Retail management software has come on leaps and bounds, making it one of the most useful bits of kit to have in a brand’s operational arsenal.
Now try saying that three times fast.
In all seriousness, retail stores and brands alike can use these software solutions to make light work of tedious jobs, often condensing the work of multiple processes into one, easy-to-access device or platform.
This is retail management software: the stuff that brilliant shopping experiences and customer satisfaction is made of.
It’s also the clever tech that helps brand execs and marketing professionals sleep at night, whittling away at planning issues, stock level problems, and availability snags – so you can get back to thinking up the Next Big Thing.
In this blog, we’ll look at the biggest benefits of retail management software for brands, touching on what it is, what it does, and the amazing things it could bring to your business.
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So what is retail management?
As long as retail has been about, it needed to be managed.
After all, keeping things in line is part and parcel of running a successful brand and retail experience, with management encapsulating all the processes that keep those cogs running.
Essentially, management is all about keeping your system super speedy and super effective.
This involves the way that products are displayed in-store, marketing efforts, launches, availability, and compliance plans, which all form an ecosystem that needs to be looked after.
But what are the main targets that should be dealt with when crafting the perfect customer experience – and what does it take to keep you and your buyers happy?
The top principles
Listen up marketing fans, class is in session.
Retail management solutions can vary depending on your retailer, but usually, marketing plans and internal processes work hand-in-hand to meet the following ‘principles.’
The Five S’s
Sort, set (in order), shine, standardise and sustain.
These are the ways of the organised brands and modern retailers, who work together to create an environment where products are easily seen (and can be accessed quickly) at physical store locations.
These 5s’ are key components when it comes to organising your offering on the shopfloor, combining design and layout to make the most use of shelf space and available inventory.
This keeps stocks fresh and moving, ensuring that customer demand is being fulfilled alongside planograms and pre-agreed compliance rules with the retailer – helping you understand what’s working and what isn’t.
In the next section, you’ll learn how to use retail software solutions in order to draft and file reports from these actions, including data visualisations and improving the efficiency of your in-store operations.
Back-to-front? No, Back-Front.
Product inventory. The bread and butter of any reliable retailer.
It’s also the place that causes the most headaches for business owners and brands alike, spanning product ordering, pricing and shipping.
As crucial as they are, they are not the most ‘sexy’ parts of the journey when it comes to getting your latest and greatest invention into people’s baskets, so they only become the focus when things go awry.
Unfortunately, this can be frequent – making it somewhat of a problem child of the sales funnel.
Luckily, Supernanny comes in the form of solid retail management in-store, especially when it’s guided by staff working on the shop floor who are implementing a back-front approach.
This proactive method looks a bit like this:
- Daily walkthroughs begin in the backroom
- Cleanliness and organisation are monitored
- Staff then move forward to the shopfloor
- Product levels and shelf-side compliance are logged and improved where possible
- Any customer issues or gaps in stock are dealt with and noted
- Rinse and repeat!
This simple but effective approach has helped retailers take stock of their, well, stock for decades.
So what are the challenges that face brands regularly?
The success of any retail store depends on the management of the store. The individual store manager is one of the most important components of any retail management strategy, as they essentially lead the on-ground teams that deploy your plans and oversee daily activities.
They also directly deal with customer satisfaction and inform staff of any changes or alterations, forming the baseline for how your product should be sold.
Any disconnects between your brand and the retailers directly selling your goods can stick out like a sore thumb, quickly undoing months – sometimes even years – of marketing and development.
Other issues brands face include availability and compliance problems and the need for last-minute marketing pivots or product recalls.
If only there was a business solution that could facilitate advanced reporting and provide actionable customer management insights at the touch of a button…
Oh wait. There is.
Handily, it’s retail management software – and we’ll dive into this in the next section.
OK – so what’s retail management software then?
A retail management system (also known as RMS) is a type of digitised platform that blends together a number of tools and practises to facilitate one or more business processes. They can have a singular, dedicated purpose but more often than not in the year 2022, RMSs are capable of running multiple retail solutions at once.
An RMS often features various automation and management capabilities to handle any – and every- aspect of the full retail process. Thanks to technological advancements, RMS platforms are able to provide at-a-glance results or data collation at the touch of a button, helping you understand how your products are handled at shelf side.
These are often used to handle aspects of the process such as product pricing, select promotions, and special offers, inventory tracking, availability, and compliance checks.
If needed, RMS can also track and organise customer purchases across multiple channels and stores, following products from shipping and shelf all the way through to the scanner.
For brands, they provide crystal-clear visuals of what retailers are doing to implement their strategies – all from the comfort of a screen.
They can even action the next steps from the information gleaned through field sales services or systems, putting all that clever data to good use and making your stores as efficient as possible.
A Closer Look at the Features
So, what makes brands go absolutely ga-ga for this new and exciting era of retail management software?
Well, with key features built to keep up with today’s consumers – with tap-happy mobile payments fueled by thrifty shopping habits – our tech has to spin a lot of plates.
These are the usual suspects that you can expect to find in a top-level retail management system.
Dashin’ for the finish
What do cars, carriages and software suites have in common? They’d all be nothing without a dashboard.
These intuitive things pull together all the crucial pieces of information you’ll need in one place, helping you navigate actions, results and progress with a few simple clicks. It’s easy to bring up analytics and delve deep into the data, while pushing forward strategic options that help you make informed choices on product management, inventory and shelf-side planning.
The best thing? As data is fed and processed through the system in real-time, there’s no need to wait for updates (or watch the spinning wheel of doom) when you need to make a quick decision.
There’s no slouching here.
At your immediate convenience
Customers want things fast and they want them now. And who are we to deny them?
Retail management systems are best when they help shoppers get their hands on your products quickly and easily. As such, management systems can work alongside digital payment platforms or inventories to give customers the power to look up – and check out – their favourite items at their earliest convenience.
These can be facilitated through plug-ins and other complimentary facets such as an e-commerce store, which works alongside brick-and-mortar retail businesses. They can even help with the cross-selling and upselling of certain products, working alongside compliance and availability plans in one or more stores.
Loyalty is everything
There’s nothing like getting a bit of recognition.
Especially when customers buzz to loyalty programs that get them a little extra off when they shop with a certain brand, with reward systems proven to help sustain customer satisfaction. There’s a reason 90% of retailers use them, often using a retail management platform to help them dispense and log rewards to their VIPS – that’s Very Important People Shopping, to you and me.
From club cards to nectar points, these sweet programs can help your brand go from strength to strength, while providing important customer information that you can use to build strategies moving forward.
What are the key benefits for a brand?
So, we’ve waxed lyrical about a retail management solution. But let’s break those benefits down into easy, bite-sized pieces that you can take through to Accounts when it comes to divvying up next quarter’s budget.
In a nutshell, retail management systems supercharge the quality and speed of your brands services in-store, helping to maximise customer satisfaction while simplifying processes. Gone are the long-winded manual audits and having to wait to set actions in motion. Now you can do it all at the touch of a button, helping you send your profit margins – and client retention – into the stratosphere.
But that’s not all. A cloud-based retail management solution can provide the following:
- Super efficient when it comes to speed and cost
- Keeps the balance between multiple processes and streams of command
- Cut back on duplicate actions
- Makes it easy to see what’s being done and where it’s happening
- Helps control consistency in one, two or even hundreds of stores
- Improves communication between internal and external teams
- And much more!
We’re Houston to your brand’s space shuttle. Let us send your shopping experience into orbit.
Reapp to the rescue
Future-proof field sales solutions include Reapp. So stock your brands’ toolbox with this clever piece of kit, with a whole suite of software utilising advanced data analytics to understand, predict, and illustrate ways to optimise products in-store.
Our advanced analytics tools digest piping-hot data from multiple points across the retail environment to create actionable insights that improve the bottom line. From monitoring entire ranges, managing EPOS or spot-checking product visibility, our actions go above and beyond to turn what is already on the shelf into serious profits.
With Reapp, we’re all about raking in the dough* for brands.
*That’s cash. Unfortunately, we don’t specialise in bread.
Want to see how we can help you?