Shopify Inventory Management for high volume Brands – with Challenges and Possible Solution
What if I told you that it sucks to be a high volume brand on Shopify? It sucks because Amazon has already set high standards for eCommerce companies and consumers expect that kind of service from every tom dick and harry selling online.
In order to deliver Amazon-like experience to your buyers, you must do everything right:
- Don’t go out of stock on popular products
- Have clear images and detailed descriptions including all required info on product pages.
- Dispatch your shipments on time
- Deliver within 2 days (Yes, Prime sucks more 😉 )
- Give refunds to customers on any complaints they raise
These are a must these days. You need strong technology to make all this happen. If you are still not sure which shopping cart to use, let me give you a quick rundown on why Shopify is a decent platform unless you have very complex requirements. (hint: I don’t get any commission if you use Shopify)
- Shopify is easy to use and requires minimum effort from store owners for setup.
- It has integrated marketing tools for SEO.
- Store owners are provided with multiple themes providing a different look to their stores.
- It is one of the safest and most secure platforms for website creation & hosting
- It has 24/7 support available for its store owners.
In this article, we will focus on Inventory Management with Shopify for growing organizations.
Inventory Management with Shopify
Shopify comes with decent inventory management features for its customers. For small to midsize brands, most of the must-have features are already available. For the guide on Inventory management in Shopify please follow the link.
Some notable features are as follows:
Set up products with ease: Shopify helps you organize your product on the basis of categories, types, vendor, discount percentage and more. It provides you with liberty to list N number of products, allowing import and export options through sheet upload to make the listing easier.
Handle product variations: If your product has multiple colors or is available in different sizes, Shopify allows you to easily list your products in variation and assign different SKU’s to each type.
Allot unique Barcode for products: Shopify allows you to assign a unique barcode to every product type and their variants.
Integrations with other eCommerce platforms: It also provides an extra plug-in for integration with different applications to sell on different channels and integrate with shipping partners, but with limited options.
With these many features around, it does have few shortcomings which many growing brands have been experiencing. Let us now look at some of these challenges. Later in the article, we will discuss possible solutions as well.
Possible Issues with Shopify Inventory
- The platform is flexible and easy to use. The application has paid versions available with a lot of features. However, to be precise with inventory management, it gets difficult handling SKU’s with variations. Consider the following example:
- A shop owner can only show up to 3 products variations with Shopify. For example, it is not possible to show a product based on its Brand, Color, Operating System, Warranty, Size, etc. as shown in the image.
2. Inventory sync between multiple Shopify store is not possible. Also for different channel integrations; there is no panel where inventory can be updated centrally.
Let us consider scenarios to understand this shortcoming better:
Scenario 1: An existing brand with Shopify store 1 has launched its new product line and plans on launching a new store i.e. Shopify store 2. To manage both the stores, they will have to log in on separate panels for any update. That’s very cumbersome for the warehouse staff.
Scenario 2: A Brand has two stores for two different locations, supporting different currencies. Here again, the brand will have to launch two stores and manage them separately.
Let us check at the comment section of Shopify store to empathize with the pain store owners have been going through,
- There is no process set up in Shopify to reconcile inventory or payment for returned or damaged products with the shipment.
- Shopify does not provide any order aging report or a detailed analytical report of the products.
- Shopify has its own payment wallet called Shopify Payment (which is not accepted everywhere) it charges extra on using a third party payment gateways like Paypal / Stripe.
- As the business increases, a brand might decide to open multiple warehouses to cater to its client from the nearest location. Shopify doesn’t support that scenario of multiple warehouses catering to a single Shopify store.
Let us now see how we can overcome the above challenges with a possible solution of using third party tools.
How Shopify Integration with a third-party inventory management application be beneficial in Managing Inventory?
Once the orders start soaring in from your Shopify store, you would like to simplify your daily activities. Such activities include:
- Generate pick list. In case of high volumes, multiple picklists to divide the work between pickers
- Barcode scan based sorting and document generation
- Inventory inward process – QC, Putaway
- Inventory forecasting and purchase order management
Trying to manage these things manually via spreadsheets is a recipe for disaster. Using multiple disconnected systems turns out to be complex and time-consuming. Instead, you should consider automating the complete process which should be worth every penny in the long term.
Let us first make you aware of why am I urging you to go for the third party integrated inventory system.
A potential solution for Shopify inventory sync issue
Consider an eCommerce shop owner Mr. Karan who runs a Health Care company named Fit and Glow with multiple brands i.e. Wow & Body Cupid etc. He sells his products across the globe. Below picture talks about his brand portfolio and what each brand is all about.
Before (Before integrating any specialized Inventory software for Shopify stores),
Then Karan searches for a solution to manage his inventory on both his Shopify stores, Amazon and other platforms. After extensive research Karan finalizes on EasyEcom’s Warehouse Management System. Let us now see what efficiencies he was able to derive.
After (When started using an Inventory Management Tool – (EasyEcom))
Let us now see what helped Karan to succeed in his business.
Benefits derived by Fit&Glow (Shopify store) after deploying EasyEcom?
Here is a detailed overview of what did Karan get from Shopify integration with EasyEcom.
Manage multiple operations from a single platform
– Consider logging in to different applications for updating inventory /sale details on multiple channels/ shipping updates/accounting management/excel sheet for order updates and more, than consider logging in to a single platform and handling all the process in one login.
– Inventory management solution is the one with a single login for handling all the process.
– EasyEcom provides single platform support for all your multiple activities.
Real-time inventory update
– While managing multiple websites (like Shopify/Amazon/Flipkart/Etsy/eBay/Magento store/etc) from a single platform, real-time inventory sync is a must in order to avoid over-ordering of products. Update inventory count in all the channels from one panel.
– Once an order is received from eBay, the inventory will update its count to n-1 in all the other portals and eBay through EasyEcom. If the tool doesn’t have real-time inventory update, it may lead to a risk of overselling the products that will result in unsatisfied customer service.
Predict future inventory with the help of Inventory Forecasting
– This data will help you predict future sale based on previous sale history.
– EasyEcom software helps to overcome hurdles involved with calculating the sales and planning inventory with ease.
Manage sales profit with Business Analytics
– Improve sales based on analytical data of fast-moving and slow-moving products.
– Get channel wise sales made on the daily/weekly/monthly basis.
– Manage order shipment process with the help of Order Aging reports.
Stay connected with order shipment updates
- Get a flow of order processing and get notified in case of any missed/late shipments.
- Manage all the integrated shipping partners and their approval details on one screen.
- EasyEcom is well linked with shipping partners like FedEx, USPS, DHL etc.
Manage vendors and create PO and GRN
- Update vendor details and manage Purchase Order and Goods Received Notes on a timely basis.
- Handle B2B operations with EasyEcom inventory Management solution.
Keep a track on Payment Reconciliation and returns
E-commerce reconciliation and return management are necessary in order to make sure that companies receive the right amount from 3rd party marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Flipkart etc.
Easyecom is market-leader when it comes to Reconciliation, as it provides reconciliation report for 7 Marketplaces –> Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal, Shopclues, LimeRoad, and Voonik.
Based on the experience of companies like Fit & Glow, we put together following guide on how to choose to best inventory platform.
Settling with the best Shopify Inventory Integration
With that being done, it is also necessary to check if the platform has ready integration with any third party centralized inventory management solution. This, in order to make sure, if
you see an increase in sale, you will have an option to automate your inventory handling procedure with the help of Omnichannel inventory management solution Like EasyEcom
There are many platforms available in the market. But one solution platform with easy customization and flexible customer support is something one has to look for.
Some of the main benefits you receive from an effective inventory management solution include the following:
- You won’t be required to change or recount the stocks on daily basis.
- You will avoid over ordering the products
- Usage of barcode scanners will help you avoid manual errors and improve productivity.
- Customer satisfaction with stock availability and on time delivery.
- You get numerous channels to integrate with and generate leads. No more lengthy telephonic/email conversations are required.
As your business grows, complexities are bound to grow. So whether you run one eCommerce store or multiple, it is necessary to understand proper inventory management practices and employ them in your organization. A proper platform that has best practices built-in can propel your efficiency and hence drive customer satisfaction.