To stay competitive in today’s business climate, you have to continually evolve as an organization to meet customer and business needs. That means adopting new ways of doing things and new tools, like retail software, that can improve your efficiency.
When it comes to retail software, the right solution can make a significant difference. That’s why so many businesses continue to evaluate (and re-evaluate) retail software as their organization evolves. Companies are investing deeply in retail software that can improve their operations.
With more than $419 billion in retail eCommerce sales expected in 2020, it’s no wonder the retail eCommerce software market is expected to grow to $6.9 billion.
Software developers are moving towards more agile solutions these days. They practice a cycle of Continuous Improvement (CI) to rapidly iterate, test, and deploy software. When the cycle is complete, they get feedback and start the CI loop all over again.
This improves their time to market and makes processes more efficient over time. As part of the digital transformation of business, retailers are adopting these same agile CI principles when it comes to operations and workflow. Even a small improvement in efficiency can increase the bottom line.
What is Retail Software and How Can It Boost Efficiency?
Businesses are moving away from spreadsheets to Point-of-Sale (POS) software and Inventory Management Systems (IMS). Most companies will select an inventory management system that acts as a centralized hub for all their business operations.
Retail sales have evolved from stocking the store shelves to populating multiple eCommerce platforms. Today’s multichannel seller might be managing dozens of sales channels. Keeping an accurate inventory count across all of them is crucial. Building the right tech stack for your retail business can net significant benefits.
Increased Efficiency = Saving Time and Money
If you run out of stock on an item, can’t get supplies on time, or carry excess inventory, it’s costing you money.
When you’re holding extra items, you’re tying up capital that could be invested better elsewhere. If you can’t fulfill an order, you’re not only losing the sale, you are running the risk of creating an unhappy customer. That may drive them directly to your competitor and reduce the chance they’ll shop with you again.
If you oversell your stock too often, it can also disrupt relationships with eCommerce platforms. Amazon considers overselling or failing to fulfill orders promptly a serious concern. In fact, Amazon has been known to drop suppliers that oversell.
Optimizing your logistics operations and supply chain leads to greater profitability. It also leads to a smoother and more efficient workflow for your team.
Warehouse Automation = Reduced Errors
Counting inventory manually naturally leads to errors. It’s nearly impossible to have an accurate count. Mis-counted, lost, or misplaced inventory is bad for business.
If you’re doing it by hand, the margin of error is high. It might be mis-counted or even counted more than once. An IMS system automates and optimizes your picking and scanning process to ensure accurate counts and improve efficiency.
Optimizing warehouse processes include integrations with other retail software. Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) can track inventory and supplies as they move through the supply chain at distribution centers or warehouses. A WMS works most efficiently when it’s integrated into a total inventory management system workflow.
The cost of errors is high. A survey done by Honeywell determined the average cost of just one picking error is $59. That leads to an average loss at distribution centers of more than $400,000 from mis-picks. Stock mismanagement leads to higher returns, restocking, and damaged goods. It can also lead to unsatisfied customers.
Real-Time Data = Better Business Decisions
Tying all your retail software into a centralized IMS system gives you real-time insights into how your business is operating. It provides a high-level view of your business and a per-item view of your stock.
By tracking sales, quantities on hand, and every warehouse action from order to fulfillment, you can better manage inventory across multi-channels, FBA, and third-party-platforms. Kits and raw material components can be better managed so warehouse teams can locate and assemble orders with fewer mistakes.
Purchase orders can be issued based on pre-set thresholds of inventory, pending, and orders. This can help you manage your supply chain more efficiently and help you avoid out-of-stock situations.
Advances reporting tools can help you manage ROI and turn rates.
All of this lets you keep a step ahead of potential problems, improve your forecasting, and allow you to make smarter purchasing and selling decisions. Sounds great, right? It is!
Introducing New Retail Software
Most IMS systems can be installed in three months or less. For smaller-sized businesses, time to launch can be even shorter. Often, managing team members through the transition period can be the most difficult part of changing systems.
Introducing new software into any business can also make your team members nervous as they fear their jobs may be eliminated. On top of that, changing the workflow or process they are used to following can create additional anxiety. If you’re looking to add additional retail software, you need to be aware of the impact it might have on your team.
However, a software like SkuVault optimizes (not eliminates) the roles current employees are already performing.
It improves the accuracy of their pick/pack/ship times. They can now use Quality Control to make sure they’ve picked the right item. This gives their boss more incentive to trust them. Without software, their actions aren’t tracked more carefully, therefore leaving the possibility for complete error without consequence. At the end of the day, your business loses money when you don’t track employee activity in a software.
Managing your team members through changes means taking a proactive approach to help them see the benefits and embrace them.
The Time for Adopting Better Retail Software is Now
There’s a reason they dubbed 2019 as the year of the retail apocalypse. As shopping trends changed and more people bought online, more than 9,300 stores shut down. More than 200 retailers filed for bankruptcy, including big-name sellers such as Gymboree, Forever 21, Payless, Shopko, Mattress Warehouse, and Beauty Brands.
It isn’t just brick and mortar companies that are working with thin margins. Flower delivery company FTD filed for bankruptcy in 2019 despite a successful move into eCommerce years earlier. It struggled with system integration across its supply chain after buying ProFlowers in 2014.
Even successful companies can struggle if they don’t evolve fast enough.
Sell Faster, Pick Faster, and Ship Faster
When it comes to inventory management systems, the experts at SkuVault can help you sell faster, pick faster, and ship faster. With reduced errors, SkuVault’s IMS will allow for seamless operations across multi-channel inventory while streamlining warehouse and distribution center operations.
Interested in learning more? Here are a few more resources we think you’ll like!
- Avoid Supply Chain Software Failures With Inventory Management
- BulbAmerica Increased Team Efficiency With SkuVault
Ready to learn how retail software can boost team efficiency? One of our knowledgeable sales consultants is ready to walk you through exactly how SkuVault can benefit your business and answer all your questions about how our powerful Inventory and Warehouse Management System can help address the needs of your unique business.