As a retailer, you have a lot on your plate. From sales and marketing, to inventory, employee management, and accounting, it’s easy to feel like there are just not enough hours in the day to get all your tasks done.
And if you’re a small business, there’s also the issue of cost. Most SMBs don’t have the resources to hire a battalion of workers, so a lot of tasks either fall on your shoulders or are delegated to a small group of people.
Fortunately, there are tools that can ease the load. Below are ten web and mobile apps that can help retailers be more productive while saving money at the same time. Check them out and see if you can use them in your business:
Vend iPad POS
Vend is an iPad-based point-of-sale system that lets you ring up customers with ease. Just download the software, connect it with your receipt printers, barcode scanners or other store gear, and you’re good to go.
One of the great things about Vend is that aside from allowing you to accept the usual payment types (cash, credit, and debit cards), it lets you process mobile payments so customers can pay with their phone. The app also offers inventory management, reporting, and customer loyalty features, giving you all the tools to run your retail store and keep shoppers happy.
Vend doesn’t come with any long-term contracts and it offers flexible pricing plans that enable you to only pay for what you need. It also integrates with accounting, payments, ecommerce, and productivity apps, so you can seamlessly run your existing programs with Vend.
Retailers have to do a lot of calculations. Markups. Margins. Stock turn. Shift hours. Who has time to memorize or retrieve formulas for all that? Fortunately, with Retail Calculators, you won’t have to. This app puts several retail calculators right at your fingertips so you can make pricing decisions, determine profit, calculate payments, and more.
Check out its free version that comes with the following calculators: Contribution Margin, Loan Payment, Inventory Turnover (Stock Turn), Markup, Money Conversion, DCF Valuation, and Shift Hours.
One of the leading apps for managing business finances, Xero comes with a wide range of tools to help keep you on top of your statements, invoices, accounts, and credit cards no matter where you are. Xero lets you perform several financial tasks right from your iPhone, including viewing accounts, reconciling bank statements, sending invoices, saving receipts, and more.
The app even integrates with payroll, CRM, ecommerce, and inventory software so it can easily fit in with any existing systems your business might have.
Whether it’s flying off to another country to meet with a supplier or driving to a different city to scout a location, traveling is an important part of most business owners’ lives. And if you find yourself wasting time planning your itinerary instead of getting things done, you may want to check out Tripit, a free app that organizes the details of your trip so you can focus less on administrative travel tasks, and devote more energy to doing business.
Just forward your hotel, airline, car rental, and restaurant confirmation emails to the service and Tripit will “automagically” create a daily itinerary for you. The app syncs with your Apple, Google, or Outlook calendar as well, so you’re always up to speed with your itinerary.
If you’re selling your products through a number of channels (i.e. brick and mortar, ecommerce, tradeshows, consignment, etc.) then you know that unifying and staying on top of all the data can be a headache. That’s where Stitch comes in.
This nifty solution lets you track and manage your invoices, orders, expenses, customer information and more all from one place. Say goodbye to updating complicated spreadsheets or running multiple apps at once, with Stitch, all the info you need can be accessed from one place.
It even talks to other apps and shopping carts such as Shopify, Vend, PayPal, Storenvy, and more, so synching everything is a breeze.
Drowning in receipts, business cards, and other paperwork? Look to Shoeboxed, an app that can digitize, categorize, and archive all those docs, so you can spend less time fussing over documents or treating paper cuts, and instead take care of more essential business tasks.
Sending your docs over to Shoeboxed is easy. You can either mail all the paperwork to them or take a photo using your phone, and the service will take everything online so you can easily view, manage, and export them.
Speed up your checkout process, reduce lines, and increase customer loyalty with PayPal Here, an app that lets you get paid right from your iPad. Simply download the app, attach the card reader, and start accepting payments. PayPal even lets customers pay using their mobile phone and it enables you to send receipts via text or email.
And since it runs on your iPad, the app lets you process payments even when you’re on the move, making it an ideal solution for booths, trade shows, and mobile businesses.
When I Work Employee Scheduling
With this app, you can literally have all your store’s scheduling needs inside your pocket. When I Work lets you manage employee schedules and communicate with your staff using your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Desktop PC.
It lets you create, update, cancel, and publish shifts, using your device. It even lets employees request shift trades and time off. Your staff will receive schedule notifications via SMS or email, so they can stay in the know wherever they are.
Overwhelmed with the numerous messages you need to read, archive, or follow-up on? Boomerang’s got your back. This Gmail app enables you to schedule follow-up emails or reminders so you’ll never miss the opportunity to touch base with customers or leads.
It can also clean up your inbox and make sure you won’t lose track of important messages. For example, if you receive an email that you can’t immediately respond to, you can “Boomerang” it and specify when you’d like to address it. The tool will then temporarily archive the message and put it back in your inbox at the time you specified.
Apps are supposed to save you time and make life easier. But when you’re using multiple programs without properly integrating them, you might find yourself wasting resources trying to synch or get all your apps talking to each other. And it’s not like you have the budget to hire a developer to help you with your programming and integration needs.
That’s where Zapier comes in. This web app lets you connect multiple programs to automate certain tasks. Say you’re selling things using PayPal but want to invoice customers with Xero. You can use Zapier to link the two apps together, so when PayPal processes a sale, it automatically talks to Xero to create an invoice.
AUTHOR: Francois Bondiguel is from Vend, a point-of-sale, inventory, and customer loyalty software that helps over 8,000 retailers manage and grow their business. Connect with Vend on Google+ and LinkedIn.