Inventory Management

Best Alternatives to Managing Warehouse Stock in Excel

  • Written by Rachael Pilcher
Best Alternatives to Managing Warehouse Stock in Excel

When you’re starting out as an ecommerce seller, Excel spreadsheets are a logical choice for managing stock and inventory. Excel is free if you use the web-based version, and it’s a convenient solution to help you track and update incoming and outgoing stock.

But there’s a point in your business growth where spreadsheets can start seriously eating away at your time, and causing more problems than they solve. 

If business is booming, but you’re still clinging to Excel like it’s 1987, there are some fantastic new solutions out there to help you improve your end-to-end warehouse efficiency. And some of them are completely free to use!

In this article, we’re checking out the best alternatives to managing warehouse stock in Excel. Plus, we’ll show you how Veeqo’s free, user-friendly software can help you effortlessly manage warehousing, inventory, shipping, and more — in one central place.

Disadvantages of using Excel for warehouse stock management

When you’re selling at scale, Excel starts to present a number of challenges for your ecommerce business. And as a high-volume retailer, there’s no room for error.

Lack of scalability

There are only so many hours in the day, and inputting new figures into your spreadsheet as large volumes of stock go in and out can take up a ton of time for your team.

If you’re managing multiple sales channels, the sheer volume of data that needs to be managed each day can make it challenging to update Excel effectively and accurately.

Data error risks

Busy warehouse staff have to enter and update warehouse stock manually in Excel sheets, which can leave the door wide open for errors. 

Multiple people might be operating in a spreadsheet at the same time, or in different versions of the same sheet as they try to keep stock levels correct. And with high volumes of orders, your Excel data is often obsolete the moment it’s typed in.

These data errors can have a significant impact on your bottom line, and on customer satisfaction and sales. Incorrect data input and formula miscalculations can quickly lead to stocktaking chaos, overstocks, and stockouts, which can all result in unhappy shoppers.

In addition, Excel’s lack of integrations means you might also have to re-enter stock data into other business systems such as your accounting software or CRM.

So if the original data is wrong, this can cause problems in many different areas of your business.

Stock doesn’t automatically update

With high volumes of multi-channel orders, your business needs a solution that automatically updates stock levels across your marketplaces, stores, and websites the moment an item from your warehouse sells. 

Excel doesn’t offer advanced automations like this. It also lacks connectivity with useful warehouse management tools that could handle this task. 

Many cloud-based warehouse solutions now offer incredibly useful automations like real-time inventory management, workflows, and alerts that tell you when items are running low.

So if you’re using Excel, it means your warehouse isn’t running anywhere near as efficiently as it could be.

Security issues

Excel is a low security software that can leave you exposed to data breaches and other security risks. Sensitive IP and business information is often contained in these spreadsheets, such as supplier details, wholesale prices, and stock levels. 

You only need to make a copy of an Excel sheet to copy or modify data, so this makes internal and external data protection a challenge.

And as there’s no ability to create audit trails, it’s almost impossible to monitor who has touched or changed any critical Excel sheets.

No analytics

When you’re growing your business, having access to analytics and reporting can help you manage stock levels successfully throughout the year — eliminating the risk of running out of your best sellers at critical times, or ending up with items you can’t sell that are costing a fortune in warehouse storage fees.

Excel has basic reporting capabilities, but it’s challenging to generate more complex reports on demand.

You can’t run inventory forecasting, or make speedy, data-driven decisions about your inventory and marketing, all of which are essential as a large ecommerce business.

Best alternatives to Excel for managing warehouse stock

If you’ve been running into any (or all) of the above problems with Excel, now is a good time to investigate alternatives. 

With the exponential growth in ecommerce, there are some fantastic solutions on the market that can give you a centralized dashboard to work from, streamline all of your processes, provide real-time insights, and generally make warehouse stock management a breeze. 

Inventory management software

Inventory management software (IMS) is a cloud-based solution that will help you track stock, organize your warehouse, and manage everything to do with handling inventory. 

You’ll pay monthly or annually to use an IMS, so you need to balance features with budget when you’re making a buying decision.

What are the benefits of inventory management software?

Using a comprehensive Inventory Management System will significantly improve your stock management processes. And you’ll likely end up wondering why you stuck around with Excel for so long!

You’ll get complete visibility into what is happening with your inventory across all warehouse locations and sales channels, and be able to automatically see your total stock levels the moment a sale is made, which is one of the most critical parts of running a high-volume ecommerce business.

What are the features you should look for?

The capabilities of this software vary, with some being quite basic, and others offering more advanced features that will cover some of your warehouse management and shipping software needs as well. So it depends what your specific needs are as a retailer.

At minimum, you should check that an Inventory Management Solution can help you with:

  • An intuitive interface that everyone on your team can use

  • Real time inventory tracking

  • Alerts for low stock levels

  • Automated re-ordering

  • Supplier management

  • Barcoding and scanning

  • Integrating with your existing systems

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Demand forecasting

  • Return management

  • Customer service

Warehouse management software

Although there is some crossover, an IMS provides a different solution from warehouse management software (WMS). 

While your IMS will help you easily manage inventory, show you where it is, and how much of each product you have, it won’t help you with operations like picking, packing, shipping, receiving new stock into the warehouse, or managing orders and returns. 

For this, you’ll need a WMS solution.

What are the benefits of a Warehouse Management Software?

A cloud-based WMS will help you digitize, optimize, and standardize your most critical warehouse processes, enabling you to sell at high volumes and scale smoothly, no matter how many warehouses you need to connect and manage.

What are the features you should look for?

Warehouse management comes with quite specific needs, depending on the nature and scale of your ecommerce business. A robust Warehouse Management Software should allow you to:

Excel doesn’t support any of the above features, and it lacks connectivity with other tools that do — meaning your data and processes can quickly get scattered across multiple systems as your warehousing needs grow.

Enterprise Resource Planning solution

Scaling ecommerce businesses often turn to cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions to help them manage daily operations such as warehouse activity, supply chains, accounting, project management, and risk management.

With a dedicated ERP software partner, you’ll be able to connect your most important business processes together to get a clear, centralized view of what’s going on in your warehouses, and use that information to make more informed business decisions.

What are the benefits of an ERP?

ERPs have huge advantages over using Excel. They help you streamline processes around inventory, sales, stock purchase, financials, workforce management, and more — and connect all of this data together in a centralized place. 

So no matter how fast you’re scaling, or how big you plan to grow, your ERP can handle it.

What are the features you should look for?

If you’re switching from Excel, you should be considering an ERP system that’s secure and reliable, with enough features to help you manage warehouse stock at the levels they are now, as well as the scalability to meet the demands of multi-warehouse management when you’re ready to expand further.

To ensure an ERP will meet all of your needs, look for features that enable you to:

  • Develop a comprehensive database for your warehouse

  • Manage supply chains

  • Connect ERP systems with your commerce channels 

  • Automate the management of your warehouse stock

  • Create, automate, and connect workflows

  • Track and analyze financial data

  • Integrate with your existing tech stack 

  • Standardize and centralize your end-to-end warehouse processes

  • Give you accurate, real-time data on things like inventory, line items, SKUs, customer information, and orders

How Veeqo’s all-in-one software can simplify warehouse management

While all of the above are excellent alternatives to Excel for managing warehouse stock, you’ll be able to achieve maximum efficiency using an all-in-one software suite like Veeqo. 

Our powerful suite of tools effortlessly handles inventory control, warehouse management, shipping, and more - and it won’t cost you a cent to use. 

Easy to set up and use

Veeqo is designed to be super simple to set up, and just as simple for anyone in your business to use. 

Even if you’re not a “techy” person, and you can’t bear the thought of using anything but Excel, rest assured you’ll be able to set up, connect your stores and warehouses, and get going in no time.

Automates data and workflows

Veeqo lets you put your warehouse inventory management on auto-pilot. Your inventory will automatically update across Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Shopify, and more as soon as any order is placed. 

You can also create and connect workflows to help you sell more, optimize your warehouse management operations, and cut down admin time.

Integrates with tools you already use

Make online selling and business management easy and breezy with hundreds of native integrations for commerce platforms, marketplaces, 3PL, accounting, POS, shipping carriers, and more. 

Don’t see what you need out of the box? The Veeqo API gives your developers the freedom to create custom integrations.

Ideal for Amazon and Shopify sellers

Veeqo is owned by Amazon, so you’ll get the advantage of Amazon-level security, plus extra perks like full Amazon A to Z protections when you ship on time, and Amazon integrations if you sell on their marketplace.

We’ve also passed the rigorous qualifications needed to become a Shopify Plus partner. Our software is built specifically to handle the unique needs of high-volume ecommerce retailers, with the level of support that our enterprise customers expect.

Perfect for multi-warehouse management

Veeqo scales when you do, letting you efficiently manage warehouse stock across a growing network of locations and sales channels. 

You’ll be able to customize warehouse workflows, manage transfers across multiple warehouses, track incoming and outgoing stock in real time, and more.

Forecasting analytics and reporting

Our powerful suite of sales reporting, analytics, and forecasting tools can help your business boost ecommerce sales and profits. 

See at a glance which products are selling best in which stores, and make smarter decisions when it comes to developing or investing in new products.

Price

If you’re paying to use Excel, those costs can seriously add up over time, whereas Veeqo is completely free to use. Plus, you’ll be able to save money with our shipping credits

No matter how big your business gets, how many orders you ship, or how many users you need to add, you won’t pay any monthly fees. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

It’s our mission to help businesses like yours succeed by keeping costs down as much as possible.

Further reading

Excel is a convenient way to manage stock when your ecommerce business is small, but it has its limitations when you’ve scaled to the point of needing a warehouse to hold and ship your inventory.

Managing increased stock and order volumes with manual data entry can increase your risk of data errors, and make it increasingly difficult to track inventory when you’re selling across multiple sales channels and warehouse locations.

If you're after a user-friendly alternative to Excel, Veeqo’s powerful, all-in-one software can help you manage warehouse stock, track multi-channel inventory, ship orders, and automate workflows with ease. And it’s totally free to use.

Sign up to Veeqo today and discover what’s possible for your business with our entire suite of enterprise ecommerce tools.

About the author

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Written by Rachael Pilcher

Copywriter

Rachael Pilcher is a freelance copywriter specializing in content for B2B SaaS and tech companies.

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