Five signs you need a new retail ERP

Your retail business needs to grow, and your software systems along with it. You might be using a completely manual system with some combination of paper, calculators and non-integrated spreadsheets. Equally, you might have an ERP that has served adequately for some years. Yet sooner or later, you’ll begin to feel the time is right for an upgrade.

1. Easy, no brainer choices

Sometimes it is easy to know when it is time to start shopping around. Your legacy retail ERP vendor might have just informed you there is no longer any support available. Worse, you may have learned they are out of business with no advance notice.

2. Growth

More commonly, the need for a new retail ERP is a result of growth. Perhaps your current ERP works fine and meets yesterday’s needs well but you are planning on opening a second store and that system is only designed for a single store. Today’s systems almost all enable multiple store capabilities. Even in a single store some older systems had a maximum number of checkout registers, which could be that a limiting factor for you.

Recommended reading: find retail ERP vendors to suit your business with our completely up-to-date ERP vendor directory.

Growth can simply indicate more items to stock and track. Your legacy ERP system might have worked well enough with some help from your trusty spreadsheet, but now you might want more. Growth can also mean more customers. As a small store, you knew your major customers and could remember when they last shopped and what they bought. Your memory hasn’t faded yet but the number of customers is now just beyond what you can easily remember.

3. Updated regulatory requirements

Many retail businesses are subject to regulatory requirements on their goods, and older ERP systems often can’t support this need. Certain drugs must be kept in the pharmacy even though no prescription is required. There are requirements for nicotine containing products. Even some sunscreens require reporting. On top of all that, you need to track prescriptions and be an expert on the Affordable Care Act. Does your current retail ERP help as much as you wish it would?

Grocers must track food temperatures and other environmental requirements. Food with expired dates must be removed from the shelf. Some products might be recalled with little warning and sales after a recall can lead to significant liability. A modern retail ERP helps with these needs.

4. Competition

Your competitor might provide the stimulus for a new retail ERP too. If they can track customers and analyze their shopping habits then they have a significant advantage over your business. Did they begin using a new system? Is it time for you to get one and keep your competitive advantage?

5. Integration

A new retail ERP can integrate with other systems in ways that were not imagined only a few years ago. If sales increase as you lower the lights at certain times of the day, an ERP can track the difference and communicate with your building’s environmental controls.

Technology and software continues to evolve and retail ERP vendors offer increasingly powerful and useful systems. That alone might signal a need for change. Be sure you are using the best tools to keep your retail business growing and profitable.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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