What is an ROS – and Does your Business Need One?

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Got acronyms coming out of your ears?

From ERP and WMS to 3PL and CRM, these days there’s a lot of retail-specific abbreviations to get your head around. 

And as technology and the retail industry evolves, new acronyms pop up and get added to the conversation. 

ROS is one of these. It stands for Retail Operating System and, if you run a commerce brand in the modern marketplace, it’s definitely one you should know about. 

So, what exactly is a Retail Operating System? And does your business need one? 

What is an ROS?

A Retail Operating System (ROS) is a scalable and agile business software system that is perfect for bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce companies that operate on a retail or wholesale basis.

An ROS is a centralized system that sits at the heart of your business to streamline, simplify and automate operations. It provides real-time insight across all your operations and sales channels, scaling as your business does. 

Brightpearl’s Retail Operating System enables you to automate manual workflows, gain much greater visibility over your sales channels, accurately forecast customer demand and access a huge library of Plug & Play integrations. It also provides order management, integrated accounting, advanced reporting, fulfillment, warehouse and supplier management, and much more!

Why are brands suddenly switching to an ROS?  

We’re now operating in the Hyper-Scalable Era, defined by the ability to rapidly curate new services and deploy better shopping experiences to meet ever-evolving consumer expectations.

Providing a modern e-commerce experience in the Hyper-Scalable Era requires more applications than any single system can provide.

This means it’s now widely recognized that ERPs and OMSs, which have traditionally been the operating systems of choice for retail brands, are outdated, rigid and unfit for purpose. In fact, rather than enabling growth, these legacy systems actively prevent retailers from efficiently upgrading and evolving their tech stacks – due to time, technical limitations, or escalating costs.

Instead, successful brands are turning to dynamic, flexible, scalable Retail Operating Systems like Brightpearl so they can streamline, simplify and automate their businesses and instantly integrate a changing roster of the best tech which helps them better meet the changing demands of modern consumers. 

How does an ROS compare to an ERP? 

An ROS is more than Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP)

ERPs are built as ‘all-in-one’ systems with complex system architecture. This means integrating new tools or features is nearly impossible without costly and lengthy customizations. 

Meanwhile, Brightpearl is a built-for-retail operating system that offers the same robust features as ERPs  – but with hyper-scalability at its heart.

While customizing an ERP to meet your evolving needs will cost you a fortune, take ages and involve a frustrating process, Brightpearl is packed with dedicated features with a huge library of Plug & Play integrations and deep, open API. 

When it comes to using any operations system, proper implementation is vital to get the best results. Due to poor planning and a lack of retail expertise, 75% of ERP implementations fail on average, with fees coming in 400% higher than quoted and taking 30% longer than estimated. 

At Brightpearl, ROS implementation is designed, planned, managed and configured by retail experts, resulting in a success rate of 97%, an average go-live time of just 120 days and no surprising last minute fees. 

How does an ROS compare to an OMS (and other single point systems)? 

An ROS is more than an Order Management System (OMS), too. 

OMSs are known for having inexpensive ‘all-in-one’ features that compromise quality, and ultimately lead to an unscalable system that prevents growth. Lower-end systems also get slow and difficult to use when order volumes increase, and typically struggle to handle complex orders. 

In contrast, Brightpearl offers a range of market-leading, built-for-retail features as part of an intuitive system that doesn’t slow down, even during peak periods. Its Automation Engine also takes time-consuming, complex fulfillment tasks off your to-do list.

Single-solution vendors, such as Order Management Systems, only offer self-guided implementation with clear-as-mud online documentation and minimal support. At Brightpearl, implementation is designed, planned, managed and configured by experienced in-house experts.

And while standalone OMS, WMS or inventory systems only provide very basic support, (unless you fork out extra), at Brightpearl, we offer friendly, fast support 24/7 and ongoing business consulting – at no extra cost.

What are the benefits of an ROS? 

An ROS can help modern brands in a number of ways. It can…

Easily automate workflows

Brightpearl ROS includes access to a powerful Automation Engine, which makes it easy to set up rules that will automate almost every workflow in your business. 

With pre-built conditions and actions, you can create smart automation rules that fit your own e-commerce workflows in just a few clicks – from automatically creating invoices and arranging dropshipping to printing address labels and optimizing order routing.

Automation saves the average Brightpearl customer two whole months a year, as well as cutting labor costs in half and reducing errors by 65%. 

Accurately predict demand

Brightpearl’s integrated Inventory Planner provides data-driven demand forecasting and replenishment recommendations, based on the KPIs that matter most to you. the industry-leading feature even factors in seasonality and promotions for game-changing accuracy. Never again have cash tied up in excess inventory or lose sales due to insufficient stock. 

Instantly connect new apps

With Brightpearl’s ROS, you can seamlessly connect everything from your e-commerce host (including Shopify) to your accounting software, in just a few clicks. Browse a huge library of Plug & Play integrations to discover the tools you  need to grow fearlessly. And if there isn’t an existing connection available, our open API and trusted partner network will quickly establish a new one.

Improve customer experience

Keeping consumers happy is unfortunately no longer as simple as offering next day delivery or the cheapest price. 

Consumer expectations have evolved in line with technology, and they are now demanding more, in every sense of the word. They want more easy ways to buy on more non-traditional channels; they want more immersive, entertaining online shopping experiences; they want more personalized, cutting-edge service and products. 

To succeed, retailers need a flexible, dynamic ROS that offers the interchangeable, best-in-class tools they need to quickly adapt, scale and deliver the more immersive, powerful shopping experiences that modern consumers demand.

ERPs, OMSs and other rigid architecture are simply unable to provide the agility and functionality needed – and rather than driving growth for brands, they are now actively hindering it.

Agile and digitally native brands that have selected a truly flexible Retail Operating System already have the upper hand – with the gap set to widen in the coming months and years.

Quickly get set up

While other systems take months (and sometimes years) to get up and running, Brightpearl’s ROS goes live in an average of 120 days. Implementation is based on a unique approach which is managed at every stage by a dedicated team of experts. That’s why Brightpearl’s implementation success rate is 97%, while ERPs barely scrape 25%. 

Complete functionality

As well as the Automation Engine, Inventory Planner and Plug & Play integrations mentioned above, Brightpearl’s ROS offers all the functionality any retailer needs to succeed. This includes warehouse management, supplier management, CRM, POS, advanced reporting and business intelligence, accounting and order management

Dedicated support

From staying one step ahead on the latest commerce trends to optimizing your system for the best results, Brightpearl’s ROS comes with 24/7 support from a friendly team of retail experts.  

Does your business need an ROS?

If your retail or wholesale business…

  • has grown rapidly but is now bogged down by manual tasks and operational complexity
  • lacks the visibility, control and data needed to make fast, smart decisions
  • is fed up with using a clunky, outdated, slow ERP or OMS
  • is plugging gaps in systems with spreadsheets or make-shift solutions
  • has awesome potential for further growth, but requires more efficient processes

…an ROS like Brightpearl is 100% something you should consider.

What’s the next step?

Book a Brightpearl demo.