The world is swiftly transitioning to an omni-channel one - and Africa is no exception. The increasing adoption of smartphones, and falling prices in data, offer an opportunity for retailers to connect with customers in new and effective ways.
A retail management system (RMS), is an integrated set of digital applications that the retailer uses to operate their business. RMS typically includes: Point of Sale (POS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Order Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing & Receiving, Reporting and data driven Dashboard applications. Some also offer ecommerce applications as part of their suite.
One of the primary benefits of using a POS with true RMS capabilities, is that all retail operations occur in the same technology footprint allowing the retailer to run the business end-to-end with one system. Information is easily available so the retailer has visibility on how the business is doing across all functions. Even better, with a web based application the retailer is able to access this critical data in real time from any web device (smart phone, tablet, laptop etc.)
With an integrated RMS you can track and report on the entire lifecycle of an item in one system. From its start as part of an initial purchase order, to its receipt in the store or warehouse, as it is transferred between locations, when it is counted and re-counted – and eventually as part of a sale from the POS. Using CRM functionality the retailer then can see who purchased the item and what they purchased along with it – and many other important data points. Many of the simple cash register-like systems out there just take payments. They don’t handle the lifecycle of the product or the customer.
Some retailers choose to operate an RMS by assembling the various pieces from different software vendors: a POS system from Vendor A, an inventory management system from Vendor B, purchasing management from Vendor C, a business intelligence tool from Vendor D, an ecommerce system from Vendor E and so on. The costs of implementing multiple disparate systems and getting them to work together in harmony is prohibitive for all but the largest retail businesses. Each link in the chain has its own integration that needs to be built and managed, which is costly upfront and over the long term. An integrated retail management system will help you avoid the pain of integrating a variety of separate applications.
So why should you choose to use an integrated retail management system? Ultimately, because an integrated RMS has less technical overhead than separate, disparate applications, and because it puts you in a better position to understand and manage the flow of your entire business. You’ll be able to see a unified view of the data across your business functions and across your stores and all sales channels in one system. And lastly, because it amplifies productivity for your entire workforce.