Are you running an online business using Shopify inventory management?
Have you heard about Shopify and wondered if it could be the platform for you to launch your very own online business?
If so, you’re not alone. If you’re looking into shopping cart software, you’ve invariably encountered Shopify in your research.
For as little as $29 a month, Shopify allows users to create their own online store to sell and ship products. With an easy-to-use interface and a low monetary barrier to entry, it’s easy to see why so many people are using the platform.
That being said, for all the great things Shopify provides, there’s one key area where the platform struggles: inventory management.
Today we’ll highlight some of the problems Shopify users face when it comes to managing inventory on the platform, as well as apps you can use to solve this problem once and for all.
We’ll also go over the following:
- The best inventory management apps for Shopify
- Shopify-specific tips to help you manage inventory (without losing your sanity)
- What exactly makes a good inventory management app
- Other strategies for scaling a profitable eCommerce business
Let’s get started!
Who needs a Shopify inventory management app?
Now that we’ve established some of the issues Shopify presents regarding inventory management, let’s talk about what kind of person will benefit the most from an inventory management app.
While we believe the short answer here is “everyone,” a few common traits are found in businesses that will benefit most from utilizing this technology.
You spend a lot of time managing your inventory
If you find your inventory is managing you instead of the other way around, you’re a great candidate for inventory management software.
As an eCommerce business, the primary way you manage cash flow is through managing inventory. The two are inextricably linked.
Inventory management software can take a lot of manual tasks off your plate. Eliminate the tedious counting of products, the endless spreadsheets, and the manual tracking of your raw materials, and use that time for things that better benefit your business.
You regularly run out of stock
If your Shopify store regularly disappoints customers because you’ve oversold your stock, then an inventory management app could answer your prayers.
As we’ve pointed out, Shopify is okay at tracking some inventory items, but it struggles if you require multiple components or raw materials. Not fully tracking your supply chain can lead to disaster when you have accepted orders you can’t fulfill.
A Shopify inventory app can help eliminate this issue – and help keep your customers happy.
You struggle to keep inventory updated across multiple channels
Without an inventory management tool, keeping inventory data updated across multiple channels is a logistical nightmare.
You may be manually updating for each channel you use. You may be juggling spreadsheets. You may be making errors as you attempt to assimilate all this information into one inventory management system.
The good news is you can eliminate the headache with inventory management software. Automatic inventory updating (especially across multiple channels) is one of the main selling points of a good inventory management system.
So, if any of these examples sound like you, it’s time to start thinking about how to simplify your life and take control of your Shopify inventory by utilizing apps and software.
The good news is you have a lot of options.
19 best Shopify inventory management apps
Now that we know what Shopify’s issues are, who stands to benefit the most from inventory management software, and what to consider before you start shopping, it’s time to offer suggestions.
There are a lot of different software solutions available for Shopify users, but these 19 are the ones we like the most.
1. SkuVault Core
SkuVault Core’s Shopify inventory management software is a full-featured solution that will single-handedly solve your inventory issues.
SkuVault Core’s integration with Shopify allows you to sync quantities, sales, and products easily to help speed up your workflows and prevent oversells.
Additional features include:
- Fast implementation – SkuVault Core syncs your products automatically
- Automate inventory with Shopify. No more manual updates
- Pull orders from Shopify automatically to make fulfillment faster
- SkuVault syncs to Shopify every five minutes for more accurate data
Best of all, SkuVault Core won’t break the bank. The company reports that many users recoup the cost of their investment in 90 days.
Schedule a demo today!
2. Stock Sync Inventory Update
Stock Sync promises to help you keep track of all your inventory feeds from different sources, helping to eliminate the need to track and merge data manually or to utilize multiple programs.
It will also automatically update your data hourly or daily between warehouses, vendors, drop shippers, etc.
Other highlights include:
- Stay synced with your offline inventory system
- Provide support for multiple formats and sources
- Set time for your inventory updates
- Provide help in managing suppliers/dropshipper feed
- Enable users to remove the product from stores
Stock Sync offers a free plan and a 14-day trial version of the paid product.
3. QuickBooks Commerce (formerly TradeGecko)
QuickBooks Commerce promises to help you keep track of your inventory and orders across multiple channels and locations.
The software is fully integrated with Shopify (as well as WooCommerce, Amazon, eBay, and others).
Additional features include:
- Automate order routing
- Join orders from various source with inventory and accounting apps
- Keep track of products across channels, warehouses, fulfillment locations
- Store data for purchase histories and customer-specific insights
- Provide reports, calculations, and forecasts
QuickBooks Commerce offers a variety of plans and pricing, as well as a 14-day trial to see if it’s a good fit for you.
4. Extensiv (formerly Skubana)
Skubana isn’t one of the cheap options on this list, but it does offer a lot of bang for your buck.
This app promises to streamline all of your products, fulfillment centers, and sales channels in one platform. Skubana will also help automate your order process, freeing you from human error and wasted time.
Other highlights include:
- Import orders from all channels that you sell products on
- Print shipping labels from all main carriers
- Route your orders to 3rd-party fulfillment centers automatically
- Reveal trends, SKU-level FIFO profitability, and actionable opportunities
- View, manage and synchronize multichannel inventory
Stocky might be the solution for you if you’re looking for more advanced analytics and features. Here are just a few of its features:
- Demand forecasting
- Automatic stock updates
- Stock transfers
- Performance analysis
- Detailed analytics
If you’re selling many products on eBay, Amazon, or Etsy, then Sellbrite could be your Shopify inventory management software solution.
Sellbrite offers Shopify sellers the following:
- Automatic inventory syncing across channels
- Fulfillment by Amazon integration
- Multiple warehouse location support
Sellbrite offers tiered subscriptions based on usage. Billed annually, it starts at $24 per month for 100 orders and goes up to $149 monthly for 2,000 orders.
7. Stock Sync
If you want the most popular Shopify inventory management app (based on ratings in the Shopify app store), you’ll want to look at Stock Sync.
Here are some of the highlights of what Stock Sync has to offer:
- Suggest prioritized products to order
- Inventory forecasting, purchase orders, merchandising, and more
- Reports the number of remaining items
Try Stock Sync for 14 days for free. Affordable plans are available starting at just $5 per month.
If you need a multichannel inventory app that integrates seamlessly across all your sales channels, then ShipHero is a great option.
ShipHero’s suite of tools will help you avoid overselling and overstock and will sync to allow you to manage your sales channels from one hub.
With tools for batch order processing, returns, and more, ShipHero is an all-in-one solution for Shopify sellers.
Here are some of the features and benefits:
- Multi-warehouse inventory management
- Excellent packing, picking, and shipping functions
- Streamline shipping processes to reduce shipping costs
- Real-time tracking for both inventory and orders
- Cloud-based software can be used anywhere
- Kit creation and cycle counting
- Integrations with USPS, eBay, and Amazon
9. Zoho Inventory
Zoho Inventory is “a cloud-based inventory management software that helps you create and manage both your sales and purchase orders and track your inventory.
You can integrate it with online sales channels like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, as well as shopping carts like Shopify and many others.”
Zoho’s features and benefits include:
- Seamless CRM integration
- Tools for tracking inventory and customer experience
- Easy integration with a wide range of other software products
- Workflow tools for human resources and marketing
- Easy-to-use interface
- Works with Amazon, eBay, and Shopify accounts
Zoho offers a trial version of its software to help you determine if it’s right for your business. After that, plans start at $59/month for 1,500 orders up to $329/month for 25,000 orders.
10. Fishbowl Inventory
Fishbowl is “a hybrid manufacturing and warehouse management solution designed for small and midsize companies.
Key features include inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP), job shop floor control, work order management, manufacturer orders, and bills of materials. The solution can either be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud.”
Fishbowl offers up the following features and benefits:
- Integrates with other software, apps, and tools.
- Helps with work orders and asset management
- Full suite of analytics tools and reports
- Real-time inventory updates
- Non-expiring subscription
Fishbowl can feel a bit pricey when you first start using it, but as you integrate it into your Shopify store, it quickly pays for itself.
11. Inventory Planner
Inventory Planner is a state-of-the-art, cloud-based application designed specifically to revolutionize inventory management and planning for Shopify sellers.
The true strength of Inventory Planner lies in its ability to predict the exact products to restock and the ideal time for restocking them.
By using reliable predictions of future demand and considering things like market trends and seasons, Shopify sellers can avoid having too many items that don’t sell well or running out of items when demand is high.
Inventory Planner empowers Shopify sellers to make smarter, data-driven replenishment decisions through its pinpoint, accurate forecasting, in-depth analysis, and user-friendly inventory reporting.
- Seamless Shopify Integration
- Intelligent Demand Forecasting
- Automated Replenishment Recommendations
- Multi-Channel Management
- User-Friendly Interface
Veeqo is “the inventory and shipping platform for ecommerce.”
They help online retailers deliver the experience their customers deserve. Veeqo syncs inventory across the world’s most popular eCommerce sales channels — including Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Walmart — giving you an inventory you can trust 100% of the time.
Beyond that, the software integrates with popular shipping companies as well.
Benefits and features include:
- Excellent customer service and support
- Easy integration with multiple channels
- 21 different shipping order integrations
- Intuitive interface and easy-to-navigate backend
Many inventory management tools on this list are designed to work with Shopify and other platforms and channels.
However, if you’re looking for a tool focused solely on Shopify, then Katana could be the beginning and end of your search.
Since Katana is an accredited Shopify partner, you know you’ll get a software solution that works perfectly with the platform.
If you need inventory management just for Shopify, you’ll definitely want to look into this solution.
Katana’s features include:
- Ability to streamline inventory tracking for manufacturing
- An automatic booking engine
- A sales fulfillment syncing portal
- Easy to use, intuitive interface
SellerCloud is another inventory management solution designed to help you maximize profits on a wide range of channels, including Shopify.
The software promises to “simplify your operations and expand to more channels. Seamlessly control your inventory, catalog, purchasing, and fulfillment.”
It can help you achieve these goals with the following features:
- Simple and convenient supply chain management
- Sync all of your orders and inventory fast
- No need to maintain separate connections with suppliers
- Reorder features for quick and easy selling
- Convenient tools
- Pricing is straightforward and transparent
ChannelAdvisor will help you “streamline your e-commerce operations, expand to new channels and grow sales — all from a single, centralized platform.” And they’ve worked with companies like Asics, Party City, and Kitchen-Aid, so this isn’t just marketing hyperbole.
ChannelAdvisor isn’t solely a tool for Shopify sellers, but the software will work with the platform and can simplify managing your Shopify store.
Here are some of the features of this software:
- Excellent customer service and support
- Manage orders across multiple marketplaces
- Customizable interface options for your specific needs
- Variable rate pricing
- Convenient layout
NChannel is another cloud-based inventory management solution. This will integrate your sales channels (like Shopify) with your order fulfillment system.
The benefit here is that by syncing your sales and fulfillment, you’ll be better able to avoid things like stockouts, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction and lost sales.
Here are some of the software features and benefits:
- Convenient solutions for companies with lots of data
- Integrates with a wide range of apps and software
- Easy to use, highly customizable interface
- Great for tracking orders
- Updates stock levels in real-time
Starting at $400 a month, NChannel is a pricey option. The lack of a free or trial version is also disappointing, but you can connect with the team and schedule a demo to see if it’s a potential solution for your business.
If you have multiple Shopify storefronts and want to keep your inventory synced across all of them, Syncio is a product you should consider.
This app provides “real-time inventory sync, product information, and orders across multiple Shopify stores in just a few clicks.”
Here are some of the key features:
- Group all product information or map by inventory
- Display products across multiple Shopify stores
- Update inventory status in real time
- Requires no CSV files
- Customize product description and price
Syncio offers a free 14-day trial, and has plans ranging from $19.99/month to $129/month.
18. Simple Inventory
As the name implies, Simple Inventory is dedicated to making your inventory management easier thanks to automation.
While not a full-fledged inventory software management suite, Simply Inventory is a good starter app for new sellers on the Shopify platform.
The affordable price and basic functionality will help sellers get started and bridge the gap until they need more options and scalability solutions.
Features and benefits include:
- Easily update the price of your products
- Update inventory by SKU
- Save CSV files and re-upload it to Shopify
- Quickly export products to a simple CSV file
- Automate the process of uploading inventories
Simple Inventory is one of the most affordable options here. Prices start at $4.99/month.
SyncLogic was the first Shopify store-syncing app, and they’re still around for sellers who need to manage their inventories across multiple storefronts.
SyncLogic “extends the reach of your products beyond one store. The app allows you to add a group of products from one store to another and have the changes made to the original product reflect on the connected store.”
Features of SyncLogic include:
- Connect and sync operations
- Customize the price and product description
- Configure price conversions
- Integrates with dropshippers and wholesalers
What is inventory management?
Before we get to the problems and solutions portion of this post, we should take a moment to talk about inventory management.
Inventory management is, in the simplest terms, a system for tracking all of the products and raw materials you use in your business.
Pretty simple, right?
While the definition of inventory management is easy to understand, the execution can be a bit more challenging – particularly as your company grows.
Whether you’re a Shopify seller with a single product or a Fortune 500 company with supply chains that span the globe and multiple warehouse locations, understanding inventory management is vital to your success.
Why is inventory management important?
At this point, you may wonder why inventory management is so important. Here’s why.
Inventory management is vital for companies for several reasons – the primary one being that it reduces costs in raw materials and human resources.
Beyond that, inventory helps keep your customers happy by preventing kinks in your supply chain that can lead to delays.
Because of this and how complex the supply chain can get for large companies, inventory control can literally be the difference between astronomical success and catastrophic failure.
Companies with good inventory management systems are far more likely to find success than their competitors that are less invested.
In practical terms, inventory management can save you from losing sales because you don’t have enough products to meet demand. It can also save you from sinking money into carrying excess inventory you don’t need.
And on top of that, it can help you avoid disappointing your customers by taking orders you can’t fulfill.
As your business grows, inventory management becomes increasingly more important, so it’s crucial to have the right tools to keep you on track.
Common problems with Shopify inventory management
Now that we know what inventory management is and why it matters let’s talk about some issues with managing your inventory directly through Shopify.
1. Raw material inventory management
Shopify is great for drop shippers and resellers. Still, if you actually make your product and require maintaining an inventory of raw materials to make said product, you’ll probably find the platform a bit lacking.
Say, for example, you make barbells for weightlifters. Shopify is pretty good at tracking the number of barbells you have for sale at any given moment, but what about all the materials you need to track to make those barbells? Can it track the steel, the bushings, the sleeves, and so on?
Unfortunately, no. Shopify has no option to track raw materials – meaning you’ll need either a separate app to track your raw materials or manually on a spreadsheet. This is not a great use of your time, and the additional steps leave room for human error to pervade.
We talked earlier about how inventory management prevents problems for your business by ensuring you never have too much or too little inventory.
Too much inventory costs you money for storage and sitting on materials and products. Too little inventory costs you money because you can’t fulfill orders if you don’t have a product.
Knowing when to reorder or not reorder is incredibly valuable.
Which makes it too bad Shopify doesn’t provide you with this information.
Couple this with the fact that Shopify will also not track your raw materials, and there’s a recipe for disaster brewing.
If you’re relying solely on Shopify to track inventory, you have one option here – manually track your inventory so you know when to reorder. That’s not a good use of your time nor a particularly efficient inventory management method in the 21st century.
3. Batch, serial, and expiry tracking
If you run a business where you face recalls or sell products that can expire, then you understand the importance of being able to track your inventory by batch, serial or expiry dates.
And again, Shopify doesn’t offer this sort of tracking, meaning you’ll be spending lots of time recording things on spreadsheets, reconciling different sheets if there’s some recall, and basically doing a lot of manual labor you could avoid.
Shopify will leave you frustrated if you need to track your inventory by these metrics.
4. Reports and analytics
In this day and age, analytics are everything.
If you’re not looking through your reports and analyzing data and results, you’re probably missing out on valuable insights that could help you take your business to another level.
Shopify does offer some reports and analytics, but unfortunately, most of these are of the superficial variety. Shopify’s great at telling how much of a product you’ve sold, but if you want to take a deeper dive and look at stats like your margins or just pure profit, you’re bound to be disappointed.
These are just some reports the platform lacks – there are obviously more. If you’re really dedicated to understanding your analytics and like detailed reports to help guide your decisions, Shopify will likely come up short.
These are just four Shopify inventory management issues we see most frequently. Some are specific to certain industries, but these are the most common.
The good news is it’s possible to overcome all of these issues (and many others) by adding inventory management software that helps Shopify operate more efficiently.
What to consider when choosing an inventory management app
Hopefully, by now, you’ll see how a Shopify inventory management app can take your Shopify selling experience to the next level.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, here are some things to consider before we dive into the actual apps and their features and benefits:
The size of your team
In the Software as a Service space, many companies offer apps and programs with a monthly fee rather than a flat-out purchase price.
There can be a lot of variables when figuring out your monthly rate – and one of the biggest revolves around the number of users who will be utilizing the service.
Many companies offer tiered pricing, and companies with fewer users will generally pay less per month. As such, it can be worthwhile to sit down before exploring options and figure out how many users you’ll need – and eliminate those without access.
How much inventory are you tracking?
There are Shopify app and software options out there for almost every kind of business imaginable – and at almost every size imaginable.
One of the key things to consider is how much inventory you need to track. There’s no need in buying a product designed with multichannel functionality and a ton of bells and whistles if you’re essentially only selling on one platform and one channel.
That being said, don’t sell your business short. Will you expand in the future? Will you have more channels? Will you need raw material management? If you think you will, then it’s better to plan for that now. It’s easier to buy software with things you might need in the imminent future and not need them than to buy what you need today and have to upgrade a year or two down the road.
What kind of inventory are you managing?
As discussed earlier, not all inventory is the same.
One of Shopify’s biggest shortcomings is that it doesn’t track raw materials nor does it track batches and expiry dates.
If you have products where raw material inventory management is important, or where rotating expired stock out of inventory is part of your process, you’ll want to find a software solution that caters to those specific needs.
What is your budget?
It’s always good to know what you want to spend before you start shopping.
The good news is that there are solutions for almost every budget. You can break the bank and go big with a service that offers every conceivable bell and whistle, you can find the middle ground and find the perfect balance between price and functionality, or you can dip your toes into the water with products that have fewer features, but are super affordable (or in some cases, free).
What other software and applications are you using? You’ll want to make sure to consider how they’ll work with your new Shopify solution.
There’s nothing worse than making a decision only to realize that your new software or app isn’t compatible with things you’re already using – other than actually buying the app or software and then realizing the problem.
Head off this potential issue early on by listing all the tools you’re using to ensure everything integrates smoothly.
We fully believe that Shopify is an amazing tool. It’s lowered the bar for starting a business and allowed countless people to chase their entrepreneurial dreams.
And yet, for as great as it is, it still falls short in a few key areas. Inventory management is an important part of running a successful business, and Shopify’s inventory management tools are underwhelming at best.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of fantastic apps that can help you manage your inventory like a giant corporation with huge supply chains and countless distribution centers.
And even if you don’t want to be the next Amazon, other apps will help you guarantee you’re never out of stock – and they won’t break the bank in the process.
No matter what solution you choose, it’s important to understand that managing your inventory is one of the key components to building a successful business.
It can help you save money by preventing you from carrying excess inventory, preventing you from overselling items, and keeping your customers happy by ensuring that you can fulfill their orders.
In short, good inventory management can be the difference between success and failure for your business.
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