The best iPad apps for retailers looking to run their stores on-the-go.
One of the great things about conducting business in this techie and mobile-centric age is that there are apps and tools for just about everything. Whether you’re looking to increase productivity, streamline certain business functions, or make your customers’ lives easier, there’s a good chance that there are programs in the app store that can help you.
But how do you know which apps are worth the download? You’ve got a lot on your plate after all, and you don’t have time to find and test various apps for your business.
That’s where this list comes in. Below is a list of 20 (+ bonus) apps for retailers. You’ll find detailed descriptions as well as information on how they can improve your retail business. Go through the list, and take the ones that you can use in your company.
1. Vend POS
Used by thousands of retailers worldwide, Vend turns your iPad into a point-of-sale system and allows you to conduct business from just about anywhere. It works with different receipt printers, cash drawers, and barcode scanners so you won’t have to purchase extra equipment for it to work. Just download the app, get your store all set up, and start processing transactions.
Vend is so much more than a POS system though; the app comes with additional features such as inventory management, reporting and analytics, customer loyalty tools, sales insights, and more, so you can improve your business and serve your customers better.
Why retailers love it: Vend’s simple and intuitive interface makes it a joy to use. The app’s ability to work offline is also a big boon for retailers because it enables them to conduct business even when they’re not connected to the web. Additionally, the software integrates with other programs such as Xero, Shopify, Timely, and Stitchlabs, allowing users to do more with it.
Need to stay on top of your company’s finances even when you’re on the go? Look no further. Aside from allowing you to create, approve, and send invoices using your mobile device, Xero lets you upload receipts and track expenses so you always know how much money is coming in and out of your business at any given time.
Xero also has a bank reconciliation feature that automatically imports your bank, credit card and PayPal transactions, so you can keep track of all your financials from one dashboard.
Why retailers love it: Let’s face it: No business owner wakes up every day looking forward to reconciling their accounts and tracking their expenses. But thanks to Xero’s automation features, those tasks become much easier. The app’s bank reconciliation tool can automatically import and categorize your transactions, so you can spend less time crunching the numbers and devote more energy to selling products and serving customers.
The PayPal Here app lets you accept cash, credit cards, and PayPal payments using just your mobile device and the PayPal dongle. In addition to its payment features, PayPal Here gives you the ability to send receipts via text or email, and it lets you view and manage your sales history right from the app.
Why retailers love it: The ability to accept various forms of payments from anywhere is just the beginning. Retailers dig PayPal Here because it also enables them to serve their customers better. Since the app lets people check-in to a store with their PayPal account, merchants are able to access more details about each shopper (such as their purchase history, profile, etc.), thus enabling them to personalize their interactions, recommend products, and process payments more quickly.
Looking to turn casual buyers into repeat shoppers? Want to show your loyal customers just how much you value them? Be sure to check out Collect. Loved by users and businesses alike, its a mobile app that uses rewards to encourage people to shop and tell their friends about your business. Since customers earn points with continuous purchases and social shares, they’ll be more enticed to shop at your store and spread the word.
Why retailers love it: Aside from increasing foot traffic, sales, and repeat purchases, Collect helps you build stronger relationships with your customers. It allows you to create personalized rewards based on each person’s shopping history and you can also send push notifications so you can connect with users wherever they are. All these things make shoppers love you even more, and they’ll be more likely to return.
Deputy takes the pain out of coordinating staff schedules. Say goodbye to messy time sheets and confusing charts; with this app, you can create, update, cancel, and set shifts using just your mobile device. Messages are sent via text, email, or the web, so employees can get scheduling updates and notifications wherever they are.
Why retailers love it: Deputy saves retailers time and money. With its easy-to-use interface and mobile capabilities, you can spend less time worrying about schedules, and instead go back to growing your business and delighting your customers. The app is also loved by staff members. It makes it easier for them to pick up shifts, switch schedules, and request time off, and that can result to happier more productive employees.
RetailNext is an in-store analytics solution that collects and analyzes massive amounts of retail data to give you actionable insights about who your customers are and what you can do to engage and convert them. RetailNext taps into a variety of data sources including video cameras, WiFi, POS systems, staffing systems, promotional calendars, payment cards, weather, and more.
That’s obviously a lot of information, but the great thing about the app is that it organizes and presents data into easy-to-understand graphs and reports so you won’t have any trouble understanding the information.
Why retailers love it: RetailNext enables you to know more, so you can do more. It can give invaluable insights about your shoppers and your store so you can drive more traffic, increase loyalty, and improve staff performance. What’s not to love?
Alternatives: Analytics HD ($6.99), AnalyticsPro ($5.99)
Invoice2go has been the leading mobile invoicing app for the past two years, and for good reason: it gives businesses a fast and easy way to create invoices, estimates, credit memos, purchase orders, and more. Each document can be customized to fit your needs, and you can send them to customers and suppliers instantly from the app. Invoice2go also comes with over 10 reports and charts allowing you to easily make sense of your business’ finances.
Why retailers love it: Invoice2go can actually make invoicing fun! It comes with built-in styles so you can easily tailor your documents to the look and feel of your company. It also calculates totals and taxes automatically, enabling you to generate invoices much quicker. Finally, Invoice2go makes sending bills a breeze. It links directly to your iPad contacts and you can add PayPal buttons onto your invoices so customers can pay with just a few clicks. Need to print a hard copy? The app lets you print documents straight from your iPad to your air printer.
Alternatives: Quick Sale ($9.99), GetPaid! ($4.99)
Need to schedule appointments or events? Want to keep track of important dates, such as customer or staff birthdays? The native Calendar app of your iPad can do all that and more. It even integrates with Facebook so you can check out what your friends are up to.
Why retailers love it: The iPad’s Calendar app gives you a quick, no-frills ways to manage your schedule. Viewing events by day, week, month, or year can be done with just a few taps or swipes, and if you want a wider view of your schedule you can just switch to landscape mode. The app’s ease of use and intuitiveness saves you time and effort so you can devote more energy to your biz.
Alternatives: Fantastical ($9.99) or Sunrise (Free)
Mail lets you manage all your email accounts from one convenient app, which makes sending, receiving, and replying across mailboxes fast and seamless. Its interface also makes it easy to see and track messages by thread, and if you want to change your view, you can just switch from portrait to landscape mode.
Why retailers love it: With the Mail app, reading and responding to messages from customers, vendors, and fans can be quick and efficient. Plus with the iPad’s Retina display, messages and attachments always look clear and sharp.
Alternatives: Mailbox or Molto - Email App for Gmail, Yahoo!, Aol., POP3, from Incredimail
The Reminders app enables you to add location- or time-based alerts for things that you need to do. You can also set recurring reminders for tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis. Moreover, the app syncs on all your iDevices so even if you create a reminder using your iPad, you can still receive your alerts on your iPhone.
Why retailers love it: Keeping track of memos and reminders while managing a busy retail store can be a challenge. The Reminders app helps you stay on top of things and prevents you from missing important tasks, memos, or alerts even on a busy day.
Alternatives: Wunderlist (Free), Any.Do (Free), Due ($4.99)
SignUpAnywhere is an HTML5 app that lets you collect email addresses from your iPad. Just sign up for an account, run the app in your browser, and start growing your email list. Downloading email address can be done in seconds and it syncs with other email marketing programs like MailChimp and CampaignMonitor.
Why retailers love it: SignUpAnywhere is perfect for collecting emails and generating leads while customers are inside your store or during trade shows, fairs, and other events. Bid sayonara to the clunky old clipboard and impress customers with this sleek app. It even works without WiFi so you can carry on with your lead gen efforts no matter where you are. And since email addresses can be downloaded into a CSV file or synced directly with your email marketing software, the app saves you time and reduces errors in data entry.
Take all your photos, documents, and docs with you, wherever you are with Dropbox. This app lets you manage your files right from your iPad so you can upload, access, and share them even when you’re on the go.
Why retailers love it: Need to share important files with your staff, vendors, or customers? You don’t need to be sitting in front of your computer to do that. Just do it using your Dropbox app and you’re good to go. Plus with Dropbox’s massive storage features, you don’t have to worry about not being able to share large files.
The PollDaddy iPad app lets you conduct surveys right from your mobile device. It works without an Internet connection so you can take your polls to the streets (or your tradeshow booth) and collect responses with ease.
Why retailers love it: Survey feedback—whether it’s from customers, employees, or the general public—can be invaluable to your business. PollDaddy lets you collect and organize survey responses, so you can quickly act on them and improve your store.
Alternatives: Surveys On The Go (Free) or Formz ($4.99)
Are you using MailChimp to collect email addresses and send out newsletters? Then Chimpadeedoo would be the perfect app to complement your email marketing efforts. It lets you collect email addresses from your iPad and import them into MailChimp.
Why retailers love it: Chimpadeedoo works offline, so collecting emails inside your store or during conferences and events can be done without a hitch. Moreover, the app allows you to show your company’s personality through your forms by letting you customize their background, fonts, and buttons.
Alternatives: GetResponse (Free) or Constant Contact (Free)
The Facebook Pages Manager for iPad gives you all the tools you need to keep in touch with your fans no matter where you are. With it you can post updates, respond to comments, reply to private messages and view Page insights.
Why retailers love it: You don’t have to be in front of your computer to see what’s going on with your store’s Facebook Page. With this app, you can attend to your Facebook fans and post updates even when you’re in your store, on the way to a meeting, or from the comfort of your couch.
Alternatives: Sprout Social (Free) or Pages Manager for Facebook (Free)
Post tweets, view replies, and manage your private messages from anywhere with Twitter’s free app. Sharing is even easier thanks to its integration with iOS--you don’t have to open up Twitter to send links or photos; instead, you can just use the share icons in your native apps and tweet away.
Why retailers love it: Thanks to the Twitter app, you can keep track of what’s being said about your brand no matter where you are. Not only that, but it allows you to impress customers by giving you the means to quickly respond to comments or concerns.
Alternatives: TweetDeck (Free) or HootSuite (Free)
Rdio puts more than 20 million tracks at your fingertips. Play what you want, when you want and create playlists of your favorites. You can also start a station based on a particular genre, artist, or track, so you can discover new music.
Why retailers love it: Rdio lets you control the music inside your store, enabling you to set the mood, reinforce your brand’s image, and even influence sales. The app also allows you to sync music to your device for offline listening, so you can play music in your store without an Internet connection.
Drowning in Post-Its or notepads? Switch to Evernote and keep all your notes, links, lists, and miscellaneous content in the cloud. The app syncs across multiple devices and platforms (desktop, web app, mobile app) so you can access and edit your notes from anywhere. It even has a search feature that lets you find the info you need with just a few taps and swipes. And unlike Post-It notes, the app doesn’t just let you create notes in the form of text. You can also use it to capture images and sounds.
Why retailers love it: Creating and managing notes has never been this easy and flexible. Evernote will save you a lot of time and effort. Not only that, but the app lets you send notes to other users, so sharing information with your staff, vendors, or customers is a breeze.
Alternatives: Taker HD ($4.99) or Awesome Note ($4.99)
Skype can take care of all your online communication needs. Touch base with people via instant message, voice, or video for free (or very low rates) using this nifty app.
Why retailers love it: When it comes to communicating complex ideas or information, email can only take you so far. Sometimes you need to be face-to-face with remote employees, vendors or customers. Skype offers an easy and inexpensive way to do just that, so you can get your messages across and get stuff done.
Alternatives: Google Hangouts (Free) or WePhone (Free)
This app puts multiple retail calculators in one program, so you can make common business computations right from your smartphone. Retail Calculators gives you seven free calculators including Contribution Margin, Loan Payment, Inventory Turnover (Stock Turn), Markup, Money Conversion, DCF Valuation, and Shift Hours. Other calculators are available via in-app purchases.
Why retailers love it: With this app, you won’t have to use complicated formulas to make business calculations. Simply input the numbers and hit the enter button. A huge time-saver, Retail Calculators quickly gives you the values and numbers you need to make important business decisions.
Bonus apps (what, you think we'd leave you with only 20 apps?).
Three more apps to help you take advantage of your iPad.
21. Retail Week
With the Retail Week app, the most trusted source of retail news is always just a tap away. The app lets you view the latest industry headlines and stories, and you can store up to 150 news items to read even when you’re offline. Need to find a specific article? Search Retail Week’s archives using the app and clip stories that you want to read later.
Why retailers love it: Retail Week can keep you abreast with retail industry news and issues no matter where you are. With this app, you’ll always have an eye and an ear on the most important headlines, and you’ll never walk into a business meeting clueless with what’s going on in retail.
SelfPay is an app that lets customers scan and pay for items without having to go through the usual check out process. Shoppers simply have to scan the item’s barcode and pay with their phone. No more falling in line at checkout, with SelfPay, customers can just scan, pay, and go.
Why retailers love it: With SelfPay, you can take the speed and convenience of “self checkout” to a whole new level. It’ll impress customers, save time, and improve traffic flow inside your store.
This app lets users browse numerous retail catalogs using their phone. It helps people discover products, find deals, and share items with their friends on social media.
Why retailers love it: Publish your catalog on CoffeeTable and get your business and products in front of a wider audience. The app also provides real-time data so you can view the performance of your catalogs and make decisions on pricing, inventory, and design.