With more than a million registered businesses across 175 countries, Shopify is undoubtedly the top e-commerce platform of choice globally. These businesses leverage the flexibility of the Shopify platform and the tools that it provides. One factor that greatly influences the success of any Shopify merchant is how they handle their inventory management. This is an integral part of any e-commerce operation and can ultimately make or break the business.
The inability of Shopify merchants to establish a streamlined process for accurately tracking inventory and ensuring that updates are reflected in their online stores will lead to dire consequences. Here’s a comprehensive guide to Shopify Inventory Management for 2022.
Inventory is essentially the number of products that you currently have available for sale. By effectively tracking your inventory, you’d be ensuring that you do not sell products that have run out and that you are restocking items in advance of them running out. This births the need for inventory management.
From spoilage to cancellations and returns, the effects of poor inventory management can eventually take a toll on your Shopify store. Having a clear and accurate picture of your Shopify store inventory can ultimately prevent the losses that typically arise from poor management. High-quality inventory management will help you reduce your overall costs, optimize your fulfillment rates, improve service delivery, and position you for rapid growth in the future.
Inventory management generally helps Shopify stores and other e-commerce businesses achieve the following.
Inventory management can help provide reliable insights to Shopify store owners, especially for restocking when a product is running low. This is essential as research shows that 30% of customers believe that out-of-stock items hurt their shopping experience. Similarly, many shoppers are likely to purchase a similar product from another store when an item is out of stock.
Repetitive tasks like product tracking and manually updating your inventory can be time-consuming. The best Shopify inventory management software in the market can help you automate these tasks and help your team focus on more productive matters.
The ability to make accurate estimates regarding your sales trend and growth rate is one of the main reasons you should adopt Shopify Inventory Management software for your store.
This allows users to adjust their inventory count for different products or variants manually.
The inventory history functionality simply allows Shopify merchants to view a history of the adjustments that they have made to their product inventory over time.
This is perhaps one of the few advanced capabilities of Shopify’s built-in inventory management. It allows users to either manage inventory transfers from suppliers or between locations.
Shopify undoubtedly offers lightweight inventory management, which may be suitable for small single-channel e-commerce businesses. However, the importance of a comprehensive inventory management tool to the success of any e-commerce business, including Shopify stores, must not be underestimated.
For instance, Shopify merchants who operate a large multi-channel strategy will quickly realize that the built-in inventory management functionalities may be grossly insufficient for their business needs. However, some may find it beneficial as it also offers many benefits. Read on to see some of these benefits.
Shopify has remained popular over the years for the many benefits that it offers merchants. For instance, its basic functionality allows users to track inventory for each product listing. The platform’s basic inventory management capabilities can be helpful for businesses that purchase finished products directly from their suppliers and require no complex inventory management activities.
However, as e-commerce businesses scale towards a multi-channel strategy, they can integrate Shopify inventory management solutions like Uphance to automate their multi-channel operations and gain actionable insights about their stores on Shopify and other markets.
You can easily create individual product listings and arrange them based on their category, type, and a few other filters. These product listings all feature an inventory that can be manually updated.
With this feature, you can easily create and manage multiple variations of your products from a single window. These variations could be in terms of the sizing, colors, pricing, and even weight of your Shopify store products.
This functionality will allow you to manage inventory transfers between your warehouses and suppliers. A key challenge with Shopify’s inventory management functionality is that while it can help you transfer inventory between your locations, it will not allow you to transfer products that need to be fulfilled by third parties or third-party services. This can be seamlessly bypassed by using a comprehensive inventory management service like Uphance.
Brands that operate a multi-channel strategy need a unified view of the inventory and analytics across these channels. They need the ability to customize how their inventory is distributed and make projections about the profitability of their SKUs. This is an essential capability if you’re going to weigh product performance across platforms and marketplaces beyond Shopify like Amazon and Etsy.
However, the challenge here is that these multi-channel functionalities are not built-in with Shopify. To enable these functionalities for your Shopify store, you’ll need to either use a solution from the Shopify App store or integrate with an advanced inventory management tool like Uphance. Tools like these will ultimately smoothen your inventory management experience with Shopify.
As your Shopify store grows to manage more SKUs, your inventory replenishment process ultimately becomes more tasking. This is expected as the creation of more SKUs increases the likelihood of stockouts and miscounts.
The challenge here with Shopify or any other e-commerce platform or marketplace is finding a system that can help you monitor your inventory and automatically generate purchase orders to prevent stockouts. This system should also ideally use business intelligence from order history and trends to recommend appropriate quantities and potentially help you eliminate errors.
Shopify has an extensive list of product restrictions that can sometimes complicate inventory management on the platform. These restrictions mean that some products may not integrate with Shopify. This is perhaps the biggest hindrance to using Shopify’s built-in inventory management system. Also, manually implementing your multi-channel inventory because of this lack of integration with some products can be somewhat challenging.
Like any other software solution, you’ll need to determine whether it’s right for your business before adoption. You’ll need to first assess your current and future requirements and ascertain whether the solution is right for your business. You should also check whether any of these solutions solve your unique challenges out of the box or with as few customizations as possible.
For instance, an inventory management solution like the Uphance Apparel ERP software can help fast-growing fashion businesses streamline their business operation, automate their inventory management, and scale effortlessly. This means that apparel businesses can set up their inventory and start receiving orders within minutes.
Here are some typical challenges that affirm your business’ need for a comprehensive Shopify Inventory Management solution.
The use of spreadsheets for inventory management can be very inflexible. If your team members cannot access real-time data or add more capabilities to your inventory management process. In that case, you’re most likely due for an upgrade to an inventory management solution.
The consequences of poor inventory management could be significantly costly to your business. For instance, failure to accurately predict stock trends could lead to overstocking, resulting in more holding and other associated costs. Consistently failing to prevent out-of-stock situations can also sometimes be attributed to poor inventory management practices. A reliable inventory management solution will help you forecast stock trends and help you store only as much stock as you need.
If you have to consistently write reports manually rather than spending time on more productive tasks, or your team members have to constantly reach out to your warehouse for stock inquiries, this can have negative effects on your sales. This is an indication of poor stock management and that you need to upgrade to an advanced inventory management solution.
Basic inventory management is usually available within some cloud-based apps and allows you to track and monitor your product listings without installing a new software solution. Again, while solutions like these are somewhat better than spreadsheets, their lack of customization usually means that businesses still have to use spreadsheets for more specific tasks.
An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution essentially covers all aspects of your business planning. This saves you the cost of subscribing to multiple inventory management and business planning solutions that could significantly add up. An ERP software solution typically opens you up to more advanced functionalities that ultimately enhance your operations and scale seamlessly. Uphance offers an ERP software dedicated to apparel businesses.
The Uphance ERP includes advanced inventory, warehouse, and overall business operations management functionalities. It also provides automated intelligence-based reporting and real-time analytics for improved decision-making. More specifically, to inventory management, Uphance can help make forecasts that help you accurately prevent out-of-stock and overstocking situations.
You’ll need to determine whether the Shopify inventory management software you choose is built for general purposes or with a specific industry in mind. This is an essential criterion when choosing a new solution. An industry-specific inventory will most likely focus on resolving your industry’s unique challenges. It will speak your language and understand your pain points. For instance, Uphance is built specifically for apparel businesses and offers many industry-relevant features to help fashion brands succeed.
Like any other project, knowledge of budgets is essential when getting inventory management software. Since the pricing of inventory management solutions typically varies and ranges significantly depending on functionalities and features, it’s important to ascertain beforehand whether it fits within your budget. It goes without saying that you should ideally set out a budget for this as you do your research.
The critical question to ask here is, “will the inventory management software play well with other services and tools you already use?”’. The software should ideally allow you to connect other valuable services and apps that make your overall inventory management experience a lot smoother. As a minimum, for instance, it must allow you to integrate and manage your inventory across multiple channels seamlessly. It should also support the integration of apps with additional capabilities like accounting and CRM.
This is the most fundamental feature that inventory management software should offer. Potential inventory management software should allow you to track changes to your inventory across all your channels in real-time. This is the most fundamental feature that inventory management software should offer. The software should show your team where your entire inventory is and reflect movements across channels or locations. This will effectively allow you to:
The software should also offer features that help you control and adjust your product listing in line with your stock levels. Again, this is crucial for ensuring that you do not oversell your stock.
If an inventory management system limits the number of products or SKUs you can list on all their plans, you should reconsider using them. This also applies to limitations on customers, transactions, suppliers, and even locations. One of the core purposes of using a Shopify Inventory Management platform is to help you grow. This means that it has to meet your current needs while planning for your future needs. It’s important to have the capacity to list as many SKUs as possible to prevent complications when a massive order comes in.
If you have to manually extract data or gather insights from a new inventory management software, it’s probably not worth it. A new software solution should help you simplify your admin and scale your operations with ease. You should get an inventory management solution that offers built-in reporting features that provide insights like:
Having multiple sales channels is essential for avoiding business disruptions or complete shutdowns when any channel is disrupted. So, you should as a minimum only consider inventory management solutions that offer support for your multi-channel and multi-warehouse strategy. It should help you integrate with marketplaces like Shopify and Amazon, point of sale applications, and a comprehensive order management system.
The availability of advanced inventory management capabilities will lead to the generation of tonnes of data. To make sense of this data, you should ensure that a potential software solution provides built-in business intelligence functionalities.
An inventory management solution should help you to accurately forecast stock replenishments based on history and trends. This is useful for ensuring that you do not overstock or run out of stock in avoidable situations.
Uphance is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution for the apparel industry. Its dedication to the industry and provision of numerous apparel-specific features are the key factors that set it apart. Unlike other ERP or inventory management solutions built for general purposes, Uphance speaks the language that fashion brands need to hear and offers the peculiar solutions that they need.
If you run an apparel business, Uphance provides comprehensive inventory management software for fashion brands that operate via Shopify and other channels. Uphance integrates seamlessly with your Shopify store, allowing you to manage your multi-channel inventory from one platform. Here are the top features you can expect from Uphance.
Adopting a multi-channel approach is critical to your success as an e-commerce business. Skubana provides a general-purpose inventory management software solution that simplifies many aspects that users would normally find complex in other solutions. This software solution is a top choice for Shopify store owners looking to accurately track their business’ performance across multiple platforms or marketplaces.
With advanced reporting, inventory, and order management features, it’s not surprising that Skubana is one of the most trusted platforms for growing e-commerce businesses.
Zoho offers a compact solution that allows e-commerce businesses to automate and streamline their inventory and warehouse management processes. This solution features powerful inventory management capabilities that allow users to track and control all their products. It is cloud-based so you can perform all inventory and order management functions from any location. This inventory management solutions provider is very popular for its budget-friendly pricing which starts from $0 to $374 per month.
SkuVault is another multi-channel inventory management solution that gives you access to advanced capabilities for your Shopify store. This software connects all your orders from multiple channels like your Shopify store and website, and allows you manage your inventory from one simple platform.
This platform will also allow you to run your warehouses effortlessly and automate your operations across your Shopify store and other channels. The main challenge with SkuVault, however, may lie with the limitations that growing businesses will find with its pricing strategy. For instance, all its price plans have limited monthly orders and only two users per account.
Veeqo is packed with all the inventory management features you need to help your Shopify e-commerce store succeed. It is trusted by some of the biggest brands globally and can help you sync your inventory and records across multiple marketplaces. We believe Veeqo is one of the best Shopify inventory management solutions for general purposes in the market and its features do not let us down. It features many functionalities that automate essential aspects of your Shopify store operations.
Shopify store owners who manage their inventory using the built-in functionality will quickly discover that its limitations may hinder their multi-channel strategy. This will affect their ability to scale upwards or even access advanced inventory management and reporting capabilities. If you’ve been spending too much time on repetitive tasks or having to manually update your apparel inventory on Shopify and other platforms, you’d benefit greatly from switching to Uphance. Schedule a demo to see how Uphance can take your Shopify inventory management to the next level.