Inventory and staffing
Retailers have to take risks other businesses don’t – in particular, buying and storing products that you may never sell. Bricks-and-mortar stores have the added challenge of maintaining staff to keep that inventory moving.
As a small business, you can’t afford to wear storage costs or write-off unsold goods. And you’re also probably spending too much time juggling staff rosters or filling in for people when they skip a shift.
Retail management software can take the pain away
About half of small businesses track inventory manually. It’s error-prone work and, because it’s labour intensive, the job often gets bumped when the shop gets busy. The right software can automate the process – updating your records in real time as stock is bought and sold.
Staff management can also be handled through apps to save hours of scheduling headaches, while helping keep employees happy and engaged.
Inventory management software – what to look for
With smart software, you’ll always know what you have and what you need. And you'll be able to predict sales volumes across the year, allowing you to place accurate orders.
Here’s what you can expect from the best software packages.
1. Sync inventory management with point-of-sale
Make sure your point-of-sale devices talk to your inventory records, and vice versa.
When you sell an item, it should automatically come off your inventory.
You should be able to check stock levels from any device.
2. Speed up your business
Choose retail management software that works with barcode scanners, for simple point-and-shoot processing of sales, returns, orders and stocktakes.
3. Set prices however you want
Don’t get caught by inflexible systems. Clever retail management software will allow you to charge differently for a product that’s sold:
in a specific store
to a certain sort of customer (such as a loyalty-card holder)
You should be able to continue running your business the way you like.
4. Automate your ordering
Good systems will automatically order new stock when inventory drops below a pre-set level. It’ll take a weight off your mind and help you avoid lost sales opportunities. You should be able to set different reorder levels for every product you sell.
5. Predict what you’ll need
You probably estimate your inventory needs based on past experience. Your retail management software should support that process. Get a system that charts historical data graphically so you can quickly see how demand ebbs and flows throughout the year.
6. Control your entire business from one point
Make sure your inventory management software talks to your accounting software. When that happens, things really start to click. You’ll be able to check sales, inventory, revenue, expenses and general business performance in one place, at one time.
Finding inventory management software
For a system that combines all this functionality, manages your in-store and online inventory and integrates with retail accounting software, check out:
Staff management software – what to look for
Staffing retail stores can be a juggling act. Trying to build a schedule around leave requests, illnesses, and family commitments chews through a lot of time. And because everything’s so changeable, it’s often hard to track the actual hours worked and figure out pay.
The right staff management system will alleviate those headaches and give you back precious time. Here's what the best systems will allow you to do.
1. Schedule and fill shifts with minimal fuss
Staff rosters change from week to week. You need staff management software that allows you to share schedules quickly and fill gaps as they come up. Look for a system that allows employees to see the schedule on their mobile phones.
They can see their hours and request shift changes in real time.
You can advertise open shifts, allowing interested staff to pick up extra work.
Your software should integrate easily with payroll and point-of-sale software to tell you:
how much you’re spending on wages
when the store’s busy or slow, so you can get staffing levels right
2. Automatically track time and work out pay
With the right app, you can have staff clock on and off using their phone. The device’s geolocation function will confirm they’re actually in the store at the time. The data then flows directly into your payroll software, which:
tallies the hours
assigns rates (including overtime, if applicable)
works out tax
3. Stay connected with staff
Once you start using a mobile app for scheduling and time tracking, you’ll find other forms of communication become easier too. You can use the app to make all-staff announcements and to educate employees about promotions or products.
4. Avoid double-handling data
Good staff management software can only do its job if it syncs with your accounting software. It’s the accounting software that turns the time tracking info into payroll data, without any manual data entry from you. Plus it’ll do the tax calculations and help you track your spend on staff.
Finding staff management software
For a system that combines all this functionality and integrates with payroll, check out:
Make the most of technology and simplify your business
Managing products and people doesn’t have to be a juggling act. The right retail management software will do the heavy lifting for you. When you combine apps like these with compatible online accounting software – business will really start to get a whole lot simpler.
Just make sure you get products that work together and give you the flexibility to run the business the way you want.