On the most basic level, stock management software helps users keep accurate count of stock levels. Core features include sorting items by department or type, establishing of thresholds for minimum quantities and alerts when stock levels reach those thresholds. More advanced systems might include a matrix for tracking items by size, color and style, open to buy modules or integration with purchasing modules to enable automatic generation of purchase orders.
Recommendations: Sorts listings by the number of recommendations our advisors have made over the past 30 days. Our advisors assess buyers’ needs for free and only recommend products that meet buyers’ needs. Vendors pay Software Advice for these referrals. Reviews: Sorts listings by the number of user reviews we have published, greatest to least. Sponsored: Sorts listings by software vendors running active bidding campaigns, from the highest to lowest bid. Vendors who have paid for placement have a ‘Visit Website’ button, whereas unpaid vendors have a ‘Learn More’ button. Avg Rating: Sorts listings by overall star rating based on user reviews, highest to lowest. A to Z: Sorts listings by product name from A to Z.
COMCASH ERP is a cloud-based retail management solution that caters to multi-channel and multi-location retailers.
The point of sale module utilizes multi-touch capabilities allowing users to navigate the menu similarly to th...Read more
Iridium Retail Manager is designed for retailers of all sizes. This system is best for users that specialize in items that require delivery or service. Includes inventory management, POS, accounting, and employee management....Read more
MultiFlex RMS General Merchandise is a cloud-based retail management solution for single and multi-location retail stores. Key features include point of sale management, accounting, inventory, staff management, CRM and marketing. ...Read more
RetailSTAR POS Software by CAM is an on-premise POS solution for specialty retail shops such as clothing stores, shoe stores, sporting goods retailers, gift and hobby shops, and health food stores. RetailSTAR targets small to mids...Read more
The NCR Counterpoint solution includes an e-mail marketing tool, integrated e-commerce, mobile alerting, built-in gift card and customer loyalty programs and hardware specifically designed for the retail environment.
The NCR ...Read more
Founded in 1986, the retail software suite from Cybex includes point of sale, inventory management, distribution and replenishment, warehouse management, CRM, and e-commerce.
The Cybex Enterprise Retail Suite focuses on infor...Read more
VAI’s is an independent software developer and the author of S2K Enterprise, an award winning cloud-based ERP solution utilized by customers operating across the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail, and service sectors, ...Read more
Genesis Advantage is a Windows-based, on-premise furniture retail solution for small to medium-sized retailers. The solution offers point-of-sale (POS), inventory management, accounting, sales and marketing functionality. Key acco...Read more
OneStep by Business Control Systems is an on-premise point-of-sale (POS) solution that caters to brick and mortar retailers and provides the functionalities to process transactions, control inventory and purchases and more. The so...Read more
ConsignmentTill by RJFSOFT is a point of sale and inventory management system designed specifically with consignment stores in mind. Features include being able to handle "buy-outright" items, customizable labels and tags, printab...Read more
Wireless Standard by B2B Soft is a cloud-based point-of-sale system specifically designed for the wireless industry. Wireless Standard is fully integrated with added-value products like bill payment services, handset insurance pro...Read more
RetailEdge is an on-premise, retail POS solution designed for small and midsize businesses. It offers mobile POS, multi-location support, website integration, credit card processing and gift card management functionalities within ...Read more
Aptos is a provider of cloud-based retail management solutions, offering small and midsize retailers tools to manage their business operations and customer engagements. Their solutions are suitable for wide range of retail busines...Read more
Start getting your back office to work for you. Our solution can be accessed from anywhere and gives you insight like you've never had before. ePB is a cloud-based solution with features including real-time loss prevention, back...Read more
ChainDrive is an omni-channel retail management solution designed for retailers, e-tailers, and wholesalers. The solution is designed for apparel, footwear, sporting goods, jewelry, home goods, department store and specialty retai...Read more
RB Pool and Spa Software completely manages retail and service with PCs, tablets, smartphones and laptops. With the consolidation of retail and service into a single system, regardless of your business size, you'll see an immediat...Read more
Pacific Amber’s AmberPOS offers a point of sale software solutions to a variety of retail specialties, ranging from small to midsized, in the United States and Canada.
In addition to point of sale functionality, AmberPOS incl...Read more
Data Age provides point of sale (POS) solutions for pawn shops and other specialty retailers. The systems offer optical identification scanning, barcode/UPC scanning, biometric validation and law enforcement reporting.
The sy...Read more
Cegid provides cloud-based retail software to fashion and luxury, beauty, as well as specialty retailers. The system is built on a single, centralized database that is shared across all channels and updated in real time with custo...Read more
Maplewave is a provider of retail management software solution and professional services for telecommunications, pharmacy and retail industry. Key features include video chat, queue management, appointment manager, digital marketi...Read more
There are hundreds of inventory management systems available. These programs are designed for all types of businesses: programs for small retailers, programs for big enterprises, programs for specific retail verticals and programs for multi-channel retailers, to name a few. This buyer’s guide is written to help retail store inventory software buyers understand this complex, fragmented market.
If you have ever been frustrated by a retailer who has every size of an item in stock but yours, you know the importance and value of having rigorous inventory management in place. On the most basic level, stock management software helps users keep accurate count of stock levels. The primary goal for this application is for users to re-order items before they become fully sold out. Having adequate levels of inventory helps users capitalize on sales opportunities. Of course, it is important that retailers don’t order too much of an item and face not being able to sell it all. Robust systems can help users strike that delicate balance of ordering just enough but not too much.
Core features include sorting items by department or type, establishing of thresholds for minimum quantities and alerts when stock levels reach those thresholds. More advanced systems might include a matrix for tracking items by size, color and style, open to buy modules or integration with purchasing modules to enable automatic generation of purchase orders.
Best-of-breed programs such as Fishbowl can be implemented as standalone systems to manage only inventory. However, many buyers will choose to implement a program that is part of a suite that may include point of sale (POS), warehouse management (WMS), accounting, ecommerce or customer relationship management (CRM). Which type of system you implement will likely depend on your desire for integration with other modules or potentially the size of your company.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
You will want to understand what type of buyer you are before evaluating a retail inventory system. We have found that nearly 90 percent of retail buyers fall into one of the following categories:
Small buyers. Single-store retailers comprise the bulk of this category, but most retailers with fewer than five stores will belong here. These buyers’ needs are typically straightforward and are met by most off-the-shelf POS systems.
Large, integrated suite buyers. While their needs are conceptually similar to their smaller counterparts, larger retailers will require more robust, scalable programs that can share data across a wide network of locations. They are also looking for programs that can tie in POS and possibly accounting or warehouse management.
Large, best-of-breed buyers. These buyers work for larger retailers that have already made substantial investments in existing POS or accounting systems. They are looking for a standalone system that can integrate with existing applications without replacing them. They are often interested in more advanced modules for open to buy and merchandise planning.
Multi-channel retailers. These buyers conduct enough “brick and mortar” and online sales to warrant a system that can be managed across multiple channels. These systems will typically need to integrate with POS systems and online shopping carts. Higher volume and multi-location retailers may prefer data to be updated in real time, although they should expect a substantial increase in their investment when evaluating a retail inventory management system.
Benefits and Potential Issues
A strong inventory control system should improve the retail organization from the bottom up. Most retailers should expect the following benefits when implementing and using a system properly.
Efficiency: If you have ever counted stock levels at the end of the day, week or month, you know what a labor-intensive task it is. Programs eliminate the hassle of counting and keeping track of stock levels, saving time and allowing employees to focus on other tasks that grow the business.
Accuracy: Diligent tracking of stock levels in a system enables users to know exactly how much of each item is in stock, which can get surprisingly difficult to manage without a formal program. A system will also help retailers plan purchase decisions based on actual historical sales data and improve the performance of their forecasts.
Less shrinkage: By tracking inventory formally and updating the system as items or sold or distributed to other locations, retailers should find that shrinkage naturally diminishes. Systems help users eliminate profit loss and headaches due to employee theft, customer theft, ringing up sales for the wrong item and not recording sales properly.
Improved visibility: Inventory control software enables retailers to view stock levels at other locations and from remote locations, freeing cashiers from time-consuming tasks of calling other locations to ask if they have particular items in stock. It also provides visibility on the executive level to item counts and trends across the enterprise.
As with all purchases, there are potential issues to consider as well. The first risk associated with using these systems is that they won’t be used properly by employees. This puts owners in the frustrating position of having paid for a system without reaping any of its benefits. The most common reason why employees would not use a system is because of its complexity; we have found that adequate training typically solves this issue. The second most common issue we hear about is data simply “not adding up.” This issue is likely due to the system being outdated, used improperly or not integrating properly with other systems that access its data (often accounting or ecommerce systems). Buyers will want to ensure that implementations are smooth and that integrations are maintained.
Market Trends to Understand
Various software trends are impacting the market. The primary trends include the following:
Automated replenishment. Advanced inventory control tools such as vendor managed inventory and electronic purchase orders enable retailers to be proactive about keeping items fully stocked. Smaller retailers are learning from larger enterprises and beginning to use these tools that have previously been affordable only to the biggest companies.
RFID. Another technology that has traditionally been used only by the biggest companies, RFID is working its way down market and is within reach of many mid-sized retailers. These tools enable managers to update inventory levels much faster and more accurately, improving efficiency in a number of bottlenecks along the supply chain.
Software as a Service (SaaS). Just about every application within the retail software industry is impacted by the universal trend towards SaaS. Having a Web-based system enables managers to share data easily across multiple locations, access system remotely, avoid large upfront costs and implement a robust system without complex hardware infrastructure. We expect the presence of SaaS solutions in retail to grow steadily over the next several years.
Online/offline integration. Online retail and ecommerce are becoming a vital component of retailers’ business strategies—and in some cases, the most important part. A problem for these retailers is the difficulty in counting and replenishing stock for both physical stores and online. An RSR Research survey found that retailers should put a large amount of planning into how they count and control inventory, as an alarming 72 percent reported overstocking slow-moving SKUs and 52 percent said they understocked fast-moving items. RSR Research found that today’s successful retailers view stores as distribution centers and online inventory as sufficient for in-store fulfillment.
The Vendor Landscape
The software becomes much less cluttered when buyers approach it with their respective category in mind.
This type of buyer...
Should evaluate these systems
Comcash, Retail Pro, Microsoft RMS
Large, integrated suite buyers
Retail Anywhere, Celerant, VuePoint OneVue
Enterprise suite buyers
Epicor, Cybex, and Jesta Vision I.S.
Counterpoint, RunIt RealTime, Retail STAR
Pricing and Purchasing Options
Retailers should find that the costs of formal retail inventory programs have never been lower, due primarily to competition among vendors and declining hardware prices. The costs that buyers face will vary widely. Small retailers implementing POS systems will likely find a number of affordable options, while larger retailers looking for more advanced systems will face a larger spend. We speak to many buyers who prefer real-time inventory control across multiple locations. They should note that real-time systems are typically much more expensive than systems that update stock levels once per day, which is sufficient for most small and mid-sized retailers. Most users who implement a system that is adequately sized for their needs should be able to generate a positive return on their investment. The costs of improper inventory control are deceptively high and can be easily avoided with a formal program.