With a huge number of options to choose from, it can be hard to know what is the best software for your retail business. In this guide, we rank the top 8 best software for retail businesses, including inventory control software and ERP software.
What is Retail Management Software?
Retail management systems provide a comprehensive software-based solution for retail businesses that enable them to manage, streamline and optimize a range of business processes together. These include sales, inventory management, customer data and reporting, employee management, and more. They bring various parts of a retail business together within one integrated solution, driving efficiency, data-driven insights, smart supply chain management and much more.
If your business does not have a retail management system, or is considering moving to another solution, you’re in the right place! Let’s examine each of them, their key features, their pros and cons, and what makes them different.
1. The Best for First: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce
Dynamics 365 Commerce offers a powerful and unified platform for managing retail operations, that is highly integrated with the rest of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. This makes it one of the most popular choices in the world of retail business management systems for businesses that already use Microsoft products to run their business.
Unified Platform: Dynamics 365 for Retail integrates with other Microsoft solutions, offering a unified platform for retail operations.
Inventory Management: Dynamics 365 Commerce incorporates comprehensive inventory tracking and management features, that can also provide intelligent insights into their usage and how they can be further optimized.
Point of Sale (POS): Commerce supports a modern and flexible POS system for in-store sales.
Multi-Channel Retailing: Supports multi-channel retail strategies, including e-commerce and physical stores.
Customer Insights: Commerce is able to create data-driven insights about customers, which can be used to tailor marketing to them, such as through making compelling product recommendations.
Supply Chain Management: Commerce brings a toolkit of features for supply chain visibility and optimization, providing oversight and actionable insights for managing products and supply chains efficiently and effectively.
Financial Management: Commerce integrates financial and accounting modules from the wider Microsoft ecosystem, and can support integration with other popular financial software.
Omnichannel Capabilities: Commerce is able to support omnichannel customer experiences, including online buying and in-store pick up capabilities.
- Comprehensive and integrated analytics and reporting
- Accessible and powerful user experience
- Integrates seamlessly with the wider Microsoft ecosystem
- Streamlined omnichannel features and user experience
- Powerful capabilities for creating tailored customer experiences
- A little harder to setup and there is a learning curve to master all of its features
- In-built advanced customization features are lacking
- There are mixed opinions about how user friendly it is
What Makes Dynamics 365 Commerce Special?
Commerce is a very holistic, integrable, and flexible end-to-end retail business management solution that opens a world of possibilities for retail businesses. Its chief advantages are that it seamlessly integrates with the rest of the Microsoft family of applications and leverages the advanced technology of the company to provide personalized toolkits, recommendations and insights. This can be used to improve business processes in an agile, data-driven way.
For businesses that do not already use Microsoft products such as Microsoft 365, and small businesses that may struggle to leverage its full suite of features to their potential, this may be less of an ideal solution. Working with a specialized Managed Services Provider is one way to get around these obstacles and to get the best out of this powerful platform.
2. Lightspeed Retail
Lightspeed Retail is another impressive software for retail businesses: bringing together ERP, inventory control software, and retail business system capabilities into one solution, making simplifying operations and scaling much easier.
With Lightspeed, a business can manage and get oversight over the performance of physical and digital stores, improve inventory management across them, access advanced reporting and trending insights, and segment customers and automate aspects of their marketing.
- End-to-End Retail Management: LS Retail provides a comprehensive solution for retail businesses.
- POS and E-Commerce Integration: Lightspeed seamlessly integrates with in-store and online sales channels and other applications, including Shopify, QuickBooks, Woocommerce, and more. If a custom-integration is needed, Lightspeed also offers an open API to enable it.
- Inventory Control: Real-time inventory tracking, reporting, and optimization.
- Customer Engagement Tools: Lightspeed has features that enable you to implement loyalty programs and customer engagement tools at scale.
- Multi-Store Management: Supports multi-store retail chains and digital channels.
- Reporting and Analytics: Advanced reporting and business intelligence for customers, inventory, and staff performance.
- Financial Management: Integrated accounting and financial features with other platforms, such as Xero and Quickbooks.
- CRM: Customer relationship management capabilities, including automations, intelligent recommendations, and implement loyalty programs that drive engagement
- Great number of ready-made integrations with other platforms, alongside an API.
- Comprehensive all-in-one solution
- Intuitive user interface and user experience
- Relatively easy to setup and get started with
- While valuable, it is more costly than some competitors.
- No proprietary hardware
- A learning curve for its more advanced features
What Makes Lightspeed Special?
Like Microsoft Dynamics 365 commerce, Lightspeed is a highly unified, integrable and customizable platform for managing a vast swath of retail operations. With ready-made integrations available with other marketing, accounting, and e-commerce software, this can be a great choice for businesses to connect their retail management operations together with other departments.
This said, compared to Dynamics 365 Commerce, it brings more accessible retail-focused features that can be more empowering for retail businesses with physical stores. Lightspeed is also considerably more intuitive and user-friendly compared to Commerce, which despite its powerful and also highly customizable features, lags behind Lightspeed.
Discover the Best Retail System for Your Business, With Think Tribe
Need a hand with defining the best retail business management solution for your business? One that can offer maximum value to your business, at the best price? Book a discovery session with Think Tribe today. We’ll listen closely to your needs, the context of your business, and what you’d like to achieve, and draw on our expertise to help you to choose the best solution for your business.
ERPLY positions itself as a POS solution and business software for retailers, offering an integrated set of software for managing a vast range of retail operations. This includes POS software with self-checkout capabilities, product and warehouse management systems, and an online storefront builder.
Here are some of its key features:
- POS System: ERPLY offers a cloud-based point of sale system.
- Inventory Management: Real-time inventory tracking and stock replenishment solution.
- Multi-Channel Sales: Integration with e-commerce platforms and marketplaces.
- Customer Management: Customer database and loyalty programs.
- Sales Reporting: Sales analytics and reporting tools.
- Purchase Order Management: Supplier and procurement management.
- Multi-Store Support: Suitable for multi-location businesses.
- Limited Integrations: ERPLY integrations with QuickBooks Online, XERO, Locally, Docura. It also has an API for creating your own integrations with other software.
- Accessible Demand forecasting: ERPLY offers an integrated forecasting application that uses data analytics to foresee changes in demand. Simply input the data and let the app do the work!
- Highly customizable platform.
- Versatile software and hardware integrations.
- Good number of helpful user guides.
- Particularly strong inventory management features.
- Relatively higher learning curve to setup and use.
- Lack of support for their lower-tier plans.
- Some customers report software glitches.
What Makes ERPLY Special?
ERPLY brings a highly customizable and specialty-friendly solution that’s suitable for many different types of retail businesses. Its advanced demand forecasting is relatively more accessible compared to other solutions, where some legwork is needed to create forecasting predictions. Finally, its inventory management is particularly robust.
Brightpearl by Sage offers a comprehensive and highly customizable retail business management solution, inventory control software and an enterprise resource planning system in one single, integrated package.
Unique to Brightpearl is a great array of integrations with popular marketplaces and software, as well as powerful automations that enable you to automate complex order fulfilment and multi-location inventory management processes.
- Order Management: Streamlines order processing and fulfilment.
- Automation: Brightpearl offers comprehensive process automation features.
- Inventory Control: Inventory management and demand forecasting.
- Multi-Channel Retailing: Integrates with multiple sales channels.
- Retail CRM: Customer relationship management and marketing.
- Financials: Accounting and financial management.
- Warehouse Management: Tools for efficient warehouse operations.
- Accessible Reporting and Analytics: Intuitive and accessible reporting features.
- Comprehensive Integrations: A vast array of integrations is offered by Brightpearl.
- Leaders in automation functionality
- User friendly
- Great number of integrations
- Strong inventory management features
- There can be a learning curve when you’re getting started
- Relatively lacking in reporting features
- There are mixed reviews on the customer support: some say it is slow and unresponsive
What Makes Brightpearl Special?
Particularly unique to Brightpearl are its automation features and vast array of integrations, which offer the potential for creating systems that are much more able to take care of themselves.
5. Epicor Eagle
Epicor’s Eagle platform offers an all-in-one retail management and ERP solution for retail businesses. Its solutions include POS and payment processing, inventory and purchasing, e-commerce, customer management, analytics and reporting, accounting and workforce management, and some add-ons.
- Retail POS: Point of sale system designed for retail
- Inventory Management: Inventory control and optimization
- Customer Management: Customer database and loyalty programs
- Supplier Management: Tools for managing supplier relationships
- Financial Management: Accounting and financial reporting
- Business Intelligence: Analytics and reporting capabilities
- Mobile POS: Support for mobile and tablet-based POS
- Comprehensive and reliable accounting package
- Flexible ERP, customizable to needs
- Compass reporting system: bring multiple reports together
- Limited invoice customizability
- Lacking easy integrations with other software
- Accounting reports are limited in their scope and customizability
- Learning curve: some features require an in-depth knowledge to navigate intuitively
What Makes Epicor Eagle Special?
Epicor Eagle is well-rounded and dependable solution for retail businesses, fielding an integrated set of key features that retailers need to manage their business operations. In particular, its comprehensive integrated compass reporting feature, and the degree of customizability on the ERP side shine out as some of its strongest features.
As the name implies, Quant pride themselves on facilitating measurable results for retailers. They offer a full retail and inventory management solution, alongside omnichannel POS, supply chain and order management.
- Retail ERP: ERP solution tailored for retail operations.
- Inventory Management: Inventory control and optimization.
- Planogram Software: Plan store space efficiently and effectively.
- Point of Sale: In-store and mobile point of sale capabilities.
- Customer Relationship Management: Customer data and engagement.
- Multi-Channel Retailing: Supports various sales channels.
- Task Management: Manage and coordinate tasks with staff.
- Supply Chain and Order Management: Streamlines supply chain processes.
- Reporting and Analytics: Business intelligence and reporting tools.
- Reputable customer support
- Very customizable to individual business needs and processes
- Simple to implement without compromising a feature-rich experience
- Competitive and user-friendly solution for managing store floor planning
- A relatively more expensive solution compared to competitors
- Old-fashioned user interface
- Lacks a mobile app to manage while you’re on the go
- More advanced features have a steep learning curve
What Makes Quant Special?
The planogram feature, alongside Quant’s ability to offer comprehensive features within a navigable and easy-to-use interface, distinguish Quant from other competitors. Quant’s customer service is also highly regarded, particularly compared to some more mixed reviews for other solution providers.
7. NCR Counterpoint
NCR Counterpoint is an established solution on the market that offers a convenient and comprehensive solution for businesses. It offers much of the features that you can expect from a retail business management solution but does fall short compared to competitors in areas such as integrations with other software.
- Integrated POS System: Point of sale software and hardware for retail businesses.
- Inventory Control: Inventory management and tracking.
- Customer Loyalty: Customer engagement and loyalty programs.
- Email Marketing: Customer profile creation and segmentation, automatic emails, and email list integration.
- Crystal Reporting and Analytics: Comprehensive reporting features.
- Multi-Store Support: Suitable for multi-location businesses.
- Alerts: Stay in touch with store operations with alerts.
- Very intuitive to use
- Highly customizable
- Checkout solution is fast, easy-to-use and flexible
- Some report that the software can be slow
- Using reporting effectively can be difficult
- Lacking integrations with other software solutions
What Makes Counterpoint NCR Special?
Alongside LightSpeed Retail, Counterpoint is known for having a particularly simple and intuitive user interface, without compromising on a feature-rich experience for retailers. Its POS hardware is also hailed as a fast and intuitive solution that integrates with the software well.
8. Oracle Netsuite
Oracle is something of a juggernaut in the world of software solutions, and its Netsuite platform is no exception. That said, it’s not perfect. On the positive side, Netsuite covers the full roster of retail business management software features, alongside robust omnichannel management features, including many CRM features, and comprehensive financial and accounting features. On the more negative side, many consider it to be less intuitive and harder to setup fully, in part because it has such a wide range of capabilities.
- Cloud ERP: Comprehensive cloud-based ERP system
- Financial Management: Integrated financials and accounting
- E-Commerce: Supports e-commerce and online sales
- Inventory Management: Real-time inventory tracking
- CRM: Customer relationship management features
- Supply Chain Management: Supply chain visibility and optimization
- Business Intelligence: Advanced reporting and analytics
- Integrations: Integrate with external applications with the inbuilt NetSuite integrator.
- Comprehensive features: retail management, ERP, inventory management, automation
- Highly customizable
- All-in-one solution
- Very high visibility and traceability
- Particularly difficult learning curve
- Not considered user-friendly by many
- Can be time-consuming and complex to setup and fully leverage features
- Hard to build customized financial reports in particular
What Makes Oracle Netsuite Special?
If what you’re looking for is an integrated retail management, ERP and inventory control software solution, then it’s unlikely you’ll find Netsuite’s features lacking. A lot of users report that the comprehensive features enable them to systematise the various aspects of their retail operations together in a scalable way. This said, it’s rather like marmite; there are many that see Netsuite as intuitive to use and highly customizable, others believe the opposite.
There are a million different ways for retailers to operate, so for each business, each of these solutions will be more ideal than others. All things considered, we would recommend Microsoft 365 Dynamics Commerce and Lightspeed Retail. For businesses already utilizing Microsoft solutions and in need of comprehensive omnichannel inventory, POS solutions, and reporting, Commerce could be a favourable choice. For businesses that use solutions outside of the Microsoft ecosystem, that also want a comprehensive, scalable and highly integrable solution, Lightspeed offers an excellent solution.
We recommend visiting each of these providers and examining their features in more detail to see which is the best fit for your business. Alternatively, you can book a discovery session with the Tech Tribe team. We’re well-versed in the world of retail business management software and the wider IT landscape, and can offer you helpful recommendations and insights by getting to know your business. Gain more clarity and move forward with confidence by getting in touch today. We’d love to hear from you and help your business to propel its success by finding the right solution.
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