I've been running an ecommerce store for several months now, and the biggest issue has been inventory management. We have many products, being sold from our online store, eBay, and Amazon, and managing the overall inventory counts is tough. Right now I manually update all the numbers that come in from eBay and Amazon and use the actual store as the overall count (as orders from the store automatically deduct the count). This is tedious and inefficient.
What are the options for inventory management aside from this (where you're selling from multiple online sources)?
I'm thinking a barcode scanner where we put a barcode on each product, and then just scan it in when it comes in, and scan it out when it is shipped. Anyone have experience with this? What is the cost? Barcode scanners are relatively cheap, but what about the program that actually manages this? Where do you recommend?
Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.
Although I don't have a direct/specific suggestion as to software, have you done some general google searches for 'Inventory Management Software'? Generally speaking, the way I go about solving a problem like this is to find some options, jot down the features/functionality you like of each, then do a comparison. You can also reach out directly to the software providers and drill them with questions specific to your business. I'm sure you'll also get some good feedback here from the community too.
Thanks for your time. Yes, I have searched that and lots of other stuff quite a lot, but am yet to find something easy to setup. I'm surprised that there is no simple, cheap solution. For ecommerce and managing inventory, I'm thinking barcodes are the easiest if I'm selling across multiple platforms.
Anyone with experience in this have tips? Thanks
What you're looking for is small business warehouse management applications which certainly exist although to your point they're rarely simple unless they're, well, simple. This is because of the extreme variation in how products are handled... as you scale up the implementations become larger but more standard [there's specific events / training for this stuff].
If you're not doing anything to manage inbound & outbound inventory that does put you in a good place as you can find a total solution rather than pieces. Essentially this will start with recording [either by carton / scanner / manual entry] inbound shipments, matching those against orders through an API from your order management system [OMS] and ideally hook into shipping to "know" what's outbound. If you have a pick, pack & ship team you'd want it to go one step further and cross associate their scans as they fill orders. This all loops back to your various partners through the OMS or directly to keep inventory accurate either in real time or frequent batches so you're not risking overselling.
Cross platform sales should not be an issue so long as orders funnel back into a central OMS. If not then you have to hook into each place which is a pain for integration and essentially would turn your warehouse management tool into your OMS... Essentially you want a place all orders are held, all customers are merged, and all products live that feeds in and out of everything else.
Of course my answer implies some level of scale. If you're really small you're not likely to find a dedicated program that will fit your needs AND budget but a good central OMS can handle the basic counting and help prevent out of stock.
Since you're in CO you may want to check out shop.org's conference this September. It's a great place to hear about the latest in ecommerce best practices as well as meet a lot of vendors in the space.
I use imonggo for my inventory and invoice separately from my ecommerce site. For all in one pac ecommerce+inventory would be a little expensive. i have seen kassanova+virtuemart. but for ebay? I dont know if virtuemart provide that.
It must be coincidence I am also using Imonggo for Inventry control and trust me it has given me quite satisfactory results.