In today’s digital world, keeping up with modern retail trends is a challenge in its own. Moreover, the retail sector is under pressure owing to numerous factors like growing demands from the customers’ end, higher costs of managing e-supply chains, rising labor costs & the list goes on. To top it all, customers’ expectations continue to rise with E-commerce setting new standards for personalized customer shopping experiences.
While the pace of change might seem daunting, thanks to retail store automation tools for coming in the picture. The pressure that the retail sector is going through has made automation a necessity, not a choice. A well-maintained store facility and exceptional customer service is the need of the hour that can be attained if technologies like workflow automation tools are in place.
According to McKinsey Global Institute research, about half of the retail store operations can be automated using current, at -scale technology.
What is Retail Store Management?
People are always going to go shopping. A lot of our effort is just about ‘how do we make the retail experience a great one? — Phillip Green, Chairman, Arcadia Group
Well, to make a great customer experience, it’s important to focus on your retail management game. So, first let’s understand what retail store management is.
Retail management entails various processes that help customers find the right product in your store. It includes everything to pool in customers to your store and fulfill their buying needs. To achieve this, store managers work closely with staff, create shift schedules, handles customer queries, and so on.
The end goal is to make shopping a happy experience for the customer. Hence, in simple terms, we can define retail store management to help customers shop conveniently.
5 Retail Automation Software and Tools for Retail Stores
In the current retail landscape, smart retailers are switching to automated tools in order to reduce operational costs, eliminate human error and enhance customer experiences. Well, the retail industry is now no longer unknown to workload automation. We have listed 5 retail automation software below that can enable your resources to do more work effectively in less time.
Vyapar Billing Software
If you are looking for the best free billing software for your retail shop, look no further. Vyapar billing software helps generate bills faster directly through your mobile. It also allows you to record, track and collect payments anytime. Other notable features of the software include creating GST invoices, delivery challan, sharing detailed estimates, easily tracking payments & so on. These features can help your retail shop function seamlessly.
Zoho CRM is an integrated solution for retail stores to manage their sales, marketing, customer support and inventory needs. It also provides the necessary tools to streamline your supply chain operations.
Further, with Zoho CRM, you can create campaigns that target a specific group of customers based on set parameters like history, engagement, geographic location, etc. Also, by integrating Zoho CRM with WhatsApp or social media channels, your business can continue to build great customer relationships and increase sales.
Easy to use and free software for your retail store – FreshBooks helps create invoices, track work hours, manage receipts, and get paid faster. Its double entry accounting features such as the cost of goods sold, bank reconciliation, trial balance & more keep all your business debit and credit flow in check. So, simplify your accounting tasks and reduce the hours of work on manual entry using FreshBooks invoice and accounting software.
Square POS is a free retail inventory software that gives you basic tools to keep track of your in-stock items. Its modules include daily stock alerts, inventory tracking, inventory reports, barcoding and scanning, demand forecasting & more. So, with a well-defined inventory management software system in place, you can expect higher productivity, better profitability and exceptional customer service.
Vend POS Software
Vend POS Software is best suited for small stores or startup retail stores. It is a scalable platform for point of sales management, which can be used on any device and works in offline mode too.
The software is integrated with the top payment providers from around the world, ensuring you get paid on time. Further, with the powerful inventory management system, manage inventory across outlets to scale the growth of your business.
Why Is Retail Store Automation Important?
Retail store automation is all about using innovative technology to make your brand more relevant to customers; needs, managing resources as well as boosting customer experiences among other things.
For instance, introducing technology to handle time-consuming and repetitive tasks makes it easier for your staff to take impactful business decisions. Automation helps reduce costs as well as minimizes human errors in the process. Further, automation in retail stores lets you find the most accurate manner of completing a task, thus improving service consistency and enhancing customer experience. In fact, retail automation benefits almost every aspect of your retail business.
According to a report by Statista, the global retail automation market is expected to be worth 23.58 billion USD by the year 2026. This figure is a clear indication that automation in retail industry is growing in popularity.
Some of the common tools for the automation of retail processes include POS Systems, inventory software, ERP for billing and chatbots for answering customer queries!
Now that we have an idea of why automation in retail industry is important and its examples, let’s look at the leading benefits of using retail software for your business!
- Automates store tasks like billing, reporting, returns processing, etc.
- Provides real time information for making informed business decisions
- Easily keep track of your inventory and make long term forecasts based on historical data
- Professional retail software can calculate all types of taxes (VAT & Tax)
- Improved customer service with employees can spend more time engaging and understanding buyer’s needs
In the past few years, the retail industry has undergone considerable change under the impact of consumer purchase behavior changes. Studies reveal that approximately 87% of consumers leave a store if the item they are looking for is unavailable and there is no assistance nearby. This is one of the major reasons why you must automate your retail operations and focus more on your service, regardless of the size of your business.
Types of Retail Automation Software
Before we dive into the best free tools to automate your retail store, let’s quickly understand the different types of retail software solutions.
Retail software comprises various digital solutions to enable retailers to automate their store processes effectively.
- Payment Processing Software
- Inventory Management Software
- POS Software
- Retail Management Software
- Omnichannel Retail Platforms
Four Ways to Automate Your Retail Store with Retail Management Software
Now that we know automation has an impact on most elements of your retail business, we will quickly have a look at the ways in which technologies can help automate your store.
- Hassle-free inventory management
Managing inventory across multiple channels or stores is a complicated yet critical task. An automated inventory management system in this regard can help save huge amounts of time and reduce human errors. Here are a few benefits of retail inventory automation:
- Automated notification for low stock alerts
- Automated inventory counts through retail POS
- Accelerated execution of routine processes with the help of retail robots
- Efficiently tracking and managing unplanned events in real time from anywhere
- Focused retail marketing
The purpose of retail marketing is to enhance customer experience by driving awareness about the company’s retail products. While brainstorming and strategizing can’t be automated, retail management software can surely streamline activities like:
- Creating automated campaigns
- Automating response to queries on social media
- With machine learning and automation, personalizing the retail experience
- Content automation – right from creating, editing, scheduling to distributing automatically.
- Extensive reporting
Fetching good retail data can help you improve customer experience and loyalty. However, to stay on top of everything – right from inventory to auditing – requires a lot of data management. Well, thankfully there are ways to automate reporting and data analysis, allowing people to get more valuable insights in less time. This is how retail automation tools can help:
- Running data analyses
- Reviewing customer reports related to website usage, page views, etc.
- Generating and distributing reports
- Retail outlet automation
With innovative tools and technology, you can automate your store/outlet to ensure efficiency in operations. This includes planning a better store layout and boosting customer experiences, thus impacting sales.
- Automated vending machines
- Sensors to detect which aisles are most crowded
- Better management of the overall store processes including purchasing, invoicing & more
“Ever since we have started using retail management software, it has helped us save enormous time in performing business-associated processes. The retail automated tools have played a significant role in providing fast responses to our customers. It also helped us with tracking and analytics for sales and automated some processes such as email campaigns and custom templates. Overall, without automation tools, we wouldn’t be able to keep track of customers interested in our product. – Jon Rai, Managing Director.
The winners in the retail sector will surely be those who keep an eye on the current retail trends and technology and act quickly to implement them in their business structure.
- Can retail stores be automated?
Yes, retail stores can use automation and AI technologies to streamline day to day operations, ensure personalization, improve efficiency & so on.
- What is a retail automation system?
Retail automation systems provide innovative technologies to automate repetitive tasks and streamline critical processes. The best retail store software helps owners manage their inventory, sales, customers and other aspects from anywhere and anytime.
- When should one start buying paid tools for retail business?
Digital disruption, evolving customer choices, and maintaining a customer base are the major challenges faced by businesses as the retail industry evolves rapidly. Hence, to keep up with your competitors and the ever-evolving customers' demand, you must invest in retail automation now.
- How can technology benefit the retail industry?
High-tech retail technology provides a new dimension to the retail sector. It helps manage ordering, balance inventory assortments, track pricing, promote customer loyalty by enhancing their experience among other things.
- How can retailers benefit from retail software?
Retail software comprises innovative modules that provide retail owners with details on current stock items and inventory cost estimations. In addition, its core modules include retail marketing and finance management. Such solutions can improve the overall functionality of your retail business.
Related Categories: Retail ERP Software | Distribution Management Software | Retail Billing Software
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