Regardless of the size of your eCommerce business, you have to deal with the challenge of managing your inventory. Besides, your business gets amplified, the more the demands shoot through the roof. Fortunately, using a good inventory software system in your e-commerce platform will go a long way in helping you solve the puzzle of inventory management in your store.
What is an inventory management system?
An inventory management system is a software solution that helps e-commerce and other businesses plan ahead for their inventory. The system uses the power of inventory automation technology to manage orders, packaging, and delivery of orders. It is completely different from CRM software in that it only focuses on the inventory and not how the customers are experiencing your services.
The inventory system helps you keep better records and monitor all capabilities. That way, it not only prepares you for radical changes along the sales journey but also helps you prevent the loss that results from environmental factors.
Not every inventory system is a good fit for your e-commerce needs
There is quite a lot of tested-and-proven- to-perform inventory management software out there. But, for you to get the one that will serve your needs right, you need to have your list of must-have features at hand. In this post, we will discuss some of the important features you need to run your e-commerce efficiently.
- Accommodate scanning and barcoding
Yes, product scanning and barcoding isn’t a preserve for local retailers only. E-commerce stores to need it. For any e-commerce, increasing the number of orders you get in a day can be exciting. It means more money in the bank at the end of the day. But, as much as it makes you happy, it can also be a migraine-inducing experience especially when it leads to bottlenecks. You need to be well-prepared to process and execute those orders. One of the ways of doing it is by implementing bar-coding and order scanning, especially during the packing and shipping stages.
- Basic inventory control
Of all the features requested by e-commerce stores, this one tops the list. It gives you a systematic way that helps you to be in charge of your inventory along with your sales system. Businesses both new and old work with spreadsheets. The use of spreadsheets can be termed as first level automation. The challenge with the spreadsheets is that formulae they use can break at times. That means there are times when businesses are forced to keep track of inventory manually.
However, the rate at which digital disruption is hitting businesses is alarming. As a result, the automation may be increasing rapidly. At the end of the day, e-commerce would eventually need more efficient software systems to manage their inventory. That way will be able to position themselves for growth in a better way. Look for systems out there that are tailor-made to address your challenge.
- Lot tracking
If your e-commerce is about selling products regulated by FDA, you know how important it is to identify specific lots (stock items). Lot tracking helps you identify and pull delete certain stock items from your inventory.
This is especially important in cases where a certain product has been recalled. Lot tracking feature acts as a sort of customer support software – helping you track the customers who are about to receive or already have the recalled products. That way, it becomes easy for you to notify them. As a result, you will ensure the safety of your customers.
- On-time reporting and demand forecasting
This feature is a key especially when you are planning what you need to order for your store. That way, you will be able to spend your resources wisely. When you have proper tools in your e-commerce, it will be easier for you to point out the fast moving products. You will also know which channels are performing better than others.
Your ability to get down to the specific attributes of your sales – that is color, size, material or even scent – you will have all the information you need that will help you have more accurate levels of inventory. That way, you will be able to make more informed decisions about what you need to buy and probably how much good you might want to buy.
- Integration for accounting software, and other related tools
The truth is, an accounting system might not do much especially when it comes to a specialized inventory management system. But, it necessary for you to run a successful eCommerce store. There is nothing as impressive as having an integrated accounting package in your inventory management system.
That way, it becomes easier to generate important accounting documents. These include checks, personalized invoices, and purchase order confirmations. It also helps you keep track of all the expenses you might have within and outside of inventory.
- Support for bundled kits
E-retailers may also have added bundles or kits to their product mix. That means you won’t be selling a single item but a combination of items that bundled in a kit. From an inventory point of view, it is not easy to manage these types of products. However, having good inventory management software that allows you to ship kitted products is a plus. Plus, the system enables you to see the number of kits that have already been assembled or probably the ‘kit’ items that will need to be reordered.
- Security and backups
The issue of security can be under-estimated especially in the wake of cybercrime. The system should be safe and secure. Besides, it should be able to automate to pitch any security bugs that might make way for criminals. At times, inventory data can be deleted. That would be a huge catastrophe to your business if you don’t back a backup system. Having an advanced inventory management system can be of help when it comes to restoring the lost data.
Over to you
While you might want to use software spreadsheets, chances are it will reach a point you will want a better, more efficient inventory management software solution. Today, there are a lot of inventory software management solutions out there. You probably have tried a couple of them in your e-commerce store.
We would love to hear from you. What are some of those must-have features that can’t miss in your preferred inventory management solution?
Sanjay Darji is a Head of Digital Marketing at SoftwareSuggest. He has a strong knowledge of product marketing & used various digital marketing strategies to build the brand globally. His areas of expertise include top performance management software, payroll, inventory software and ERP software. In his free time, he enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family.