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Guide to enterprise resource planning (ERP) for retail business

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Retailers need the flexibility to support brick-and-mortar stores with omnichannel execution while producing new retail results to meet consumers' needs immediately.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a system that helps retail businesses manage their operations. It's used to plan and track the flow of goods and services and financial management.  

The retail industry has changed drastically in recent years with the growth of e-commerce, mobile retailing, and social media marketing. With these changes come new challenges for retailers looking for ways to keep up with consumers' demands. As a result, retailers need intelligent ERP systems that can continuously be enhanced with innovative business services or applications that meet new retail business demands quickly adapt to new opportunities or global crises.

This guide will help you understand why retail companies need an enterprise resource planning software solution to remain competitive in today's marketplace.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a retail term that refers to computer systems in retailing. It’s an umbrella term for retail management software, which retail companies use to manage their day-to-day operations.

Enterprise resource planning has been around since the 1950s when it was introduced as a way for large companies with multiple locations to coordinate their operations across all locations better. Retailers need ERP because they are constantly dealing with inventory, staffing levels, and customer service issues at each site. 

Retailers also need ERP solutions integrated into other business applications or modules that help them run processes more efficiently and effectively. One example would be integration into CRM, order management, finance, and retail planning.

Types of Retail ERP Modules

Retail ERP systems are generally broken up into modules corresponding to business functions like retail planning or execution. For example, the retail execution module is the department of a retailer that contains retail inventory management, sales order management, retail financials, and accounting. 

Another retail ERP module would be store retail planning. An example of retail store planning would be a retail inventory management system that can track retail sales to forecast future retail demand to prevent retail shortages and reduce stockouts.

The following diagram shows examples of how business functions typically break down retail ERP modules:

Typically, retail ERP systems are divided into modules with the following descriptions:

Retail sales management: Deals with the sale of products, such as retail cash register and point-of-sale (POS) systems. This also includes inventory planning, purchasing, pricing rules, promotions, and discounts.

Store operations management: Deals with store staffing and related functions, such as payroll, employee time cards, and training.

Store planning management: Deals with the running of retail store plans, such as restocking schedules and space allocation.

Retail supply-chain management: Handles all aspects of the logistical process, from getting goods in stock to shipping them out to customers’ homes. This part also includes integrating transportation management, systems (TMS), and warehouse management systems (WMS).

Retail financials and accounting: It contains general ledger, accounts payable, retail inventory management, and other finance functions. Another common module in a retail ERP system is customer relationship management (CRM). Retailers use CRM to manage customer profiles, shopping habits, preferences, and more.

Retailers with an online store also need eCommerce software solutions to make it easy for customers to shop online. In addition, with digital transformation, many retailers are growing their business through mobile devices and apps available for download on smartphones and tablets. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is a retail business that uses mobile devices to carry out purchases and sales transactions.

How ERP can Help your Retail Business

As a retailer, ERP can help you be more efficient and prevent stock-outs. You'll also have a better understanding of what is going on in the store at all times. This can help you avoid sales errors and change purchasing behavior as it pertains to certain products.

Retail ERP systems are also beneficial to employees, who can gain access to real-time inventory information that shows the availability of products at a glance. They'll also be able to make changes on the fly if something needs to be restocked, moved, or removed.

When it comes to customer service, customers can enjoy the convenience of shopping in a fully stocked store with the products they want and need. Best-in-class retailers can also offer their customers online shopping experiences on mobile devices or desktop computers to make purchases from anywhere. Additionally, customer service agents can use their retail ERP software to perform various tasks, including processing returns and exchanges and issuing price adjustments.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Retail ERP Vendor

Choosing retail ERP vendors can be a difficult decision. If you want to evaluate retail ERP vendors, there are a few questions that you should ask yourself:

-What is the retail ERP vendor's retail experience?

-What retail industries does the retail ERP work with?

-How long has this retail ERP vendor been in business?

-What kind of retail solutions can retail ERP provide?

-Do they have retail industry software experience?

-How much retail specialist customer support does the retail ERP vendor provide?

-What customization options do the retail ERP vendor offer?

These questions will help you gauge how well the retail vendor understands the retail industry and what type of services they'll offer their customers. You should also visit their website to see if they're active in the retail sector.

If you're new to the retail industry, it's essential to work with retail resources that retail businesses can retail rely on for retail support and retail solutions.

Retail ERP Vendors

- SAP Retail (SAP)

SAP Ready-to-Go Retail ERP provides a comprehensive and scalable solution to address the needs of retail businesses of any size. With SAP Retail offered by NTT DATA, you can make your store smarter and more efficient and achieve the business outcomes you need. 

- IBM Retail Store Solutions (IBM)

IBM is a well-known software provider in the retail industry. The IBM system is one of the most widely adopted enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems globally and has helped retailers grow their revenue for over 40 years.

- KPMG (KPMG)

KPMG Retail Store Solutions is a brand of KPMG Canada. KPMG Canada provides services to clients in various sectors. These sectors include manufacturing, construction, transportation, and distribution. KPMG Canada has headquarters in Toronto, Ontario.

- Oracle Retail Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud Service (Oracle)

Oracle's cloud-based retail ERP solution is a comprehensive software that allows retailers to manage their entire business from a single point of system access. It has a robust suite of analytics to help retailers understand their customers and optimize their businesses.

- Epicor Retail (Epicor)

The company has been providing innovative enterprise technology for over 40 years with offices in North America (United States), Europe (France), Asia Pacific (Australia), and Latin America (Mexico).

The retail industry is one of the most dynamic, competitive, and rapidly changing industries globally. This can make it difficult for retail businesses to keep up with customer demands or be able to react quickly enough when a new opportunity arises.


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