How To Choose The Best Retail Task Management Software

Published on:
May 15, 2024
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A typical day for most retail businessmen often includes juggling dozens of tasks that require multitasking skills and constant prioritization.

To keep pace and stay efficient, it is important to have the best tools and technologies. In that order, a robust retail task execution software is one of the things you need to streamline your operations and optimize the way you manage your day-to-day activities. 

So why should you care about implementing the right retail task management software and how it supports your business objectives? 

We’ll find out in this post.

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Overall, retail executives prioritize the following investment goals for 2021: digital acceleration (88%), supply chain resilience (78%), health and safety (78%), and cost structure realignment (72%).

Retail Task Management Tool is specifically designed to support retailers with multiple locations to manage their business operations more effectively. The platform allows you to manage tasks at every store by eliminating 90% of the manual work and automating your retail operations, enhancing your business’s productivity and scalability.

Nevertheless, Know that not all software is created equal, and choosing the right program can make a difference for your retail business.

The right software can not only make your operations more efficient, but can also lower overhead costs, and provide a better customer experience. In a rapidly evolving market, the right software can give you a leg up on the competition with streamlined processes, and support for innovation.

With this detailed guide, we’re going to dig deep into the specifics of how to choose the best retail task management software.

Starting from understanding your business’s unique needs to the key features and functionalities you need to compare software on, we’re going to equip you with all the necessary insights and knowledge you need to make the right decisions to take your retail operations to new levels of success. 

So let’s get started.

Understanding Retail Task Management Software

Traditional task management software just does not make sense in the modern retail environment, especially when companies have multiple sales channels or locations. Standardized daily checklists, and instruction guides – printed on paper or in static computer spreadsheets – simply cannot create consistent shopping experiences across all of a company's stores.

4 out of 5 employees (81%) reported their organization used disparate or multi-sourced technology systems to complete basic tasks. Most (60%) still use paper to complete these tasks.

In the most basic terms, retail task management software is a digital solution that systematizes and streamlines the day-to-day execution of the key operating tasks that are necessary to the retail industry.

From inventory management to employee scheduling - from compliance checks to customer protocols, this software serves as the operational control center for a retail company.

No more manual log books or paper trail.

Modern retailers are evolving from shoe-leather area managers to smart and digitized operators that keep an even closer eye on their estate and the equipment within. With the rise of mobile technology and the app, never before has a retailer had such detailed sight of equipment performance in real-time helping store managers to quickly interpret data so that behaviors can be altered to minimize costly downtime and ultimately keep the doors open. A poll indicated that retailers' top objective for 2024 is to improve the consumer experience.

What a Good Retail Task Management Should Do

  • Provide Consistency and Lower the Likelihood of Errors.
  • Reduce the Time spent doing repetitive Administrative duties.
  • Give the customers what they are looking for while spending less time away from the sales floor and with the customer. Most Consumers are now more product savvy and also feel they have very high standards when it comes to what they should expect in the in-store experience.
  • Give the home office the ability to see what is going on inside the four walls of the store.

Key Features to Look For in Retail Task Management Software

When evaluating retail apps, it’s important to look for several key features that can make or break its effectiveness in helping drive retail operations. A few must-haves include:

Task Scheduling: Efficiently schedule tasks, considering a range of factors including employee availability, resource allocation, and priority.

Real-time Updates: Instant updates and/or notifications to ensure all stakeholders are always aware of the progress, changes, and new deadlines relating to any task.

Equipment Tracking: Extensive and complete tracking capabilities, allowing retailers to monitor the status, location, and maintenance history of any equipment in real time.

Maintenance Logs: Detailed logs of all maintenance actions – from inspections to repairs and even after-care and preventative measures, - to offer insights for performance analysis and compliance purposes.

The Benefits of Retail Execution Apps in Different Industries

  1. Streamlined Operations 

Retail App is a diverse tool that is adaptable for different industries to manage tasks. This approach empower your company to optimize workflows at the task level ensuring that executions in the field are performed quickly, and efficiently, improving accuracy and at maximum value. 

Instead of spending time translating that through often trouble-prone manual methods spend that same time adapting that retail execution app to centralize that work flow. Whether it’s as simple as scheduling employee shifts or tasking that product rollout.

  1. Improved Maintenance Schedules 

With data analytics and predictive maintenance algorithms, the retail apps can pick up before they escalate into costly disruptions. This allows businesses to be prepared for any maintenance issues that will need to be resolved, will reduce the amount of time wasted on maintenance, and will minimize any downtime. 

Retail execution apps create work orders and assign tasks to maintenance depending on the problem at hand, to seamlessly manage a maintenance schedule. This will ensure that equipment is maintained in the best condition to ensure that there is no decrease in operation efficiency.

  • Predictive Maintenance: Predict potential issues before they cause interruptions in your workflow and save precious time and resources. Approximately 80% of assets do not need repair when scheduled; usually, the repairs are performed long before they are required. They will also not shut down operations unexpectedly.
  • Work Order and Asset Management: Work with little interruptions by creating and assigning work orders in the field to the right-skilled workers in real-time. Get accurate information by ensuring your mobile enterprise field workers and back-office ERP systems are always in sync.
  • Customer Relationship: Use data to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity by creating and managing work orders with optimal routings.
  • Scheduling and Technician Management: Schedule and coordinate your teams and equipment to ensure maximum productivity and minimal costs, all while minimizing travel.
  • Dashboards, Analytics, and Performance Management: Manage maintenance performance and interface with data from sensors to optimize issues before they grow.
  1. Enhanced Team Communication 

Retail apps promote the flow of information and collaboration among team members. In-app messaging and notifications make it possible for maintenance teams to communicate while on the go. Since the retail execution app is mobile accessible, maintenance departments can now effectively and seamlessly communicate information from any location. 

Real-time message sharing enables maintenance teams to update, inform, and instruct. Whether it’s for alerting staff to attend to an emergency maintenance task or its feedback on completed tasks, retail execution apps help maintainers communicate facts without ambiguity. The result is correct and efficient task execution. By promoting transparent and cooperative working standards, retail execution apps foster teamwork. This in turn promotes exceptional performance and customer satisfaction.

How to Choose the Best Retail Task Management Software

  1. Identify your Needs

The first step in how to choose the best retail task management software is to take a step back and assess your unique operational needs.

This means thinking about the size and scope of your retail platform, the level of complexity in your tasks, and the specific day-to-day challenges you experience. By first assessing these areas, you can establish the functionalities and features that are critical to address your pain points and drive operational efficiency in your business.

  • Identify Pain Points: Locate areas in your current task management processes that are inefficient or error-prone.
  • Define Objectives: Clearly state your goals and objectives for implementing task management software, such as reducing downtime, increasing employee productivity, or improving customer service.
  • Consider Future Growth: Take into account future growth and expansion plans to ensure that the software you select can grow with your business.
  1. Compare Features and Usability 

With so many task management software options available, it is important to compare features and usability to find out the best one for your retail platform. Look for software solutions offering a comprehensive suite of features for the retail industry: task scheduling, real-time updates, reporting & analytics, mobile compatibility, and more. Additionally, be sure to pay attention to usability — is it intuitive to use for managers and frontline employees?

  • Create a list of must-have features: Create a checklist of features, based on your assessment, that your particular operational areas must have based on their operational needs.
  • Look at User Interface/Navigation: Take a look at the software's interface. Is it modern and easy for users to understand? Is it easy to use? In general, it should be easy for users and each other to move or navigate inside the software.
  • Mobile Compatibility: Does the software have mobile capabilities allowing management of features/tickets/items/requests on the go?
  1. Check Integrations 

In today’s interconnected business landscape, integration is key when it comes to maximizing the efficiency and productivity of your store. When selecting retail task management software, you want to make sure the software will allow you to integrate it with your existing systems and equipment. 

Look for retail software solutions that integrate seamlessly with your: point of sale (POS) system, inventory management software, and other essential tools. By selecting retail task management software that integrates well with all the systems your retail business has already invested in, you won’t have to disrupt your pre-established operations to reorganize your retail software solution.

  • Compatibility Checks: Check whether the software can align with your existing software and hardware. This can be crucial in situations where you have a current system in place, or even in the future when you plan to integrate more third-party applications.
  • API Integration: Does the software offer APIs for integration to 3rd party applications? The ability a software system has to be able to deal with other systems can save a lot of time, and frustration, and will also give you the freedom to choose systems as you please.
  • Vendor Support: Talk to the software vendor to get their insight on the processes of integration and the systems compatibility the software provides. This will give you a better understanding of the software and your business would be a good fit in terms of integration.

Consider Flexibility and Scalability 

Just as your retail business grows and changes, so will your task management software. When evaluating software options, consider the scalability and flexibility of the software as compared with your growing business needs and evolving maintenance requirements. 

You will be best served by selecting software solutions that can maintain their security and functionality as user volume increases, the number of tasks likely doubles and the feature set can be customized. Choose providers who have demonstrated the ability to grow with the industry, continue to make software updates as the industry changes, and make themselves available for ongoing support.

Implementing Retail Execution Apps for Equipment Maintenance

Planning and Deployment

When implementing a Retail Execution app for equipment maintenance, planning, and deployment are crucial to a successful transition within your existing retail business infrastructure. It doesn’t matter if you have one location or multiple units across different locations, the process is the same.

Begin by evaluating your current maintenance workflows and look for areas where the app can add value. Develop a deployment plan identifying key milestones, timelines, and responsibilities, making sure all stakeholders are in sync and set up for success with the change.

  • Evaluate current maintenance processes to find obstacles and areas for improvement. 
  • Create a detailed deployment strategy that specifies the procedures required to roll out the app throughout your retail organization.
  • Engage key stakeholders, including management, maintenance teams, and frontline employees, to gain buy-in and support for the implementation process.

Training and Adoption

The staff being trained and encouraged to use the new retail execution app will make a big difference in whether the implementation is successful or not. The employees who will be using the retail execution app will need to be properly trained. Different employees will have different roles and responsibilities when using the app, so their training needs to be just as specific.

  • Customize training programs to meet the needs of various staff members, including maintenance technicians and store managers. 
  • Allow access to support materials such as user manuals, tutorials, and helpdesk assistance to ensure a seamless transition and handle any technical concerns. 
  • Provide incentives, like recognition programs or performance bonuses, to encourage employees to embrace the new system and exploit its potential advantages.

Monitoring and Adjusting 

After deploying the retail execution app and training the staff, it is critical to monitor its impact on your maintenance operations and make adjustments as needed to optimize your app performance.

Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as equipment uptime, maintenance cost, and response times.

Do they improve or decline after pushing out the app? Are these metrics better than your peers? Ask for feedback from front-line staff and the maintenance team who are the ones using the app to get a sense of their user experience and if any training help might be needed. Make configuration adjustments and also make changes to your workflow and training materials based on what you find from the feedback to continue to improve on results.

Wrapping it Up

US online retail sales increased from $343.150 million in 2019 to $374.38 million in 2020, representing a 9.1% increase.

Whether deployed for inventory management, employee scheduling compliance checks, customer service protocols or any of the other 100 tasks that are part and parcel of every store the right solution's emphasis on task management is what allows an operationally excellent company to deliver on its objectives - seamless operations, reduced costs, and amazing customer experiences.

If there's one retail task management software that easily outperforms the competition, it's Xenia.

It simplifies multi-unit retail tasks with a mobile-first solution, all through one tool. From planning, and deploying, to even monitoring retail tasks, Xenia has it all.

With Xenia, you can seamlessly streamline your multi-unit retail tasks, empowering your business to run like never before.

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