Ecommerce

Inventory Management Software: How to Choose

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Written by Jodie Pride
17th October 2014 • 5 min read

 

When making a major business decision, there are a multitude of factors which need to be considered, and choosing inventory management software is no different. It can be a confusing and daunting process, especially for those without much experience in ecommerce and inventory management – those with fledgling companies, for example. So here are some things to think about when choosing an inventory management system:

1. Firstly, assess the needs of your business: do you even need order management software? If you’re a small company with only a handful of customers at present, it may be worth waiting to see how the business develops before shelling out money on inventory management software you might not necessarily need (at least not just yet, anyway). You could even try a free software, or take a free trial of whichever inventory management software you’re considering, to see if it makes your life easier. Really, you need to take a good look at the amount of customers you have, as well as the amount of items you are shifting per month to decide whether you need this type of product yet.

2. Striking a balance between simplicity and features is important. It’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy bits and pieces added to some inventory management softwares, but you may not really need to be using all of these, so do your research on each software and see what’s best for you. Ease of use is key, especially when it comes to training your staff, and you may end up paying more for all these gadgets and gizmos that you don’t even need! You may be in for a shock when you buy the software, only to find it takes a long time to learn. Lots of companies offer demos of the product, so it may be worth trying before you buy.

3. You might also consider how compatible the software is with current technologies. You need to look at what hardware and software you’re using at the moment, and assess which inventory management software can integrate best with these. Which operating system you use, for example, needs to be take into account, as some softwares only work for Windows or Mac, and not both. And what about devices? If you spend a lot of time out of the office, you may want the software work well on a tablet or smartphone. Don’t forget about software – are you able to import any current inventory data from Excel, or whatever you are currently using, or do you need to enter it manually? A software that allows you to import this kind of data can save a lot of time and effort.

4. Getting the right support, most companies are happy to call you when they are trying to sell you a system, but when you need some help are they responsive? Try and do some research to see if other customers are happy with that system, try and find some reviews online.

5. Does it work with your other software? Does it easily connect with your warehouse company, or your online website, or ebay/Amazon, or your shipping courier?  Find a solution which has done the hard work already, you do not want to spend time and money trying to find someone to connect different systems together.

6. How long will it take to get setup? Find out what the process would be to swap over the new software and what is involved, it can be a time consuming task and you need to understand what time commitment will be needed from you before you take the plunge.

7. Lastly, you need to look at cost. You need to work out your budget and think about how much you’re willing to pay per month/year for inventory management software. You might also consider that some elements can bump up the cost on top of your basic package – tech support and hardware, for example –  charging you more than you originally thought, and intended to pay. It’s important to get it in writing how much you’re expected to pay for the software so that there are no nasty surprises when you get billed.

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Written by Jodie Pride

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