Inventory control in online trading

Your efforts have finally paid off and your webstore is beginning to gain traction, but not only is your customer base growing; your sales numbers and revenue are both steadily increasing, too. If you have a wide range of products and you export your goods manually, the business’ growth could spell disaster for your organizational systems, resulting in supply shortages and, ultimately, unsatisfied customers. In order to prevent such scenarios from happening, and to bring structure to your shipment procedures, stock control systems (ERP systems) should be put in place. A stock control system links purchasing, sales, and stock management and then integrates these processes directly into your software. As an online store operator, you can manage your entire online business centrally and easily gain sales from other platforms, such as Amazon or eBay, thanks to a simple interface.

How ERP systems work

With Stock control systems, users can technically map all processes that have to do with purchasing and selling of goods as well as the managing product lines. They also allow the targeted processing of all data related to goods and customers. The software developed for these purposes is generally known as inventory management software. This covers the following tasks:

  • Structuring purchases: controlling and analyzing purchases is a vital element of any shipping business. Stock control systems help you order in a cost and demand-effective way and also help you manage resources.
  • Structuring sales: the software takes control of managing your personal data, the customers’ data, as well as all other information relevant to sales. They also assist in planning and executing temporary, short-term, and seasonal tasks such as Advent calendars.
  • Receiving goods: stock control systems organize the delivery of the stock you’ve ordered. They can help organize the intake of stock and check the contents and the invoice.
  • Shipping: when a customer places an order, the inventory management software processes the task up until the shipping procedure. Generally, shipping is controlled via scanner technology, so you always have your current inventory at a glance.
  • Warehouse management: stock control systems have a range of useful functions to help with the structuring of your warehouse. These include labelling systems for products and functions to facilitate inventory processing. Some systems also help to optimally manage available storage space.

Inventory management software can automate the numbered sections with the appropriate modules, (e.g. purchasing modules or shipping modules). These gather the necessary information from databases and your chosen software via an interface. This information includes the barcode scanner app used in the warehouse, your store solution, and your checkout software. The interfaces use a particular data exchange format (i.e. XML or CSV) and achieve sales in external marketplaces.

You’ll often encounter ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems in conjunction with stock control systems. These can be used for resource planning, although their range of functions goes significantly further and includes modules for staff management, document management, and controlling, among other things. Many ERP systems also include standard stock control modules, making them ideal for use in online trading.

Finding the right shipping software

There are several criteria that can determine whether the inventory management software is suitable for your webstore. The sector and business area play an important role, as do your desired range of functions, the size of your customer base, and the compatibility with your online store software. You should also consider your budget. If your online store is on the smaller side of things, you should consider using a low-cost package with a more limited range of functions, as these are primed for your webstore’s growth. Read on to find out more about three interesting systems in different price brackets.

Odoo

Founded in 2005, the ERP system Odoo is an open source system based on a wide range of apps. You can download different versions of the system from Odoo’s website. A number of additional applications are also available from their app store.

Advantages:

  • License free
  • Huge range of functions, covering the most important business procedures
  • The system is compatible with a great number of applications, including Magento and many More developed by Odoo and members of the Odoo community

Disadvantages:

  • Free use limited to two users
  • Cost for migrating data to newest version
  • Technical know-how required
  • Monthly fee for additional apps
  • New version released every year

ibeq

For decades now, the manufacturers of ibeq have been responsible for creating programs that have revolutionized the areas of financing, accounting, and stock control. ibeq Systems Solutions offer efficient logistics systems that can be linked to various webstore systems thanks to its standardized eShop interface. The accruing costs can be paid once a year or once a month.

Advantages:

  • Diverse interfaces (DATEV, ASCII, etc.)
  • Extensive stats
  • Linked to Microsoft Office

Disadvantages:

  • New version released every year
  • eShop interface can only be used within the one-year update warranty period

pixi*

The scalable stock control system, pixi*, is the ideal solution for fast-growing webstores. The manufacturers help to set up the system, supervising on-site and advising in logistical issues. API interfaces based on SOAP and REST allow for a seamless integration into various applications. Find out more information about the software and costs via the contact form on the pixi* website.

  • flexible system extensions on request
  • large partner network
  • on-site support
  • specialized in e-commerce

Disadvantages:

  • high cost

Find success with a stock control system

An extensive stock control system, such as pixi*, requires a very large inventory and is not so well suited to smaller webstores due to its hefty price tag. Nevertheless, it represents the key concept of these systems: only by optimizing your structure and automating shipping and transaction procedures can a growing webstore yield a long-term profit. It’s therefore imperative for the success of a webstore that procedures such as orders, purchases, sales, and warehouse management are automated as soon as possible, which can be done with the help of inventory management software. Using an appropriate merchandise management program ensures that you save time and money, which can both be invested in other areas such as marketing or advertising.

1