Who Are the Top Software Vendors in Retail?

There is one sure way to find out who the top software vendors in retail are –  checking out the 2021 RIS Software LeaderBoard. Here is an inside look at this year’s leading tech vendors in retail.

The top-20 Master List in the Software LeaderBoard is “the” chart that no leading vendor wants to be left off. It is the only chart that goes 20 vendors deep and, along with a few others in the report, it uses a full data set of LeaderBoard research, as opposed to the kind of slicing and dicing that occurs in most of the other lists.

For these reasons, the top-20 Master List is considered a powerful measure of a vendor’s footprint in the retail industry, a validation of whether a vendor is a leader or one of the contenders.

Before getting a look at the top software vendors in retail, it must be noted that every vendor that makes the top-20 Master List deserves to be congratulated as a true winner. The reason is that no matter where a company ranks on the Master List it is a leader because the list only shows the top 20 companies and excludes those who do not make the cut.

The LeaderBoard report aggregates data from 50 vendors. However, only high-scoring companies make the Master List. This means 30 vendors had scores too low to appear in the chart. Some just missed making the cut. Some had very high customer satisfaction scores but did not score high enough in Retail Concentration and Revenue Factor. Some, however, did not compare well when placed head-to-head against their competitors.

In 2021, here are the top 10 software vendors in retail:


Celerant Technology

Mi9 Retail








To see the full Master List with all 20 of the top software vendors in retail click here.

Highlighting the Best of the Best

This year’s RIS Software LeaderBoard is the 20th Anniversary edition of the research report that was born at the turn of the century. The 2021 LeaderBoard represents a milestone for a unique report that objectively tracks technology vendors in the retail industry. It represents a long record of principled consistency, which produces head-to-head rankings found nowhere else – a resource retailers can rely on when choosing to invest in retail-specific software.

A large part of the LeaderBoard’s success over the last two decades is due to its iron-clad methodology and stellar reputation among retailers, consultants, industry advisers and technology vendors. The LeaderBoard’s one-of-a-kind methodology allows retailers to make smart choices for tech investments that are critical to running their businesses.

Here are some impressive numbers from the 2021 report that demonstrate the strength of the data behind the rankings:

  • 714 retailer evaluations of vendors
  • 302 retail voters
  • 196 retailers with less than $1B in revenue
  • 115 fast-moving consumer goods retailers
  • 106 retailers with more than $1B in revenue
  • 116 specialty retailers
  • 46 apparel/footwear/accessories retailers
  • 46 IT director/managers
  • 35 CEOs or presidents
  • 28 CIOs or other VPs of IT
  • 21 mass merchandise/big box retailers
  • 17 non-IT C-level or VP-level retailers

Based on the depth of this impressive voting pool, here are some vendors that deserve special recognition for their high scores in the LeaderBoard’s 51 charts:

  • ECRS, Celerant Technology and Mi9 Retail are the only software providers that break the 90-point mark on the top-20 Master List.
  • Three vendors deserve special notice because they made the top-20 Master List not because they are large or they have broad, end-to-end suites (enabling them to score well in the Retail Recognition category) but because they achieved outstanding scores in the one category that matters most – Customer Satisfaction. These three are UTC Retail, Reflexis and NGC Software, the only software providers that broke the 46-point mark in Customer Satisfaction (out of a possible 50 points).
  • In the large vendor revenue category, the top three software providers are Aptos, SAP and Zebra.
  • In the mid-size vendor revenue category, the top three are ECRS, Celerant Technology and Mi9.
  • In the end-to-end suite category (high Retail Recognition scores), the top three are ECRS, Celerant Technology and Mi9 Retail.
  • For vendors with a narrower, more targeted suite of applications the top three are Microsoft, UTC Retail and NGC Software.
  • The winning vendors within specific retail segments are: ECRS in grocery, Mi9 Retail in apparel, and Celerant Technology in specialty retail.
  • In the signature category of Customer Satisfaction, the overall winner is UTC Retail with a score of 48.6. UTC Retail is the only vendor to break the 48-point mark (out of a possible 50).

Click here to see all 51 charts and all of the top software vendors in retail.

The 2021 LeaderBoard continues the unique approach it established at the turn of the century. However, it has not been inflexible and has evolved to reflect such key advancements as cloud architecture, standards-based platforms, and artificial intelligence. During every step of its evolution, the LeaderBoard has maintained a sharp focus on tracking its signature component – retailer satisfaction.

Through two decades, the LeaderBoard has tracked the exciting evolution of retail software and remained true to its mission, which is to give voice to retailers in the vital area of customer satisfaction. Now that the 2021 report is published, the research process will begin again as the LeaderBoard heads into its third decade.

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