Managing your Magento inventory effectively is vital if you want to keep your online business running smoothly. A badly managed ecommerce inventory can mean you have products in your warehouse that aren’t listed on your website – or worse, having products listed on your website that aren’t actually available in your warehouse, resulting in overselling and annoyed customers.
A well-managed inventory is good for both your customers and your bottom line. Why? Your customers benefit from this because the products they want to buy will be in stock whenever they place an order, and your business will benefit because you’re not wasting money on excess stock that you’re unable to move.
So, what are the best ways to manage your Magento inventory? Let’s take a look at three different approaches to inventory management:
1. Using Magento Inventory Management
Most sales platforms, such as Shopify, Amazon and eBay all offer tools for managing your inventory, whether built-in or through add-ons. MageStore offers a really nice inventory management solution in the form of the latter – an inventory management extension, available through the Magento Connect store
This works wonderfully – as long as you’re only selling on Magento. As soon as you decide you want to start selling on other platforms as well as Magento, you run into problems. So if you start out selling with Magento, and now you’re planning on branching out with a Magento Amazon integration
, you’re going to struggle with managing both inventories as this extension doesn’t support multi channel.
The problem with selling on two (or more) platforms is that every time you sell a product on Amazon for example, you must log into your Magento store to reduce your stock levels of that product. Likewise, when you make a sale on Magento, you’ve got to log into Amazon to adjust your stock levels.
Using Magento’s inventory management extension to manage your inventory is great if you’re only selling on Magento. When you want to expand your business by selling on other platforms – something that’s often necessary in order to grow – then you need to take a different approach.
2. Manual Management
An alternative way of managing your Magento inventory is the old-school way: by taking care of things manually. With this approach, you don’t need to worry about managing the precise stock levels on each platform. As far as each platform is concerned, you’re either in stock or out of stock.
You keep track of your precise inventory your own way. This can be with pen and paper (not recommended, unless you’re incredibly organized – and brave), using a spreadsheet, by setting up your own database, or with inventory software.
The benefit of this approach is that if you’re selling on more than one channel, it can be less fiddly than constantly adjusting stock levels across all the platforms you sell on.
Its downside, however, is that it can still take a lot of effort and time. Once you become a high-volume seller, manually jotting down every product that leaves your stock room could become a challenging job which eats up a lot of your time.
Thankfully, there’s another option which saves you the time and hassle of manual Magento inventory management
3. Automate It
The final way to track your inventory is through integrated inventory management software
This cloud-based solution means you manage your inventory from one place. When you add products to your stock, they’re added to every platform you sell on, so the moment you sell a product through your Magento store, stock levels are automatically reduced across all your platforms. Managing your inventory across Magento and your other channels becomes hassle free.
You could try each of these methods depending on your circumstance as a seller – what works for one seller might not work for another, so it’s best to try them out and see for yourself.
This was a guest post by Jodie Pride, content creator at Veeqo inventory management software.