Washington, Michigan

Choose Mall Software

Why computerize my mall?

In today’s competitive market, running a business on paper and pen alone is long obsolete. It is imperative to be computerized in order to automate important aspects of your business.

As an owner or manager of a business, you have significant financial obligations to fulfill. It’s clearly in your best interest to meet them with as little hassle as possible. A software program specifically constructed to meet your needs can pay great dividends in time savings, sales and seller information accuracy, as well as accounting accuracy. Plus, the information you gain will help you understand, analyze, and manage your business more efficiently.

Whether you run an antique mall, craft mall, flea market, specialty boutique, art gallery, estate sale business, etc., you are responsible for other people’s money. Sellers, dealers, consignors, artists, etc. trust you to sell thousands and thousands of dollars of merchandise for them, and will appreciate knowing you have a quality computer system to keep track of their sales and pay them properly.

What would a software system do for me?

In its simplest terms:

  • Retain seller information
  • Reduce administrative time recording and tracking sales and paying sellers
  • Print the sellers’ checks
  • Keep seller rent records

A truly excellent software system will do a great deal more for you and your business. Other features such as inventory management and report generation are just the beginning. It is a major financial responsibility to collect and properly disburse your sellers’ sales money. You may have to contend with collecting and accounting for the rents the sellers pay for their spaces, the commissions (if any) they owe your shop, the credit card fees you may charge sellers for items sold to customers using credit, and of course the sales taxes which you either pay as the shop’s “agent for owner” or you give to the sellers to pay.

Where would I use the computer(s)?

Many malls choose to have a workstation(s) or register(s) up front for the point of sale, and another computer in an office or back room for administrative purposes. Some smaller stores opt to only use one computer for both purposes.

When do I want to computerize?

In most cases, the sooner the better. Consider the amount of time it takes you to handle all the paperwork for a pay period and to write the checks to the sellers. The time this takes depends on your sales volume, how many sellers you have to account for, etc. However, that time is money – either time and money of paid employees, or your own time. Can you put a price on your time?

Who is going to operate the software on a daily basis?

  • Will the system be simple enough for all of my staff to be able to run it? Yes!

How much is the cost?

Cost of supplies/maintenance in using a computer:


Computer equipment (laptop/desktop—monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.)
  • Hardware quotations from local businesses
Printer for reports (Inkjet, LaserJet) & paper and ink/toner for printer
  • Hardware quotations from local businesses
Cash drawers(optional)-Learn more here.
Receipt printers (optional)-Learn more here.
Possibly network installation
  • If you want to use more than one computer.
  • We strongly recommend you find a local IT Support group which can make specific recommendations to the exact hardware you should purchase and provide support for you and your business. It’s important to have local IT support that can assist with hardware networking issues. The local relationship will provide long term stability for your business and the software it runs on.


Annual software support charges
  • We highly recommend investing in an annual support plan. Consider it to be cheap insurance that can pay off handsomely. Learn more about our support here.

What kind of software could a mall use?

  1. General purpose software products such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel

Some shops have done one of the above. It works, somewhat. However:

  • Does it save time? Maybe.
  • Does it save a lot of time? No.
  • Is it very flexible? No and it gets complicated very fast.
  • Is there something better? Absolutely.
  • Not a “one size fits all” product will handle every need you might want more effectively with a computer.
  1. Quicken and QuickBooks

QuickBooks is an excellent product for general purpose bookkeeping for small businesses (i.e., businesses with just a few or a few dozen employees).

We’ve heard from a few malls which have attempted to use QuickBooks to assist them in recording sales and paying sellers. All have said essentially that it’s difficult to make it and it is error prone and not efficient, and not specific enough to their needs.

  1. Hire a software developer to write a system especially for your mall

Some shops have done this, however the cost will quickly reach thousands of dollars for a skilled developer’s time.

  • Would such a person really know your business? Probably not.
  • Can they incorporate all of the features in a quality mall software product? No!
  • Can they provide the level of support you need? No!

Why have a product developed when there is an existing highly customizable program that meets your needs?


Specialized Mall Software: What more can a specialized mall software product do for me?

  • Recording sales and preparing seller reports
  • Print invoices (receipts) for customers
  • Print checks for the sellers to pay them for items sold in a pay period
  • Maintain a file of customers who have purchased in your mall
  • Print mailing labels for sellers
  • Print mailing labels for customers
  • Maintain seller rent information
  • Track commissions and credit card fees you collect from your sellers
  • Much more!

Specialized mall software, such as Antiques SOS, is quite a bit more helpful than Word, Excel, or Quick Books. What do such products cost? Generally they’ll run from $395 on the low end to perhaps $3,000 on the high end, which is much more affordable than hiring a developer.

What specialized mall software is right for me?

First, is buying and using a mall software product going to save you any money? Yes, probably a lot of money. How? Why? By saving you time. Time is money – whether it’s your employees’ time that you pay or your own time. Can you put a price on your time?

Should you buy the cheapest product or the most expensive product? Neither. There’s no guarantee that either choice would be the best choice for you. Buying by price alone is not the way to buy any product. When you’re shopping for a new car, do you buy the cheapest car you can find or the most expensive? Probably not. You likely choose a vehicle with the features and price that comes closes to your needs, desires and budget. You should establish what these products have to offer to determine if you feel your money would be wisely spent and if they will fulfill your expectations.

If you don’t use a computer to record sales, how long is it going to take you to go through your paperwork to make a list of every seller’s sales for the pay period and add up the total of those sales – and the totals of the sales tax on all those items? Certainly not the few minutes or less a computer is going to take to do it!These products are going to also be able to at the very minimum print out 50 or 100 checks in just 10 minutes. Can your employee write 50 or 100 checks in 10 or 20 minutes? Certainly not! Right There is savings every month as frequently as you pay your sellers. You will also gain detailed insight and be able to analyze the information it has recorded about your sales, customers, sellers, rents, etc.

How do you go about evaluating a software product you're considering using for your business?

  1. Who do you want to help guide you in making this decision? Perhaps your accountant, other mall owners, or the software vendors.
  2. Get all available sales literature about the product to learn what its capabilities are.
  3. Look at sample invoices and a seller’s sales report for a pay period.
  4. If at all possible, get a working demo copy of the software so you can try it.
    • See how it feels to make sales, run reports, etc.
    • Look for a smooth flow of operation from start to completion in making a sale.
  5. Find out who else is using the product and, if possible, talk to them.
  6. Find out what kind of support the firm offers for its product—yearly, monthly fees, etc.
  7. Who is behind the software you are considering? Are they directly involved in its development and support or are they middlemen?
  8. Determine if there’s any guarantee for the product in case it doesn’t work out for you.
  9. Determine if the product is ever upgraded or enhanced with new features, and the frequency of these updates.
  10. Find out details on the hardware that will be required by and compatible with the product.
    • Computer: Memory requirements, storage capacity, processor type and speed
    • Printer: Inkjet printers, laser printers, receipt printers
    • Cash Drawer (optional)
    • Internet (optional): If you have internet, a quality antivirus program is a must (McAfee NOT recommended).
    • Other Hardware: We strongly recommend investing in a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).
      This protects against power sags/surges and contains a battery power backup to give you enough time to quickly exit from your software product and shut your computer off. Having the power go out on a computer that is not protected by a UPS can damage your data. This happens often. They are like an “insurance policy” for your data and will probably cost around $100 to $150.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a printer friendly comparison chart full of questions to ask when evaluating mall software.