If you’re an independent retailer, it can feel like you have to be good at everything. You need to be a great accountant, a logistics whiz, a great marketer, and even a graphic designer. That can get overwhelming very quickly—luckily, there are plenty of resources for retailers, including software, tools, and publications, to help you get essential tasks done.
Here, we’ve compiled some of our favorite resources for retailers. You can boost productivity, automate manual tasks, and give yourself a competitive edge. See which ones might be a fit for your business, and be sure to check back as we add more resources!
Resources for retailers
Processing orders can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a retail business. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re still manually entering order data or paying someone to do it, stop right this moment and check out Syncware. This integration takes a tedious but important task and automates it by connecting all of your order sources into one platform. No more toggling between different systems; you can see all of your order data at a glance from a single dashboard. It’s a game changer for growing, multichannel businesses.
Why it stands out: From QuickBooks to NetSuite to ShipStation, the Syncware app can be linked to more than 300 different integrations. If it’s used for online retail, you’ll likely be able to find it and link it.
Formerly known as CartRover, Extensiv Integration Manager not only automates your entire order flow (eliminating hours of data entry) but also loads that data into your shipping software—seamlessly fusing together multiple processes and streamlining them from start to finish. The major pro is the total visibility you get. Each time an order is placed and successfully shipped from your warehouse, your inventory is automatically updated on all your order sources.
Why it stands out: Each of its subscription tiers gets you unlimited order volume, meaning customers pay the same regardless of how many orders you process. You don’t have to worry about this cost fluctuating because you had a really good month.
When it comes to the discovery of new products, Faire is a powerful connector, bringing independent retailers closer to wholesalers that are interested in working with their store. Through Faire, brands and buyers are brought together in one simple, easy-to-navigate wholesale marketplace. Retailers can find unique, handcrafted products that they wouldn’t come across in any big-box store. Faire’s powerful search function also means you can find relevant items quickly that are a match for your brand.
Why it stands out: Faire offers net-60 payment terms for retailers so they can buy products without having to pay for them right away. This can be a necessity for smaller retailers who need constant cash flow to cover fixed costs like rent and payroll. Plus, Faire integrates with many of the other retail tools on this list!
Inventory management can get really messy really fast without the right tools. With Trunk, you could potentially save hours of time each week, and you won’t have to worry about overselling an item or running out of stock due to inventory mismanagement. Trunk does real-time syncing of all of your sales channels from Faire to Shopify to Etsy and more. After connecting all of your sales channels to the app, Trunk automatically builds its own centralized inventory.
Why it stands out: What’s best about Trunk is its scalability. It doesn’t matter whether you have a dozen SKUs or several hundred SKUs; Trunk can grow with you as your business grows. Its intuitive interface ensures you’ll always know what products are on hand.
This app allows you to connect tasks between other online services from Google Drive to DocuSign to Asana to Salesforce. As your business grows, you’ll likely encounter something that’s called “tech stack creep,” which is when you keep on increasing the number of tools and programs you use to do your work. This can cause redundancy or needless complexity if those tools aren’t working together in the right way. Alloy helps to rein in this creep by aggregating most of the tools you use into a single dashboard that you can proactively manage.
Why it stands out: Alloy’s list of e-commerce integrations is always growing. And if you don’t see an integration that you need for your retail business, there’s an option to request that they build it for you.
This aptly named integration promises to make your shipping processes more streamlined and affordable. Fulfillment and shipping can be a cost sink for any business, and ShipNerd helps to take some of the guesswork out of it. The cloud-based platform allows you to compare rates and delivery times from the most popular couriers such as UPS and DHL to get you the best deal. And then from their user-friendly dashboard, you can track shipments, schedule pickups, and print shipping labels.
Why it stands out: ShipNerd offers volume discounts so the more you use the shipping software, the more you can save. However, there are no volume commitments for using the software, so you pay for only what you ship.
For the retailer on a budget who can’t hire a freelance designer, Canva can be an incredible resource. At a low cost, you can craft creative assets for your business from their thousands of available branding templates. The app has a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows users to whip up social media graphics, website landing pages, flyers, presentations, business cards, and downloadable e-books. Even if you have no design experience, you’re empowered to create beautiful content faster.
Why it stands out: Their “teams” feature allows you and other partners in your business to collaborate on designs together. If you want to share a design with someone for feedback, you can create a shareable link where they can make edits in the file.
Wepik is another valuable tool available to retail businesses, especially restaurants and others in the food sector. This online resource provides an intuitive design platform where retailers can design their menus, promotional flyers, and even social media posts. With a vast library of customizable templates to suit a variety of themes and cuisines, Wepik makes it easy for you to tailor your designs to your brand and restaurant theme. You’re truly empowered to create eye-catching and professional-quality materials — without any prior design experience.
Why it stands out: Wepik also features a collaborative tool, allowing multiple users to work together on a design. This makes it a great tool for team-based creative processes or getting feedback from various stakeholders. You can share a design link, and others can directly edit or make suggestions within the file.
9. Maras IT
These days, even the smallest retailer may put some of their store online. But as easy as it might seem to create a WordPress account and integrate a point-of-sale platform, there are a list of small but critical tasks you need to perform before launching your new domain. Maras IT takes care of those tasks for you. This a consultancy offers guidance around website launches, migrations, and hosting. And although they might be the more complex parts of maintaining a website, they’re also the ones that ensure your customers can access and interact with it.
Why it stands out: The team is located in Europe, but specifically focuses on small businesses all over the world that want to spend less time worrying about their website and more time delighting their customers.
Abandoned carts can be the bane of a retailer’s existence. But when a shopper has shown enough interest in your product to the point of adding it to their cart, that’s a positive signal. Sometimes they just need a small nudge to complete the purchase. Klaviyo can automate the sending of reminder emails to those shoppers about the item they forgot in their cart. It keeps your product top of mind for them even if the shopper has left your page.
Why it stands out: The high level of customization within Klaviyo means you can send personalized emails to different segments of your audience. If they’re a repeat customer, an unengaged shopper, a certain demographic, or in a certain location, you can create separate email lists to better connect with them.
A popular go-to for small businesses that’s been around for more than 40 years, QuickBooks is a nimble and scalable accounting software. Once you link your bank and credit card accounts, it downloads all transactions so that you can see your expenses and sales at a glance. From there, you can customize invoices, calculate sales tax, and enter receipts or bills. It streamlines record-keeping and inventory management.
Why it stands out: Since QuickBooks has been the industry standard for so long, there’s a robust ecosystem of support, expertise, and resources. The company also has its own network of certified accountants and bookkeepers as well as community forums and free tutorials.
Whether you’re taking payments in person or online, you’ll need a point-of-sale system, or POS, to process those payments quickly and easily. Clover is just one of many POS systems you can use. They offer card readers and other devices that can take credit card payments anywhere. All purchases are synced with Clover’s cloud-based software, and then you can track payments and refunds in Clover’s dashboard.
Why it stands out: You can sell digital or physical gift cards through their platform, empowering you to drive customer loyalty or boost retention. Gift cards can be a big revenue driver for small businesses as people often spend over the amount on their gift card.
For the data lovers, this one’s for you. The National Retail Federation has existed for more than a century and is the world’s largest retail trade association. It’s well-known for its massive conference that attracts tens of thousands each year, and the organization’s original research and reports are some of the most trusted in the industry.
Why it stands out: NRF’s annual State of Retail report is full of data, statistics, and helpful visualizations that will help you understand where the retail industry is and where it’s headed next.
Email marketing can be an effective tool for engaging customers, but more and more businesses are bypassing the clutter of people’s inboxes and going straight to their phones with SMS marketing. Text messages enjoy a higher open rate and more engagement than traditional email, and SMS can be a stronger way to connect with younger customers who prefer them over email communication. Attentive is a popular software that allows you to personalize and automate SMS marketing for your brand.
Why it stands out: Attentive leverages a detailed dashboard with helpful visualizations that allows you to easily track customer behavior over time and make data-driven decisions. You can build reports within minutes and create A/B tests to discover more about your shoppers.
15. Retail Dive
If you’re curious about the world of retail at large, then this site provides in-depth journalism about the current trends shaping the face of retail. From e-commerce to brick-and-mortar and from megastores to independent retailers, this publication takes readers across countless industries. You can easily get a bird’s-eye view of what’s impacting retail and why.
Why it stands out: Its daily newsletter is one of the most robust and informative in the biz. You’ll have all of the retail industry’s top news expertly curated and sent straight to your inbox.
Faire offers financing to new brick-and-mortar retailers through our exclusive Open with Faire program. Get up to $20,000 in new inventory and pay 60 days later. Learn more and apply here.