13 minute read

5 Best Inventory Management Software

Explore the top inventory management software solutions: streamline your stock, optimize operations, and boost efficiency. Find your perfect fit!

inventory-management-software

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In today's fast-paced business environment, efficient inventory management is not just a convenience — it's a necessity. The right inventory management software can transform the way you handle your stock, streamline operations, and automate repetitive tasks, freeing up valuable time and resources. 

This efficiency is crucial for businesses looking to stay competitive and responsive in a dynamic market. Whether you're a small startup or a large enterprise, the impact of a robust inventory management system is undeniable. 

From real-time tracking of inventory levels to seamless integrations with sales channels and accounting software, these tools offer a comprehensive solution to manage your supply chain effectively. In this article, we'll explore the top five inventory management software that can help your business achieve peak operational efficiency and productivity.

Key takeaways

  • Utilize inventory management software to maintain optimal stock levels, prevent overstocking and understocking, and enhance overall operational efficiency.
  • Focus on inventory management as a key aspect of your supply chain to confirm product availability, which increases customer trust and satisfaction.
  • Evaluate different inventory management software options based on cost-effectiveness and scalability to match your business's growth and integration needs.
  • Regularly analyze inventory reports from your software system to gain insights that aid in strategic decision-making and supply chain optimization.
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Key features to look for in inventory management software

Selecting the right inventory management software is crucial for efficient operations. Key features to consider include:

  • Real-time tracking. Essential for immediate updates on inventory levels and stockouts to avoid overstocking or shortages.
  • Barcode scanning and management. Simplifies tracking, enhances accuracy, and speeds up inventory-related processes.
  • Integration capabilities. Critical for seamless operation with platforms like QuickBooks, Shopify, and Amazon to synchronize business functions.
  • Automated workflows and alerts. Automates tasks such as order generation and low stock alerts, improving efficiency and reducing errors.
  • Advanced forecasting and reporting. Offers insights for future inventory needs, aiding in strategic planning and control.
  • Cloud-based solutions. Includes remote accessibility, scalability, and security, essential for modern businesses.
  • Mobile accessibility. iOS and Android apps allow for on-the-go management and real-time decision-making.

Top 5 inventory management software overview

In the realm of inventory management, selecting the right software can be a game-changer for your business. Here’s an overview of the top five inventory management software solutions, each offering unique features to cater to diverse business needs:

Zoho Inventory 

zoho inventory

Zoho Inventory is a dynamic and feature-rich inventory management software tailored to automate and optimize inventory operations for businesses of varying sizes. Here's a more detailed look at its key features:

  • Accurate stock tracking. Employs sophisticated barcode and RFID systems to verify precise tracking. This feature is crucial for maintaining an up-to-date inventory, minimizing errors, and improving overall efficiency.
  • Batch and serial number tracking. This functionality allows for meticulous tracking and management of items based on batches or serial numbers, offering an additional layer of control over inventory.
  • Unit of measure conversion. Adapts to different selling paces by facilitating unit of measure (UoM) conversions, which accommodates varied business requirements and inventory types.
  • Low stock alerts and reorder points. Automated alerts notify you of low stock levels, while customizable reorder points promote timely replenishment, reducing the risk of stockouts and overstocking.
  • Sales tax configuration and reports. Simplifies the application of sales taxes across different jurisdictions and generates instant, comprehensive reports for better financial management.
  • Multichannel selling. Zoho Inventory shines in its ability to integrate multiple sales channels by syncing stock effortlessly across various digital storefronts. This is particularly beneficial for businesses engaged in eCommerce, allowing them to manage all sales within a single platform.
  • Global transaction support. Handles multiple currencies and enables international transactions, making it ideal for businesses with a global customer base.
  • Order fulfillment and shipping integration. Offers tools to visualize item packing, track package status, and integrate with major shipping carriers. The software also generates real-time carrier rates and shipping labels, streamlining the shipping process and enhancing customer satisfaction by giving timely tracking updates.

Pricing: 

Free Plan:

  • Orders: up to 50 orders per month
  • Users: one user
  • Warehouses: one warehouse
  • Features: includes composite items, dropshipping, back ordering, and item groups

Standard Plan ($29/month):

  • Orders: up to 500 orders per month
  • Users: two users
  • Warehouses: one warehouse
  • Features: all Free Plan features plus a customer portal

Professional Plan ($79/month):

  • Orders: up to 3,000 orders per month
  • Users: two users
  • Warehouses: two warehouses
  • Features: includes everything in Standard, plus serial number tracking, batch tracking, and a vendor portal

Premium Plan ($129/month):

  • Orders: up to 7,500 orders per month
  • Users: two users
  • Warehouses: three warehouses
  • Features: all Professional features plus contextual chat, advanced multi-currency handling, UoM conversion, automation, barcode generation, and more

Enterprise Plan ($249/month):

  • Orders: up to 15,000 orders per month
  • Users: seven users
  • Warehouses: seven warehouses
  • Features: includes everything in Premium and more, with the addition of Zoho Analytics

Each plan is billed annually and designed to scale with the growth of the business, providing flexibility and cost-effectiveness​​​​.

QuickBooks Online with Advanced Inventory 

quickbooks inventory

QuickBooks Online, featuring Advanced Inventory, is a comprehensive inventory management solution designed to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of business operations. Here's a more detailed overview of its features and capabilities:

  • Automated inventory and order management. This core functionality automates the entire inventory and order management process and gives real-time visibility of stock levels, order status, and item locations. It significantly decreases order fulfillment times and reduces surplus inventory, while automated processes cut down on errors that can affect profit margins​​.
  • Tracking inventory with precision. QuickBooks offers sophisticated location tracking across three levels (e.g., row, shelf, bin; section, area, pallet). This multi-level approach facilitates precise tracking and transfer of inventory across different locations to meet demand promptly​​.
  • Multi-level inventory categorization. The software allows up to four levels of inventory categorization, providing more granularity and control over how inventory is organized. This feature is enhanced with capabilities for bulk edits, easy integration with Excel for data import and export, and improved search functionalities​​.
  • Expiration date management. QuickBooks Advanced Inventory enables the assignment of expiration dates to inventory items. This feature is crucial for businesses dealing with perishable goods, as it helps sell inventory more efficiently and reduces liability by keeping track of expired or nearly expired items​​.
  • Automated inventory forecasting. For each location, the software shows detailed inventory data, including items on hand, on sales order, and on purchase order. It automatically calculates restocking needs and generates purchase orders with a single click, helping to avoid rush shipping fees and stock-outs​​.
  • Serial and lot number tracking. The system offers serial number tracking for individual items, which is essential for managing warranty claims and identifying defects in a production batch. Lot number tracking is also available for managing products processed in the same batch, aiding in recall processes and detailed item tracking​​​​.
  • Real-time inventory updates with cycle count. The cycle count feature allows for continuous inventory counting without the need to shut down warehouse operations. It supports automatic uploading of inventory counts from various locations and helps quickly identify and adjust discrepancies​​.
  • Efficient order management. QuickBooks automates the entire sales order fulfillment process, enabling businesses to manage it from a single dashboard. It includes prioritizing orders based on customer value, setting realistic expectations about stock availability and delivery dates, and reducing errors and delays in shipping​​.
  • Mobile barcode scanners. The integration of mobile barcode scanners enhances efficiency by enabling the real-time tracking and management of inventory items, offering more control and flexibility in inventory management​​.
  • Optimized warehouse fulfillment. The software gives insights into the best warehouse for fulfilling an order, including the option to split an order between locations. It updates inventory automatically in QuickBooks, verifying accurate inventory records​​.
  • Integrated shipping management. QuickBooks simplifies the shipping process by allowing direct processing of shipments, label printing, and scheduling pickups from within the software. It also offers automatic shipping discounts with certain carriers​​.
  • Detailed sales order fulfillment workflow. The software details each step in the sales order fulfillment process, from order receipt to inventory update after shipping. This systematic approach creates a streamlined and error-free process​​.
  • FIFO or average costing methods. Businesses have the flexibility to use either FIFO (first in, first out) or average costing methods for inventory tracking. The ability to switch between these methods create versatility based on business needs and accounting preferences​​.

Pricing: 

Gold Plan (starting at $1,464/year):

  • Options for one to 10 users or up to 30 users
  • Basic functionality and business insights
  • Payroll is built-in
  • Cloud access (additional fees apply)
  • Online backup data storage
  • Advanced reporting
  • QuickBooks Priority Circle service

Platinum Plan (starting at $1,800/year):

  • Options for one to 10 users or up to 30 users.
  • Includes all Gold Plan features
  • Enhanced with Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing
  • Bill and purchase order (PO) workflow approvals for improved control over your financial processes

Diamond Plan (starting at $3,552/year):

  • Unlike the other plans, this one is available on a monthly subscription basis
  • Options for one to 10 users or up to 40 users
  • Incorporates all Platinum Plan features
  • QuickBooks Time Elite at $5 per employee per month, offering sophisticated time tracking capabilities
  • Salesforce CRM Connector available for $150 per month per company file, enhancing customer relationship management

Each of these plans is structured to give varying levels of functionality and automation, with the Diamond Plan offering the maximum features for larger businesses or those requiring more advanced capabilities. 

The inclusion of payroll, cloud access, and advanced reporting as standard across all plans confirms businesses have essential tools for efficient operation. Moreover, the Advanced Inventory feature in the Platinum and Diamond plans adds significant value for businesses looking for detailed and robust inventory management solutions.

Shopify for ECommerce 

shopify for ecommerce

Shopify is a prominent eommerce platform known for its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface and designed to cater to online businesses of all sizes:

  • ECommerce website management. Shopify includes everything needed to manage an eCommerce website in one place. It offers easy domain registration, product uploads, and an intuitive interface for selling online​​.
  • Product and inventory management. Users can add products, upload photos, set stock levels, and manage their inventory effectively. Shopify supports bulk import of products from various sources like Excel, CSV, eBay, or Magento, making it convenient for users to populate their online stores​​.
  • Product organization. It allows for organizing products into collections and using smart collections to group products based on defined conditions. This feature aids in efficient product categorization and enhances the shopping experience for customers​​.
  • Content management system. Shopify includes a CMS for creating web pages and blog posts. This integrated blog software can be a powerful tool for sales and marketing by enabling businesses to engage customers and boost online presence​​.
  • Order processing and management. The platform simplifies accepting and processing orders. It includes customizable order notes, order status tracking, and connects with fulfillment services like Amazon Services and Shipwire. Shopify's fraud detection system adds a layer of security to transactions​​.
  • Customer relationship management. Shopify enables the creation of customer groups based on various filters and offers the option to set up public or private (account-only) stores. This flexibility is particularly useful for businesses looking to target specific customer segments or operate wholesale eCommerce sites​​.
  • Staff account management. The platform allows for the creation of multiple staff logins with customizable permissions. This feature is essential for larger teams, where different staff members may have varied roles in managing the online store, from order processing to content management​​.

Pricing: 

Basic Plan ($39/month):

  • Ideal for individuals and small businesses
  • Includes basic reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, a 77% shipping discount, and two staff accounts
  • Credit card rates: 2.9% + 30¢ USD for online transactions and 2.7% + 0¢ USD for in-person transactions

Shopify Plan ($105/month):

  • Designed for small businesses
  • Has professional reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, an 88% shipping discount, and five staff accounts
  • Credit card rates: 2.6% + 30¢ USD for online transactions and 2.5% + 0¢ USD for in-person transactions

Advanced Plan ($399/month):

  • Suited for medium to large businesses
  • Offers a custom report builder, up to 1,000 inventory locations, an 88% shipping discount, and 15 staff accounts
  • Credit card rates: 2.4% + 30¢ USD for online transactions and 2.4% + 0¢ USD for in-person transactions

Each plan is structured to accommodate the scale and requirements of different business sizes, with higher-tier plans offering more advanced features and lower transaction fees​​.

Sortly 

sortly

Sortly is an inventory management software known for its ease of use and efficiency. Here's a detailed breakdown of its key features:

  • Inventory import and organization. Sortly easily imports existing inventory lists and offers extensive options for organizing inventory. It supports custom folders and fields, enabling users to tailor the system to their specific needs​​.
  • Visual inventory management. The software enables adding high-resolution photos of items and creating a visual inventory tracking the appearance and condition of each item. This feature is particularly useful for businesses managing a wide range of SKUs and serial numbers​​.
  • Inventory tracking and reports. Users can track key details about items, such as quantity, location, and cost. Sortly gives various reports like inventory summary, low stock, and transaction reports, which are perfect for audits, budgeting, or forecasting​​.
  • Barcode and QR code scanning. The system includes in-app barcode and QR code scanning, allowing quick and easy item identification and tracking directly from a smartphone​​.
  • Check-in/check-out feature. This feature facilitates the management of assets as they change hands or locations, enhancing the control over inventory movement​​.
  • Real-time alerts. Sortly offers quantity-based and date-based alerts, in-app alerts, and email notifications to keep users informed about inventory levels and important dates for maintenance or repairs​​.
  • Collaboration and access control. The software supports multiple user licenses and customizable user access, verifying the right information is shared with the right team members​​.
  • Mobile and cloud-based accessibility. Sortly is available on iOS and Android and features cloud-based automatic syncing, allowing inventory management from any device, anywhere. It even offers offline mobile access for field use​​.
  • Integration and security. Sortly offers API access for integration with existing tools and data, and supports Single Sign-On (SSO) for enhanced security​​.

Pricing:

Free Plan ($0/month): 

  • Best for personal use or small-scale inventory management, allowing 100 items, one user license, and one custom field

Advanced Plan ($49/month, discounted to $29/month for the first year): 

  • Suitable for small businesses, offering 2,000 items, two user licenses, 10 custom fields, and unlimited QR code label generation​​.

Ultra Plan ($149/month, discounted to $59/month for the first year): 

  • Most popular for medium-sized businesses and teams, including 10,000 items, five user licenses, 25 custom fields, and unlimited QR code and barcode label generation​​.

Enterprise Plan: 

  • Tailored for larger businesses and multiple teams, offering unlimited items, 10+ user licenses, unlimited custom fields, unlimited QR code and barcode label generation, and a dedicated customer success manager. 
  • Pricing is customized based on specific business needs​​.

Sortly stands out for its scalability, catering to individual users as well as large businesses. The advanced features in the higher-tier plans, such as unlimited item entries and comprehensive barcode labeling capabilities, make it a robust choice for businesses looking for detailed and efficient inventory management solutions.

Square for Retail 

square for retail

Square for Retail is a versatile point-of-sale (POS) system designed to simplify retail operations. Here’s an analytical and detailed overview of its key features, pricing, and unique attributes:

  • Point-of-sale features. Square for Retail offers a comprehensive POS system that accepts all major payment types, both in-store and online. It supports fast payment processing, including tap-to-pay on iPhones, and facilitates easy returns and exchanges at any location​​.
  • Inventory management. The system includes advanced inventory management tools, such as automatic low stock alerts, automatic purchase orders, and bulk inventory organization. A built-in counting tool and barcode scanner allow efficient stock management and updates​​.
  • ECommerce integration. Square for Retail allows users to set up a professional eCommerce site and customize it with design themes. It also supports integration with existing websites, making it a robust solution for businesses with both physical and online stores​​.
  • Customer engagement and management. The software includes built-in customer profiles for tracking spending habits, sending direct messages, and engaging customers through targeted marketing campaigns. This feature helps understand customer behaviors and drive more traffic to the store and website​​.
  • Staff management. Square for Retail offers tools to manage teams, including creating schedules, setting permissions, and tracking time, all accessible through an easy-to-use POS system​​.
  • App integration. The system supports integration with various tools like QuickBooks and WooCommerce, allowing businesses to manage multiple aspects of their operations in one place​​.
  • Insightful reporting. The software includes informative sales, profit, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), and sell-through reports, helping businesses identify key revenue drivers​​.

Pricing:

Free Plan:

  • Designed for small businesses starting in-person and online sales. It includes a free retail point of sale app, a free online store, basic inventory tools, and unlimited items.

Plus Plan ($89/month per location): 

  • Aimed at growing retail businesses needing in-depth features. It adds advanced inventory tools and reports, automatic purchase orders, barcode label printing, and unlimited employee time tracking.

Premium Plan: 

  • Custom pricing for established retail businesses looking to scale. It includes all features of the Plus plan and offers discounts on optional add-ons like Square Payroll, Square Loyalty, Square Marketing, and personalized onboarding support.

Each plan is tailored to suit the specific needs of different sizes and types of retail businesses, from small startups to larger, established companies looking to expand their operations​​.

Additional considerations

Choosing the right inventory management software goes beyond basic features. 

Effective inventory control is crucial to avoid overstocking and understocking, as it directly impacts customer satisfaction and operational costs. In the supply chain, efficient inventory management verifies product availability, boosting customer trust and loyalty.

The cost of the software is another key consideration, especially for small businesses requiring budget-friendly solutions and larger enterprises needing advanced features. 

A cost-benefit analysis can help determine the right fit. Additionally, scalability and integration capabilities with existing systems like accounting and CRM are essential for long-term business growth and efficiency.

In essence, the right inventory management system should align with your business's current and future needs, streamline your supply chain, and enhance customer satisfaction, all while offering value for money.

Choosing the right inventory management software

Selecting the ideal inventory management software is crucial for your business's growth and efficiency. 

Key features like invoicing, warehouse management, and bundling are essential for streamlining operations, particularly for growing businesses. The addition of a mobile app enhances flexibility, allowing real-time management on the go, while detailed inventory reports from these software systems inform strategic decisions.

Inventory reports generated by these software systems offer critical insights, enabling informed strategic decisions and optimizing supply chain processes. When selecting software, consider how its features, such as invoicing and warehouse management, can bolster your operational efficiency.

Remember, the right software solution can transform the way you manage inventory and make your operations more agile and responsive. Take the next step in upgrading your business's operational capabilities by exploring how Circuit for Teams can enhance your logistics and delivery processes. Discover more and sign up at Circuit for Teams to complement your inventory management strategy.

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.

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