How many times have you made a trip to a specific store for a specific item - having purposefully checked the availability online in said specific store - only to be told, "We're out of stock, have you checked online?" In my case, it's too many times. Sometimes, I've also encountered the added bonus of the item being out of stock upon trying to add it to the shopping cart online, without any prior indication of it being sold out.
How annoying! For retailers, too, the dreaded out-of-stock notifications can hurt customers' loyalty and drive them to competitors as well as cut into retailers' own profits. In fact, the price of sold-out products, overstocking, and returned items is said to amount to around $1.75 trillion a year. Keeping track of inventory really is that important.
As we embark on a fresh new year, why not invest in a cloud-based inventory management solution that will help keep your stockroom organized, updated, and accurate and your customers satisfied?
To help you decide which solution is best for your business, we've devised a list of five top inventory management systems on the market.
If you're running an eCommerce store alongside taking offline orders, Finale Inventory's multi-location functionality makes it easy to sync and centralize both your online and in-store orders by seamlessly collating your inventory into one location in near real-time. It enables you to manage your inventory to and from several locations and offers the ability to customize sales orders and product lists to prevent your store from overselling and overstocking. The big finale? With over twenty preexisting reports, from accounting to sales, and custom report creation, you'll have your finger on the pulse of your business at all times.
One GetApp reviewer says: "We started out with Finale a little over a year ago after spending several months researching every program on the market, reading reviews and really doing our due diligence before finally zeroing in on Finale. We have not looked back since and have never second guessed our decision, Finale has delivered on every possible level and beyond."
Pricing: Starts from $149/month with a free trial available.
If you're looking for something to manage inventory across sales channels, Orderhive is a great option. Sales channels such as Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce integrate with Orderhive, and adding shipping providers FedEx and UPS is simple, enabling you to manage orders and the shipping process with one app. Don't want to be caught short? Set alerts to receive notifications for low and zero stock, and let Orderhive take care of automatically adjusting stock levels across your channels.
GetApp users love Orderhive, with one reviewer commenting, "This is a fantastic app for anyone selling across multiple eCommerce channels. Completely eliminates overselling and its forecast reports make it really easy to plan our next production cycle. The customer service was extremely good, very fast responses."
Pricing: Starts from $49.99/month with a free trial available.
Stitch Labs acts as an 'operations command center' for busy retailers by connecting inventory management, shipping, accounting, and POS into a single interface. Future-proof your business with Stitch Labs' sales forecasting and reports, which provide an overview of your business's trends to help you predict and plan ahead. Stitch Labs also frees up valuable time that you could be using elsewhere, like this GetApp reviewer: "It's been the greatest backend to my business. Tracking all my orders fluidly and effortlessly allows me more time to be working on new designs. One of the best features is the reports and being able to track all the little details to make sure that I am on top of my game through and through."
Pricing: Starts from $199/month with a free trial available.
Growing your business internationally? Besides keeping track of your inventory, TradeGecko's multi-currency function allows retailers to sell in additional currencies, and its 'Tax Types' feature enables you to set specific taxes for different cities, states, and even countries. What's more is the TradeGecko app is available on iOS, which is perfect for a travelling sales team.
Or, if you're looking to make your B2B sales process a little easier and more effective, TradeGecko's B2B eCommerce platform is useful for sending bulk invitations to customers, creating unique store URLs, and setting custom pricing options.
A GetApp reviewer says: "If managing inventory is an important aspect of your business, but you are still not able to do custom development, nor are you able to outsource it, then TG is a great solution for you. We used it to integrate in all our eCommerce efforts and it is perfectly working so far."
Pricing: Starts from $99/month with a free trial available.
Integrating with other Zoho products such as Zoho CRM and Zoho Books, Zoho Inventory is a great option for retailers who are looking for automatic inventory level updates and a centralized platform for multiple sales channels. Zoho takes the stress out of creating sales orders and shipping instructions by automating the processes and also tracks your shipments with 'latest transit status updates' and successful delivery notifications.
Pricing: Starts from $29/month with a free trial available.
What's worked for you? Leave a review on GetApp to let us know which apps have been useful for managing your inventory.
Looking for a full-fledged inventory management solution? Be sure to check out our Category Leaders ranking of inventory management software.
This article was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated.