When you run your own business, there are a lot of moving parts in the daily operations. You have to manage your sales, check on your stock, deal with finances, pay your staff, and of course, make sure you have satisfied customers.
In other words, running a retail business is complex. In order to stay ahead of the pack, you need to constantly find ways to improve and streamline your processes to become more efficient. And since it’s simply impossible to do all of this manually, forward-thinking and savvy merchants implement retail ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software — and for good reason.
What is Retail ERP?
To understand what ERP is, it’s important to first understand all the core processes needed to run a business. There’s order management, manufacturing, accounting, human resources and myriad other spokes in the wheel.
At its most basic level, ERP integrates – or connects – the many different spokes that make up the whole back office operation. While they are complex, all ERP systems create a shared database that supports multiple functions used by different business units – ultimately enabling employees in different areas to have access to the same information for their specific needs.
However, the downside of typical ERP systems is that they can often be complex to implement and maintain. They usually contain multiple separate modules within them, which require additional work in order to get them synchronized and communicating with each other successfully.
Whereas, retail ERP is an ERP system as we’ve explained above, but one that is specifically designed for retailers, which means it supports the essential modules required for your unique technology stack.
For instance, many retailers don’t require manufacturing or bill of materials modules, so a retail ERP usually doesn’t include them. This ensures the software is lighter and easier to implement and maintain, while ensuring you’re not paying for modules or features you don’t really need.
Additionally, there are many retail businesses that need a point of sale system to manage their in-store sales. However, a traditional ERP will need to connect to a third party POS system in order to achieve this desired functionality. This adds yet another step to your implementation plan and potentially causes risks when it comes to the flow of data between the two systems.
Whereas, with a retail ERP, a point of sale module is usually included as standard, negating the risk of siloed systems, or worse, siloed data.