The Hardware and Software Behind the Retail Business
When you talk about line of business software, you are typically talking about the unique applications that your business uses to manage their business. In the retail space, line of business software would typically refer to your Point of Sale (POS), or Point of Purchase (POP) software. This month we will talk about how businesses implement their POS software and how it works to manage different aspects of a retail business.
Point of Sale
A POS software is several different pieces of software rolled into one. The most crucial part of the software is a retail management software that includes several tools that the modern retailer can use to help their business function fluidly. The modern POS includes a payment management system, which provides a retailer a tool to accept payments from customers and integrated tools that provide the ability for the organization to run and analyze reports.
The typical POS software system is run through workstations that have integrated touchscreen displays and a printer. Depending on the size of the store or retail organization, the POS systems’ data is run from a central server. For very small retailers, this system could be one single workstation, but as retailers add POS terminals--and even other locations--the infrastructure supporting these systems gets more dynamic, and therefore requires more capital investment than smaller retailers.
Managing inventory is a major part of running a retail business. After all, if your customer’s demand for a certain product isn’t met, they will look elsewhere for that particular product. To ensure that inventory is managed properly, businesses will use an inventory control system. An inventory control system is software that tracks the amount of products you have on hand, alerts management when a product gets low, and also provides a great resource for managers to see which products are viable and which are expendable.
As with many other businesses, running a retail organization is about taking advantage of consumer demand. In retail, ensuring that your business can meet demand is a core component of remaining successful. The only way to do that is to understand which products they buy, and how to get them to buy more. At a retailer that has multiple locations, an inventory control system is even more crucial as it allows for cost efficiency throughout an organization, ensuring that each location can best meet the demand of their customer base.
Customer Relationship Management
Speaking of customers, retail organizations depend on their customers to have the knowledge they need to make buying decisions. A dedicated CRM is a great centerpiece for even the smallest retailers as it has tools to help manage your human resources, your marketing efforts, your sales, even your payroll.
Nowadays, most businesses use a CRM as it automates tasks that traditionally would have cut into the profit margins of the organization. In some cases, if margins are low, or if demand wanes, the use of a dedicated CRM, especially one that integrates directly with your organization’s POS platform, will be the difference between taking in revenue and losing money.
Of course, there are several other tools available that can help the retail business be more successful and secure, but if you are looking to integrate some new technology into your retail offering, you can do worse than starting with these tools.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our business IT experts; or, if you would just like to learn more about how to best use technology for your business’ benefit, call us today at 703-880-6683.