Are you finding it difficult to identify your best and worst selling products quickly and easily? Do you wind up with way too much or way too little inventory? Are customers placing orders for items that are out of stock?
Whether you’re selling online, in-store, or anywhere in-between – you’ll always have to take note of your inventory and be able to manage it with ease. In most cases, the old pen and paper approach just doesn't cut it.
Luckily, Shopify's inventory management has you covered. In this post, we’ll take a look at how it takes the hassle out of your everyday business operations.
The Importance of Inventory Management
In the past, we’ve talked about how you can potentially be losing money with poor inventory management – and that’s a scary realization for any business owner.
A few of the most significant benefits you can expect from a good inventory management system include:
- Never over-ordering products
- Avoiding tedious inventory recounts with a pen and paper
- Eliminating any chance of wasting money on slow moving products
- Improved efficiency and productivity by implementing devices such as barcode scanners
- Totally removing error-ridden manual processes
- Getting loyal and repeat customers by always having the products they want on hand
Let's take a look at how Shopify can help with your potential inventory woes.
Are you losing money by not using these 8 inventory management techniques?
Managing Your Inventory With Shopify
Managing several variations of a single product can be tricky if you don’t have a proper inventory management system in place.
With Shopify, you have the ability to offer any number of versions for a single product to reflect different sizes, materials, colors and more.
Setting Up and Organizing Your Products
The first step to solid inventory management is setting up and organizing all your products. There’s more to it than just assigning a barcode and giving each product a name. Think of classifications that make sense in your business.
For example, Shopify lets you group products by category, type, season, sale and more. We organize these groupings through collections. So if you're selling t-shirts, maybe you want to categorize them in a fall collection. Or, if you're selling iPhone cases, maybe you want to categorize them in a collection based on their material.
You can start to automate the organization process when you use smart collections to sort products according to price, vendor and inventory level.
Assigning Barcodes to Your Products
Depending on your business and amount of inventory you have, you might be looking to assign barcodes to your products.
Whether you have existing barcodes to be assigned to specific products, or you need to create brand new barcodes for fresh inventory you plan to stock, Shopify lets you do both.
You can use barcodes to keep track of every product you sell, and get Shopify’s wireless barcode scanner to ring in customer orders instantly on the spot anywhere if you're selling in-person.
Tracking Inventory Levels
Failing to track inventory levels can be a huge blow to your online or retail business. You’ve probably had it happen before; a customer is shopping on your store, sees an incredible product they want and completes a checkout. Little do they know that behind the scenes, it’s out of stock! You have to email them, tell them the situation, refund them, and more – it's just not a pleasant experience for anyone.
With Shopify, you can seamlessly track stock level, set up automated reminders to place orders with your supplier, or to manufacture more product when the count hits a certain number, and update inventory numbers when you receive a new shipment.
Note: If you want to continue to sell an item even when its out of stock, you can indicate longer shipping times on the product page.
Gaining Insight into Your Inventory and Sales
Which products produce the highest demand? Which are less popular? How does your inventory management reflect these trends?
Shopify’s inventory management system helps you see exactly how your inventory is moving. Why does this matter? Because it can help you plan future orders, forecast sales, create successful marketing campaigns and design special promotions around your inventory numbers.
If your store is on the Professional plan or higher, you can see a full report of sales by product with reports too!
If you're keen on learning more about inventory management and how it affects your shipping strategy, be sure to take a look at our shipping and fulfillment guide.
Added Functionality With Apps
Whatever you can think of that might make your life easier when it comes to managing your inventory, chances are the Shopify App Store has it.
With numerous inventory apps and plugins to choose from, you can sell across multiple channels, set up reminders, automatically request product reviews from customers and so much more.
A favourite app of mine is Back in Stock. If a product of yours sells out and the product page is still getting traffic, visitors can sign up to be instantly notified when the product is back in stock! Installation takes less than 30 seconds. Simply hit Get App and a button saying ‘email me when available’ will immediately appear on all relevant product pages.
Be sure to take a look at some of our top inventory management apps in the Shopify App Store.
Now that we've taken a look at how Shopify's inventory management system can help with your inventory woes, it's time to take action, get organized, and start selling.
Have any tips and tricks for staying afloat when it comes to inventory management? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Tucker Schreiber is an entrepreneur and content crafter at Shopify. He writes to inspire and educate readers on all things commerce.