Taking Stock

How to simplify your inventory system for online retail

by Chelsea kerr on February 13

The good news is that it has never been easier for businesses to start selling online.

The bad news is that there have never been so many choices to wade through, which makes it difficult to weigh the pros and cons of every option. 

The best choice for online retail will vary, but if you are thinking about bringing your business online, the right inventory management system  can drastically reduce your workload in the long term.

Inventory Management Essentials

Good inventory management can help you maximize your sales and minimize the time you spend tracking your inventory. Inventory management systems are specialized based on industry, but they include the same basic features. A good inventory management system will have all of the following:

  • Real time inventory tracking
  • Inventory and sales analysis available on any device
  • High and low stock alerts 
  • Communication with your POS (Point of Sale)s system and/or website
  • Bar code scanning tools
  • Tracking for inventory across several locations

The most important consideration for online retailers is choosing the right kind of software integrations. With the right integrations, your stock levels are automatically updated every time a sale is processed, your shipping fees are automatically calculated at checkout, and your workload is minimized.

Finding the right service

If you are looking into software to manage your business, here are a few factors that should influence your choices:

Industry 

Inventory management services will share a lot of common features, so look for software that is built specifically for businesses in your industry. 

A great way to find the best tools for your business is to look at what other businesses in your industry are using. If a service is already catering to similar needs, you’ll likely find the features that your business needs most.

Size/growth of your business

The size of your business is critical for determining how you should manage it. If you are only moving a small amount of product, you may want to consider using a service that allows you to upgrade your services as your business grows. If your business handles a large amount of revenue already, it may be more worthwhile to pay a higher fee to automate more of the work. 

Shipping

If you plan on shipping your products outside of local markets, your shipping costs will have to be calculated every time a customer checks out. Sites like Shopify and Square offer a variety of shipping calculators that will integrate with their services. You can also use third party applications to manage your shipping if you don’t use Shopify or Square, just make sure that you can integrate it into a larger system to avoid problems down the line. 

Popular Services

You don’t have to choose a single service to run your entire business, just make sure your inventory software can integrate with other third-party software for point of sales and e-commerce services.

All-in-one services

Platforms like Square and Shopify are popular because they offer all-in-one services that manage your inventory, point of sales, and your e-commerce store and connect them. You can also use one of the many applications that integrate with Square or Shopify or work with a developer to create a custom solution that can integrate with Square or Shopify.

Third-party integrations

Here are a few popular applications that offer integrated inventory management:

Quickbooks - Retail and service

Shopventory for retail and food service

Oracle - Retail and food service

 

Final thoughts

 Selling your products online should be simple and profitable but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get started. Migrating from in-person sales to online sales is like any other business expansion, you have to invest time and money into  developing and promoting your new online location before you can expect to see any returns.

You do not have to have your entire inventory on your website when you launch it, in fact, it is much easier to start small and scale up as you adjust to digital sales. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by choice when you are expanding into the digital market, so try to take things one step at a time.

 

*This post is not sponsored.

For more help with e-commerce solutions, reach out to Chelsea Kerr at ckerr@downtownbrockville.com 

 


 

 

 

 

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