What is inventory management?
Inventory management is an aspect of supply chain management that relates to the management of stock and inventory. Controlling and storing stock to ensure that businesses have the right amount of inventory, at the appropriate location, and at the right time are key features of inventory management.
Most businesses now use inventory management software to help track stock levels, sales, and process returns in both physical and online stores. Inventory management software can range from the simple to the complex. The following features are generally included in inventory management software:
- Barcode scanning.
- CSV file import.
- Customer history.
- Multiple user access.
- Discount tracking.
Just as the features in inventory tracking software vary, so does the price. The good news is that inventory software ranges from free to thousands of dollars per month. Whether you operate a small business, like a local coffee shop or a multi-site retail store, there will be inventory tracking software available to meet your needs.
Traditionally, business owners kept track of their products using spreadsheets, but simple inventory software has made such manual processes a thing of the past. Even free inventory software provides business owners with the opportunity to gain an accurate picture of their product sales. There are a host of benefits for businesses that use free inventory management apps and software, including:
- Better financial decisions – Accurately monitoring your products using free inventory software allows you to work out important financial indicators, for example, your contribution margin ratio. This puts you in a position to make better decisions based on data about your products, cash flow, profits, sales and outstanding balances.
- Maximize stock levels – Real-time inventory management helps to manage the number of products in your store. Features, like automated ordering, guarantees that products will be available when your customers want them.
- Reduce admin – Some free inventory trackers can calculate taxes and other administrative tasks. This allows business owners to focus on tasks that will grow their business, for instance, marketing.
- Reduce labor costs – You will require fewer employees to carry out physical inventory counts when using inventory tracking software. This provides the opportunity to utilize your staff in areas that will directly affect your customers, such as providing a great in-store experience.
Given the extensive benefits of inventory management software, you might expect the best solutions to be costly. However, there are a variety of free inventory management software and apps with the required features to provide timely and accurate management of your products. Some free software and apps are open source inventory management. This means that the original source code is freely available and people are free to modify or redistribute this source code. Here’s a list of the best inventory management software to consider for the retail, restaurant, and hospitality industries.
The best free inventory management software for the retail industry:
Ordoro inventory management program is ideal for retail businesses that ship and dropship products. Ordoro allows businesses to compare the rates of different shippers in order to be more competitive. This e-commerce and inventory management software is also able to negotiate FedEx and UPS rates so that businesses get the best deals on shipping costs. There’s also the functionality to easily batch-print labels and track orders through the advanced analytics. Ordoro can be used by businesses of any size and is especially suitable for businesses with numerous suppliers. Ordoro has both a free and a paid plan. The free plan can be accessed by a single user, with less than 50 orders per month. You will have to pay for unlimited users and advanced features, such as multi-warehouse inventory tracking.
This free inventory program is created by Losoftware and provides retailers that operate online and in physical stores with the functionality to control their stock and inventory. RightControl is also a sales management system and is suitable for freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises. It also has free warehouse management software for the automatic creation of packing lists. This enables retailers to easily manage their packing and shipping costs. RightControl’s modern interface makes it an easy to use inventory software. Because it’s hosted in the cloud, it can also be accessed on any device, at any time. Both a free and paid plan are available on RightControl. The free package includes features such as stock level monitoring, barcode scanning and invoicing.
Delivrd is a free cloud-based inventory management and order fulfillment software. It provides solutions for eCommerce retailers and people who sell via eBay and Amazon. As well as inventory management, Delivrd also provides additional features, such as barcode printing and scanning, pick, pack and ship, and third-party integration. Delivrd price plans range from free to $99 per month. The free plan is for a single user and includes low stock level alerts, inventory transactions history, and email support.
The best free inventory management software for the restaurant industry:
ChefSheet is a free inventory app that provides services to bars, restaurants, food trucks, and restaurants. The app allows restaurateurs to count their stock using their mobile device. After the stock has been recorded, ChefSheet will manage and report on different elements of the inventory, for example, price changes. The app provides free and unlimited inventory management to restaurants with one or multiple locations. The free plan includes internal price tracking, inventory reporting, and the mobile inventory counting app. The paid plans range from $44.99 to $59.99 per month.
Odoo is an open source point of sale (POS) system with integrated inventory management software. Odoo allows restaurateurs to customize and view their floor plans to see how many tables are available. Odoo automatically records transactions from the POS system to update the restaurant’s inventory records. This free inventory app also has warehouse management capabilities. Odoo has an easy inventory software function with a light learning curve. Because Odoo is open source software, it’s fully customizable to suit your business needs. This inventory tracker supports different devices, like Mac, Android, and iOS.
Vend is a POS system that can be used by retailers, restaurants and other small businesses. This system offers customer loyalty programs, software for different operating systems and inventory management. The inventory management software offers features, such as bulk exports, a centralized product catalog, and warehouse management. Vend’s entry-level free pricing plan is suitable for small businesses and pop-up stores. Payment for bigger businesses starts at $99 per month, with Vend offering customized prices for large restaurant and retail franchises.
The best free inventory management software for the hospitality industry:
HotelDruid is an open source cloud-based hotel management software, which also includes inventory tracking capabilities. This software allows hoteliers to customize different elements, like the length of stay and number of rooms. The inventory management feature is connected to a POS system for restaurants and bars at the hotel. HotelDruid allows hoteliers to record their stock from different rooms in order to track items. It also provides the functionality to monitor products in a room’s minibar. HotelDruid is open source software, so it’s free for businesses to use.
Goods Order Inventory is a cloud-based inventory management system that serves different industries including hospitality and facilities. Their inventory management for hotels provides hotels with the capabilities to determine how many rooms have been allocated to guests and how much food has been consumed by guests. Additionally, Goods Order Inventory provides multiple warehouse tracking and low stock reports. This inventory management software is available free for a 14-day trial. After the trial period is over, the hotelier will discuss their needs with Goods Order Inventory to receive a bespoke price for their inventory management solution.
Free eBay inventory management software
It’s not only physical retail and large e-commerce stores that benefit from inventory management software. Individual sellers on online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, can also operate a more efficient business by utilizing the features of inventory management apps or software.
Free eBay inventory management software allows sellers to organize their stock with ease. With inventory management apps, sellers have confidence that they have an ordered item in stock. They can find the product in the database and pack and ship the item using specialist barcodes and scanners. Free inventory trackers for eBay stores can include the basic functions and also more advanced features.
Similar to free inventory software for physical and e-commerce stores, free inventory apps for eBay have a number of benefits, including:
- Quality management – Sellers can track issues in relation to different items and take corrective action.
- Cost management – The free eBay inventory software will reduce the likelihood of being overstocked or understocked, which could have a negative effect on profits.
- Customer support – Customers will be kept satisfied because they will receive the items they ordered within the specified time-frame.
Free eBay inventory management software can include the following features:
- Purchase order management – Receive alerts to restock items from the vendor of your choice.
- Serialized inventory – Track products coming into your warehouse from other warehouses or from vendors.
- Multi-warehouse management – For sellers who operate from more than one location, some inventory management systems will enable the goods to be shipped from the location that’s nearest to the customer.
- Integrations – To enable sellers to operate a seamless eBay business, some inventory management systems integrate with accounting software for easier financial reporting.
Here are some eBay inventory management software that has free options:
This software provides listing features, shipping and inventory management for eBay sellers. If sellers are using more than one e-commerce platform, they can create bulk listings. Linnworks will update their products across every channel, for example, if a seller is using Amazon and eBay, the number of products will be updated on both Amazon and on eBay. Linnworks offers free and paid plans. The free plan is available to single users across three channels with a limit of 50 SKUs. The paid plan starts at $270 per month and offers features, such as unlimited channels and unlimited orders.
Zoho eBay inventory management software is used by sellers and resellers, business owners and e-commerce businesses. Zoho inventory syncs with eBay every four hours to keep sellers updated about their sales. However, sellers can change the default four hours to an interval of their choice. Zoho Inventory for eBay ranges from free to $249 per month. The free version of this online software allows for one warehouse management and 20 online orders, offline orders, shipping labels, and tracking. The paid plans include multiple warehouse inventory management, more orders, shipping labels, and tracking.
Appath is a cloud-based online inventory management software that enables sellers to monitor their products across different channels, like eBay and Amazon. The features include bundling common items, multi-warehousing drop-shipping automation.
The free inventory management software above will help you to track and monitor your products. Deputy’s features allow you to manage another critical aspect of your business – your employees. If you’re looking for an easy way to manage your employees, consider using Deputy to schedule your hourly staff. Additionally, Deputy also integrates with multiple systems, including POS and inventory management systems. Sign up below for a free trial to find out how Deputy can fulfill your staff scheduling needs.
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