Running a small business can be overwhelming, but with the right information and management tools, you can ensure smoother business processes and a more profitable experience.
One vital tool that small retail businesses should have is an inventory management software. Without it, you won’t be able to keep track of what merchandise you have on hand, what's been sold, what's been returned, and what's been damaged.
By keeping an eye on these numbers, you can start getting better business insights by calculating the cost of logistics, shipping, restocking, and more.
Why is inventory management software important?
Managing inventory requires an approach where data is stored in a centralized database, allowing it to be accessed anywhere, and be applied to analytics, fiscal report generation, and other business processes.
Your inventory management should also be able to be integrated with your existing software so you can can have a holistic view of your overall business.
Why can't spreadsheets do the job?
Spreadsheets have their limitations:
- They are not centralized or synchronized with a database. It is an independent document where data is stored. While the data can be used in calculations, the spreadsheet itself is not a proper database.
- You cannot retrieve data with queries or automatically generate reports from them.
- Data entry and updating in spreadsheets is tedious, whereas doing it in a database is easier and quicker.
- Normalizing data is very difficult, meaning there can be data repetition, making it ineffective for calculations and data manipulation.
- Spreadsheets can have errors which can easily be avoided in databases.
- As your business grows and expands, the spreadsheets can't catch up with it.
- You cannot link them to other administrative tools or software that you will be using like POS (point of sale), human resources, or accounting.
- Evaluation of business performance is not possible. It does not offer you analytics or annual or quarterly report generation.
- Inventory tracking and warehouse management are not possible.
Benefits of using an inventory management software
- Data is stored in a centralized and synchronized database where it can be used for inventory tracking so that you know when to stock inventory. It lets you evaluate safety stock. You can know when it's time to purchase orders. It will also have all the information about the purchased orders as well.
- Data entry is easy and quick. The layout of the data entry form is far more simplified than the spreadsheet. You have all the management tools integrated into one platform where you can update data in real time.
- You can manage logistics, warehousing, and shipping with reference to the inventory and stock, managing complete business processes all in one place.
- You can access and manage your stock inventory from anywhere, so you do not need to be present physically to manage the inventory system. You can have full inventory control all the time and everywhere.
Popular inventory management software
TradeGecko is a very popular online inventory management software. It can be easily integrated with major eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce. The software is developed to let you manage your supply chain through management tools and inventory control.
You can do inventory tracking, stock inventory management, and warehousemanagement. You can also generate reports and purchase orders to manage sales. They also have apps for mobiles and tablets.
The price range is dependent on how many users you want and how many features you need. But the starting package is for $79 per month for new and small businesses. You can also get a free 14-day trial to test it out.
Easyship has a TradeGecko integration - check it out here!
QuickBooks is aimed towards small and medium-sized businesses. It has all the features of a good cloud-based inventory management software. You can send invoices from anywhere anytime. Other features include:
- Data security
- Cash flow management
- Expense tracking
- Automated backups
- Report generation
You can use QuickBooks on both Windows and Mac. The QuickBooks app is also available for tablets and mobiles. You can get a 30-day free trial and if you're lucky, discounts on the monthly subscription. Their starting package is from $15 per month, with the opportunity to upgrade packages as your business grows.
Ordoro is one of the best inventory management software available in the market. Because of its simplicity and affordability, it is highly recommended. The starting plan is from $25 and you don’t need to download or install it to access it.
Ordoro offers POS integration, automated drop shipping management, and business analytics. If you run a drop shipping business then this is perfect for you to manage different manufacturers and sales you make.
A popular and worthwhile inventory management software is Veeqo. It offers so much in an easy-to-use manner.
- Easy navigation
- Fast load times
- Admin panel from where you can toggle and manage between sales, profits, and returns
- Multiple warehouse management
- Business analytics
- Automated synchronization of inventory to stores
- Currency conversion using real-time exchange rates
- FedEx and Royal mail integration
You can get a 14-day free trial, but the paid version is more expensive than the others mentioned here, with packages starting at $200/month.
Xero is a very well known inventory system that can be integrated with others software (like TradeGecko) to give you a complete inventory management system. It's popular with small businesses based in Asia and Australia.
You can expect a complete cloud inventory management system which gives you a centralized admin panel to manage your inventory through inventory control, stock inventory and inventory tracking. Benefits include:
- Easy to install and setup
- Transactions are simplified
- Provides feedback to your financial situation
- Can be integrated with many platforms
- Complete management tools for inventory control
- Transformed inventory management with automated tax adjustment for 20 states
- Multiple currencies and automated report generation
- Mobile apps for both Android and iOS
How to choose the best inventory management software for your business
First, focus on your requirements and priorities. Your budget, business size, and business niche also play a key role.
After researching the different options available, make sure the software you choose can be integrated with what you already have, and that you can upgrade it as your business grows.
Inventory management software and managing tools are a must for every online business, big or small. Using one from the start will help you manage your business seamlessly and smoothly. Don’t look for short-term solutions in spreadsheets; instead, consider investing in long-term solutions such as an inventory management software that will remain flexible as your business grows.