Inventory Software Review
Why Inventory Software?
Businesses run on products, and if you don't keep close track of the products and materials that go in and out of your business, you could be letting money slip through your fingers. Inventory control software makes it easy to manage inventory, whether you have a single store of basic products or a suite of online and physical stores that sell individual products and kits. Inventory management software sometimes includes point-of-sale software, but if you need this kind of product specifically, check out our POS software reviews.
Here, you'll find the best inventory control software, including stand-alone programs and cloud-based Software as a Service. Check out the top three: TradeGecko, inFlow and iMagic Inventory, and peruse the others to see if they have specific features to meet your needs. If you'd like to learn more, read our learning center articles about inventory management.
Inventory Software: What to Look For
The best inventory control software does more than just track the flow of products in and out of your warehouse. It should alert you to inventory issues, handle different kinds of orders and work with your business wherever it is. It should also give you the reporting tools you need to see how your business is faring. Overall, we found these features of prime importance.
The best inventory software is easy to use. We examined the programs for how easily you could find and use features, how modern and intuitive the interface is, and how easy it is to see and find the information you need. Some programs with older interfaces or windows set to a single small size were less usable than those with updated menu styles or large windows.
Good inventory software should allow you to see your overall inventory levels and look at individual items to determine their sales and resupply history. Being able to track these by lot or serial numbers makes it easier to find specific groups of products. It's also important to track returns and handle reorders. Some software warns you if inventory gets low; others include reports to show you what products need reordering.
All the programs we considered allowed you to bulk import your inventory from a CSV file or to add products independently, but the best also worked with barcode scanners or integrated with eCommerce shopping cart software. eCommerce integration is especially useful when you sell through an online store because it can track your online sales in addition to your sales in physical stores. Thus, you can track all your inventory automatically, no matter where you sell.
Consignments and perishable products can present unique challenges to a retailer, so if you deal with these kinds of products, look for inventory software that specifically meets these needs.
The best inventory does more than count beans; it calculates their costs. Look for software that allows the configuration of special taxes, handles multiple currencies and sets sale taxes according to your specifics. Being able to handle orders, including partial and recurring orders, is a plus.
Database tools, like adding notes to products or customer databases and attaching product images, enhance the information you have about a given product. Images are especially useful when you have several products with similar names. Customizable reports make it easy to view the information you need. Having the customer and supplier database on the program makes it easy to create orders and check on specific sales.
Security is important, so being able to assign permissions to users lets you control what areas they have access to. Some programs allow access to specific areas, while some allow a read-only/read-and-write interface.
If you work with other warehouses, businesses or nations, look for programs with features to combine numbers or view the locations separately. Web access lets you use the program in multiple areas, while a mobile app lets you get information or work inventory through your phone or tablet. This is especially handy if you sell products at trade shows or craft fairs.
If you need to move data to crunch numbers using a different program, look for tools that export to the format you need. Some of the programs integrate naturally with QuickBooks.
Help & Support
Every program has a learning curve, and inventory software programs have many features to master. The learnability score takes into account how easy it is to get the hang of the tools and to find hints or directions for the less intuitive features.
The top ten products are easy to manipulate. However, the knowledgebase proved vital for learning nearly every program; some of the best of the ten provided videos as well. If the knowledgebase cannot answer your question, you'll want to contact support directly. Nearly all the services had email support, while others also provide phone support. Only a few offered live chat support. A few offered more intense, dedicated support for a limited time.
Whether you are just starting your business or have been around for years, having strong control on your inventory can help you succeed. Inventory control software can give you the tools you need to tackle this sometimes-tricky task.