Keeping track of all orders and stock levels across sales channels becomes more and more difficult as demand increases. This is when most businesses start looking into Shopify inventory management solutions.
In this guide, we’re going to talk about why inventory management is important, and we’ll help you choose the right Shopify inventory management app for preventing inventory and fulfillment issues and scaling your business effectively.
The Importance of Inventory Management
Inventory management is an essential part of running an ecommerce business. A good inventory management system will provide you with an insight into your inventory and allow you to understand how often you should restock each of your products.
It can also help you keep an eye on your inventory turnover and figure out what’s the right amount of stock you should be keeping in your warehouse, thus preventing dead stock. This is especially important for businesses that sell perishable goods such as food and drinks.
Prevent Running Out of Stock, Overselling and Overstocking
Ecommerce businesses that have issues with tracking their inventory often purchase too much stock, thus causing cashflow issues, or sell more products than they can actually supply. Both of these problems are equally damaging to a brand’s reputation and bottom line.
An inventory management system will show you how quickly you’re selling stock and help to prevent from running out of stock, overselling and overstocking.
Making sure you don’t run out of stock is very important if you want to grow your ecommerce business and generate more sales. As many as 72% of online shoppers will go to a competitor if the product they want to purchase on your website is out of stock.
Additionally, 67% of these shoppers will continue shopping with your competition in the future.
Overselling is even worse than simply running out of stock. Selling a product you no longer hold in stock can result in angry customers and a ruined reputation for your business.
An inventory management system helps you provide a better customer experience since you’ll be able to let shoppers know how many products you have in stock, allowing them to make a decision whether to make a purchase right now or later.
It also reduces the strain on your customer support team, relieving them from having to deal with complaints related to overselling.
Manage Cash Flow
Inventory management gives you an accurate view of your cash flow and assets, enabling you to have a better understanding of how much you should budget for purchasing more stock and how much you can invest in other aspects of your business. Managing your inventory effectively will help you save money on storage costs by allowing you to purchase just the right amount of stock you need.
You’ll be able to make informed business decisions on how to use warehouse space, when to restock products, how to price products and which products to stop stocking. Inventory management will enable you to stop spending money on unnecessary stock. This, in turn, will allow you to invest more of your budget into marketing and customer acquisition.
Improve Multi-Channel Selling and Demand Forecasting
Manually tracking and fulfilling orders is fairly easy when you’re just starting out. Once your business starts growing, it gets progressively harder to scale fulfillment and meet the demands of your customer base.
Managing inventory also becomes more complex. Businesses that don’t have a good inventory management system aren’t able to track all the orders and sales that come through different channels. They’re also not able to see how these orders and sales impact their inventory.
An inventory management system will allow you to manage all your sales channels with ease and ensure that each channel has sufficient stock levels.
Without an inventory management app, it will be very difficult for you to make the right decisions when it comes to optimizing your inventory to meet demand and improve sales. Having a good inventory management system will enable you to track and forecast sales, which, in turn, will help you predict how much inventory you’ll need during different parts of the year.
Once you implement an inventory management system, it becomes a lot easier to understand how your inventory fluctuates over time, as well as how product demand changes from season to season.
Why You Need a Shopify Inventory Management App
An inventory management app will enable you to save time and improve your employee’s productivity.
Once you choose the right app to manage your inventory, there will be no more manual product tracking and inventory updating, lost inventory or customer support tickets related to inventory issues.
A good inventory management app will help you streamline and automate inventory management. This, in turn, will improve your employees’ efficiency and productivity because they won’t have to spend their time on manually tracking inventory.
You need an inventory management app if you:
- Spend a lot of your time managing inventory
- Regularly have products oversell or run out of stock
- Find it difficult to track and update stock levels across all your sales channels
What to Look for in a Shopify Inventory Management App
There are different inventory management apps out there, each with their own distinct features, advantages and disadvantages.
However, at a minimum, the app you choose to manage your inventory with should:
- Offer extensive and detailed inventory tracking: You should be able to track all the orders you receive, get order fulfillment information, as well as receive notifications on when to purchase additional stock.
- Integrate with other apps you use: The inventory management app you choose should play along nicely with all the other apps you use.
- Have sales forecasting capabilities: While there are a number of variables involved with forecasting sales, your inventory management app should offer a ballpark projection of market trends and growth rate.
- Include a POS integration: Having a POS integration is crucial if you also sell from a physical store. This will allow you to automatically sync online and in-store orders and stock levels and make sure that there are no discrepancies between stock levels in your online and offline sales channels.
- Offer actionable reports and inventory analysis: You should look for an inventory management app that offers actionable reports and inventory analysis that fit your inventory management methods. The app should be able to generate a variety of real-time reports and allow you to customize these as you see fit.
6 Popular Shopify Inventory Management Apps
Now that we’ve talked about the importance of inventory management and mentioned the key characteristics you should be looking for in an inventory management app, it’s time to take a look at the best Shopify inventory management apps currently available on the market.
1. Stock Sync
Stock Sync is the most popular inventory management app in Shopify’s app store. With more than 400 five-star reviews, it’s also the best-rated app in its category.
Thousands of Shopify stores use Stock Sync to update their inventory automatically, manipulate product pricing, manage multiple suppliers, export inventory and sync to vendor websites. It allows retail businesses to sync inventory with their physical store through a number of different methods. The app also supports scheduled inventory updates.
Stock Sync offers a free plan and a 14-day trial. Paid plans start at $5/month.
TradeGecko is a multi-channel inventory management app that helps Shopify businesses keep accurate track of their inventory and manage sales that come through multiple sales channels. The app can be set to generate purchase orders automatically, saving you from running out of stock. Its automated workflows can help you simplify order routing.
TradeGecko integrates with all the major 3PL companies and Fulfillment By Amazon. It can also be integrated with accounting apps such as Xero and Quickbooks, which enables you to sync revenue and costs with ease. The app provides detailed sales reporting and demand forecasting, and allows you to analyze your sales channels’ performance.
TradeGecko plans start at $39/month for 50 orders per month. There’s also a free 14-day trial that users can take advantage of to see if the app is the right fit for their business.
Sellbrite helps Shopify stores sell their products on some of the largest online marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
The app provides automatic inventory syncing of inventory across all channels to prevent overselling. It supports multiple warehouse locations and integrates with Fulfillment by Amazon. Businesses that use Sellbrite get access to a centralized fulfillment interface through which they manage and fulfill all orders.
Sellbrite’s pricing starts at $20/month for 100 orders per month and goes up to $160/month for Shopify stores that generate up to 10,000 monthly orders.
Stocky is a highly-rated Shopify inventory management app. It offers a host of advanced features, including demand forecasting, automatic stock updates and stock transfers.
Its demand forecasting capabilities are especially impressive. The app can help you forecast demand based on seasonal trends and give you specific purchase order suggestions.
Stocky can also provide forecasts based on recent performance by looking at your latest orders and sales performance. This type of forecast is especially useful for new and non-seasonal products.
ShipHero is an inventory management app with shipping and order management capabilities. It allows you to sync your inventory across all your sales channels and implement automated rules to reduce manual tasks. Batch order processing, barcode support, purchase order management, returns management and advanced reporting are all features included in the ShipHero app.
ShipHero also supports kit creation, cycle counting, merged order notifications and multi-warehouse inventory management. The app integrates with Amazon, eBay and USPS.
ShipHero’s plans start at $499/month.
Skubana calls itself “The Operating System of Commerce.” It offers multi-channel inventory management, advanced multi-warehouse demand forecasting and automated purchase orders.
The app’s dynamic analytics can help you reveal seasonal trends and calculate the true profitability of each of your SKUs in order to reduce expenses and improve your bottom line. It also provides alerts on how you can cut costs and generate more profit on each specific product.
Skubana integrates with Amazon, eBay and Walmart. The app works on a custom pricing model, with the minimum fee being $999/month.
Start Using a Shopify Inventory Management App
Having a good inventory management system is crucial for running a successful ecommerce business.
An inventory management system can prevent you from running out of stock, overselling and overstocking. It can help you provide a better customer experience, as well as avoid cash flow issues and developing a negative brand image. By giving you an accurate view of your cash flow, inventory management enables you to make informed decisions regarding purchasing more stock and investing in other parts of your business.
An inventory management system can help you save on storage costs, as well as allow you to understand when you should restock products. It enables you to scale your fulfillment effectively and meet growing demands, as well as manage all your sales channels and sync inventory between them. Businesses that spend a lot of time managing inventory, regularly oversell products or run out of stock, or have difficulties with tracking and updating stock levels should consider using an inventory management app.
When looking for an app to aid your inventory management, you should make sure any app you choose offers extensive and detailed inventory tracking, integrates with other apps you use, has sales forecasting capabilities, includes a POS integration and offers actionable reports and inventory analysis.
The top six Shopify inventory management apps you should consider include Stock Sync, TradeGecko, Sellbrite, Stocky, ShipHero and Skubana. These apps offer advanced inventory management features such as scheduled inventory updates, multi-channel inventory management, automated purchase orders, demand forecasting and stock transfers.
Add Other Apps to the Mix, Too
Of course, there’s no reason why you should stop at inventory management apps when it comes to improving your store with add-ons.
For example, the Shogun page builder app offers a lot of value. It allows you to create custom landing pages, product pages and blog posts from scratch, even if you don’t know a single line of code.
Shogun provides you with a drag-and-drop editor and a large library of elements. This includes everything from simple blocks for text and images to advanced features such as slider menus, accordion sections and customer reviews.
You can use the editor to add, remove and arrange elements on the page in whatever way you want, and each element is highly customizable. That way, you won’t need to hire a designer to get exactly what you’re looking for.