A Guide to Multi-Channel Inventory Management Solutions

August 19, 2019 Chris Lema

Adding more sales channels to your business model can create inventory management headaches. When you sell on multiple online marketplaces, you may have to maintain numerous inventory systems. In a worst-case scenario, you’re keeping track of your inventory manually, using spreadsheets.

This leads to headaches. Inventory records for multi-channel retailers are, on average, accurate just 63% of the time. This is a major factor in why 29% of multi-channel retailers have trouble accurately promising fulfillment. Moreover, poor inventory management spells trouble for your profitability, customer experience, overhead, and shrinkage, all of which eat into your bottom line.

A multi-channel inventory management solution consolidates inventory management across platforms while automating and boosting recordkeeping. We’re going to help you choose the right multi-channel inventory management system for your eCommerce business (with or without WooCommerce in the mix).

What to Look for in a Multi-Channel Inventory Management System

Since poor inventory management can have a number of adverse effects on your eCommerce business, let’s look at some key features of a multi-channel inventory management solution.

What to Look For in a Multi-Channel Inventory Management System

Synchronization Across Sales Channels

The ability to synchronize your inventory across multiple channels is the most important feature of multi-channel inventory management systems. A system should sync incoming orders with your inventory so that products that are sold are reflected in your data.

Product Listing

The best multi-channel inventory management systems offer the ability to list your products on all of your sales channels. Even if it’s not an absolute requirement, this is definitely a convenient feature and a major timesaver.

Comprehensive Reporting

A multi-channel inventory management system should offer in-depth reporting on a number of important metrics including:

  • Inventory turnover, or the number of times a product is sold and replenished over a period of time
  • Days to sell inventory (DSI), or the average length of time a product sits in inventory before being sold
  • Costs of holding, or the total of all expenses associated with keeping a product in inventory
  • Return rate, or the percentage of sales that are returned
  • Stock out, or when no inventory is available to fulfill orders
  • Inventory accuracy, or the percentage of the difference between the amount of product that’s physically on your shelves versus the amount of product recorded in the inventory management system

Integrates with Other Software

When a multi-channel inventory management system integrates with other software you use, it saves you time. In fact, inventory management platforms often double as order management, shipping management, and other related systems, giving you the opportunity to consolidate your operations stack.

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Top 6 eCommerce Inventory Management Systems

Here are the most capable, flexible, feature-rich multi-channel inventory management systems. The specific multi-channel listing and inventory management solutions we’ll be covering include:

  • Sellbrite
  • TradeGecko
  • Orderhive
  • Ecomdash
  • Ordoro
  • Stitch Labs

Sellbrite

Sellbrite is a comprehensive, cloud-based inventory management tool that covers several bases. Besides multi-channel inventory management, it has the flexibility to double as order management, product management, and channel analytics tools in an easy-to-use platform.

Sellbrite offers an easy-to-use, web-based dashboard and compatibility with most major online marketplaces.

Sellbrite integrates with most major online marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Jet, and Newegg. And since Sellbrite offers order management, orders received through individual platforms are immediately and automatically reflected in Sellbrite’s web app.

Listing products is very simple with Sellbrite, especially with a bulk listing feature you can use to list hundreds of products simultaneously in just a few clicks. You can also create variation listings which are useful (for instance) when a product comes in multiple colors. With built-in templating, it’s possible to choose a listing style once, and then conveniently reuse it for future listings — and establish brand consistency across platforms.

Sellbrite integrates with many widely-used platforms and services. On the shipping side, you can integrate with USPS, Fulfillment by Amazon, ShipStation, ShipEngine, Easyship, and Deliverr. There’s also integration with order management platform SalesPad Cloud, dropship automation service Inventory Source, and product research tool Algopix.

There’s a 14-day free trial available for Sellbrite, which is rated very highly at 4.5 stars out of 5, for you to decide whether it works for you. If you choose to keep it, Sellbrite subscriptions start at $49 per month billed monthly or annually.

How to Connect a Sales Channel to Sellbrite

  1. From the Sellbrite dashboard, click Connect your channels.
  2. Choose the Shopping Cart or Marketplace channel you’d like to connect to Sellbrite. Then click Next.
  3. Choose a custom nickname for the channel.
  4. Click the provided link and sign into the corresponding account to connect the account to Sellbrite.
  5. Click Connect another channel to repeat this process for another channel, or click Next if you’re finished connecting your sales channels.

TradeGecko

TradeGecko has become a very popular option in the multi-channel inventory management space. Particularly well known for its user-friendly, WordPress-esque interface and for offering powerful reporting options, TradeGecko is an ideal option for retailers looking for metrics across diverse channels.

At its core, TradeGecko is a capable multi-channel listing and inventory management system with channel support for WooCommerce, Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, Etsy, Magento, ShipStation, QuickBooks, Xero, and Fulfillment by Amazon. These integrations, or “Apps” as TradeGecko calls them, will allow you to consolidate all the platforms and marketplaces you use into a single platform. Beyond the integrations, TradeGecko offers its own customizable B2B eCommerce platform, payment processing, and an iOS app to manage your inventory and orders from your iPhone or iPad.

Tradegecko is known for a user-friendly, web-based interface that's reminiscent of WordPress. There's also a TradeGecko appfor iPhone and iPad.

Currently, TradeGecko is rated at 4.5 stars out of 5, indicating a very positive reception. Considering there’s a 14-day free trial, you can set up your own TradeGecko account and try it risk-free. From there, TradeGecko subscriptions start at $39 per month, but you can get a substantial discount if you pay for the service annually instead of monthly.

How to Connect a Sales Channel to TradeGecko

  1. From the TradeGecko dashboard, click the Apps tab in the left-hand sidebar.
  2. Using the filtering options, find the sales channel you wish to add to TradeGecko and click on it.
  3. Use the provided link to login into the account you have on that channel and confirm the integration.
  4. Repeat this process to add more channels to TradeGecko, or click the Dashboard tab to begin viewing inventory reports.

Orderhive

Orderhive is a balanced, organized system for managing inventory. Though a full-featured system in its own right, the colorful, user-friendly, cloud-based interface is a standout and offers quick access to inventory data as well as diverse reporting options, order management, customer data, returns, shipments, inventory replenishment, and more.

An array of integrations are available with Orderhive. Of course, it integrates with key shopping cart platforms like WooCommerce, but it also connects to most major online marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Jet, and Houzz. There’s also integration support for other systems that multi-channel retailers often use from Constant Contact to QuickBooks, from Slack to ShipStation.

The Orderhive dashboard is very user-friendly, making all your important data accessible in organized tabs.

Orderhive users seem to really like the platform as it’s currently rated at 4.5 stars out of 5. If you’re interested in trying it, a free 15-day trial offers plenty of time to decide whether Orderhive works for your multi-channel eCommerce business. If you decide to keep it, Orderhive subscriptions start at $99 per month with custom quotes available on request.

How to Connect a Sales Channel to Orderhive

  1. From the Orderhive dashboard, navigate to Integrations > Marketplaces.
  2. Find the channel you want to connect to your Orderhive account and click on the integration button.
  3. Provide the necessary information about your channel account.
  4. Choose the warehouse that will be supplying orders for that channel (if applicable).
  5. Select an order sync date.
  6. Click Done and follow the prompts to sign into your channel account to connect the channel to Orderhive.

Ecomdash

Ecomdash is a popular cloud-based multi-channel inventory management system for medium-sized eCommerce businesses. It’s a well-rounded platform, offering features for inventory management as well as order management and shipping management. This saves business owners from having to rely on separate platforms for those functions.

One of the characteristics of Ecomdash that sets it apart is its breadth of inventory control options. For example, you can choose if you want to manage the products in your inventory by SKU, serial number, or your own custom product identification system. This flexibility makes Ecomdash particularly well-suited to eCommerce retail. Best of all, Ecomdash supports an impressive library of popular channels and services including Amazon, Etsy, WooCommerce, Google Shopping Actions, Magento, Jet, Newegg, Facebook Shopping, and many others.

Ecomdash offers a clean interface for managing inventory across multiple warehouses.

Another useful feature of Ecomdash is the ability to set reorder rules for your inventory. This ensures that you only order the amount of product you need to maintain optimal profitability. Additionally, the Ecomdash user interface makes it easy to track inventory across multiple warehouses.

At the time of writing, Ecomdash is rated at 4 stars out of 5. With a mid-range starting subscription price of $60 per month, Ecomdash offers a discount of 20% for paying an entire year upfront. If you’d like to take the service for a test run before committing, Ecomdash has a 15-day free trial for new users.

How to Connect a Sales Channel to Ecomdash

  1. From the Ecomdash dashboard, navigate to Settings > Storefront Setup.
  2. Click Add New to open the channel integration window.
  3. Select the platform you’d like to connect to your Ecomdash account.
  4. Input your login information and, if applicable, an authorization token, then click Save.
  5. Input the correct order fulfillment option and lead time.

Ordoro

Like many other options on our list, Ordoro aims to be a central hub for your eCommerce and inventory-related needs. Ordoro combines inventory management, order management, shopping cart management, shipping management, inventory replenishment, and even dropshipping automation into a single platform.

Ordoro is very effective for multi-channel inventory management and consolidates disparate channels into a single system. Additionally, Ordoro offers “kitting” which is a feature that lets you create product bundles you can list and sell on all of your sales channels.

Ordero offers a clean, simple interface with all key information distributed between a few tabs along the top of the app.

The Ordoro web app is neatly organized with tabs along the top that you use to navigate between multi-channel orders, shipments, and products. All your most granular controls and reporting options, like the list of products in your current purchase orders, are under the corresponding tab. So accessing the information and functions you need in any given moment never takes more than a couple clicks.

There are a couple of noteworthy perks to using Ordoro. First, you get significant USPS shipping discounts for using Ordoro as your shipping management platform. Another perk is that you can automate the process of sending purchase orders to suppliers, ensuring that you never run out of popular products.

Aside from being a well-rounded platform, Ordoro is often praised for offering excellent customer support, which certainly factors in its current rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. If you’re interested in trying Ordoro for yourself, there’s a free 15-day trial available. After the trial, Ordoro subscriptions start at $59 per month.

How to Connect a Sales Channel to Ordoro

  1. From the Ordoro dashboard, click on your account name near the upper right-hand corner, then click Account Settings.
  2. Click Sales Channels in the web app sidebar.
  3. Select Add a Sales Channel.
  4. Choose the channel you’d like to add from the drop-down menu, then click Add Sales Channel.
  5. Follow the prompts to log into your account for that sales channel.
  6. Accept the license agreement, if applicable.
  7. Click Continue to finalize.

Stitch Labs

As the inventory management system of brands like Young & Reckless and Brooklinen, Stitch Labs is designed for high-growth eCommerce and scalability. Most notably, Stitch Labs is a multi-functional platform that can also handle your order management, shipping management, operations management, and in-depth reporting.

Stitch Labs has your typical web-app design with a collapsible navigation sidebar on the left-hand side.

In terms of the interface, Stitch Labs takes a very similar approach to most other web apps with a collapsible left-hand sidebar that navigates between tabs and menus. This makes the array of inventory management and reporting options very accessible.

Though it offers many integrations, Stitch Labs currently only integrates with three online marketplaces: Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. This puts Stitch Labs at a disadvantage compared to other inventory management solutions since it supports only a limited number of the sales channels that multi-channel retailers commonly use today. But on the plus side, Stitch Labs does support certain platforms that could come in handy for an eCommerce business including WooCommerce, ShipStation, QuickBooks, Fulfillment by Amazon, and Square.

Business owners who use Stitch Labs praise its breadth of reporting options, dropshipping support, and strong customer service, all of which are factors in the platform’s present rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Currently, Stitch Labs does not offer a free trial although there is a free demo available upon request. With Stitch Labs subscriptions starting at $799 per month — and with annual billing being the only option — you should probably make sure Stitch Labs is the right solution for your eCommerce business before buying.

How to Connect a Sales Channel to Stitch Labs

  1. From the Stitch Labs dashboard, navigate to Integrations > Channels, then click Add Channel.
  2. Select the channel you want to integrate. If applicable, make sure to select the channel version for your country.
  3. Input your login credentials for that sales channel, then click Authorize.

Combine Multi-Channel Inventory Management Software with Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce plans

As you decide which inventory management system is best for your multi-channel marketing strategy, consider the many benefits of choosing Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce for your eCommerce site.
Our Managed WooCommerce Plans are designed with scalability in mind, so you’ll never have to worry about your store going offline as you grow your customer base. And just as platforms like TradeGecko and Ordoro make multi-channel inventory management simple, it’s easy to drive revenue with your reliable, high-converting eCommerce store when you choose Liquid Web as your hosting provider.
To learn more about Managed WooCommerce Hosting by Liquid Web, visit our product page today.

The post A Guide to Multi-Channel Inventory Management Solutions appeared first on Liquid Web.

About the Author

Chris Lema

Chris Lema is our Vice President of Products at Liquid Web. A well-known blogger and public speaker, Chris has led our product teams to develop and launch our Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce product lines.

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