| Merchandising Showdown!
Lawson vs. Epicor/CRS vs. Aldata
I'm Christina Park , senior analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC). Welcome to another in our ongoing series of enterprise software Showdowns. Today's Showdown compares merchandising solutions from Lawson Software, Epicor, and Aldata Solution head-to-head. We hope you find this Showdown helpful and informative, and invite your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retail merchandising systems provide retailers of any size with the tools to react to real-time data from across the enterprise . These tools include everything from inventory management and control to replenishment, forecasting, purchase order management, point of sale, and even customer relationship management (CRM).
We selected two fully integrated merchandising solutions , Epicor's CRS Merchandising and Aldata G.O.L.D., and one best-of-breed merchandising core functionality solution, Lawson's Retail Operations Management. (Integrated solutions combine core merchandising functionality with point of sale [POS] functionality. There are best-of-breed POS-only solutions, but we did not look at them for this vendor showdown). These integrated solution vendors are your one-stop shop for retail solutions, while the core functionality providers offer solid merchandising applications.
Using our Merchandising Evaluation Center, we compared Lawson Software, Epicor, and Aldata Solution head-on. For the overall rankings, we looked at these solutions in two basic configurations: with POS functionality for a fully integrated solution; and without POS functionality, which many organizations might prefer, as it allows them to combine core merchandising modules with a separate POS application from a best-of-breed POS application vendor.
To eliminate any chance of bias, and to ensure a level playing field, all 3,072 criteria comprising the modules and submodules in the merchandising request for information (RFI) were given equal weight and priority. In other words, no area of functionality was treated as being more important than any other.
Please note that all the results in this report are based on the most recent RFI data supplied to us by the three vendors, indicating their levels of support for each of the functional criteria in our Merchandising Evaluation Center .
The chart below shows the overall rankings with POS functionality included. Epicor finishes first, with Aldata Solution in the number-two slot, and Lawson Software placing third.
Overall Merchandising Rankings with POS Functionality
Below, however, note that without POS, Lawson Software now places first, edging out Epicor and Aldata Solution, but the results are so close as to make it virtually a three-way tie in this configuration.
Overall Merchandising Rankings without POS functionality
Though Lawson Software shows weaker in the rankings that include POS functionality, this vendor's focus is on core merchandising functionality, and its strengths are apparent in those areas. The rankings without POS constitute a true apples-to-apples comparison of pure merchandising functionality, and as you've seen, the results are extremely close.
Let's take a look at the main module rankings:
Merchandising Main Module Rankings
As indicated above, Aldata Solution has three first-place finishes, while Epicor and Lawson each have two. It's worth noting that in an area that matters significantly to retailers, inventory management, Aldata Solution takes the lead.
Both Aldata Solution and Lawson Software are both particularly strong in price management, while Epicor is the clear winner in revenue management. Lawson Software has particular strength in the master module, which includes chart of accounts, pre-pack, and kitting.
But since we're looking at enterprise software solutions, it's not that simple or clear-cut. Rankings, either overall or by module, do not tell you everything you need to know. What they do provide is a basic, high-level view of vendors' general strengths and weaknesses. However, the fact is, typically no two businesses will use a merchandising solution in exactly the same way. Businesses have unique requirements that need to be supported by the merchandising solution they are implementing.
For example, although Epicor placed first overall, if inventory management is key to your business (as would be the case for retail outlets or self-sourcing merchandisers), Aldata Solution may be a better choice than Epicor, as the chart above indicates.
The same applies within individual modules, where the top-ranking vendor may not necessarily be the right one for your organization's needs. Although Aldata Solution placed first in price management, if price and discount are important to your business, as they are for retailers driven by loyalty programs and discounts, Lawson may be the better choice, as illustrated in the chart below.
Given that straight out-of-the-box rankings generally don't reflect the real-world needs of an organization, and that the rankings can shift depending on what areas of functionality you look at, how do you determine which merchandising solution is best suited for your business?
The fastest, simplest way is to do what we did to produce the results you see here: use Merchandising Evaluation Center. We got our results in twenty minutes versus weeks or even months of struggling with huge Excel spreadsheets.
TEC's Merchandising Evaluation Center allows you to set priorities that reflect your organization's business model and special needs at every level of functionality. At the modular and submodular levelsâ€”even down to the individual criteriaâ€”you can tell the system which business processes are critical, important, or not important to your organization. The system then compares your priorities against the vendor responses to produce a short list of solutions. You get a custom comparisonâ€”one that ranks vendor solutions not on out-of-the-box functionality, but rather on how well that functionality matches the business requirements of your organization.
It's the best way we know of to evaluate merchandising solutions, and we invite you to give it a run-through. Simply click on the link below to visit our Merchandising Evaluation Center to conduct your fast, free custom software comparison. After all, there's no other organization quite like yours.
For a free custom comparison of merchandising solutions, click below.
Find out which merchandising solutions are best suited to your company's particular requirements and type of business.