with options to purchase maintenance or support. By contrast, software as a service (SaaS) applications are deployed via the Internet and sold through a subscription or priced based on usage. SaaS retail software resides on a vendor’s web server and requires users to access the application via a Web browser. Retail software is designed for retail point of sale (POS), retail inventory management, retail customer relationship management (CRM), and retail accounting applications. POS retail software provides either single or multi-location capabilities for specialty retailers and retail enterprises.
Available features include data mining and order management. Retail inventory management software is used to manage various aspects of a retailer’s supply chain. Retail CRM software is used to support business processes and to find and retain customers. Retail accounting software combines inventory control with features such as transaction monitoring and promotional pricing. Retail e-commerce software is also available.
Some retail software is used for warehouse management, transportation management, and merchandising applications. Retail warehouse management systems (WMS) are used to manage the movement and storage of materials, products, and finished goods in a retail warehouse, shopping mall, or other storage facility. Retail transportation management software includes applications such as fleet management software, which is used to supervise, manage, locate, schedule and maintain fleets of delivery vehicles. Retail merchandising applications combine sales processing functions with features such as customer and vendor management, multiple store capabilities, and even biometric security. Specialty retail software is also available. Selecting retail software requires an analysis of deployment methods, software and hardware requirements, and application specifications. Retail software is used by many different types of stores. Retail segments include antiques and art, apparel and fashion, auto parts, books and music, building and gardening supplies, consignment stores, gas stations and convenience stores, and stores that sell electronics and appliances. Retail segments also include florists; stores that sell fabrics, linens, and crafts; shoe stores; grocery stores and supermarkets; and pharmacies.