5 Things to Look for in a Cloud-based Inventory Management System
Whether you are an enterprise selling your products online, or an individual business owner trying to use the various online selling platforms to make a profit, an inventory management system is a must for you. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right inventory management system for your needs.
What is an inventory management system?
An inventory management system is anything that helps your selling process to run efficiently, right from the moment a customer orders your product, to the time when it delivered to their doorstep. This means keeping track of all the orders, their locations, timings, pricing, matching the right product with the right order, labelling and dispatching. As you can see, this is an extensive process, and a lot can be done to optimize it. A simple pen-and-paper or an excel sheet can also be your inventory management system, where you can track your basic orders and deliveries, but that is very rudimentary, time-consuming, and is prone to human errors. As your business grows, you need what is known as an inventory management or inventory control software. There are many of these in the market, but it might be difficult to choose between them, especially in India where these systems have recently been introduced. So how do you choose which one is right for you? Here’s how.
Choosing the Right Inventory Management Software
1. Go for a Multi-Channel Inventory Management System
This is a must if you are an online seller. The great thing about the internet is that you can showcase your product on a lot of websites and get customers from around the world. In India, eBay, Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Shopify, etc. are some of the major online selling portals. Now, tracking orders is a time consuming job on its own. Doing the same for multiple online portals can be extremely inefficient. Thus, the multi-channel order management system. It automatically fetches and consolidates all your online orders, from various sources including your website, to a single panel, so that you can easily track them. When a product sells on any one of your online sites, the inventory on the rest of the sites gets updated automatically with the new reduced quantity. If you are an online seller being faced by the problem of handling multiple selling channels, go for a multi-channel order management system. If you are selling on a single site, going for it might incentivize you to increase your online selling presence, because it makes things so easy!
2. Efficiency and Customizability
You need a system that allows you to play with your product data as you like. Importing and exporting product information into the system and out it for offline use should be available and simple enough to do in a couple of clicks. Moreover, you should be able to create product barcodes for you to put on your items so that at the time of shipping you can simply scan the items when picking them from the warehouse. It should allow you to automatically send an email to your customers on receipt of the order, automatically prints the bill, creates a shipping barcode and processes shipping labels saves so much of your time and resources. What you have to look for is a customizable product – one that lets you choose which of these services you want to exploit and how. One that lets you create a system of management that is comfortable to you and assists you through it.
3. Inventory Alerts & Analytics
Go for a software that alerts you of the items that are low on stock, out of stock and that are committed for pending orders at any given time. It should allow you to order your products with ease when required. Furthermore, a system that provides you with detailed analytics of your online transactions is very important because now you not only have a software that assists you in inventory management, but you have one that can help you out with business strategy too. It can arm you with valuable data, for example the online channel, location and region wise order densities, order timings and product pairings. All this gives you a better perspective of your business and helps you strategize for more profit.
4. Pricing and Security
Only pay for what you get; no more, no less. Many inventory management system providers provide the basic services as freeware and then charge you as your inventory/business tends to grow, depending upon the amount of channels you want to sell from or the amount of orders you get per month. Look for scalability, because you do not want to change your pre-established systems if your provider cannot handle the amount of incoming orders. Since this is a portal through which you would do virtually all your online transactions, make sure that the software is tested and certified to be secure from malware and hacks. Safety first.
5. Try the Software
Ask your prospective Inventory management software vendor if they can provide you with a trial run. Get a feel of the software – is the UI cluttered or is it clean and sharp? Are the tracking and management systems well designed? Is there potential for inefficiency? Are there any known bugs? Go through the whole process of inventory management, starting from the incoming order to the code allotment to the final dispatch. Make sure that you are comfortable with what you are getting into.
Get in touch with us at Browntape to get assistance in getting and setting up a great inventory management system, specifically designed for ecommerce sellers in India. We will help you make the most efficient use of your resources and make the most of your online business. You can also try our 30-day free trial of Browntape’s Multi-channel Online Inventory Management.