Inventory management
When you choose the right inventory management software, tracking inventory, your sales trends and customers doesn't have to be a challenge. — Getty Images

Managing inventory can be a tedious process, especially if there’s a shortage of one item or a surplus of another. That’s why inventory management software can help.

[Read more: CO-- Blueprint: Maximizing Your Online Sales]

What is inventory management software?

Inventory management software is a tool for automating inventory management. It ensures that you can accurately track current inventory levels and quickly identify what products you need more of.

The right software will let you know when you’re running short on an item and will make it easy to automatically reorder items. It can also help you organize your customer and vendor information.

Many modern systems are now cloud-based, which will cut down on your hardware costs and make the software more accessible. Pricing is typically charged on a monthly or annual basis, and the plans are flexible depending on the size of your business.

Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce business, inventory management software is a must-have. Not only will it make managing inventory easier, but it will also give you insights into your business performance and customers.

Here are the five biggest benefits of inventory management software:

  • Improved accuracy. When you can effectively manage your inventory, you know what’s in stock and what isn’t at any given moment. Also, you only order what’s necessary to meet customer demand. When you know what’s available or on backorder, you don’t have to worry about overselling products.
  • Increased productivity. When you sell products, supply and demand are constantly in flux. The right software will make it easier to manage inventory, saving you a lot of time and frustration. By automating your inventory management, you’re removing the risk of human error.
  • Insight into your products. The right inventory management software will give you additional insights into your products. You can identify sales trends and see what items are selling quickly. You can also see what inventory isn’t moving as quickly and track products that have been recalled.
  • Cost savings. Poor inventory management can cause you to lose money due to avoidable errors and overstocked items. By automating this process, your business can save money over the long run. Plus, this will likely create better relationships with your suppliers.
  • Better customer experience. When you’re able to effectively manage inventory, you will create a better customer experience. Your business can meet customer demand more effectively by always having the right products in stock.

[Read more: 5 Ways to Make Your Business More Convenient for Customers]

Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce business, inventory management software is a must-have.

What features should you look for in inventory management software?

  • Mobile app: Ideally, the software you choose will come with a mobile app. A mobile app allows you to track inventory, scan barcodes and view customer information from anywhere.
  • Point-of-sale (POS) integration: A POS integration will show you real-time product sales. When an item is scanned or added to an online cart, the POS system will automatically update your inventory management software. This helps you ensure that you always have an adequate product supply.
  • Automated reordering: Reordering products can get tricky because you want to place the order before you’re completely out, but you also don’t want an oversupply. An automated reordering feature is especially helpful if you carry seasonal products.
  • Reporting features: Inventory reports will give you a more detailed look at your sales history. It’ll show you which products were the most popular and what items didn’t sell as well as you’d hoped.

[Read more: Choosing the Best POS System for Your Company]

How to find the right software

The right inventory management software can help you automate your inventory management and increase business efficiency. The software that is best for you will depend on your business goals.

With dozens of solutions on the market, how do you even know where to start looking? Before investing in any software, you should find out how much of a learning curve there is to getting started.

Before committing to a software, consider how well it will integrate your business. Is the software relatively intuitive to use? Does it integrate seamlessly with your accounting software? Your inventory is directly tied to many other areas of your business, so making these systems compatible is crucial.

You also want to look for a solution that can grow with your business. Your inventory management needs may be minimal right now, but it won’t always be that way. Look for a solution that can scale with your company so you’re not starting over with new software in a few years.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published December 30, 2020