Best Inventory Management Software Options for Small Businesses
- TradeGecko: Best inventory management software for overall functionality and customization
- Zoho Inventory: Best inventory management software for affordable plan options; good for smaller businesses
- Ordoro: Best inventory management software for businesses who want built-in dropshipping and additional shipping tools
If you’re a product-based business, whether selling shoes in a brick-and-mortar store or using an ecommerce platform to sell dog collars online, you know that managing your inventory is key to your operation’s success. By effectively tracking your inventory—knowing when items are low, creating sales and purchase orders, and coordinating with shipping, accounting, and other tools, you can better serve your customers, as well as save yourself time, money, and hassle.
This being said, if you’re looking for a way to streamline your inventory management without using spreadsheets or pen and paper, you may be considering an inventory management software. Although certain business tools, like ecommerce software, POS systems, and accounting solutions may include inventory capabilities as part of their service, there are also software systems designed first and foremost for managing inventory.
To help you find the solution that’s right for your business, we’ve created this guide: the best inventory management software options for small businesses. We’ll discuss different inventory management software platforms in terms of both features and pricing, as well as break down what to look for as you search for a solution to fulfill your business’s needs.
What Is Inventory Management Software?
Before we explore the best inventory management software options, let’s start with the basics: What is inventory management software? In simplest terms, inventory management software is a software application that helps you manage inventory. Like an inventory management app, this kind of software can include features such as:
- Stock and inventory tracking
- Sales and purchase orders
- Product categorization
- Order fulfillment
- Shipping and dropshipping
- Bar code scanning
- Product pricing
- Warehouse management
- Reporting and business projections
- Integration options, and more
Although the inventory management may seem simple on the surface, in reality, the process includes numerous moving pieces and complexities. Inventory management software, therefore, serves to make this process easier.
This being said, unlike a simple inventory mobile app, inventory management software is typically desktop-based, whether locally hosted on a single system or available via web wherever you have internet access.
As we mentioned earlier, many ecommerce platforms, accounting software, and POS systems include tools for inventory management—inventory management software, on the other hand, is designed specifically for the sole function of managing inventory and the related aspects of the order fulfillment process. Therefore, inventory management software is often utilized by larger and quickly growing businesses, especially those within the retail, manufacturing, wholesale, and similar industries.
Nevertheless, inventory management software can be utilized by a variety of product-based businesses in order to automate and optimize their operations.
Inventory Management Software: What to Look for
Now that we have an overall sense of what inventory management software is and the value it can offer your business, let’s discuss what you should look for as you search for the best inventory management software solution for your business. Just as is the case with any business-related platform, the best inventory management software for you is going to be the one that can meet your unique needs, in terms of both functionality and budget. That said, here are some qualifications to keep in mind as you explore different inventory management software options.
One point you’ll want to consider as you search for the best inventory management software for your business is the accessibility of any one solution. As we mentioned earlier, inventory management software can be locally hosted (available on a single desktop), or it can be web-based (granting you access to the platform wherever you have internet).
If you’re managing multiple businesses, or multiple warehouses, then, a web-based software may be preferable, as it will give you a greater ability to coordinate your inventory processes regardless of location. Similarly, you might want to take note of which inventory management software options have corresponding business apps for smartphones or tablets, allowing you to truly utilize your software wherever you are.
Additionally, you’ll also want to consider how any solution accommodates multiple users. Some inventory management software platforms may allow you to add an unlimited number of users, whereas others may have limitations or require you to pay a fee to grant additional users access.
Without a doubt, one of the most important pieces in your search for the best inventory management software for your business will be the feature-set—after all, you want a platform that can do everything you need it to do. As we mentioned earlier, the features included in any one inventory management software can vary.
Therefore, you’ll want to know exactly what kind of capabilities you need as you start your search. Do you want functionality that is specific to your industry? Do you need to manage multiple warehouses? How many products will your inventory management software need to accommodate? Do you need tools for dropshipping, kitting, or backorders? By asking yourself these detailed types of questions, you’ll be able to compare your requirements to the functionality any one system can offer.
Moreover, in addition to the features built into any inventory management software platform, you’ll want to determine how flexible and customizable these capabilities are. You’ll want to be able to customize workflows within the platform to function with your established business processes, so that you don’t have to radically change the way you operate in order to fit the system you choose.
As we’ve mentioned, inventory tools are often included with products like business accounting software, POS systems, and ecommerce platforms, as managing inventory directly connects to all of these facets of your operations. Therefore, when you’re looking for an inventory management software, you’ll want to determine what kind of integration options it offers.
You’ll want the inventory management software you choose to be able to connect to other business tools, whether that’s Shopify, QuickBooks, or Square POS. Some inventory management software systems will be able to integrate with a wider variety of third-party tools than others, so at the very least, you’ll want to ensure that your inventory management software will be able to work in conjunction with any of the important platforms you already use.
The cost of any business tool, including inventory management software, is always important to consider. When it comes to inventory management software, pricing can vary, depending on the breadth of the software and its capabilities. However, since inventory management includes handling some of the most complex business processes—and typically works with larger and rapidly growing businesses—you’ll more than likely find that these solutions are going to be in a higher price range (upwards of $100 per month) compared to other business software.
So, before you get into the weeds of searching for inventory management software, you’ll not only want to ensure that your business needs and can largely benefit from this kind of tool, but also what your budget is, and how flexible you can be with any specific number.
A final aspect of inventory management software you’ll want to take note of is a platform’s usability. As complex as inventory management can be, you don’t want to struggle to use the tool you purchased to help you with this process. Just like any business software, therefore, you’ll want your inventory management software to be user-friendly and intuitive, with an interface that you can easily navigate and utilize.
Along these lines, you might also consider if the inventory management software provider offers customer support resources, from self-service guides on their website to one-on-one support via phone, email, or chat. If you have any questions about how to setup and use your system, it’s important to know that you can find answers.
Best Inventory Management Software Options
With all of this in mind, let’s explore some of the best inventory management software options on the market and discuss what each of these platforms can offer your business.
TradeGecko: Best Inventory Management Software for Overall Functionality and Customization
TradeGecko is a cloud-based inventory management system with a robust feature-set designed to accommodate ecommerce businesses, distributors, and wholesale sellers alike. TradeGecko offers five standard plans, as well as two additional offerings for high-growth businesses.
TradeGecko includes an impressive list of inventory management features, the specifics of which, will ultimately depend on which of their plans you choose. On the whole, though, TradeGecko offers capabilities such as:
- Inventory control: Inventory tracking and automatically updated stock levels.
- Inventory optimization: Automate demand forecasting and reorder points.
- Warehouse management: Sync information from multiple warehouses through one platform.
- Order management: Sync orders with inventory.
- Multichannel sales: Manage inventory and orders from multiple sales channels through one platform.
- Wholesale inventory management: Take bulk orders with an automated, private wholesale ordering platform .
- Price list management: Manage custom prices and accommodate different currencies, customer types, product categories, etc.
- Sales reports: Access and generate sales reports based on sales history, customers, products, channels, locations, and more.
- Shipping: Set up shipping rates with different shipping services and methods using TradeGecko.
- Purchase order management: Create, edit, and email purchase orders that update inventory levels automatically.
- Manufacturing: Create manufacturing workflows from production to fulfillment.
- Backorder management: Pre-order inventory to fulfill orders on time, consolidate sales orders and view unfulfilled orders.
- Customer relationship management: Store customer and supplier data; automatically update records with customer orders and purchase history.
- Order fulfillment: Automate and fulfill orders, integrate channels, locations, and processes.
- Accounting: Integrate TradeGecko’s accounting system with inventory and order management, automate invoices, and view costs and profits.
- Batch and expiry tracking: Track inventory based on batch or lot.
- Inventory management reports: Access inventory reports with data regarding stock movement.
In addition to this vast list of capabilities, TradeGecko also includes a mobile sales app with all of their plans, as well as 24/7 email technical support and the ability to connect with a variety of third-party platforms. Moreover, TradeGecko offers their own payment, intelligence, and ecommerce products that you can buy and use in conjunction with their inventory management software.
As we mentioned, TradeGecko offers five core plans, each ranging in price and built-in functionality. All of the TradeGecko plans are priced on a monthly basis, but if you opt for annual billing over monthly billing, you can save up to 20% off the monthly cost, and in some cases, you’ll also receive additional monthly sales orders. Let’s look at the details.
- Founder: $39 per month, billed annually or monthly (there’s no savings with an annual subscription for this plan)
This plan includes one user, one sales channel integration, 50 sales orders per month, one warehouse, multiple currencies, and zonal shipping rates.
- Lite: $79 per month, billed annually, or $99 per month, billed monthly
This plan includes two users, one sales channel integration, 150 sales orders per month with the monthly plan or 300 orders per month with the annual subscription, one warehouse, multiple currencies, and zonal shipping rates.
- Small Business: $199 per month, billed annually, or $249 per month, billed monthly
This plan includes five users, two sales channel integrations, 500 sales order per month with the monthly plan or 1,000 sales orders per month with an annual subscription, multiple warehouses, multiple currencies, zonal shipping rates, basic user rights, batch and expiry tracking, two-hour setup assistance, and an account manager.
- Business: $599 per month, billed annually, or $699 per month, billed monthly
This plan includes eight users, three sales channel integrations, 1,500 sales orders per month with the monthly plan or 3,000 sales orders per month with an annual subscription, multiple warehouses, multiple currencies, zonal shipping rates, advanced user rights, batch and expiry tracking, four hours setup assistance, account manager, API access, advanced B2B customization, and more.
TradeGecko also allows you to sign up for a 14-day free trial of their inventory management software, no credit card required.
With a significant feature-set and variety of plan options, TradeGecko is a great inventory management software option for a wide range of businesses. As a cloud-based solution with a mobile app and numerous integration possibilities, TradeGecko provides flexibility, accessibility, and the ability to customize their platform to your specific business. This being said, if you’re looking for an inventory management software that can propel your business forward and allow you to manage multiple processes in one place, there’s no doubt that TradeGecko will serve you well.
Zoho Inventory: Best Inventory Management Software for Affordability
If you’re a smaller business with a tight budget, you might consider the next option on our list of best inventory management software solutions: Zoho Inventory. From Zoho, the same company that produces the Zoho Books accounting software, this inventory management platform can accommodate a growing business, but at a lower price point.
Like TradeGecko, Zoho Inventory is a cloud-based system that provides tools to automate your inventory, order, shipping, and fulfillment processes. Zoho offers their inventory management software in four unique plan options, each with increasing capabilities. Zoho Inventory can integrate with various marketplaces, ecommerce platforms, shipping providers, and payment services, in addition to the full suite of Zoho products. Moreover, Zoho Inventory includes a mobile app, available for both Android and iOS so you can manage inventory and receive real-time updates while on the go.
Zoho Inventory Features
As we mentioned, the specifics of the Zoho inventory management software will depend on the plan you choose, varying mostly on the number of orders, shipping labels, and tracking capabilities you have. On the whole, however, Zoho Inventory provides features such as:
- Inventory control:
- Automatically update inventory quantities based on sales.
- Organize products with variants and categories.
- Conduct item kitting.
- Set reorder points for automatic re-ordering.
- Make stock adjustments.
- Scan barcodes for automatic inventory adjustments.
- Track every item in your inventory with serial numbers.
- Track inventory based on batch and expiry dates.
- Warehouse management:
- Add multiple warehouses and control flow of stock between stores and warehouses.
- Dispatch orders from the closest warehouse based on customer location.
- Track transfer orders between warehouses.
- Generate reports based on warehouses.
- Multi-channel selling:
- Connect to marketplaces to sell on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and more.
- Monitor and fulfill orders from various channels in one platform.
- Buy and sell in multiple currencies and convert them to your preferred currency.
- Measure sales performance based on channel.
- Connect to various payment gateways to accept payment online.
- Order management:
- Manage all orders in one platform, set reorder points, and get updates on stock levels.
- Create packages, print package slips, and get real-time shipping rates from providers.
- Track shipments to update customers of location.
- Generate reports based on order trends and most profitable items.
- Order fulfillment:
- Use one dashboard to monitor pending, invoiced, packaged, and delivered orders.
- Create automatic packing slips after confirming sales order.
- Integrate with over 40 shipping carriers.
- Generate shipping labels based on packing slips.
- Create dropshipments to have vendors ship package to customers directly.
Zoho Inventory Pricing
With Zoho Inventory, you can choose from their four inventory management software plans, which are available on a monthly or an annual subscription basis. Like TradeGecko, Zoho offers a discount if you opt for an annual plan instead of paying month-by-month. Let’s break these plans down:
- Free: $0 per month
The first plan Zoho offers is completely free. The Free plan includes 20 online orders, offline orders, shipping labels, and shipment tracking per month. This plan also accommodates one warehouse, two users, composite items, ecommerce integrations, one Shopify store, and five automated workflows.
- Basic: $39 per month, billed annually, or $49 per month, billed monthly
The Basic plan offers 1,500 online and offline orders each per month, as well as 150 shipping labels and shipment trackings each per month. This plan can also accommodate two warehouses, 10 users, and 10 automated workflows.
- Standard: $79 per month, billed annually, or $99 per month, billed monthly
The Standard plan offers 10,000 online and offline orders each per month, as well as 1,000 shipping labels and shipment trackings each per month. This plan includes five warehouses, 15 users, two Shopify store integrations, serial number and batch tracking, and 10 automated workflows.
- Professional: $199 per month, billed annually, or $249 per month, billed monthly
The Professional plan includes 30,000 online as well as offline orders per month, plus 3,000 shipping labels and shipment trackings per month. This plan accommodates 10 warehouses, 20 users, five Shopify store integrations, and 10 automated workflows.
In addition to these four plans, Zoho also gives you the option to add orders and shipping labels by paying $5 for 50 additional orders and 50 additional shipping labels. Moreover, you can add warehouses by paying $90 for each additional warehouse per year or $9 per each additional warehouse per month.
From all of this information, you can see that Zoho Inventory has substantial features to offer within their inventory management software, as well as four different plans to serve a variety of small businesses. Although Zoho Inventory may not have quite the extent of capabilities as TradeGecko, there’s no doubt that with more affordable plan options, Zoho can better serve smaller businesses, especially those with a strict budget. Plus, with a free, albeit limited, option, you can test and continue to use the Zoho inventory management software (past the 14-day free trial), without having to invest in a costly monthly or annual subscription.
Ordoro: Best Inventory Management Software for Shipping Tools
Shipping is an integral part of the sales process and as such, is often tied directly to inventory management. The next solution on our list—Ordoro—is one of the best inventory management software options with an emphasis on shipping capabilities, in addition to inventory tools. Ordoro, like TradeGecko and Zoho Inventory, is a web-based software and provides functionality to help you automate your sales processes. With Ordoro, you can choose from three different plan offerings, all of which accommodate unlimited users and do not place restrictions on monthly orders or shipping. Additionally, Ordoro can integrate with a variety of ecommerce solutions, marketplace channels, POS systems, as well as either Xero or QuickBooks accounting software. It’s worth noting that Ordoro does not offer a mobile app.
As we mentioned, Ordoro focuses not only on inventory management, but also shipping capabilities, offering a number of in-depth shipping functions. Overall, the Ordoro inventory management software includes:
- Inventory management:
- Connect multiple channels, marketplaces, suppliers, warehouses, and track inventory across channels in one place.
- Automatically update inventory based on orders and restocking, receive notifications for low products.
- Bundle orders with built-in kitting engine, automatically update inventory for each product involved in the bundle.
- Verify products in each order with barcode scanning.
- Assign products to appropriate suppliers in bulk and issue purchase orders.
- Connect with suppliers to create supplier feeds, which update the quantity of your product listing based on the inventory your vendors have.
- Receive goods receipts for every purchase order to match what you ordered to what you receive.
- Shipping tools:
- Create shipping labels and branded packing lists, print with direct-to-printer option.
- Configure shipping presets for creating labels, establish automation rules for orders.
- Automatically or manually assign filterable tags for orders to view status and activity of each shipment.
- Mix and match shipping methods will all major carriers.
- Compare shipping rates across carriers; receive 67% discount through USPS.
- Buy shipping postage or shipping insurance through Ordoro.
- Determine a shipment’s weight with USB scale connection ability.
- Connect other supply channels or warehouses to Ordoro.
- After shipping labels are created, automatically relay shipping status and tracking numbers to appropriate sales channels.
- Use advanced kitting tools to accommodate single-level bundles, various components, varying quantities, multi-level bundles, multi-warehouse bundles, and fractional kits.
- Set up products and vendors for manual, semi-automatic, and fully-automatic dropshipping.
- Designate how your dropshipping workflow works.
- Create labels for dropshipped orders.
- Split orders to take orders with multiple products, separate the dropshipping SKUs, and route to vendors separately.
- Use vendor portal to provide suppliers with an account to view their active orders, print labels, and create tracking information.
- Build custom integrations with Ordoro API.
- View total revenue and costs across any period of time.
- Track spend with regard to shipping, handling, discounts, and taxes.
- Identify sales volume based on regions and states.
- Break down shipping costs by carrier.
- Monitor how quickly orders are fulfilled by tracking order fulfillment speed.
- View inventory data by supplier to see which products are moving.
- Look at profit margins with revenue and cost statement.
- View customer data and top customers.
- Express: $59 per month
This is the most basic plan and includes discounted USPS shipping rates, unlimited users, automation rules and shipping presets, and barcode scanning. Ordoro does not provide much additional information about this plan on their website.
- Pro: Starts at $399 per month; annual pricing available upon request
This plan offers all of the features of Express, as well as the majority of the inventory management, dropshipping, kitting, and purchasing tools we discussed above.
- Enterprise: Custom pricing available from Ordoro upon request
This plan includes all of the features of the first two plans, as well as a dedicated account manager, custom workflows and integrations, vendor portals, and supplier management.
Additionally, Ordoro’s website does state they offer a free trial, but you have to schedule a demo with one of their experts in order to set this up.
With these three plan options, it seems that Ordoro offers more flexibility with their pricing since they operate mostly on a quote-basis. However, with their advanced shipping and dropshipping tools, this inventory management software is great for businesses that want to pair these two processes seamlessly within one platform.
Moreover, unlike the other systems we’ve discussed, Ordoro does not limit your orders, users, or shipping, which can certainly be a benefit for growing businesses. Therefore, although it seems like Ordoro may be a more expensive solution, it can provide advanced tools, especially for shipping, as well as impressive customization and automation possibilities.
Best Inventory Management Software: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, managing your business’s inventory is a complex and essential process, and choosing the best inventory management software for you is an important decision. As you can see, however, there are numerous options on the market to accommodate a wide variety of business industries, sizes, and budgets.
This being said, there’s no doubt that any of the inventory management software options on our list may serve you well, but ultimately, the choice is up to you. You know your business needs best—and by going through the process of exploring these different inventory management software solutions—you have all the knowledge you need to determine which will fulfill your business’s needs best.
It’s important to remember that with the vast capabilities and relatively high monthly or annual costs involved with the majority of these solutions, you may also choose to seek inventory management capabilities elsewhere. As we’ve discussed, there are many business products—ecommerce platforms, POS systems, and accounting solutions—that may be able to offer the simpler inventory management tools you need within their platforms.
Randa has a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from Iona College. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.