The labor-intensive and error-prone process of inventory management can slow down your business if not done well. Luckily, there is a tool that can help make this a competitive advantage rather than an obstacle: inventory software.
In this blog, we will go on a journey together to learn about how inventory software works, why it is important, the benefits, and key features to look for.
So, buckle up, my friends, and let's get started!
Inventory Software: An Introduction
Before we can understand why inventory management software is important, we must first understand what “inventory software” is.
To make sure we are all on the same page, here is the term defined …
Inventory software is used by companies to create a process of tracking and managing inventory, and it can be an invaluable tool as a business scales.
With e-commerce on the rise, the reason for inventory software’s increase in popularity might seem pretty simple: You can’t sell what you don’t have, so you definitely need to know what you have in stock at all times! But, I think we can learn even more when we look at how the software works.
How Inventory Software WorksInventory management can be done in four ways:
- Manually with pen, paper and a clipboard
- On a computer with Excel spreadsheets
- Using the provided tools like those included with your shopping cart (Shopify, etc.)
- With a dedicated software like inventory software
The goal of any inventory software is to ensure that the right products are in the right place at the right time. To achieve this, inventory software utilizes technology to make it easy to plan to ensure that you always have enough stock to fulfill orders.
Why Inventory Software Is ImportantManual inventory management takes time. So, the benefit of speeding up the process is nice, but why should you really care about software for your inventory?
In short, the software is worth caring about because it can be an incredibly helpful tool that will aid in a business’ success. Here, let me show you …
When an order is placed, it is exhilarating because all your hard work of marketing your product has paid off (no small feat) - congrats, you did it! But what happens if the inventory is low/non-existent and you cannot fulfill your customer’s order?
Your heart drops, that’s what, because you know that you have to contact the customer and let them know that their order will either be delayed or - worse - canceled.
No one likes that scenario: Not the seller and definitely not the customer. That’s why inventory software is important - it centralizes your inventory, so you always have the products when you need them.
The Major Benefit of Inventory Software
You might be thinking that the previous section already covered a significant benefit, happier customers, but there’s even more to it.Inventory software is the heart of your operation when you’re a retailer (selling online or not). It controls the inflow and outflow of inventory.
Good inventory software has the capability to be updated in real-time (we live in the digital age, after all), so you always have a complete overview of the existing inventory, even if it is across multiple locations. Knowing your inventory and making your inventory something you can rely on is the most significant benefit of inventory software.
Bonus benefit: You can also literally see your inventory from anywhere!
Key Features to Look For in an Inventory SoftwareIf you are starting to think that inventory software might be a solution that can help you, I want to arm you with information so you can determine if a software is worth your precious time.
Below is a straight-to-the-point breakdown of key features to keep an eye out for.
Ease of UseIf a software is difficult to learn and use, let's be honest, your team won’t use it. You’ll be back to the old methods you were using. Therefore, ease of use should be at the forefront of your mind when you are looking for inventory software.
Inventory SynchronizationMake your inventory reliable everywhere. Inventory software should ensure that all your online marketplaces have current inventory numbers and should make updating all channels an automatic process rather than a manual one.
Inventory OptimizationNever over or under-stock an item again. The feature of inventory optimization makes sure that you always have the right amount of inventory for each product. More is not always better: Overstocking means money is wasted on slower selling products that just sit on the shelves rather than in the bank as valuable working capital for your growing business. Understocking leads to lost sales, dissatisfied customers, and bad reviews.
Barcode ScanningIdentify and track with barcodes. Barcodes can be integrated with inventory software for instant product identification and labeling. Use barcode scanners that can quickly look up products and orders. Mobilize your warehouse through the use of inventory software apps that use barcode scanning technology.
Reporting ToolsUnderstand your inventory better. The ability to generate reports helps you gain visibility into your current inventory and evaluate patterns in processes to forecast future demand and sales.
Order ManagementIn e-commerce, inventory management and order management go hand in hand. If your record of inventory is updated automatically as orders are placed and fulfilled, everything is simpler. Inventory software with good order management can easily display pricing, track orders, and even manage returns.
Purchase Order CapabilitiesKeeping replenishment inventory on the way from your suppliers is just as important as tracking what is going out. Eliminate any extra apps by making sure your inventory software also supports purchase orders and vendor management. You should be able to easily see what’s low and create an order to your supplier with just a few clicks using the right software.
RFIDManage your products with RFID. RFID, or radio frequency identification, increases your inventory visibility to a whole new level by providing real-time tracking capabilities. This tends to be a solution considered by businesses selling high-dollar products due to the cost of RFID equipment, but it’s another option you can evaluate based on your industry.
Of course, there might be other features that you know are vital to your process and business. So, when evaluating a software, make sure that the company can support you with those features too.
ConclusionThis concludes our journey together. I hope you now feel empowered to decide if an inventory software is the right solution for you.
If you found this blog informative - great!
If you think inventory software can help you - even better. And, well, if you can believe it - I know someone that can help you out with that …
The Sales-y BitAt Zenventory, we know your time is valuable (because ours is too) so we created a simple way for you to see if our inventory software is the right fit for you. Bonus: You don’t have to talk to a salesperson (unless you really want to).
Click here to access your free trial of our software. No credit card is required, I promise.