Retailers can choose from a plethora of point of sale and retail management software. However, for some, their experience is limited, so cost and popularity typically influence their choices. It’s okay to learn as they go, but they will not have the competitive edge needed in this global economy.

Change Is Good

Let’s be realistic. The economy has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Small businesses are competing with big-box retailers and companies located throughout the world. They need to adapt and evolve with these changes or lose market share, revenue, and profits. One of the ways they can compete is through building efficiencies.

This starts with their retail software. The cheapest or most popular software isn’t always the best, especially if your retail business has unique needs to account for special inventory or complex transactions, such as layaway or customer deposits.

These problems indicate a need for change. Here are 5 ways you will know when it’s time to consider replacing your retail software with something better.

  1. Problems with Inventory

Inventory is the bread and butter of your business. It’s also where most of your money is tied up. Inventory is the primary way any retail business can increase cash flow. With a steady balance sheet, more products can be purchased, which leads to growth and profitability. Any problems with your inventory will lead to poor customer service and loss of profits.

  1. Poor Customer Experience

Ever watch someone walk out of your store because the line was too long? While they leave, they set their items on a shelf near the door. Research has also shown that customers will walk past a store with long lines at the counter. Long lines can ruin the customer’s experience.

The loss of one customer is more than a loss in revenue and profit. Replacing that customer can cost you five times more to acquire a new one than the cost of retaining an existing one. Repeat customers also offer friendly and free advice on what products to carry and how to improve the experience—providing invaluable feedback.

  1. Customer Relationship Management

You want to promote a new line of products to your current customers, but don’t have any of their contact information. This is a major indication that your retail management system is not working for you.

Information about your customers gives you important information, such as demographics and geographical locations. This allows you to better understand your customer segmentation, and how you can tailor your retail environment toward their preferences.

  1. Restricting Growth

Can your current system grow with your business or will it cause more work for you and your employees? Will it cause problems with your accounting system and inventory management?

If you have big plans for your business and ambitious goals, you need a software package that will grow with you. Unfortunately, most software packages are not flexible enough to accommodate additional workstations or locations. This can be a very frustrating challenge, because you have a good system in place that has been successful, but it can’t handle the additional workload and restricts your growth.

  1. Reports and Analytics

Reports generated from your retail software should help you analyze every aspect of your business. Acting upon the data from your sales history will help maximize your business efficiencies, while eliminate areas of waste, usually hidden during your busy day. If your system can only give a handful of sales reports, then it’s time for a change.

More Return on Your Investment

The old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” can actually be detrimental to your business. It’s normal to resist change. But, having the foresight to avoid problems should be one of your best practices.

The good thing is that you don’t need to rush into it, because nothing is broken. Take your time and do your research. Meet with your employees, your accountant, other business people in your network and find out what they think. Then, create a plan and stick to it.

It’s not easy to change systems, while keeping your doors open for business, but it may be imperative that you do it. Remember, whichever software company you pick, they are the experts. Find one that will work closely with you and support your team if any problems arise. I suggest working with a software company that will transfer your inventory and sales data into the new system for a minor fee. You’ll be able to run reports on your historical data, advancing your business knowledge quickly.

The benefits of replacing your old point of sale and retail management software outweigh the perceived hassle of changing systems. An increase in sales, inventory management, and employee productivity will pay for the system within a very short period of time.