You know the drill. A customer stops by your store and tries to buy a product. They're pretty pumped about this new pair of shoes, completing a few hours of research and forking over a large chunk of money during the checkout process. Only one problem lurks in the shadows: The shoes are out of stock. Inventory management software could be the difference between losing customers for life and keeping people around for years to come.
Why? Because no one wants to come to your website and waste minutes, or even hours, considering an item that's not even available.
The same goes for you on the backend.
Inventory is your store's life force. If an item isn't available, or you fail to move a product through the proper logistical channels, you're bound to run into problems with both present and future customers.
That's where an inventory management software comes into play.
We've highlighted your best options below, with some of them offering full sales and inventory suites, while others providing simpler, more compact inventory management tools.
Editor's note: This post was originally published on October 14, 2016 and has completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
What is Inventory Management Software?
Inventory management is often a time-consuming and tedious process for many business owners. However, a software tool with the right features can help you to deal with some of the headaches and stress that inventory management can bring.
Whether you’re running an ecommerce website, a brick and mortar store, or a supermarket, you’re always going to need a way to keep track of your inventory. These tools are how you get an insight into every aspect of your products. What’s more, tracking the way that your inventory moves can also give you a better insight into your customers and what they want from your business too.
Inventory management software can come with a lot of common features, including:
- Barcode scanners: To track and manage your products
- Inventory optimization: To ensure that you always have the right amount of each product available for your customers
- Stock notifications: Alerts that warn you when you’re over or under-stocking on a specific item according to defined thresholds.
- Multi-location management: The option to manage a range of warehouses and point of sale systems at once.
- Material grouping: Collect inventory into predefined categories so you can measure which products are most in demand.
- Report generation: View a history of your sales, track your most popular product, and manage the items in your inventory that don’t reach expected sales levels
- Purchase order records: Keep track of the items that you’re stocking, and where you’re getting those products from.
Ultimately, inventory management tools will allow you to track the goods across your business supply chain, so you can track everything from your sales orders, to your unique business needs. Some software solutions even come with integrations that connect to your offline barcoding strategy, your accounting system, and more.
Best Inventory Management Software
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the best inventory management solution. Depending on what you need from your inventory system, you could find that you even need to combine multiple tools into one back-end process.
To help you get started, here are a few of the most popular tools on the market.
Zoho Inventory Management is one of the best-known tools in the market, designed to help companies increase their sales, expand their business operations and more. Not only does Zoho Inventory help with things like managing your offline and orders, but it can also integrate with other tools in your sales strategy.
You can link Zoho to your Amazon, eBay and Shopify accounts, create purchase orders, manage drop shipments and more, all from within a single application. What’s more, there’s end-to-end tracking for every item in your inventory with serial number features and batch tracking. You can even choose from multiple shipping integrations to make sure that your items get to your customers as quickly as possible.
Zoho inventory even comes with advanced inventory management tools, such as access to accounting software and asset management tools to help you make more informed business decisions. If you’re looking for a complete software solutions for modern business owners, this could be it.
QuickBooks is another state-of-the-art inventory management tool that integrates seamlessly with Quickbooks accounting system. This means that you can track things like bill of materials, stock levels, and invoicing in the same convenient location.
The Quickbooks solution is a powerful inventory software solution that allows you to quickly and easily view the quantities that you have on hand of a particular piece of stock. You can also get real-time inventory valuations, and stay on top of your purchase orders from inside the same user-friendly customer interface. Quickbooks makes it incredibly easy to keep track of everything that you buy and sell. You can organize your products with unique images, and automatically calculate the cost of products using FIFO.
The QuickBooks inventory management solution is an intuitive tool, ideal for keeping track of inventory reports, product life cycle information and more.
Fishbowl inventory might not be as well known as Zoho inventory or Quickbooks when it comes to asset management, FIFO tools, and accounting systems, but it’s gaining popularity quick. If you need an inventory management system that helps you to track inventory and assess your business needs, then Fishbowl could be it.
Whatever you want to accomplish with your business, Fishbowl is there to help, with everything from dropshipping tracking, to inventory data, barcoding, and other advanced features. What’s more, because this powerful software also integrates with some of the other most popular tools on the market you can get more done. For instance, you can integrate with Salesforce CRM, Quickbooks for accounting software, and ShipStation for shipping.
Fishbowl covers everything from manufacturing tools with work orders and asset management insights that are crucial to help smaller businesses grow, to asset tracking and warehousing. You can get real-time inventory updates, track your items by lot numbers, and monitor asset level in multiple locations at once.
Finally, whether you’re a smaller business, or an enterprise, Stitch Labs is all about making your life easier. This is a comprehensive software solution designed for tracking everything from invoicing, to on-premise orders, and inventory items. It offers the same kind of simplicity that Quickbooks users and Zoho customers would expect, with a user-friendly interface. What’s more, growing brands can use Stitch to sell their items flexibly and check stock levels quickly on multiple channels.
The customizable experience from Stitch Labs is great for companies that want to merchandise creatively with everything from pre-discounted inventory items, to loyalty programs and more. You’ll get complete control over your inventory system, without having to use time-consuming tools.
Stitch features order management solutions, B2B wholesale management, purchasing and replenishment features, and in-depth reporting and analytics. Whatever you need to figure out how you should be selling online, Stitch Labs is there to help.
Best Inventory Management Software for Ecommerce
Inventory Management Software: Seller Cloud
SellerCloud boasts a strong set of features, as it's one of the suites we were talking about above. With scheduled listings, shipment handling, inventory tracking, customer feedback management and product catalog building, you receive a little bit more than a regular inventory management app. The main reason we like Seller Cloud so much is because of its multitude of integrations. For example, you can connect with channels like Amazon and eBay, along with vendors, shopping carts, repricers, payment gateways and more.
Since we're mainly focusing on inventory management for this article, let's take a look at some of the core features. To start, you can keep your inventory in-sync throughout all platforms, and the system allows for multi-warehouse management solutions. There's a tool for reserving certain inventory for deals and channels, while all vendor feeds are updated with changes with your inventory. Low stock alerts are sent to you, just in case you'd like to send out a new order. Finally, inventory tracking is packaged in for both you and the customer.
Inventory Management Software for Ecommerce: Channel Advisor
Channel Advisor is yet another ecommerce suite filled with products for bringing in new customers, managing inventory, handling social commerce and expanding your product intelligence. The Channel Advisor software assists companies that would like to get products posted all over the internet, without adding too much work into the process. For example, Channel Advisor has a digital marketing “channel,” in which all of your products are distributed on places like Google. Bing, Yahoo Facebook.
The system then moves onto marketplaces. So, for example, it would ensure that all of your items are stocked and ready to sell on sites like Amazon, Walmart, Sears and eBay. After that, Channel Advisor has features for gaining insights and understanding whether people are buying certain products online or offline. This product data is turned into insights for better establishing how you're going to improve your conversions over time. Once you take a look at it, most of the products inside the suite are solely dedicated to your inventory, making it one of the top choices out there.
Inventory Management Software for Ecommerce: nChannel
nChannel is a cloud-based multichannel platform that connects your sales channels with your fulfillment channels. It integrates front-end sales channels like Shopify, Magento, Bigcommerce, Amazon, and eBay with your back-end systems such as NetSuite, MS Dynamics GP, NAV, and RMS. Through integration of your systems, nChannel centralizes inventory, order, and product information management into one place.
This inventory management software ensures you don't oversell by updating inventory levels in real-time across all your sales channels as orders are placed. It also automatically sends online order information back to your fulfillment system to ensure your orders are fulfilled quickly and accurately. Overall, these components help you create a better customer experience. Customers will know when inventory is available and the status of their order. If you're serious about multichannel, then nChannel helps you overcome those complexities.
Inventory Management Software: TradeGeko
The TradeGeko Platform lets commerce brands manage their retail and wholesale operations and applications from a single, central system. Its core capabilities and extensive app ecosystem, provide businesses with the ability to easily automate order workflows, increasing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. It helps you manage multiple sales channels (including Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, Wayfair, and more), fulfillment locations, expedite payments, create private B2B eCommerce experiences for wholesale customers and seamlessly automate the connection between systems across multiple channels.
TradeGecko was designed for operations, eCommerce and supply chain professionals looking to automate their business, effectively freeing their time from repetitive, low-level tasks that are prone to human error and inefficiency. It allows you to spend more time on building on customer relationships and growing your business.
TradeGecko is perfect for small and medium businesses, and its Founder plan starts from $39/month.
Inventory Management Software: Katana
Unlike most of the inventory management tools we’ve already featured, Katana tends to focus entirely on small manufacturers. It’s a dynamic online-based software that helps small and medium-sized factories manage their operations through holistic inventory control, as well as production scheduling and planning.
That said, smart management of raw materials and finished goods is the principal function here. And to facilitate that, Katana compiles data about product recipes, sales and purchase orders, warehouse statuses, product operations, manufacturing orders, and materials, through an intuitive dashboard for convenient and easy tracking of all the critical processes.
One thing you’d particularly enjoy here is seamless transitions between information spreadsheets, as well as integrations with a host of business platforms. When it comes to online selling, for instance, you can comfortably embed your Katana system with the likes of WooCommerce and Shopify. Then when you need to keep track of your payment information, stock, purchase orders, and accounting, QuickBooks and Xero integrations come in handy.
Inventory Management Software: 4PSite
The 4PSite software is a multi-channel and cloud-based order and inventory management program, and it connects with some of the most popular ecommerce platforms such as Bigcommerce, Magento, Shopify and Volusion. In addition, you can connect your inventory and make sales through marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Rakuten, Etsy and Newegg. This is an entirely web-based inventory management center, so you only have to open up one dashboard for all of these platforms and marketplaces. For example, you could check the availability of a product in real time, as a customer is placing it in their shopping cart.
Quite a few features are packaged into the 4PSite software. To start, customers will never make an order on a product that is already out of stock. You get barcodes and cost tracking, along with searching, filtering and bundles. The inventory overview module is useful for forecasting, while the shipping management integrates right into the system. Inventory forecasting is a huge bonus, and you can always go in there to manage reorders and suppliers. With solid optimization, inventory reports and QuickBooks integration, 4PSite allows your business to have accurate unit counts, and it makes purchasing quick and easy.
Inventory Management Software: Dear Systems
Dear Systems is primarily for small businesses, making it a little cheaper and more manageable than some of the other inventory management solutions we've talked about so far. The main feature you'll want to look at for ecommerce is the way it lets you sell and manage through multiple sales channels. Manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting and inventory management is all wrapped into the software, bringing about a nicely integrated suite.
In terms of the inventory management tools, you gain access to product families, or variations of the same product with different SKUs. You'll also find options for loading products from your online shop, along with multi-warehouse management. The barcode scanning streamlines and automates the entire inventory management process, while the numerous integrations with platforms like Shopify, eBay and WooCommerce come in handy as well.
Inventory Management Software: StitchLabs
Along with integrations with platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify and Amazon, the StitchLabs inventory software has a nice set of primary features. For example, you get full inventory control with a beautiful dashboard and impressive insights. The cross-departmental unification allows your team to collaborate, while the multi-channel inventory module is completely automated.
This inventory management software is designed for you to accurately forecast and act when the demand changes. We also like that it integrates with QuickBooks, considering your books are going to thank you at the end of the year because of the real-time inventory tracking.
Best Inventory Management Software for Small Businesses
As a smaller business, the inventory management system that you need might be very different to the kind of software solution that a larger brand is looking for. You might need more help with things like dropshipping, and less support with things like barcode scanning and work orders.
Fortunately, whatever the key features are for your asset management tool, there are tools out there for all company sizes. Some of the most popular inventory management software for smaller organizations include:
Veeqo is an all-in-one software solution that helps small businesses to keep track of things like inventory management, orders and shipping. Because you get everything that you need to grow your company in one user-friendly back-end, it’s much easier to help your brand grow quickly.
With Veeqo, business owners can access a multi-channel inventory management platform that integrates with up to 16 different channels. There’s also support for multiple warehouses, returns and wholesale orders, and in-depth revenue reports. Veeqo provides state-of-the-art solutions for picking and packing, with barcode scanner picking included. There’s also support for up to 21 different shipping order integrations.
If you’re not sure whether the Veeqo software is right for you, then you can always start with a free trial too.
Odoro is another sensational tool designed to reduce the time-consuming process of running your business. This asset tracking tool comes with plenty of advanced features for kitting out smaller businesses. Inside this software, you’ll find everything you need to run a comprehensive business, including the option to batch-print shipping labels with a couple of clicks. You can also secure the most cost-effective shipping rates with huge USPS discounts.
You can plug Ordoro into each of your sales channels, assign barcodes to SKUs and issue unique purchase orders when your product levels start to get low. Ordoro will even automatically sync and track your inventory updates for you.
Ordoro is particularly useful for businesses with an interest in dropshipping, because it supports the routing of dropshipping requests for vendors, and allows dropshippers to fulfil their orders within a unique vendor portal.
CIN7 is another fantastic way to save time inventory managing and creating inventory reports. This compelling inventory management solution will help you to track your product life cycles quickly and effectively, and ensure that you always reorder your most valuable products before they run out of stock.
CIN7 simplifies the process for connected inventory management, allowing smaller and growing brands to sell more products to customers all around the world. There’s a free trial to help get you started, and once you log in, you’ll find a complete inventory management environment, where you can keep stock in line with your orders across every location and stock channel. CIN7 also comes with access to a host of point of sale integrations, warehouse management tools and unique features for automation too.
With CIN7 you can centralize everything from order workflows, to inventory assets, stock locations and different sales channels in a single solution.
Other Top Choices for Inventory Management
Just as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for accounting systems, or enterprise resource planning, there’s no ultimate best inventory management software that will work for every business. The tool that’s best for you will be dependant on the kind of business that you run, as well as a multitude of other factors.
The good news? There are a lot of excellent inventory management tools out there for companies with specific requirements too. For instance, if you’re looking for a piece of inventory software that will streamline your restaurant, Shopify or WooCommerce experience, try these options:
Best Inventory Management Software for Restaurants
Currently, the best inventory management and POS system available for restaurants has to be the solution that comes from Lightspeed. This industry-leading software is specifically designed for the hectic restaurant environment, allowing business owners to quickly and seamlessly manage their business from a single location.
Lightspeed comes with access to customizable floor plans, multiple menu management tools, timed events, workflow strategies, and staff management applications. What’s more, you can access the same tools that you need to keep your restaurant running, regardless of whether you’re working online or offline.
Lightspeed even offers tableside ordering, where you can assign specific orders to tables or seats, and send orders to the kitchen or bar when necessary.
The Best Inventory Management Software for Shopify
There are a lot of excellent inventory management solutions out there that are specifically designed to hook up with your Shopify store. However, one of our favorite options has to be the Katana for Shopify app. This is a software solution designed specifically for Shopify order management if you’re a product-making business.
Katana is an accredited Shopify partner – so you know you’re getting a top-of-the-line experience. This order management system will help you to track your sales, orders, and inventory, ensuring that you always have the environment you need in place for profits.
Katana features an automatic booking engine, a complete sales fulfillment syncing portal, and a host of smooth production processes to keep your team running smoothly. Katana is extra useful if you’re in the manufacturing business, as it helps to keep complex processes as simple as possible.
The Best Inventory Management Software for WooCommerce
So we have an excellent inventory management software for Shopify – but what if you prefer to use WooCommerce for WordPress? Well, tools like Veeqo are great for use with WooCommerce, but there are also a range of other plugins that you can explore too. One of the most popular multi-channel inventory management tools from WooCommerce is TradeGecko.
TradeGecko continuously and seamlessly makes stock adjustments, stock updates and purchase orders to suit the needs of your store. The inventory management tools sync with your sale strategies across multiple channels. There are even mobile apps available for your Android and iOS phones so you can manage your products and orders anywhere.
TradeGecko gives you all of the tools you need to manage a wholesale business, by creating a wholesale list of prices for your products too. The whole experience is exceptionally user-friendly, and the smooth integration with WooCommerce just makes life a lot easier.
Over to You
If you're running a small business, I would highly recommend Dear Systems. Other than that, it's completely up to you when deciding which of the best inventory management software to go with. If you've had any experience with any of the tools above, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.