There is a widespread awareness that enterprise-level mobile applications are helping businesses optimise their operational efficiencies. But, what about small-mid scale businesses? Despite large tech innovations in the retail space, there is still a lack of awareness about how mobile apps can help retailers to optimize their business operations.
Being a small-mid-scale retailer, you’re always indulged in various business functions that are constantly on the go. You might not be aware, but there are a lot of mobile apps that can help you with many of the crucial aspects of your business. Therefore, we’ve made a categorised list of mobile apps that will help you efficiently manage your business operations.
Top free Apps for Retailers
Free apps are the best way to begin with your digital transformation. They streamline your daily tasks, and provide you with baseline information about your business without hitting your budgets.
1. Magic Plan
Be it opening a new storefront or changing the existing one, MagicPlan can help retailers by helping them in creating professional floor plans and calculating budget estimates. The app uses state-of-the-art technology, coupled with an easy-to-use user interface that allows users to measure and sketch interior plans in 2D and 3D.
The app has the functionality to allow users to snap different types of photos i.e. 360 degree photos,the app allows the creation sketches and even floor plans. Users can also add objects for more detailed floor planning and cost estimates. Many commercial contractors and small businesses are using MagicPlan for their floor planning.
A retailer has to sign and scan documents very frequently, and this requires them to always be near a scanner. This is near to impossible if you are a busy business owner. GeniusScan app makes your mobile phone a scanner. It allows you to simply take a picture of the signed document, and save it as a high-resolution PDF or JPG that you can easily email from your smartphone.
Genius Scan can be integrated with Google Drive and DropBox so that you can save and access your documents anytime anywhere. What makes Genius Scan the preferable choice for many users is that it automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of the scan to make it legible.
3. Google Drive
Although google cloud services are very useful for small-mid scale businesses, and are free for everyone (up to 15 GB storage), there are very few retailers that utilise it for their business purposes. Google Drive lets you keep all your documents in one place, and the best part of this is that you can access the documents from anywhere using your Google account.
The app also allows you to share documents with several options of sharing permissions like view, comment, or edit documents. You can also view your files offline as the app utilises your phone storage. Hence, Google Drive is a great tool for you to collaborate with your clients or co-workers safely and easily.
In this digital era, every retailer wants their online presence and social media to be one of the best platforms to enhance brand awareness and sales. But to stand out in the social media feeds, you would need impressive pictures, and Snapseed is here to help you with this.
Snapseed is a photo editing app that comes with a huge selection of editing tools and readymade filters that instantly improve your snaps. This tool can make any ordinary photo look very eye catching and professional.
Mobile Apps for Payment and Finance Management
Mobile apps allow you to accept customer transactions via various payment methods such as eWallets and Debit/Credit Cards. Providing customers with various payment options reduces the in-store checkout times and increases customer satisfaction.
5. Square POS
Square POS (Point of Sale) is an app for small businesses to accept card payments and manage sales, payment records, manage inventory, and many other things. The app is customisable for any specific business case.
Square POS allows businesses to send professional online invoices directly from their mobile app. Many small-mid scale retailers use Square POS on their smartphones and tablets at their brick-and-mortar store counter.
Monthly Cost: There aren’t any fixed monthly charges. However, the retailer will have to pay 2.6% + 10 cent per transaction and 2.9% + 30 cent per invoice when paid online.
6. Zoho Books
Zoho Books helps retailers create and send electronic invoices and track payments. The app also supports uploading scanned bills and expense receipts.; The app goes further by saving all of them in a categorised manner.
Zoho Books enables retailers to manage incoming and outgoing payments, simplify the accounting process, get business insights, manage billing cycles, and manage international transactions. The app uses cloud services, therefore no matter where your employees are physically located, they’ll all have access to the same information, which ultimately reduces communication errors.
Monthly Cost: For up to two users per organisation, the cost is $9 and for more than two users per organisation, the cost will be $29.
QuickBooks Accounting: Invoicing & Expense Tracking mobile app helps you operate your business efficiently by giving you a sense of the financial health of your company. This app can be used for tracking your sales and expenses, viewing financial statements, making payments to your vendors or employees, maximising your tax exemptions, and keeping track of due payments.
With QuickBooks, you’ll be able to get maximum tax savings by attaching your expense receipt photographs to the list, access profit and loss statements to identify your overall revenue generation and expenses. The app also provides the functionality to transfer funds and make payments using your bank account.
Monthly Cost: The in-app purchases range up to $110 per month.
Xero is an accounting app that helps retailers with bills, expenses, employee payments, and purchase order management. It saves your data in the cloud, allowing you to access it from anywhere, using any internet enabled device. Saving data on the cloud means that you won’t lose your data because it was never saved onto the device.
Xero is mostly used by small business owners that are too busy to spend a large amount of time maintaining the books. Xero allows them to handle their expenses easily and quickly. The app even shows real-time cash flow which is life-saving for every retailer.
Monthly Cost: For up to 20 bank transactions, the cost is $9 per month; the premium plan costs $70 per month.
Apps for Inventory Management and Shipping for Retailers
The success of a retail business heavily depends on their ability to meet the demands and the customer expectations. And in order to make it happen, a retail business needs an inventory management tool. Building an inventory management system from scratch won’t be feasible for small-mid scale retailers, therefore they are advised to utilise the existing apps for inventory management.
ShipStation streamlines your order fulfilment processes with its connections to the top shipping carriers, batch label creation, and tracking capability. It is a web-based system, hosted in a cloud, means the data is accessible from anywhere in the world.
ShipStation is an all in one inventory management system for small-scale retailers. From creating labels and low stock alerts to shipment tracking, it helps retailers eliminate almost every inventory management hurdle. ShipStation is widely used by small-scale retailers to optimise their order fulfillment process.
Monthly Cost: Ranges from $9 to $145 per month
AfterShip is a free app for everyone who wants to track their shipment. The platform helps users track their packages across more than 370 carriers including FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, DPD, TNT, Royal Post, and China Post. Bar code scanning, auto-currier detection and free push notifications are among the highlights of the app, which can save a lot of time for users.
Apps for Employee Management
Keeping track of your employee timesheets and their schedules becomes hectic, especially when you have more than one location to manage. There are various employee management apps available on the app stores that retailers can utilise to streamline their human resource management.
Scheduling and managing employees takes a lot of efforts. Homebase comes with free features such as time tracking, scheduling, team communication, and hiring. These features empower you to spend more time growing your business. Using Homebase, you can schedule your team meetings in seconds.
You can also manage employee timesheets and track the estimated and actual labour cost, helping you to keep up with the employee overheads. It is great for the manager or retail business owner, but Homebase is also convenient for employees, as the app gives them access to their schedules. Another amazing feature is that the employees can trade their shifts with other employees and request time off.
12. Deputy: Roster & Shift Planner
Deputy Roster & Shift Planner help businesses plan shifts and notify employees about their scheduled shifts. The app can be used both by managers and employees. The employees can see their worked hours and request for time off.
The app allows managers to create well-balanced and cost-efficient rosters in minutes from any device. It also allows employees to fill up open shifts by letting them pick their own suitable timing. On top of this all, the app also streamlines the employee performance awards, which is based on the amount of working hours and maintenance of timesheets.
Monthly Cost: None
Apps for General Productivity
Evernote is an app used for taking notes and journaling. It also helps you clip information from the web, tag the information to make it easy to find, and modify it anytime. People also use evernote to create to-do lists, store contacts, saving recipes, emails, and tweets.
Evernote is very handy for small business owners in their day to day business operations. It helps them focus on the things that matter most. The users are allowed to take type as well as take handwritten notes, add images, web pages, and audio files. Moreover, the app utilises cloud memory to store all of the data, so there is no chance that you will lose your notes.
Monthly cost: The basic version of Evernote is free and the premium versions range from $4.99 to $42.99.
14. Microsoft To Do
In simple terms, Microsoft’s To Do is a tool to create to-do lists. What makes it interesting is its advanced features that let users create an endless number of tasks and share with as many people as they want. The shared lists syncs in real-time so that others can view when your tasks are completed.
The app has features such as My Day and Suggestions that give the user a personalised experience. These features help users to accomplish what is important for them. Users also can style their task panel and lists with colourful themes, emojis, dark mode and many more.
Monthly Cost: Free
The apps we’ve discussed are among the best in their category for small-mid scale retail business. Using the right combination of tools, you can create an ecosystem that will streamline your business operations. These tools help you simplify your work and save both time and money.
What are your favourite apps or tools that you utilise for your business? Please comment below.