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With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

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43 recommendations

Epos Now

Epos Now POS system is an effective business management, sales, and payment system for single-site, multi-site and online businesses. The system offers an extensive range of management and sales tools, with the option to expand t...Read more about Epos Now

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37 recommendations


Pacific Amber’s AmberPOS offers a point of sale software solutions to a variety of retail specialties, ranging from small to midsized, in the United States and Canada. In addition to point of sale functionality, AmberPOS incl...Read more about AmberPOS

4.1 (53 reviews)

35 recommendations

Rain POS

Rain is an all-in-one point-of-sale, website, and marketing system for small to midsized retailers. Music, dive, sporting goods, paddle, craft, sewing, quilting, and clothing boutiques will find Rain is an excellent fit for their...Read more about Rain POS

4.3 (126 reviews)

30 recommendations

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Agiliron cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) solution is designed to serve both in-store and mobile businesses as well as online sales channels. The system offers a host of features that work in tandem with the point-of-sale solution,...Read more about Agiliron

4.5 (40 reviews)

28 recommendations


AIM is a secure end-to-end point of sale (POS) business solution that can be used in any retail environment. This retail management solution features customizable menus and screens, inventory management, complete POS activity and ...Read more about AIM

4.1 (200 reviews)

23 recommendations

Paladin Point of Sale and Inventory Management

For over 40 years, Paladin Data Corp. has been helping independent retail businesses run better. Paladin point of sale (POS) and inventory management software automates time-consuming inventory chores and provides business owners ...Read more about Paladin Point of Sale and Inventory Management

4.6 (21 reviews)

18 recommendations

Toast POS

Toast POS is a flexible system built exclusively for restaurants and the food service industry. Offering tools like online ordering, delivery, takeout, mobile app ordering, contactless payments, and e-gift card purchasing, this so...Read more about Toast POS

4.2 (478 reviews)

14 recommendations


TouchBistro is an all-in-one POS and restaurant management system that makes running a restaurant easier. Providing the most essential front of house, back of house, and guest engagement solutions on one powerful platform, TouchBi...Read more about TouchBistro

4.0 (386 reviews)

14 recommendations


KORONA POS provides point of sale software, inventory management, and CRM services for all types of retailers, such as convenience stores, liquor shops, and QSRs. The POS software also caters to museums, theme parks, and wineries ...Read more about KORONA POS

4.7 (63 reviews)

13 recommendations


SimpleConsign by Traxia offers a web-based single or multi-store solution for consignment stores, resellers, small retailers, antique malls, and art galleries. No download is required, and set up, data conversion and backups are i...Read more about SimpleConsign

4.7 (359 reviews)

10 recommendations

Liberty Consignment

With the Liberty Consignment Software, your success is our mission. has been instrumental in the Resale industry for over 30 years, and continues to design and develop a comprehensive software product that has help...Read more about Liberty Consignment

4.6 (145 reviews)

9 recommendations

Rezku POS

Rezku is the premier POS, used by successful restaurants, bars and pizzerias to compete at a higher level, earn new business and eliminate headaches. Rezku comes complete with everything modern food and beverage concepts need for...Read more about Rezku POS

4.5 (27 reviews)

9 recommendations

Brink POS

Brink POS is a cloud-based point-of-sale solution (POS) that makes running restaurants easier. Offering solutions for omnichannel ordering and fulfilment, enterprise-grade hardware, and contactless payments all in one place, Brink...Read more about Brink POS

3.0 (7 reviews)

9 recommendations


STORIS is the leading provider of modern technology solutions for home furnishings, bedding, and appliance retailers. From your showrooms and eCommerce website to your distribution centers, STORIS will enhance the customer experie...Read more about STORIS

4.3 (48 reviews)

7 recommendations

The Consignment Shop

The Consignment Shop by SBS Solutions is a hybrid consignment management solution that caters to small and midsize consignment businesses across various industries like jewelry, furniture, books, apparel and more. The solution off...Read more about The Consignment Shop

4.7 (25 reviews)

7 recommendations

Epicor for Retail

Epicor retail POS and business management solutions are designed to help independent retailers work smarter, not harder. With more than 45 years of experience built-in, Epicor retail solutions help retailers in nearly 8,000 locati...Read more about Epicor for Retail

4.0 (5 reviews)

7 recommendations

Envision Salon & Spa

Envision Salon & Spa software is an all-in-one business management solution. Envision provides features such as review management, appointment setting, inventory management, reporting, and so much more. Envision Salon & Spa helps ...Read more about Envision Salon & Spa

4.1 (38 reviews)

6 recommendations

Rapid Garden POS

Rapid Garden POS is a point of sale (POS) solution designed to assist users with managing their greenhouse, garden centers, nurseries, and landscaping businesses. Key features include multiple pricing and promotion schemes, plant ...Read more about Rapid Garden POS

4.4 (8 reviews)

6 recommendations

Epicor for Automotive

Epicor for Automotive provides powerful on-premises or cloud-based business management solutions, including Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket software, built specific to the needs of independent automotive aftermarket and commercia...Read more about Epicor for Automotive

2.0 (1 reviews)

6 recommendations

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

There are hundreds of inventory management systems available. These programs are designed for all types of businesses: programs for small retailers, programs for big enterprises, programs for specific retail verticals and programs for multi-channel retailers, to name a few. This buyer’s guide is written to help retail store inventory software buyers understand this complex, fragmented market. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Inventory Management Software?

Deployment Strategies

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Benefits and Potential Issues

Market Trends to Understand

The Vendor Landscape

Pricing and Purchasing Options

What Is Retail Inventory Management Software?

If you have ever been frustrated by a retailer who has every size of an item in stock but yours, you know the importance and value of having rigorous inventory management in place. On the most basic level, stock management software helps users keep accurate count of stock levels. The primary goal for this application is for users to re-order items before they become fully sold out. Having adequate levels of inventory helps users capitalize on sales opportunities. Of course, it is important that retailers don’t order too much of an item and face not being able to sell it all. Robust systems can help users strike that delicate balance of ordering just enough but not too much.

Core features include sorting items by department or type, establishing of thresholds for minimum quantities and alerts when stock levels reach those thresholds. More advanced systems might include a matrix for tracking items by size, color and style, open to buy modules or integration with purchasing modules to enable automatic generation of purchase orders.

Deployment Strategies

Best-of-breed programs such as Fishbowl can be implemented as standalone systems to manage only inventory. However, many buyers will choose to implement a program that is part of a suite that may include point of sale (POS), warehouse management (WMS), accounting, ecommerce or customer relationship management (CRM). Which type of system you implement will likely depend on your desire for integration with other modules or potentially the size of your company. 

What Type of Buyer Are You?

You will want to understand what type of buyer you are before evaluating a retail inventory system. We have found that nearly 90 percent of retail buyers fall into one of the following categories:

Small buyers. Single-store retailers comprise the bulk of this category, but most retailers with fewer than five stores will belong here. These buyers’ needs are typically straightforward and are met by most off-the-shelf POS systems. 

Large, integrated suite buyers. While their needs are conceptually similar to their smaller counterparts, larger retailers will require more robust, scalable programs that can share data across a wide network of locations. They are also looking for programs that can tie in POS and possibly accounting or warehouse management. 

Large, best-of-breed buyers. These buyers work for larger retailers that have already made substantial investments in existing POS or accounting systems. They are looking for a standalone system that can integrate with existing applications without replacing them. They are often interested in more advanced modules for open to buy and merchandise planning. 

Multi-channel retailers. These buyers conduct enough “brick and mortar” and online sales to warrant a system that can be managed across multiple channels. These systems will typically need to integrate with POS systems and online shopping carts. Higher volume and multi-location retailers may prefer data to be updated in real time, although they should expect a substantial increase in their investment when evaluating a retail inventory management system.

Benefits and Potential Issues

A strong inventory control system should improve the retail organization from the bottom up. Most retailers should expect the following benefits when implementing and using a system properly.

  • Efficiency: If you have ever counted stock levels at the end of the day, week or month, you know what a labor-intensive task it is. Programs eliminate the hassle of counting and keeping track of stock levels, saving time and allowing employees to focus on other tasks that grow the business. 

  • Accuracy: Diligent tracking of stock levels in a system enables users to know exactly how much of each item is in stock, which can get surprisingly difficult to manage without a formal program. A system will also help retailers plan purchase decisions based on actual historical sales data and improve the performance of their forecasts. 

  • Less shrinkage: By tracking inventory formally and updating the system as items or sold or distributed to other locations, retailers should find that shrinkage naturally diminishes. Systems help users eliminate profit loss and headaches due to employee theft, customer theft, ringing up sales for the wrong item and not recording sales properly. 

  • Improved visibility: Inventory control software enables retailers to view stock levels at other locations and from remote locations, freeing cashiers from time-consuming tasks of calling other locations to ask if they have particular items in stock. It also provides visibility on the executive level to item counts and trends across the enterprise. 

As with all purchases, there are potential issues to consider as well. The first risk associated with using these systems is that they won’t be used properly by employees. This puts owners in the frustrating position of having paid for a system without reaping any of its benefits. The most common reason why employees would not use a system is because of its complexity; we have found that adequate training typically solves this issue. The second most common issue we hear about is data simply “not adding up.” This issue is likely due to the system being outdated, used improperly or not integrating properly with other systems that access its data (often accounting or ecommerce systems). Buyers will want to ensure that implementations are smooth and that integrations are maintained. 

Market Trends to Understand

Various software trends are impacting the market. The primary trends include the following:

Automated replenishment. Advanced inventory control tools such as vendor managed inventory and electronic purchase orders enable retailers to be proactive about keeping items fully stocked. Smaller retailers are learning from larger enterprises and beginning to use these tools that have previously been affordable only to the biggest companies. 

RFID. Another technology that has traditionally been used only by the biggest companies, RFID is working its way down market and is within reach of many mid-sized retailers. These tools enable managers to update inventory levels much faster and more accurately, improving efficiency in a number of bottlenecks along the supply chain. 

Software as a Service (SaaS). Just about every application within the retail software industry is impacted by the universal trend towards SaaS. Having a Web-based system enables managers to share data easily across multiple locations, access system remotely, avoid large upfront costs and implement a robust system without complex hardware infrastructure. We expect the presence of SaaS solutions in retail to grow steadily over the next several years. 

Online/offline integration. Online retail and ecommerce are becoming a vital component of retailers’ business strategies—and in some cases, the most important part. A problem for these retailers is the difficulty in counting and replenishing stock for both physical stores and online. An RSR Research survey found that retailers should put a large amount of planning into how they count and control inventory, as an alarming 72 percent reported overstocking slow-moving SKUs and 52 percent said they understocked fast-moving items. RSR Research found that today’s successful retailers view stores as distribution centers and online inventory as sufficient for in-store fulfillment.

The Vendor Landscape

The software becomes much less cluttered when buyers approach it with their respective category in mind.

This type of buyer...

Should evaluate these systems

Small buyers

Comcash, Retail Pro, Microsoft RMS

Large, integrated suite buyers

Retail Anywhere, Celerant, VuePoint OneVue

Enterprise suite buyers

Epicor, Cybex, and Jesta Vision I.S.

Multi-channel buyers

Counterpoint, RunIt RealTime, Retail STAR

Pricing and Purchasing Options

Retailers should find that the costs of formal retail inventory programs have never been lower, due primarily to competition among vendors and declining hardware prices. The costs that buyers face will vary widely. Small retailers implementing POS systems will likely find a number of affordable options, while larger retailers looking for more advanced systems will face a larger spend. We speak to many buyers who prefer real-time inventory control across multiple locations. They should note that real-time systems are typically much more expensive than systems that update stock levels once per day, which is sufficient for most small and mid-sized retailers. Most users who implement a system that is adequately sized for their needs should be able to generate a positive return on their investment. The costs of improper inventory control are deceptively high and can be easily avoided with a formal program.