What are essential steps to consider before purchasing a retail system?

Purchasing refers to a business or organization attempting to acquiring goods or services to accomplish the goals of its enterprise.

1. Has It Been Designed for Retail?

Retail has many unique characteristics. A retailer needs to know what stock it has available, the size, colour and location of its products and which ones are selling and where, so it can plan future marketing campaigns or sales. It is important therefore to consider whether the new IT system has been designed specifically for the retail industry.

2. Does It Provide Value for Money?

An obvious point, especially in these challenging economic times, but some of the larger software companies would have you believe that you need to spend millions to get the retail systems you need. The truth is that you don’t. Some of the retail systems available today are too expensive and too complicated. The question of on going operating costs is also critically important. Ultimately, a company should look to have one IT person for every 100 shops it operates to handle end-to-end retail functionality. Such ratios are easily achievable if the right technology is used.

3. Is It Scalable?

Can the new retail system actually grow with the business or will you be looking for another system again in a couple of years? Are you planning to expand into other countries? Can the system be supported in other languages and currencies? Can it support tax rules in other countries? Can it support another retail brand, or will you need to buy another system?

Businesses must not assume that the system they originally adopted when the company started up will be able to handle their needs as the company expands. As the organisation grows, the system must be able to grow with it.

4. Can It Be Implemented Quickly?

Time is money. The retail industry moves fast and retailers shouldn’t have to wait years for a new IT system to be implemented. So, look for a system that can be implemented in a few months rather than years.

5. Is It Fully Supported?

As with any new IT system purchase, make sure that the technology is proven and reliable. Has the vendor got a number of happy retail customers that you can talk to? Again, you may think that the well known software brands are a ‘safe choice’ but this can be deceptive. Large software vendors are often inflexible and will tend to neglect smaller companies.

It is, therefore, important that you choose your retail systems wisely. If a mistake is made, it will hinder the potential growth and success of the business for years. Running a retail business without a good retail management software can impede not only on profits but also on customer service levels, stock management and sales conversions.

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