Every fashion eCommerce business needs efficient inventory control to keep track of inventory flow, manage products, and schedule timely stock replenishment. Nowadays, apparel inventory management is automated with the use of digital inventory management software to synchronize all inventory and eCommerce sales data and help business owners make informed decisions, enabling them to act fast in response to emerging trends in the rapidly evolving apparel industry.
The good news is, there are many appealing fashion eCommerce software solutions available. But how do you find the best one for your apparel business? The right eCommerce fashion software must fulfill your unique needs while also providing scope for future expansion.
If you have an apparel eCommerce business, keep reading to learn about the importance of fashion software solutions, the features good inventory management software must have, and how to choose one that will help you improve your eCommerce business.
What Is a Fashion eCommerce Inventory Management System?
A software system that tracks inventory, orders, and fulfillment is known as a retail inventory management system. It aids retailers in following products through the supply chain and contributes to more efficient supply chain management.
Fashion eCommerce software solutions are used by high-volume apparel eCommerce businesses to prevent inventory shortages and excess inventory, eliminate inventory errors, and improve the entire inventory management process.
Having all inventory data in a single centralized location is especially important for fashion businesses that sell through several offline and online channels, as well as those that use multiple storage facilities.
Types of eCommerce Inventory Management Systems
Spreadsheets were the first inventory management tools that required manual updates. Fortunately, inventory software solutions have advanced and today, most of an eCommerce retailer’s inventory management can be automated. Inventory management systems come in three different varieties:
- Manual inventory management system. Using a manual system is the conventional method of managing inventories. Systems for manual inventory management are typically built on a spreadsheet or even just a piece of paper and a pen. If your monthly sales are under ten thousand dollars, this may be a viable alternative, but it is not a great option for a growing eCommerce company.
- Periodic inventory management system. Periodic inventory systems rely on physical inventory counts at predetermined periods to keep track of stock levels. If you use this type of inventory management system, you won’t know how many products you have until the physical inventory count is finished. As a result, when a consumer wants to purchase something, someone must physically verify the inventory to see if the item is in stock and ready to be purchased.
- Perpetual inventory management system. This type of retail inventory management system offers inventory tracking in real-time. The inventory database is updated when a new item is received, scanned, and added and a product’s barcode is deleted from the database when it is sold. The main advantage of this cloud-based solution is that it provides an incredibly thorough, real-time view of all inventory movement and changes. Additionally, it offers accurate inventory accounting without the need for physical inventory counts. It is effective for all sizes of businesses, but it is especially important for eCommerce companies with numerous warehouses or big sales volumes.
Key Features of Fashion eCommerce Inventory Software
Most leading eCommerce fashion inventory management systems include the following key features:
Keeping an eye on the movement of your stock along the supply chain is known as inventory tracking. Retail inventory management software makes it easier to rapidly locate a product with a single click.
Since clothing retailers typically have a large number of product SKUs in a wide range of sizes and colors, traceability is a major feature. The inventory software will show you what you have in stock and reflect real-time movements of your products.
Supplier management and purchase management
Providing complete control over the procurement process is another helpful aspect of apparel inventory software. The system will help eliminate a lot of tedious manual processes, reduce the chance of human error, and make sure all purchasing processes adhere to the proper procedure.
The best eCommerce fashion software solutions let you create and autofill purchase orders, build and save all your supplier-related information in one database, review your past transactions with each supplier, assess supplier performance, and more.
By eliminating data entry errors, the barcoding functionality digitizes various business processes including collecting, organizing and storing inventory data. You may speed up the process and obtain correct product information by barcode scanning the inventory item before it leaves a store or enters an eCommerce warehouse.
This functionality interacts with other inventory management system key features including advanced reporting capabilities and digital invoicing to further increase operational efficiency and the accuracy of your inventory.
Low stock alerts and reorder points
When stock is getting low, your fashion eCommerce inventory management tool should be able to send out alerts. This feature can be in the form of automated notifications or emails that inform you when there are low stock levels, shipments are delayed, or logistics are running behind schedule. As a result, you have far more control over every aspect of your supply chain, from vendor management to logistics for transporting materials.
The inventory management system also offers an inventory forecasting tool that can help you determine when is the best time to restock products in order to minimize waste and maximize inventory storage depending on customer demand and lead time.
If you want to expand your eCommerce business, inventory reporting is an essential tool. This feature offers a way to visualize and analyze data, which can be a source of valuable customer insights that directly contribute to improved customer experiences and increased customer satisfaction.
Reporting features can provide answers to crucial business questions and help you make more informed decisions. Inventory turnover rate, the average time to sell for an SKU, backorder rate, profit margins, unit sales, stock age, etc. are some of the statistics that this feature can provide.
How to Choose the Best Fashion eCommerce Software Solution
When selecting the best fashion inventory management solution for eCommerce, you must take the priorities and primary requirements of your company into consideration. The following are some things to think about when you look for the best inventory software for your fashion business:
1. Your business requirements
Every eCommerce business has a different set of specifications for its inventory system. For instance, some online retailers could favor a system that tracks goods shipments, whereas retail businesses that also have physical stores might prefer a system with the capability to synchronize multiple sales channels.
On the other hand, online retail stores whose products depend on seasonal demand will benefit most from retail inventory management software with sophisticated analytics and reporting tools for better customer demand forecasting.
2. Integration with other systems
Your selected eCommerce inventory management system must interface with other systems you’re already using in order to streamline your retail operations. It should, at the very least, be integrated with your POS and eCommerce software.
As your online store grows, you’ll probably increase the number of platforms you are using. Be sure to check whether the number of integrations offered by your preferred inventory management system is sufficient to meet your future needs.
The needs of your company will also affect the price of inventory software. The more capabilities and features you need, the higher the cost of the system will be. Consider your company’s budget before looking for eCommerce fashion inventory software. You must take into account the price of setup, software installation, migration of data from other systems, employee training, etc. in addition to a recurring monthly subscription.
4. Usability and customization
While cutting-edge features are important, you shouldn’t ignore a system’s usability. It’s probably not worth investing in a system if it takes too much time for your staff to figure out how to use its simplest functions efficiently. Select the simple option that has an intuitive interface and is easier to use over a complex one.
Additionally, your system must be configurable in a way that synchronizes with your business without any interruptions. Verify the software’s suitability for your company’s requirements and the extent of its customizability. If you already use an inventory system but you want to upgrade to one with more capabilities, make sure the new inventory system can readily integrate with the existing one.
The Bottom Line
We hope this post has provided you with the necessary knowledge on the advantages and core features of the appropriate retail inventory management system for your eCommerce business. This will put you on your way to streamline your operations and eliminate mistakes.
ApparelMagic is a product lifecycle management (PLM) software and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform specifically designed for companies in the apparel industry. We offer in-depth functionality to meet your requirements, stay by your side with technical assistance, and provide monthly system enhancements to scale with you. Would you like to see what a fashion eCommerce software solution can do? Get a free ApparelMagic demo!