A question for e-commerce business owners: When did you feel like you’d really ‘made it’ in the online sales game?
There are several milestones on the road to success. But one of the most significant steps on the journey from ‘small fry’ to ‘big time’ is expanding your range of ecommerce sales channels. Becoming an Amazon seller, in particular, opens up opportunities to build your brand and do business on a much bigger stage.
If that’s where you’re at, congrats! You’re clearly doing something right. But now isn’t the time to sit back and bask in your ecommerce business glory. Why? Because to succeed in seller central on Amazon, you’ll need to make constant tweaks and adjustments to remain competitive. On a platform that hosts around 9.7 million sellers worldwide, all hoping to hit the big time, that includes investing in the right Amazon inventory management software.
Not quite ready to be an Amazon seller yet? Nothing wrong with that, all in good time. But there’s no harm in getting your research down in advance, right?
In this handy guide, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know to help you make the best inventory management software decision. We’ll cover:
- Amazon’s in-house inventory tools
- Why inventory management software matters for Amazon sellers
- Key Features to Consider
- Recommended inventory management software for Amazon sellers
- How to choose the right inventory software for your Amazon business
Amazon’s in-house inventory management tools
As one of the biggest ballers in the ecommerce game, it’s no surprise that Amazon has its own inventory management system, complete will tools and methodologies available to all Amazon sellers. The most notable is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
How does FBA inventory work? Easy. You simply send your goods to Amazon fulfillment centers, and they take care of the rest.
Amazon’s inventory placement options give you the choice of splitting products between multiple fulfillment centers or consolidating everything into one. Either way, when a customer places an order, FBA inventory is picked, packed, and shipped by Amazon on your behalf.
Why invest in independent inventory management software?
We know what you’re thinking. If Amazon’s in-house software can do the job for me, why do I need a stand-alone solution?
It’s a fair question, especially because the Amazon inventory management system does offer some pretty neat advantages:
- Prime eligibility – Products fulfilled by Amazon are usually eligible for Amazon Prime‘s fast and free shipping, which can increase visibility and sales potential.
- Customer trust – Customers often have more confidence in products fulfilled by Amazon, knowing that the shipping and customer service will be handled by a known (i.e., reliable) entity.
- Multi-channel fulfillment – FBA inventory can expand your reach by fulfilling orders from multiple sales channels, not just Amazon.
So no, we’re not suggesting you opt out of Amazon inventory management software altogether. However, there are several reasons why most Amazon sellers choose to invest in standalone inventory management software in addition to using the available in-house tools:
- Advanced features – Standalone solutions offer more advanced features than Amazon inventory management software, which is especially beneficial for sellers with complex inventory needs.
- Multi-channel selling – If your goal isn’t to sell primarily on Amazon and you want to utilize your own website and other sales channels too, a centralized inventory management system will likely suit you better.
- Customization – The level of customization needed to meet your specific business requirements may not be available using the Amazon inventory management system alone.
- Scalability – As your ecommerce business empire grows, software that encompasses the entire inventory management process is more adaptable to your changing needs and preferences.
- Support – As an Amazon seller, you’re a small fish in a huge pond, and tapping into assistance can be more challenging with Amazon than through a dedicated inventory software provider.
Why inventory management software matters for Amazon sellers
Why does your choice of inventory management tool matter? Because the right software facilitates stress-free selling experiences.
Let’s face it, running an Amazon business can sometimes feel like riding a thrilling roller coaster. The trick is to keep it feeling fun – without it turning into a white-knuckle experience! That’s where having the right Amazon inventory management tools comes in.
With the right system at your disposal, you stand to reap many additional benefits:
Sales and reputation
Satisfied customers are your biggest advocates, and in the competitive world of ecommerce, sales and reputation are intertwined. With proper inventory management, you’re not just playing the numbers game. You’re building trust and loyalty, making customers want to come back for more of your Amazon inventory.
Top tip: It’s always worth reaching out to your consumers to gather feedback. Remember, a typical business will only hear from 4% of dissatisfied customers. However, those customers might tell up to 20 other people about their poor experiences.
Avoiding understocking and excess inventory
In the land of ecommerce, overstocking is like inviting too many guests to a party – you end up with more potato chips than the entire neighborhood can munch. As for understocking, that’s like hosting a party without enough chairs.
Inventory software helps you find that Goldilocks zone so you can avoid the perils of poor inventory management at both ends of the scale, maintaining just the right amount to keep sales flowing while also keeping stock levels and storage costs in check.
How to keep track of Amazon inventory?
It’s super simple! Your chosen inventory system syncs with your Amazon store and accounting software, tracking every sale and restock. While you’re kicking back sipping your morning coffee, your software is hard at work making sure your inventory is always up to date. And unlike when you rely on manual input, there’s no human error. So you have unwavering peace of mind every time.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to ditch spreadsheet juggling for good and not have to worry about decoding cryptic scribbles on shipping labels, etc? Well, now you can! The best inventory management tools work in harmony with your fulfillment processes, automating key tasks to ensure your products make their way to delighted customers with lightning speed.
The best inventory management features don’t just manage your stock, they’re your business analyst too. They help you crunch numbers, predict trends, and make smarter inventory forecasting decisions based on pinpoint accurate stock levels.
Transparent data insights are akin to having x-ray vision into your business. Wondering which products are flying off the shelves? Curious about slow-movers? Inventory management tools whisper these secrets in your ear so you can call shots like a pro.
Key features of kickass Amazon inventory management software
Inventory management software isn’t just about methodical organization. It’s a superpower that helps retailers boost sales, nail customer satisfaction, and bring calm to the ecommerce chaos.
Choosing the best Amazon inventory management software for your business is like packing all the right goodies into your day bag and backpack for your adventure into seller central. Let’s explore the essential features that will help to make your journey plain sailing.
Like, duh! Integration is a vital puzzle piece in traversing the complex Amazon sales landscape. So, this is obviously top on your list of requirements.
Proper integration means you can manage your entire inventory process from one centralized ecommerce platform. No more navigating multiple inventory management systems or losing time to data transfer. You’ll want an inventory management tool that can manage high volumes of orders from Amazon alongside various other sales channels so you can grow your business.
For example, if you choose Linnworks to help you manage inventory, you can reach shoppers everywhere they spend time online with an Amazon seller account. It’s like having a GPS system that syncs effortlessly with Amazon’s intricate roads, all fitted within a robust vehicle that’s tailor-made for the terrain you’re traversing. With a Linnworks Amazon business account, you can:
- Send stock to your FBA locations in just a few clicks.
- Manage your Amazon inventory, orders, shipping labels, etc., from one intuitive interface.
- Synch stock levels across multiple sales channels.
- Scale to new markets through Amazon’s international sites.
- Reach new audiences selling B2B through Amazon Business.
Imagine trekking through the Amazon sales jungle with a map that only updates once a day. Not very helpful, right?
Unreliable product tracking data and poor inventory management are the arch-nemesis of all ambitious ecommerce businesses. But there is a solution: real-time inventory tracking. With up-to-the-minute updates, you’re always in the know.
But, how does it work? We won’t get into the back-end coding complexities. Mainly because it’s incredibly boring. But also because you don’t need to know about that to track inventory efficiently on your user dashboard.
Whichever Amazon inventory management tool you select, the software constantly monitors stock levels, automatically updating listings across multiple sales channels to help you dodge stockouts and overstocking pitfalls whenever a customer hits the ‘buy now’ button.
Multiple channels sales support
Ready to handle orders from multiple sales channels without breaking a sweat? That’s the power of multi-channel support.
No savvy explorer limits themselves to a single path. Similarly, to create a successful business, you’ll be looking to expand your horizons beyond Amazon’s borders.
The best inventory management software is like a versatile Swiss Army knife, allowing you to switch between various sales channels with ease. From eBay to Shopify and from your own website to Amazon, having a unified dashboard to manage listings helps you save time, eliminate human error, and broaden your reach.
Inventory forecasting and demand planning
Inventory management tools are often likened to having a crystal ball capable of telling you which products are about to become the next big thing. And while they can’t promise actual magic, predictive analytics functions come pretty close.
Demand forecasting features incorporated into your Amazon inventory management software help you analyze past sales data to identify trends, market shifts, and seasonal spikes, giving you actionable insights into the future. It’s a bit like having an inbuilt weatherman to help you manage listings based on sales history patterns so you can stock up when demand is predicted to surge and avoid overcommitting once the storm has passed.
Forecasting software can also be instrumental in helping you save time on tasks such as:
- Identifying tipping points for competitive pricing.
- Optimizing reorder points.
- Managing sales and promotions.
- Managing relationships with suppliers and shipping carriers.
Purchase and order management
Managing inventory can be compared to the challenge of keeping a finely tuned machine running. Your inventory management software acts as the engineer, ensuring all parts work seamlessly. Another way to look at it – it’s your backstage mechanical crew that ensures that every show goes off without a hitch.
Advanced Amazon inventory management tools streamline all of your processes, from warehouse operations to shipping management, ensuring a smooth process every time a customer makes a purchase. Your managers should be able to leverage your chosen software solution to:
- Improve operational logistics to prevent mishandling inventory and fulfill orders more efficiently.
- Automate workflows for invoicing and generating purchase orders.
- Utilize advanced replenishment statistics to plan inventory counts at optimal times.
Reporting and analytics
In the realm of Amazon selling, data is always the best compass to guide you on your voyage. Think of inventory management reporting and analytics as your primary navigation system, offering insights into the route ahead by providing detailed reports on product performance, inventory turnover rates, and market shifts, etc.
Imagine you’re at the helm of a ship (which, in a way, you are!) equipped with a sophisticated radar system. As you sail through the Amazon marketplace, your inventory management software collects and processes data in real time, transforming it into detailed reports that provide a panoramic view of your business’s health.
The best Amazon inventory management tools can also help you identify essential trends over time, like the steady growth of a particular product category or the declining popularity of others. Armed with this information, you can steer your ship confidently, making well-informed decisions that chart a course to success.
Workflow automation and alerts
Imagine having a kickass personal assistant that works 24/7, perfectly predicting your needs at every turn and taking care of all those tedious routine tasks that feel like a waste of your valuable time.
Great news – that assistant exists in the form of workflow automation! Automation is the best assistant you could ever wish for, happily plugging away at repetitive chores while you focus on driving your ecommerce business forward. Plus, with automated alerts to keep you vigilant when inventory levels are running low, your automated assistant fills an additional role as a vigilant lookout, permanently on night watch so you don’t have to be.
With order management workflows automated and optimized, you’re able to sell on multiple marketplaces with ease while also:
- Eliminating poor customer service caused by low-on-stock scenarios.
- Saving money on storage and carrying costs.
- Improving shipment tracking processes.
Recommended inventory management software for Amazon sellers
Being an Amazon seller can be overwhelming at times. As many retail entrepreneurs already know, learning all the intricate workings of this ecommerce powerhouse is no small feat. But with the best Amazon inventory management tools in play, you can keep obstacles to a minimum and your eyes on the prize of glittering business success.
Enter Linnworks and SkuVault Core, two exceptional tools that take center stage. Let’s delve into the features and inner workings of each to discover why they’re the best-in-class software solutions for Amazon inventory management.
Linnworks Amazon inventory management software
Linnworks is your all-in-one command center for managing Amazon inventory. Offering an array of features designed to simplify complex operations and drive efficiency across various ecommerce sales channels, the platform integrates seamlessly with your Amazon store, allowing you to manage multiple platforms from a single dashboard.
A comprehensive order management solution and inventory tracker combined, Linnworks incorporates synching capabilities with accounting software, shipping software, and inventory control to help Amazon sellers streamline every step of their ecommerce journey.
Key features of Linnworks inventory control software
Multichannel integration – Manage multiple online sales channels, including Amazon, eBay, and Shopify, with many more in the pipeline (QuickBooks commerce integration soon, woohoo!).
Real-time inventory management – Stay informed about stock levels to prevent stockouts and optimize inventory turnover.
Optimized workflows – Automate order management from processing through to fulfillment to reduce errors and improve inventory data accuracy.
Forecasting and demand planning – Predict future demand trends to make informed, data-driven decisions about inventory levels and promotions.
Reporting and analytics – Pull off custom detailed reports on product performance, sales history, seasonal trends, and more.
See? We’re not so cheeky to imply that just because we created this inventory management tool, it will be perfect for everyone. Although, we are as confident as we can be that it’s as close to flawless as possible.
The biggest potential hurdle is that because the system is so comprehensive, there might be a steeper learning curve for users with no experience using inventory management software. That said, the platform provides extensive resources, tutorials, and unwavering customer support to help get you up to speed.
Case Study: JAF Comics – A scalable business made possible with Linnworks inventory management
Newsflash: Linnworks isn’t just for online stores! Physical store owners can also reap the benefits, as JAF Comics found out…
The need to open a brick-and-mortar location became apparent when comic enthusiasts kept turning up at JAF headquarters, hoping to buy physical copies. Partnering with Linnworks enabled the JAF team to open an 800 square foot comic shop that quickly experienced a 10x growth spurt to become a fully-fledged 8000 square foot retail store.
“Linnworks literally changed and morphed the business to what it is today. It made the business scalable. And we receive great support. If I have an issue, the team always works quickly to resolve it or provide helpful recommendations.” – John Hohn, Owner.
SkuVault Core Amazon inventory management software
SkuVault Core is a powerhouse Amazon order management solution that focuses on accurate inventory control and streamlined operations. It allows users to connect multiple sales channels, organize warehouses, and manage inventory more efficiently by trading old-school spreadsheets for easy-to-use software.
A dedicated software tool designed to enhance inventory accuracy and order efficiency, the team at SkuVault Core are committed to ensuring your customers receive the right products on time, every time.
Key features of SkuVault Core inventory control software
Advanced inventory control – Use sophisticated tracking and barcoding technology to ensure precise control over inventory levels, reduce pesky manual input errors, and improve overall efficiency.
Order accuracy – Minimize the risk of order mistakes, enhance customer experiences, make more money, and achieve real-time inventory visibility with kitting and bundling.
Warehouse management – Use advanced tools to optimize all your warehouse operations, from picking and packing to shipping management and returns.
Cycle counting – Run regular inventory audits to maintain accurate data on stock levels at all times.
Seamless integration – Integrate effortlessly with Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, and other ecommerce platforms like QuickBooks commerce, ChannelAdvisor, and ShipStation.
SkuVault Core is known for its robust inventory control and warehouse management features, so it’s fair to say its core strength lies in warehouse operations. The platform does integrate with various ecommerce platforms. However, for sellers seeking broader multichannel features – like order processing and automation – it might not be the best Amazon inventory management solution.
Case study: Shively Sporting Goods – How a troubled retailer pivoted their ecommerce approach with SkuVault Core
When a vendor relationship crashed and burned, the team at Shively Sporting Goods realized that they were facing a concentration risk with too much dependence on Amazon. With the future of the business in serious jeopardy, the Shively team completely pivoted their approach. By partnering with SkuVault Core, they were able to streamline warehouse operations to build a powerful ecommerce machine that didn’t rely solely on Amazon.
“Without SkuVault Core, I don’t know what we would have done. It was a very, very scary time. Other platforms are confusing, but with SkuVault Core, everything is user friendly and there’s not a huge learning curve to access the inventory data.” – Adam Flanders, Online sales executive and ecommerce lead.
Linnworks Vs SkuVault Core: Which is best for your online sales channels?
When choosing between SkuVault Core and Linnworks inventory management software, you should carefully consider your specific needs and business goals. Here’s a quick comparison to help you decide:
- Features – Linnworks offers comprehensive multichannel integration and automation, while SkuVault Core shines in advanced inventory control and warehouse management.
- Pricing – Both solutions offer customizable pricing based on your business size and requirements.
- Scalability – Linnworks suits businesses with diverse sales channels, whereas SkuVault Core is better suited to those seeking precise stock control.
- User reviews – Both solutions have positive user feedback, with Linnworks praised for its multichannel capabilities and SkuVault Core lauded for its warehouse management features.
How to choose the right software solution for your Amazon business
In a vast sea of options, selecting the perfect inventory management software for your Amazon business can feel like finding the North Star. But fear not. The Linnworks team has compiled a quick step-by-step guide to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
1. Assess your business needs
Just like any entrepreneurial admiral worthy of the title, you’ll need to conduct a thorough once-over of your vessel before you can pick the right Amazon inventory management tools. That involves giving the following questions some serious contemplation:
- Sales channels – Are you fixed solely on Amazon? Or do you operate on another ecommerce platform or across multiple channels?
- Inventory complexity – Do you offer a wide range of products with varying attributes?
- Order management – How many orders do you handle on a daily or monthly basis?
- Inventory integration – Do you require integration with CRM, shipping, or accounting software?
2. Budget considerations
Budgeting for Amazon inventory management software involves allocating funds for all provisions you’ll need to sail your metaphorical ecommerce ship. So it’s crucial you assess both short-term costs and long-term value:
- Upfront costs – Is there an initial investment or setup fee?
- Subscription plans – What are the ongoing monthly or annual subscription costs?
- Value vs. cost – Compare the features of each software solution on your shortlist against its price to determine cost-effectiveness.
Yep, we’re sticking with the ship analogy here! Much like a ship built to weather various conditions, your software should be able to handle your business’s growth. The best Amazon inventory management tool for your future needs will be scalable and able to adapt to ever-changing forecast demand. Look for:
- Flexible plans – Does the software offer different tiers or plans to accommodate potential expansion as your ecommerce business grows?
- Additional features – Can you easily upgrade and tap into levels of advanced functionality as your business evolves?
- Integration options – Will the software integrate smoothly with new sales channels or other inventory management tools you might adopt in the future?
4. User experience and support
Just as a ship’s crew relies on navigational instruments, your teams rely on your chosen inventory software solutions to guide operations. It’s therefore vital that all the processes you put in place to save time – from warehouse logistics to shipment tracking – are user-friendly. You’ll also need robust customer support in case you encounter any unexpected waves:
- Ease of use – Is the software interface intuitive and easy to navigate?
- Training and onboarding – Are there ample resources and training materials to help you get up to speed?
- Customer support – Is help available 24/7 for troubleshooting and assistance?
Ready to begin your Amazon inventory adventure?
Whether you choose Linnworks, SkuVault Core, or another centralized inventory management system, your software solution should be your trusted sidekick, equipped with all the demand forecasting tools you need to navigate, track, and conquer any challenges that come your way.
Remember that none of the features we’ve listed here are mere bells and whistles. They’re the wings you need to help your ecommerce business take flight. So embrace them, and get ready to soar toward success!