31 August، 2019
So you’re looking to improve your e-commerce business?
Smart decision. But how can you accomplish that? How can you drastically improve your e-commerce business in a relatively short time without burning a hole into your company’s pockets?
Obviously one of the most integral parts of your commerce business is your inventory. The right inventory management process can considerably simplify your other daily commerce tasks and grow your business with no headaches involved.
Since inventory is the most vital part of your commerce business, it becomes necessary to make sure your inventory management process is functioning properly and up-to-date with the global commerce standards and new technology.
I mean we all agree that commerce 10 years, or even 5 years ago was radically different than it is today. And the reason why is most likely because of recent technological breakthroughs in global commerce, the internet, and inventory management systems – which made it easier and less complicated to manage your inventory on a scalable level.
Now let me ask you this…
How do you currently manage your inventory? Do you know at this very moment which items are out of stock? Are you satisfied with the way you manage your inventory?
If you answered “no” to either of those last two questions, then today’s blog post will help you fix and improve your inventory management process, so that you can grow your commerce business the right way.
What is Inventory Management?
Inventory management is a vital part of supply chain management. Inventory management, in simple terms, is the process of stocking items and keeping track of those items within a facility.
Inventory management can involve the management of packaged products, raw materials, and other components. Managing inventory typically involves tracking and supervising the flow of goods between manufacturers, warehouse facilities, and retailers.
All organizations keep inventory. Inventory can include raw materials, work in progress, supplies used in operations, and finished goods. Inventory can be as simple as a bottle of glass cleaner used as part of a building’s custodial program or as complex as a mix of raw materials and subassemblies used as part of a manufacturing process.
The sole purpose of managing inventory is to resell this stock or inventory profitably, while successfully keeping track of the amount of inventory you currently have at all times, to avoid over- or under-stocking.
By efficiently managing your inventory you will always have the right quantity of the right items in your warehouse, minimizing risks associated with lack of stock, damaged or lost inventory, or having too much capital tied up in your inventory.
How can software improve inventory management?
Gone are the days when you tracked your inventory on a piece of paper and hoped for the best.
Thanks to technology and the Internet, you can now easily and automatically track all your inventory in real-time and have your employees manually update when needed.
Good inventory management software can drastically improve how you run your commerce business, offering benefits that include, but are not limited to:
- Keeping track of your stock in real-time
- Organizing and presenting your inventory in an easy interface
- Providing you with analytics to help forecast demand
- Reducing costs associated with excess inventory
- Improving revenue by highlighting high-demand items
- Increasing your stock employees’ productivity
- Tracking inventory across different warehouses
- Accessing your inventory data from any device
- Optimizing your inventory management process
Managing inventory can be challenging and stressful, especially when your order and sales volume increase, and you have to manage multiple warehouses.
Fortunately, the right inventory management software can make everything a lot easier, saving you time and money, and even making the whole process more enjoyable.
At the same time, one of the best things about inventory management software is that it minimizes human error, allowing for increased business performance.
Two examples of inventory management software
As you probably expect, there are multiple inventory management software options available in the marketplace, ranging from expensive, complex software to free, open-source apps. Picking the right one for your company depends on your needs, your budget, and whether you require special features.
But for the sake of an example, let’s take a closer look at two very different, popular inventory management choices: ClearlyInventory and InFlow.
ClearlyInventory is cloud-based inventory management software built for large, medium, and small companies. The program’s main attraction is simplicity of use. Since many businesses avoid inventory management software because of the complexity and confusing user interfaces – they don’t want to spend their whole day learning new software – ClearlyInventory keeps things simple.
In other words, ClearlyInventory manages inventory for anyone who doesn’t want to mess around and waste time playing with fancy apps, and who would rather spend their time optimizing their inventory, managing their orders, and increasing their productivity.
ClearlyInventory, according to their current business model, is completely hosted online in the cloud. This is useful for cross-device (and cross-location) accessibility for your inventory management team, as you don’t have to use a certain computer to access and manage your inventory. All you need is any device with a web browser and an internet connection!
On the downside, ClearlyInventory’s relative simplicity means it doesn’t offer tons of features or integration with other sales channels such as Shopify or Amazon. That may not matter so much, especially if you only sell to wholesalers and retailers, though it could impede future expansion.
ClearlyInventory fits the budget of most small and medium commerce businesses, with a $39.99 monthly subscription and an additional $4.99 for any extra users. That’s not bad if you don’t have many inventory managers in-house.
(ClearlyInventory offers a 30-day free trial if you want to try their inventory management system, with no credit card required upon sign up.)
For anyone looking for a more sophisticated but user-friendly inventory management application, let us have a look at InFlow.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive inventory management system, InFlow is most likely what you need. InFlow is designed for small and medium commerce businesses who need help tracking their inventory and managing customer orders.
InFlow is powerful. It’s built for tracking inventory, adding customer orders, organizing stock, creating invoices, and custom reports. Almost all the critical features a small or medium-sized business needs to manage their inventory, even across multiple warehouses, are built in.
InFlow has been around longer than most inventory management systems available today, which is a good thing. However, this also means InFlow wasn’t around when the whole ”cloud” thing got started, meaning it is a desktop app only. You will have to manually install it on all your company’s devices to use it.
If you can get past that, then great. But like most companies, we believe cloud inventory management software outstrips location-tied apps on accessibility and ease of use – two things that matter a lot in today’s connected digital world.
Our advice? For starters, unless you’re a big-budget company that’s stuck using pen and paper and desperately needs a complete solution, stick with stick with ClearlyInventory or any other inventory management software that’s simple, easy to use, and fully accessible online.
All things considered, there are a number of ways to grow your commerce business, but focusing on inventory is smart. It could be your commerce business’s most vital asset if done right.
Keep that in mind and invest in a decent inventory and order management program, and your business and employees will thank you for it.
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