Ecommerce inventory management software helps online retailers maintain and ship physical products. This type of software automates routine reporting tasks so companies can rely less on employees physically taking stock to get accurate inventory numbers. Various departments can then access this reporting data to manage their operations. Ecommerce inventory management software helps optimize production, warehousing, and distribution based on real-time inventory changes and online transactions. Employees can perform procurement, fulfillment, and shipping in a single system.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What is ecommerce inventory management software?
Ecommerce inventory management software provides detailed stock reporting for online retailers. This type of software can automatically initiate warehouse packing and shipping the moment an online sale is made. Inventory counts are updated to reflect receiving, sales, and returns, often more reliably and frequently than human stock counts.
Some ecommerce inventory management software also includes predictive modeling functionality to anticipate inventory needs in advance.
Common features of ecommerce inventory management software
Most ecommerce inventory management software options offer similar features. Here are some of the most popular:
||Track products in your inventory by type, option, size, colorway, SKU, expiration date, etc.
||Balance inventory stock to meet customer demand, capacity limits, and revenue goals. Synchronize inventory across digital channels such as Amazon, Shopify, eBay, etc.
||Add product barcodes and serial numbers into the system to improve tracking analytics.
||Receive notifications about new online orders, returns, stock depletion, shipping problems, and other ecommerce inventory scenarios that arise.
||Enter inventory counts into a searchable repository to help calculate inventory shrinkage and predict future losses.
|Purchase order management
||Create, ship, and track purchase orders. Optimize shipping logistics based on weight, volume, cost, and other variables.
||Manage supplier relationships by recording interactions, costs, and transactions.
What type of buyer are you?
Ecommerce inventory management software is similar to other software categories, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Choosing the right solution starts with understanding how dedicated ecommerce inventory management software helps online retailers.
Ecommerce companies: Businesses that exclusively sell products online only need to manage warehouse inventory, and some never even see their products because their suppliers ship straight from the factory. This means ecommerce companies can choose affordable, lightweight ecommerce inventory management software.
Brick-and-mortar retailers: Companies that sell products in physical stores have unique software needs compared to ecommerce retailers. For example, physical retailers may only ship products to consumers infrequently but need a more robust point of sale (POS) than an online form or gateway. Generally, brick-and-mortar retailers may get more out of general inventory management software solutions.
Hybrid retailers: Selling products both online and in physical stores is complex. Advanced ecommerce inventory management software can help handle the unique needs of such hybrid retailers. If you're this type of buyer, look for ecommerce inventory management software that also explicitly lists features that benefit brick-and-mortar stores.
Enterprises: Large ecommerce companies with complex supply chains need tools beyond what most ecommerce inventory management software can offer. If you're in this category, consider looking for an industry-specific ERP instead.
Benefits of ecommerce inventory management software
Ecommerce inventory management software offers two key benefits over general inventory management solutions.
- Ecommerce inventory management software automatically integrates with online purchases: These systems automatically adjust inventory when customers purchase products via apps or websites, while also immediately capturing shipping information, tracking numbers, and other data at the point of sale. This saves time and reduces mistakes that come with manual order completion.
- Integrated scanning technology speeds up inventory processing: Scanning tools such as barcodes and RFID tags allow ecommerce companies to quickly track warehouse inventory and provide real-time stock counts to online buyers. Scanning improves count accuracy and simplifies receiving, first-in-first-out (FIFO) operations, and the pick, pack, and ship process.
Key considerations of purchasing ecommerce inventory management software
- Ecommerce inventory management software platforms are available in a variety of pricing models: Pricing increases with business size; platforms may charge based on number of users, locations, sales channels, products, SKUs, or orders per month. Platforms may also charge based on the number of computers, barcode scanners, mobile app accounts, or mobile devices.
- Some software options carry hardware costs as well: Budget for barcode scanners, printers, and mobile devices as needed.
Market trends to understand
Consumer pressure to understand supply chains is bringing advanced supply chain management functionality to ecommerce inventory management software. Consumers increasingly demand products that are safe, sustainable, and ethically produced. Ecommerce companies can provide stronger assurances about product integrity and fair labor practices when they have robust supply chain intelligence. This intelligence used to be almost exclusively available in expensive ERP and supply chain software, but ecommerce inventory management platforms are beginning to offer some of the same features.
Mobile devices are replacing traditional barcode scanners. Older barcode scanners can only do one thing: scan barcodes. Mobile devices, however, can give employees additional abilities, such as note-taking and NFC scanning. Software companies can also upgrade scanning apps to improve security and function over time.