One of the greatest advantages of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is its flexibility. While you can get a system with essential features right out of the box, you can also tailor it to fit your business based on the industry you’re in.
This is especially beneficial for companies in the retail industry. Retail ERP software can give you a competitive advantage by uniting all aspects of your business, from product development to point-of-sale (POS) transactions.
For instance, consumer product organizations can use SAP Business ByDesign in Retail. This product addresses issues specific to storekeepers, such as needs related to sales, inventory, logistics, warehousing, and e-commerce.
What is a Retail ERP System?
A retail ERP system is a software solution that helps storekeepers automate and streamline their operations. By uniting various departments and functions, you can manage your business more effectively and efficiently.
For instance, a comprehensive retail ERP solution can consolidate all the following operational components:
- Supplier management and procurement
- Financial management and payment processing
- Supply chain and inventory management
- Sales and transactions management
- Customer relationship management
The right-size ERP solution can encompass as many or as few modules as you need to run your business at the time you implement it.
You can then add modules and functionality as your company grows. Conversely, you can remove unnecessary modules if you decide to downsize your business. In this way, retail ERP solutions from major providers like SAP can be infinitely scalable.
Traditional ERP Versus Retail ERP
A traditional ERP retail package comes with functionalities needed to integrate key aspects of your business: finance, human resources, inventory, manufacturing, business analytics, employee management, data security, etc. Retail ERPs, on the other hand, are designed with capabilities tailored to the most important needs of that specific industry.
While traditional ERP software includes many broadly marketable modules, retail-specific ERP solutions are much more focused.
For consumer product businesses, it’s more efficient to choose retail ERP systems over a traditional retail ERP's system. You don’t have to deal with additional features that may turn out to be of no use. Additionally, the cost of implementing an ERP system in retail may be lower, as there are fewer modules to pay for upfront.
When Is The Right Time To Implement a Retail ERP System?
There is no definitive answer to this question. When you’re ready to implement an ERP solution in your company depends on many different factors.
Here are some of them and what you need to keep in mind:
- Your business processes have started to become too complex to manage.
- Your marketing and sales teams complain that they don’t have enough information about the customers or inventory to do their jobs properly.
- You have too much paper documentation, and it takes too much time to process it all.
- Your employees feel that they don’t have the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently.
- You spend too much time on administrative duties, such as creating reports and analyzing data.
- Information retrieval is becoming a bottleneck. You have data in different departments and stores that are not integrated.
- There’s a high error rate in your order-to-cash process.
- You’re growing too quickly, and your current ERP system can’t handle the growth.
- Your business is stagnating, and customers are complaining about product availability.
Why You Should Use ERP in Retail
There are a lot of moving parts in retail businesses, and it can be challenging to manage every single aspect. The best cloud ERP for medium-sized businesses provides a solution that allows you to better control workflows and data, enabling you to improve your processes, make better business decisions, and scale your organization.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider implementing retail ERP software.
Access to Real-Time Information
ERPs allow you to access data in real-time. That means that you can see fluctuations in prices, inventory, sales, and other aspects of the business as they happen across all your stores.
ERPs also centralize data, ensuring that all relevant parties are updated on any changes. This feature is advantageous for retail businesses that need to keep up with trends and respond quickly to customer demand.
Enhanced Operational Efficiency
Retail ERPs automate workflows, organize, and simplify day-to-day operations. This reduces manual effort, therefore increasing efficiency and improving efficiencies.
Improved Inventory and supply chain Management
Having excess and insufficient inventory is a serious concern for retail companies because either situation could cause organization-wide financial problems as well as at the level of individual stores. ERPs solve inventory issues with inventory management ERP software functionalities that store, track and manage information about product stocks, including quantity and shelf life.
ERPs also have the ability to forecast demands. By analyzing past trends and customer habits, it enables companies to modify inventory to meet predicted demand.
Better Customer Management
A retail ERP with customer management tools helps retailers attract customers and improve retention. The system tracks customer information, which you can use to create deals, promotions, and experiences catering to specific customer needs, providing them with a personalized shopping experience.
Additionally, ERP lets you address customer complaints more promptly and effectively.
Multiple Channel Integration
Retailers often operate multiple channels simultaneously, and retail ERPs integrate these channels into a unified system. Departments can share and access information in real time, improving communication internally between different roles and functions.
Essential Features in Retail ERPs
Most retail ERPs come with functionalities that grant the benefits discussed above. But to successfully modernize your business, you’ll want to find a solution that’s designed to help you scale your operations. Some essential features you need to consider include:
- Support for multiple countries, languages, and currencies
- Seamless third-party integration capabilities
- Serialization and warranty management
- Customer relationship management
- Marketing and campaign management
- Service desk functionality
- Mobile access
- Powerful analytics
Retail ERP Systems Buyer’s Guide
Like your competitors, you are looking for ERP systems that will give you a competitive advantage and optimize operations. But picking the right one can be a daunting task.
This buyer’s guide will help you identify the key characteristics you should look for in a retail ERP system.
What is your budget?
ERP systems have a wide range of feature offerings and can be customized to your unique business needs. The price of systems can be very different based on the number of features and the amount of customization required.
Therefore, outline your budget and compare the features of retail ERP system providers against the features you need.
How quickly do you need to implement the system?
The time it takes to implement an ERP system is generally dependent on the size and complexity of your business.
Complex systems may take a year or more to get up and running, while less complex systems may only take a few months. We have an excellent track record of implementing within tight deadlines, so if you need to get your retail ERP set up quickly, we’ll talk you through your options.
Customer support after implementation
An ERP provider should offer comprehensive customer support, including training and user manuals. Preferably, the provider should also offer package deals that include regular system updates and maintenance.
When you’re selecting providers, make sure you ask questions about how involved the provider will be after implementing the system.
How scalable do you need the ERP to be?
Your business will grow and change over time, so you need to make sure that the ERP system you select can grow with you. The ERP system should have the capability to handle an increase in the number of transactions, customers, and products.
Additionally, the system should be able to integrate with other software as your business needs evolve. If you have plans to expand internationally, for instance, you will want to make sure the system can support multiple countries and currencies.
What Is the Best ERP for Retail?
When it comes to retail ERP systems, SAP Business ByDesign is a go-to solution for companies of all sizes. It offers all the functionalities that a retail business needs complete with a high degree of flexibility, and it is available in both on-premise and cloud versions.
More importantly, this package provides total transparency and business insights to help you make better decisions and meet your objectives.