How to Build an ERP for Retail?

ERP for Retail
Faiza Khalid
CIS engineer | Developer | Tech Writer

Are you interested in developing an ERP for retail business?

The ERP market is expanding globally, and the retail industry is one of the main contributors. The global ERP market is expected to reach $97.15 billion by 2024. The retail sector is reported to make up 3.96% of the total ERP consumers.

Every business requires a systematic approach to organizing and managing its resources and operations. 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software provides an effective business management platform based on a centralized database where different business modules integrate and communicate seamlessly.

The integration of various business processes results in the effective utilization of enterprise resources. Business intelligence and reporting capabilities of an ERP system help executives in making strategic future growth decisions.

Retail ERP systems provide features to organize and manage retail-specific operations like sales, shipment, order processing, inventory management, customer relationship management, human capital management, etc.

Let’s discuss how you can develop such an ERP for retail.

Developing an ERP for Retail

You will go through the following steps to develop a robust and secure ERP for the retail industry.

Gather Requirements and Decide on the Project Scope

You will start by planning the features you want to build in your retail ERP software. You will decide what you want to achieve via an ERP system in your retail enterprise and align them with your business goals.

You may want an efficient supply chain, more visibility into your operations via reporting capabilities, improve customer service, etc.

An ERP for retail has the following main features:

Finance and Accounting: ERP software helps immensely with managing financial activities, including daily transactions, taxation, revenue management, etc.

Supply Chain Management: Supply chain is a significant part of a retail business. A supply chain management module will organize and manage interaction with suppliers, procurement of materials, delivery of finished goods, etc.

Purchase Management: This module will augment the supply chain and procurement processes. It will track information, like individuals responsible for purchasing, the time of purchase, etc.

Human Resource Management: This will help your HR department with employees’ onboarding process, compensation management, timekeeping, etc. 

Customer Relationship Management: This module will help create profiles with customer data, including their purchase history, shopping preferences, and order history.

These are a few of the many features that you can plan to implement in your ERP for retail software. 

You should prepare a system requirements specification document that entails the functional and non-functional requirements of your proposed ERP solution. This document will guide your project team to develop the required ERP solution accordingly.

Build an ERP Development Team

You will require a competent team of professionals to design and develop your retail ERP systems. You will hire professionals for the following roles:

  • A project manager will help you choose the best project management and development methodology, plan your project stages, manage other team members by assigning them tasks, etc. 
  • A business analyst will perform market research, analyze business development requirements, and incorporate them into your software product with the help of your project manager.
  • A UI/UX designer who will design the user interface and layout of your ERP application.
  • A front-end developer who will code the application’s front-end according to the design prototype.
  • A backend developer will develop the backend logic, code ERP features, integrate third-party services, manage application deployment, etc.
  • A QA engineer will test your ERP for retail so that it meets all the planned requirements without any bugs.

We advise you to adopt the scrum development methodology for your ERP development project.

Scrum is an agile technique that breaks down the development project into multiple iterations called sprints. A scrum team is cross-functional and works closely together to deliver a deployable product feature at the end of each iteration and meets user requirements efficiently.

You can read more about scrum team development in our article on How to Build a Scrum Development Team.

Provide ERP Software Development Infrastructure

The next step in the ERP development process is the provision of software development infrastructure to your development team.

Cloud computing technologies are quite popular today due to the flexibility and ability they add to the product development lifecycle. 

Cloud service providers host and manage the computing and development infrastructure, including development platforms, storage services, databases, servers, etc. The developers can focus on product design and code.

Users can incorporate the latest development tools and technologies with the minimum startup costs and scale them as their business requirements grow. 

There are multiple leading cloud service providers available in the market today. Our article on the top 10 cloud service providers will give you a detailed comparison of leading names like Amazon AWS, Microsft Azure, etc.

Design ERP Layout

Now that your development team has access to the development infrastructure and tools, they will start with the design and development of your retail ERP application.

Your designers will design an intuitive user interface that gives a seamless user experience. They will prepare wireframes and design prototypes.

A wireframe is a low-fidelity design that gives information about the outline and structure of the application layout. A prototype is, comparatively, a high-fidelity design that contains visuals and colors. It is interactive and closer to the final product.

They will use tools like Sketch, Figma, etc., to develop design wireframes and prototypes.

Develop the ERP for Retail

The development of an ERP application consists of the following:

Frontend Development

Your front-end developers will build the front-end elements and layout according to the UI design prototypes. They will use programming languages like JavaScript and CSS for a web-based UI and C#, Python, etc., for the GUI of a desktop application.

Front-end development frameworks like Bootstrap, Vue.js, etc., will help with web applications and .Net Core with desktop applications. 

Backend Development

Your backend developers will start coding the business logic and core features of an ERP application. Your developers can use Angular as a backend framework and Node.js as a runtime environment if they choose to work with JavaScript.

Programming languages like C#, Java, PHP, etc., are also commonly used for enterprise application development.

These programming languages have extensive programming libraries and utilities that help developers efficiently code and test applications. They also have a range of supporting frameworks to accelerate the development process.

For example, your developers can use Spring framework with Java, Laravel with PHP, and .Net with C#.

Database Development and Management

A centralized database is the main component of an ERP system. A consolidated and centralized ERP solution allows one to enter, view, and manage the same information across the organization.

Your developers will use database technologies like PostgreSQL and MongoDB to process, store, and utilize business data. 

PostgreSQL is a relational database management system based on SQL, like MySQL and Oracle, whereas MongoDB is a JSON database with no SQL and no schema.

If your business deals with rapidly-changing unstructured data, then MongoDB is a good choice. If security and scalability are the top priorities of your ERP retail application, then PostgreSQL is a good database option.

Our article on MongoDB vs PostgreSQL explains the difference and similarities between the two in detail.

Big Data and ML Development

Today, ERP systems offer advanced capabilities of data analytics and task automation. Your developers will require skills and experience in the latest technologies, like big data processing and machine learning to build such advanced functionalities.

For example, you developers should be familiar with data processing techniques, like batch processing, online processing, etc., and statistical analysis techniques, like predictive analysis, prescriptive analysis, etc.

Your developers should also be experts in machine learning algorithms and model development. They should be knowledgeable about supervised, unsupervised, reinforcement learning, etc. 

Python is commonly used for ML and data science. You developers can use python tools and libraries like Scikit-learn, Pandas, PyTorch, TensorFlow, Keras, etc., to ease their data analysis and ML development process.

Test ERP for Retail System

Software testing is an integral part of the software development lifecycle. Your developers will contribute to software testing by ensuring the code quality through unit testing, integration testing, and system testing.

Your QA engineers will develop test environments to test your ERP software completely for its functional and non-functional requirements. They will conduct test routines for performance testing, system testing, regression testing, user acceptance testing, etc.

These test scripts will help identify errors and bugs in the smooth running of an ERP software application. Testers report issues back to the developers, who again go through their code and remove them.

Your developers and testers can use multiple testing tools to ease and accelerate the software testing process. For example, they can use Jira for bug tracking, Selenium for test automation, Apache JMeter for performance testing, LambdaTest for cross-browser testing, Protractor for integration testing, etc.

Deploy ERP Software

When your project team is sure that the ERP system meets all the requirements without any errors, they can start to prepare for the product deployment.

DevOps is a commonly used practice today to efficiently deploy new features and maintain existing software deployments. DevOps practices like continuous integration/continuous deployment automate deployment routines, reduce complexities, accelerate issue resolution, and support effective resource utilization.

Read our guides on how to build a DevOps pipeline and the best DevOps tools for more information.

You can also compose a deployment plan to deliver high-priority ERP features first. Your developers will integrate and configure the new features with the existing processes.

Moreover, they will verify that each ERP features deployment functions as required. They will also verify data migration and ensure there is no data redundancy.

You also ensure that your employees have enough training to operate the retail ERP successfully. You can take the help of your development team to design training materials and provide them to the concerned employees.

Monitor and Maintain

Your development project for the retail ERP system is successful as long as it meets the business objectives. You will need to monitor your business performance closely to ensure this success. You can set KPIs and analyze if there are improvements in employee performance and business profitability.

You can use KPI monitoring tools like Tableau, HubSpot, Sisense, etc., to track ERP KPIs like customer experience, business productivity, employee satisfaction, project margins, demand forecasting, etc.

ERP maintenance is a continuous process as with any enterprise software application. There will always be new end-user requirements and system upgrades to keep up with. You can decide on a schedule with your development team to fulfill the maintenance requirements periodically.

You will need to train your on-premises IT staff to handle any technical issues that may arise and ensure the smooth running of the ERP system.

Interested in Developing an ERP for Retail?

A custom ERP for retail businesses can help achieve all the benefits of using a consolidated and integrated retail business management platform. 

However, keep in mind that it is a complex software development project. You will require experienced software developers and project managers to build retail industry software from scratch.

We would advise you to partner with a software development company with experience in the development and deployment of ERP solutions in multiple industries.

Why not consider hiring developers from DevTeamSpace? DevTeam.Space is a community of field-expert software developers and project managers. Our developers are vetted for their development skills and have experience using cutting-edge development technologies.

You can either trust DevTeam.Space with your complete ERP software development project or hire developers according to your need and augment your current project team.

You can send us your initial project specifications via this quick form, and one of our account managers will get in touch with you to discuss further details.

FAQs on ERP for Retail

1. What is ERP for retail?

A retail enterprise resource planning system connects different departments of retail businesses on one platform with a centralized database in real time. Retailers can efficiently streamline, organize, and manage their operations, like financial management, inventory management, human resources management, and customer management.

2. What is the best ERP for retail business?

Oracle NetSuite gives capabilities like sales planning, inventory management, supply chain management, etc., to growing retail companies. Traditional ERP systems also offer flexibility and scalability to integrate an ERP system into your retail business.

3. What is the advantage of ERP in the retail industry?

Retail ERP solutions can help immensely in the analysis and management of huge retail business data. Retail companies can utilize this big data in real-time by recording sales, managing inventory stocks, pricing products, etc.


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