31 January 2024

4 ERP systems for retailers [+ selection advice and tips] 

Co-authored by POS-one


Looking for an ERP package for your retail business?

After reading this article, you'll know how to find your system of choice! 

You will also learn which features to pay extra attention to. And you will find a list of four packages specifically recommended by us, for retailers like you. 

We will help you in this article through the following topics: 

Immediately want free and customized advice? Then use our ERP systems comparison tool. This will give you free and non-binding advice on ERP solutions tailored to your specific situation. Click the button and get a list of suitable systems within 15 minutes: 

Let's start this article with the features that should not be missing in your (new) ERP package.

Essential ERP features by type of retailer

"Retail" is a broad and rather general term. This makes giving specific advice in terms of appropriate software difficult—a supermarket benefits from different ERP functions than a clothing store. 

To give you specific advice, we distinguish the following categories of retailers in this article. Do you fall into one of these categories? 

  • Supermarkets
  • Clothing stores
  • E-commerce/webshops
  • Specialty stores (think electronics, sports stores, and bookstores) 
  • Drugstores
  • Discount stores

Below you see by niche which functionalities should not be missing from your Enterprise Resource Planning package:

Type of retailersFeatures not to be missed
Supermarkets- Shelf Management: insight into your shelves. Like structure, inventory levels, etc. 

- Customer cards: think of the bonus card at the Appie. To increase customer loyalty.
Clothing stores- Integration with your POS systems: this gives you real-time insights into your current inventory levels. 

- Inventory management: good inventory management functions are essential for clothing stores. With this functionality, you ensure an optimized assortment. You reduce the risk of unsold stock. The system also helps you respond to trends and seasons. Not entirely unimportant within the fashion industry! 

Extra tip: Make sure you choose a simple ERP package. Everyone within your clothing store should be able to work with the system!
E-commerce/web shops- Real-time inventory management: as a webshop, you always want accurate information about your current stock levels. You want to prevent your customers from ordering an item that is no longer available!
 
- Analytics: especially for webshops, it is important to make smart use of the available data. Make adjustments based on these insights and boost your higher-margin products!  

- Marketplace functionalities: for many webshops, it is important to be visible on websites such as Bol.com and Marketplaats.nl. Your ERP system links your products in real-time to these websites. This ensures that you are visible to the audience of these popular sites.
Specialty stores (electronics, sporting goods, books etc)- Integration POS system <> ERP: this allows you to know in real time what your inventory levels are. Does a product pass the cash register? Then you see this reflected immediately in your stock! 

- CRM modules: your customers have specific wishes/needs and buying patterns. Take full advantage of this with CRM functionalities.
Drugstores- Inventory Management: this is how you make sure your most popular and important products are always in stock. 

- Regulatory and Compliance Management: this helps you comply with applicable regulations specific to your industry.
Discount stores- Automated price matching: you can easily adjust your prices to new developments. Imagine a competitor dropping its pricing, with automated price matching you will easily adjust to this competitive threat.

- Warehouse management: better understanding of the high volumes going in and out of your discount store. 

- Inventory management: for maintaining and optimizing (thin) profit margins.

Suitable ERP packages for retailers

Below you will find four different ERP systems. This list is composed by myself, Peter de Bruin. I have more than 15 years of experience within this industry. Therefore I know perfectly well what systems are suitable for retail companies.

Package 1. Microsoft Business Central


For what type of retailer?For small to medium-sized retailers looking for a system that supports core operations.
Biggest benefitsLow total cost of ownership and usable from only 1 user.

The Business Central package is fairly standard and can be used by many different industries. Via Add-ons, you can make this software more focused on your specific "retail" challenges. POS365 is one of the companies that offers these tailored-made solutions. As the name suggest, POS365, offers a so-called Point Of Sale-solution.

An Add-on is a piece of software that is built on other software. Below you see what this system (specifically for retailers) looks like:

Package 2. Microsoft Finance and Operations (F&O)


For what type of retailer?For somewhat bigger retailers looking for advanced and comprehensive functionalities.
Biggest benefitsAdvanced and highly customizable.

Want to get a list with the best matching software? Fill in our tool and get a list within 15 minutes:

Get a list with matching ERP packages

Package 3. Odoo


For what type of retailer?For retailers with a strong online presence finding ways to enhance the Omnichannel experience.
Biggest benefitsUnified Point of Sale and a built-in CRM module.

Package 4. SAP Business One


For what type of retailer?Small to medium-sized companies that want full control over their inventory and customer data.
Biggest benefitsInsight in profitability and margins of specific products and accurate forecasting.

What are the benefits of ERP for retailers?

But why should you use an ERP within your retail business? In our opinion, these are the main reasons: 

  • More efficient operations: With a well-functioning ERP package, you optimize your internal processes. This increases the efficiency of your daily operations. Things you currently do manually, you easily automate with the help of good software. 
  • Real-time insights: With a unified database, you get real-time access to essential information. With this insight, you make faster and more informed choices. For example, this type of software helps you forecast around products that sell out quickly in certain periods. Based on historical data, the system notifies you to buy more of product X. This ensures that your customers can always purchase the products they want. 
  • Improved insight into your inventory: With ERP software, you ensure that you are more precise with your inventory. From planning and purchasing to managing inventory levels. With the end goal of lowering your costs and increasing your margins!
ERP-icoontje

Do you need an ERP or a CRM for your retail store?

"Do I need an ERP or a CRM for my retail store?" This is a question we often hear. Which of these two type of systems you need depends on your specific needs and requirements. 

Want to know more about the distinction between the two systems? You can read it on our page where we explain the difference between ERP and CRM in detail. 

Just about every company needs both an ERP and a CRM system. Use the insights below and determine which type of system you are currently looking for.

In this situation, you need a CRM

Are you looking exclusively for a system in which to manage contacts? And do you want your software to improve and automate marketing and sales activities? Then a CRM package is the system you are looking for. Pay close attention! Because CRM and Marketing functionalities are often part of an overarching ERP package. In short: many ERP packages also include a CRM module.

Find your perfect CRM system

In this situation, an ERP system is what you need

Are you looking for software that focuses on processes around inventory management, forecasting, supply chain, integration with POS systems and insights in suppliers? Then an ERP system is your best choice.

Find your retail ERP

Advice on how to choose the right package

Want to know how to select the package best suited for you? Not an easy task! After all, every situation is different and therefore requires a different system and perhaps also a different implementation partner. 

Let us help you with some advice, especially for retailers like you. You can read them below:

Our first advice is to look for an implementation partner who understands your industry. Your challenges as a retailer are obviously different from those of a manufacturing or wholesale company. 

Our second piece of advice: choose a system with an eye on the future. Think at least 5 years ahead. Think about where your company will be in 5 to 10 years. Adjust your choice accordingly and avoid missing out on important functionalities. Are you a webshop? And do you want to do business across borders? Make sure your ERP supports multiple currencies and countries.

Our third piece of advice will help you close the gap between offline and online. During the ERP selection process, ask yourself what type of retailer you want to be. Are you a type of Coolblue or rather a Primark. Figure out what you want to achieve in terms of customer experience within your company and adjust your software accordingly. A Primark will benefit less from advanced customer experience than a Coolblue. 

Our fourth and perhaps most important advice: pay attention to the connectivity between your hardware and software (your ERP system). But what exactly do we mean by this? We mean by this that you should look closely at the connection between, for example, your scanners and cash registers (hardware) and your ERP software. Ask your hardware supplier if you can link their products with software. We often see this coupling go wrong, a real shame! Because you only see this after you buy your rather expensive software package. 

Want more advice and tips on how to select the right package? Then check out our page and choose your best-fitting ERP system.

Tips for a successful implementation in the retail sector

Already know which system is a perfect fit for you? Then use the tips below and make a success of your future implementation:

  • Define a clear objective: Clearly outline the goals and expectations of the ERP implementation.
  • Involve stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders throughout the process to ensure they are aligned with the organization's needs.
  • Customize the ERP system to meet specific retail needs.

We also recommend that you choose an ERP implementation partner with knowledge of your industry. This will result in a partner that has an answer to your most challenging and specific questions.

Man op zoek naar een ERP-partner

Get tailored advice in 15 minutes through our independent ERP comparison tool

In this article, you discovered which ERP systems might be a good match for your retail business. 

Still, finding it difficult to select the right package? Logical, because every situation requires different advice, different systems, and different implementation partners. This decision is thus very personal. 

Would you like 100% customized advice on which systems fit your needs and requirements as a retailer? Fill out our free comparison tool and find out which software suits you:

Find your retail ERP

Below you see our tool in action. As you can see you can select many retail subbranches within our tool. This ensures you get very specific advise tailored to your situation.

Peter de Bruin
CEO & Sr. Software Specialist
With over 15 years of dedicated experience in the enterprise software industry, I have seen firsthand how crucial it is for an organization to find the right software system for success. In this rapidly changing marketplace, a fair playing field is not always a given. My mission is to create a fair match between companies and vendors, putting the importance of appropriate and effective software first. Our independent selection tool is designed to fulfill this mission, with the goal of creating a future where everyone can effortlessly find the perfect software package, with a smile. Let's strive for that effortless future together.
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