10 mistakes retailer make while choosing Retail management software

1. Their requirements are not clear

Let us begin with an example. You have probably seen retail management software running at your neighborhood store and planned to install the same. They simply overwhelmed by barcode, computerized billing and collection statement at day-end. Let us move a step further and find out how you can narrow down your requirements:

a) How many transaction you make per day?

b) What is the average bill value?

c) Does it support voluminous data?

d) How fast is the reporting?

e) Does it support multiple modes of payment?

f) Does it support multiple users simultaneously?

Does it cater to a specific retail need (like size, color and design for garments, batch number and mfg, expiry dates for food items and so on)?

2. They look for a cheaper solution

We all have heard a saying… “Pay penny and you’ll get peanuts”. We agree, there are ready softwares available which are cheap, but they have limited competency. Retail management software is the nervous-system of your retail business. This is not the time for experimentation. Making one such mistake could cost you somewhere between $200 to $2,000

3. They do not verify vendor reliability

When you invest in point of sale software, you're buying a relationship, not just a product. In fact, the "quality" of the software company is usually just as important as the product. Why is the software company so important?

Well... After you purchase the software, you will rely on the software company to supply updates, training, technical support, and possibly hardware. Most often they also forget to ask for hidden costs like training and support charges, Updation

charges, annual maintenance charges (AMC) and data conversion cost which results in arising disputes.

4. They do not research for the related products

“It’s better late than sorry”. Most retailers don’t give enough time in exploring available solutions in the market. If we talk in terms of priority, retailers rank computerization 1st from the last. They are too busy setting up space, exchanging ideas with interior designer, negotiating with furniture and fixture suppliers and follow-up with vendors. They actually do not get enough time to research. Finally, when it’s show time they ask a friend which software he is using, possible search website, get a price quote, look for basic functioning and get started.

5. They buy a standard accounting software

We know that a financial accounting system is the base to any business model of any nature. It’s always better to have something than nothing. Gradually you keep looking for features in the same system or you try to mould your needs to suit the accounting software. Finally, you indulge yourself in complex day-to-day activity and your focus lost from business expansion.

There are 100’s of software available and it’s very easy to choose the wrong one. If you have followed this guide, you must have understood one thing, always look for software that is tailored to suite your business need. Every retailer has different needs. A garments retailer’s needs are different from a grocery retailer. Similarly, a gift shops’ requirements are different from a mobile retail store.

6. They buy hardware first

We can't tell you how many times we've heard a retailer say, "I just bought new computers, printers and I have everything ready to go. Now I need to find POS software." As soon as we hear that, we think to ourselves, "This guy could have saved himself a lot of time and money if he selected his POS software first!"

Why?

Firstly, any retail management software will have specific hardware and operating platform requirements. In addition, a few retail management software works with only certain types of printers, scanners, cash drawers and card readers.

Secondly, when you buy hardware first, you restrict your choices of retail management software. Either you have spend money again to buy compatible hardware or compromise on software.You can avoid frustration and save money if you choose the retail management software first. Then you can ask the software company about their recommended hardware and operating systems.

7. They do not look for future prospects

At times, people forget to look for available future prospects. You’re investing in business to grow, to expand. Does the retail management software you are buying is scalable? Can it cater to multiple retail outlets across different geographical boundaries? As discussed earlier, retail management software and hardware are business investment. Typical life span of such systems is 5 years. You must take into consideration “Future Vision”. It is easily upgradeable because change of systems can be expensive.

8. They designate the job to subordinates

Too many retailers give the responsibility of choosing the retail management software to an employee or a computer consultant that is not familiar with your industry. Most computer consultants have good intentions but they tend to give poor advice when it comes to choosing POS software. This is a big mistake. They are great sources for information about computers, hardware and networking but they do not understand the finer details of retail management software. If you get poor advice and select the wrong type of system, your business will lose money.

Top management and other key personnel must be involved in the selection and implementation process. You should never rely solely on a consultant's recommendation or input. The person that evaluates the software must have in-depth knowledge about your business. Evaluating the retail management software is complicated. Not to mention it can make a huge difference in your businesses productivity. Retail management software is too important to pass the evaluation process to someone else. We see owners and managers make this mistake all

the time. Don't make the same one.

9. They get confused with Technology push

Almost all the salesmen are trained on and will try to give you technology push over practical functioning. This is the only are where most retailers have less or no knowledge. “Our software runs on 32-bit WINDOWS environment and is programmed on .NET; we use SQL or Oracle as backend and integrated tools like Discoverer or OLAP helps you to automate your Retail. The technology is open and scalable to support multiple concurrent users.” Sounds familiar… Don’t worry; this is the only way to differentiate their product and an only mode to get over you in “across-the-table” discussion. “If you can’t convince a person, confuse him”.

Let us distinguish fact from the story. Don’t bother about subjectivity of the product. Figure out objectivity. You’re running retail business with an object of making profits and expand rapidly. Ask yourself following questions:

a) Are you looking for features or functionality?

b) Whether or not retail management software works for your nature of retail?

c) What is track record of Software Company?

d) Will it be able to help me in accomplishing my vision and mission?

And most importantly

e) Is it easy to use?

We are sure that from now onwards you will not be confused with Technology push.

10. They buy independent software

One more thing we have found retailers doing is they buy separate softwares for inventory and financial accounting. The main reason surveyed was they had started with accounting software and later upon realizing the importance of barcoding they have opted for inventory package or vice versa. Finally they end up duplicating their jobs and when required they need to gather details from various sources to make decisions.

As a matter of fact, there are retail management softwares available in the market which is integrated. Hence, while you are making a transaction, software automatically posts it to respective sections. For example, while you make your purchases, software automatically transfers it to accounts payable. Thus, if you want to check your vendor wise stock or vendor wise due, you can view them both from within one system. Another advantage of integrated system is they are modular.

Along with stock keeping and book-keeping it also provides tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which is most often known as loyalty program, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Merchandise and procurement solution. That means, you can start rapidly and expand easily.

Author:.

Nilesh Shah nileshshah@rancelab.com Over 10 years of experience in the field of software development, sales and marketing. He has assisted over 500 Retailers and Restaurateurs in implementing the Retail and F&B software with barcode & pos hardware for their business. He holds a designation of Director, Marketing in Rance Computer Pvt Ltd. He holds the certification from Microsoft Corporation and NIS. His current research focuses on developing and implementing intelligent retail systems...

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