SaaS is a real lifesaver for enterprises that need to regulate their core processes. Following the Cisco Annual Internet report, 73% of businesses will use SaaS applications by the end of 2020. It applies to any industry, including retail. Software as a Service bought by large representatives but does not affect business growth here. It is fascinating to consider how small and medium traders use SaaS products. Is the range of services limited by the common sales point automation software, or the market provides users with more options? It's time to find out.
SaaS Role In Consumer Goods Retail Success
Why does retail need SaaS solutions? Based on their nature, such products can solve standard issues and significantly save resources. Businesses love the opportunity:
to implement the product in the short term;
not to buy additional equipment or install software on-site;
not to think about supporting the solution and use periodically updated versions;
to cover all the linear processes and optimize the staff work.
And this is just the beginning. Sure, the bigger the system, the less any Software as a Service can fully satisfy its needs and cover its processes. Unfortunately, a vendor cannot consider the peculiarities of each user. Anyway, the Software-as-a-Service-products can cope with the following core retail areas:
transaction and tax reporting management (POS);
finance and legal support (ERP);
interaction with clients (CRM);
partnership relations, etc.
The most common type of SaaS solution among traders is the Point of Sale systems. They are used by literally everyone: from street pitchmen to supermarket chains. Thanks to special hardware and software, it helps conduct transactions and instantly transfers sales data to the tax authorities. Besides, POS can integrate with the rest systems and sales hall equipment, creating an ecosystem that affects the retailer productivity and the client experience.
Examples: EZRentOut, PHP Point of Sale, Loyverse
ERP and CRM systems are the principal of the retail back office. They cover financial, human resources, compliance management, as well as client-company communication. It means they often require a high level of stability and data security. Therefore, big retailers are reluctant to use SaaS ERPs or CRMs in their activities. In turn, for small and medium businesses, it is an excellent alternative to expensive custom development and a large staff.
Examples: SAP Business By Design, ERPNext, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Ometria
Assortment management is also a key element of retailers' business activities. It's not always possible to perform it using Excel spreadsheets. So, a relevant group of SaaS solutions enables a minimum number of employees to efficiently run this process.
Software as a Service often applies to running warehouse system processes, transport management, logistics data formation, and so on. Boxing products are also perfect for reliable business partners searching and establishing communication with them.
SaaS for one process is good, but versatile software much better. Such products include ERP, CRM, billing, loyalty systems, POS, a set of features for logistics, marketing and analytics, etc. They often support an omnichannel approach to interaction with buyers. As seen, it's convenient to buy one product and fill several gaps at once. Among the popular universal SaaS products are LS Retail and Retail Pro.
As technology and markets evolve, companies have to innovate, make innovative products, and keep going and try to change the world in some respect.
Sridhar Vembu, Сo-founder at Zoho
Talking about small representatives, Software as a Service model has a great impact on digital transformation in retail. SaaS solutions differ in variety and comparative availability. Thus, a company can choose the most convenient, versatile product and develop much faster, spending a minimum of investments and effort. But what if it's about thousands of companies?
The competition encourages them to use new offers to optimize work, attract customers, or all at once. The SaaS industry speeds up retail business development. The more universal SaaS products at affordable prices, the faster the transformation process will be.
Retail Software as a Service Solutions: Summary
SaaS solutions are essential for retail. Large companies can use them to streamline standard processes and spend more time on bottlenecks. But they are much more principal for small and medium-sized representatives. Here, they are the engines of digital transformation in retail. A new generation of traders starts their business with the purchase of advanced Software as a Service. The choice is wide enough, and the products are relatively affordable. It leads to the formation of a progressive small business, which is gradually growing into a large one.