What retail management software should you be using during COVID-19?
Chances are you already had some tools in your stack pre-COVID. But now, you have to use solutions that'll help your business adapt to the extraordinary changes that have come with this season.
From POS systems to mobile offer technology to cloud-based ERPs, there’s usually a solution for whatever problem you’re facing with your retail business.
So without further ado... Here are ten retail management systems that’ll help your business thrive during and after the pandemic.
1. Vend for POS (point of sale)
Why is Vend a great tool for retail during COVID?
Vend is a comprehensive POS software tool. Self-proclaimed, “the world’s easiest POS,” their interface is fast to use and easy to learn.
This is good news for busy retailers trying to stay abreast during COVID. Vend’s simplicity minimizes training time and works with your existing hardware.
Plus, all data syncs to the cloud because remote access is critical during COVID with unpredictable store closings and sick employees.
Another great thing about Vend is its inventory management system. You can see real-time sales data and inventory levels across channels. This helps your business pivot on the spot, staying ahead of fast-moving trends.
Vend also helps with curbside pickup and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store). The POS system integrates with your payment processor, creating a smooth omnichannel experience for the customer.
Best features of Vend for COVID
- Vend works with what you already have. The POS system works on PC, iPad, and Mac. It also integrates with your existing payment processing hardware.
- Vend syncs to the cloud, making data accessible from anywhere.
- You can integrate Vend with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce.
- Vend syncs inventory in real-time across multiple locations and systems.
- You can view sales reports from online and offline operations in one system.
- You can accept mobile and contactless credit card payment.
- You can use automated replenishment to ensure top-selling products are always in stock.
- Vend tracks customer data, allowing you to create loyalty programs and targeted promotions.
2. Square for POS
Why is Square a great tool for retail during COVID?
Like Vend, Square is a point of sale (POS) software system.
It’s a great tool during COVID because you can use the Square Online Store app to set up a new ordering page. You can also use the Square Online Checkout app for curbside pickup or delivery.
As with Vend, Square allows you to accept remote and contactless payments. This is critical to making the sale during COVID as customers flock online.
Case in point…Online orders quadrupled in April based on Square’s payment data. To keep up with the pace, the number of retailers accepting online payments went from 38% in February to 51% in July.
Best features of Square for COVID:
- You can accept all forms of payment, including remote and contactless.
- You can take orders online or over the phone and manage pickup/delivery through the connected POS system.
- Square’s Online Store and Online Checkout tools make the transition online easy.
- Square’s inventory management system works across multiple locations and channels.
- Square provides hardware for accepting cards and processing payments in-store.
- You can create customer loyalty programs and Square Marketing email campaigns.
3. Koupon for digital promotions
Why is Koupon a great tool for retail during COVID?
Koupon provides digital promotion solutions for CPG brands and retailers. It’s a great tool during COVID because digital engagement is way up among all age groups.
With so many consumers online, digital coupons can help retailers:
- Increase conversion rates. By linking a coupon to digital media, conversion rates increase up to 20x.
- Increase customer loyalty. 91% of coupon redeemers say they’ll visit that retailer again.
- Increase trial and adoption of new products. 57% of shoppers say they wouldn’t have bought a new product without a coupon
Another reason Koupon is great during COVID is that c-store spending is on the rise.
Convenience and safety is driving more and more consumers to c-stores. Digital coupons help brands and retailers take advantage of this growing market.
Best features of Koupon for COVID:
- Koupon’s mobile offer technology allows retailers to deliver promotions through their own channels -- app, SMS, email, social media, etc.
- You can send a wide variety of offers to customers using digital coupons.
- Retailers can access content funded entirely by CPG brands.
- Brands can access Koupon’s network of 45,000 c-stores to run nationwide promotions.
- Koupon’s robust analytics program measures campaign impact, helping you adapt to changing preferences.
- Koupon’s benchmark reports show where you stack up against industry averages. You can use this to focus your effort on gaining a competitive advantage.
4. Brightpearl for DOP (digital operations platform)
Why is Brightpearl a great tool for retail during COVID?
Brightpearl is a DOP (digital operations platform) designed for multichannel retailers.
A DOP is like an ERP system (enterprise resource planning) for digital businesses. Forrester explains it like this:
“While ERP systems of the past have been largely inflexible, expensive to upgrade, and poorly suited to modern digital businesses, we now see the beginning of a new era of operations technology, which Forrester defines as the digital operations platform. (...) The DOP can comprise individual solutions but is often based on a suite of solutions built to work together.”
Brightpearl’s DOP is great during COVID because it helps with omnichannel integration. You can use Brightpearl to set up seamless curbside pickup and BOPIS operations.
You can also automate fulfillment with Brightpearl. This is helpful for retailers who are new to e-commerce or multichannel operations. It’s also a game-changer if you’re understaffed due to illness, remote work, or layoffs.
Best features of Brightpearl for COVID:
- Brightpearl designed its software specifically for retailers. They know what you’re going through.
- You can manage multichannel fulfillment using Amazon FBA. This ensures orders from channels like Shopify, Magento, eBay, and BigCommerce are filled quickly and accurately.
- You can track inventory from purchase to sale. You can also get real-time inventory insight across multiple store locations and sales channels.
- Brightpearl’s warehouse management system uses an intuitive barcode scanning system that lowers order handling time.
- You can use real-time sales and inventory data to analyze performance and make adjustments.
5. GoFrugal for multichannel ordering/delivery
Why is GoFrugal a great tool for retail during COVID?
GoFrugal is a comprehensive ERP solution for retail, restaurant, and distribution businesses.
It’s great during COVID because the software helps businesses move into omnichannel ordering. GoFrugal’s OrderEasy and GoDeliver apps are especially helpful for retailers scrambling to make it all work.
By integrating an online ordering app into your ERP or POS system, GoFrugal says you’ll get 50% more orders. Plus, deliveries using GoDeliver are 30% faster and twice as efficient.
Best features of GoFrugal for COVID?
- GoFrugal’s OrderEasy and GoDeliver apps ease the transition to omnichannel ordering.
- You can set up the online store app on iOs or Android in just 4 days.
- Customers get real-time delivery status updates that they can manage on their own (including the ability to reschedule/cancel).
- You can customize your order and delivery settings. This includes minimum order value, max delivery radius, repeat orders, and pickup/delivery options.
- If you don’t have the staff for delivery, you can set to pickup only.
- The GoDeliver app provides drivers with the optimal route navigation.
- GoFrugal integrates with existing systems like e-commerce, payment processing, and customer relationship management.
6. Venmo for payment
Why is Venmo a great tool for retail during COVID?
Venmo is a peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer mobile app with a social twist. While it’s best known for paying friends and family, you can also use Venmo to pay merchants.
Since no one wants to touch cash during COVID, Venmo is rising in popularity. Because of this, accepting Venmo is a great way for retailers to meet consumers where they are.
As Venmo says, “It’s a way of paying that customers already love. Tap into the millions of people who already use Venmo to pay their friends. An intuitive user experience means a speedy checkout, and access to the Venmo features users love.”
Another reason Venmo is great for retailers during COVID is the social aspect. With more and more people moving online, it’s an easy way to connect with consumers.
Venmo connects real friends who share what they’re experiencing and buying. For every person who pays using Venmo, there’s a network of friends who can view, like, and comment on the purchase. And just like that, your brand becomes part of the conversation.
Best features of Venmo for COVID:
- You can reduce abandoned carts by giving customers a familiar option at checkout.
- You can tap into Venmo’s social connections to build brand awareness.
- Like PayPal, Venmo gives customers a secure way to pay with their bank account online. With the rise of online ordering, this is a welcome option for many.
- The weekly send limit for merchants is $6,999..
7. Beeketing for all-in-one marketing
Why is Beeketing a great tool for retail during COVID?
We’ve already talked about digital engagement increasing during COVID. But just because someone visits your website, it doesn’t mean they’re going to buy something.
That’s where Beeketing comes in. The all-in-one marketing platform converts visitors into customers. Retailers can use Beeketing to take advantage of increased traffic to their site.
The software is available in a variety of apps. You can pick and choose the integrations that apply most to your business.
Best features of Beeketing for COVID:
- You can send personalized follow-up emails using Beeketing’s mailbot.
- You can upsell and cross-sell in one app.
- You can use coupon pop-ups to reduce bounce rate and keep people on your page.
- You can use social proof pop-ups to convert customers who are on the fence. (X number of people just bought this product)
- You can resolve customer issues using Beeketing’s Facebook chat feature.
- You can add a countdown cart to create urgency and maximize conversions at checkout.
- You can offer personalized recommendations to increase order value.
- Beeketing integrates with WooCommerce, Weebly, and BigCommerce. (But it does not work with Shopify anymore.)
8. NetSuite for cloud-based ERP
Why is NetSuite a great tool for retail during COVID?
NetSuite is a cloud-based ERP system.
It’s a great tool for retail during COVID because it’s comprehensive and cloud-based. This allows retailers to scale up or down based on demand without the need to change hardware or systems.
This has proven to be particularly important with e-commerce during COVID.
Adam Taylor, CEO of PetShop.co.uk, says his company has been able to cope with unprecedented demand thanks to NetSuite’s cloud-based ERP.
“We’ve been told by manufacturers, such as Mars and Nestle, that we’ve been able to scale up more swiftly than most of our competitors and this has been because of cloud infrastructure,” says Taylor.
NetSuite also helps retailers optimize for BOPIS and curbside pickup. Social distancing led to a 62% year-over-year increase in BOPIS usage in March 2020. And even with restrictions easing, customers are still wary of going into the store.
Best features of NetSuite for COVID:
- NetSuite introduced a new supply planning feature based on real-time information.
- You can use the planning workbench to prevent inventory shortages and excesses in the supply chain.
- You can use the “what-if” analysis feature to simulate multiple plans.
- NetSuite’s warehouse management system can receive, transfer, and pick goods inside a location without bins.
- Cloud computing gives you the flexibility to scale up/down, spin-off, or adopt new business models with ease.
9. Acumatica Commerce Edition for cloud-based ERP
Why is Acumatica Commerce Edition a great tool for retail during COVID?
Acumatica’s Commerce Edition is a cloud-based ERP solution.
Like NetSuite, Acumatica is great during COVID because it’s based in the cloud.
Plus, during COVID, consumers are demanding more and more value for their money. They expect fast shipping, multiple pick up options, and competitive prices. POS systems for retail need to meet these rising expectations at an affordable price.
Acumatica is an economical retail POS system for multi-location retailers. It delivers centralized and immediate information about customers, inventory, and sales.
Best features of Acumatica for COVID:
- You can optimize stock levels with automatic replenishment and get real-time inventory counts across locations.
- Acumatica integrates with e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce, Magento, and Shopify.
- You can use the warehouse management system to reduce shipping errors with automatic barcode labels and pick tickets.
- Acumatica uses a single-stream fulfillment system for online, counter, catalog and telemarketing channels.
- You can integrate the Acumatica POS system with the overall ERP software.
10. ShipBob for fulfillment
Why is ShipBob a great tool for retail during COVID?
ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that fulfills e-commerce orders for direct-to-consumer businesses. You send ShipBob your inventory and they manage the entire fulfillment process.
This is great for retailers without the experience or infrastructure to handle fulfillment. And with the mad rush into e-commerce during COVID, retailers are turning to ShipBob in droves.
Not only does ShipBob handle the logistics of fulfillment, but they also provide 2-day shipping. Standard 2-day shipping has helped merchants reduce cart abandonment by 18% and increase average order value by 97%.
Best features of ShipBob for COVID:
- You can leverage ground shipping as an inexpensive alternative to expedited air shipping using ShipBob’s 2-Day Express Shipping Program.
- ShipBob determines optimal inventory placement across their network to improve shipping speed and reduce cost. This has helped merchants save 13% off their bottom line.
- ShipBob’s algorithm automatically selects the warehouse and carrier that gives you the quickest turnaround at the best price.
- The ShipBob platform integrates with all major ecommerce platforms including Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Amazon, and Walmart.
- You can track orders from beginning to end, filtering by status or specific order. You can also see a timeline view of where they are in the fulfillment process.
- You can view inventory status in real-time across all locations.
- You can identify slow-moving inventory with high storage costs, view the performance of inventory on different channels, and get reminders to replenish low inventory.
- ShipBob’s return management system allows customers to generate return labels and track returns. At the same time, it gets items processed and back into your inventory asap.
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of retail software solutions out there.
There’s POS solutions, retail ERPs, inventory management software, customer relationship management, order management, and more.
With these, you can improve everything from customer experience to back-office logistics.
Use them to your advantage during these troubling times. And when the pandemic is over, you’ll be ahead of the game!
Best of luck.