7 Best Inventory Management Software for Small Businesses

Thierry Maout • August 12, 2022 • 10 min read

For product-heavy companies, inventory management is an essential element of success. Knowing where your inventory stands is critical for marketing, sales, accounting, and virtually every single area of your business.


Unfortunately, because of the number of tasks they have to juggle with limited resources, inventory management is too often an afterthought for many small businesses, which can result in major issues.


In this article, we will cover what inventory tracking is, how small businesses specifically can take the best steps to make it a priority, and how, and we will look at some of the best inventory management software that can help them do so.


Let’s dive in.



Table of Contents


  1. What is inventory management?
  2. What are the benefits of Inventory Management tools for small businesses
  3. ​​7 Best Inventory Management Software for Small Businesses

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What is inventory management?


Inventory management, sometimes called stock management, is the practice for companies to keep track of how much product they have in stock at any given time, as well as what they need to order, in what quantities, and when. 


Essentially, inventory tracking is about making sure there’s always sufficient inventory to fulfill product orders and avoid shortages.


If you’ve ever run a product-based business, you’ll know that having too much stick costs money, and not enough can be just as damaging to your company. As such, it’s critical to always be on top of inventory.


Simple tips for small businesses starting with inventory management include: 


  • Running an audit: Sometimes it’s that simple. Do you know how much inventory you have? You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t or think they do but are largely mistaken.
  • Building a process: How does inventory management work at your company? What triggers an order and how do you ensure you have enough stock to fulfill orders? Can you check your inventory at any given time? This must be bulletproof.
  • Identifying stakeholders: Who’s in charge? Establishing clear responsibilities within your team for inventory tracking will empower employees and ensure the ball doesn’t get passed around without anyone taking ownership of the topic.
  • Implementing an inventory management tool: This will help you streamline and facilitate inventory management operations. 


Following on that last point, it can be challenging to understand how inventory management software can help businesses, how, and where to start. Let’s look deeper into it.

What are the benefits of Inventory Management tools for small businesses


Although inventory tracking might seem like a simple enough task at first, many small businesses make the mistake of treating it like an afterthought and come to regret it later. Using inventory management software has numerous benefits:


  • Reliability: Keeping a trustworthy, accurate account of your stock you can check at any time, reducing waste and avoiding mistakes in the process
  • Connectivity: An inventory management software can integrate with the rest of your business tools across all function (accounting, sales, website, etc)
  • Transparently communicating with suppliers and partners
  • Automation: A tool will allow you to automate inventory management processes, helping all teams from finance to sales and marketing. There are plenty of processes you could automate: stopping running ads once a product is out of stock, syncing your website automatically, generating invoices, and more.
  • Strategy: Accurate and reliable historical data about your stocks means you will be able to make data-driven business decisions based on actual inventory and performance. No more guessing!
  • Time and money: Ultimately, saving time and money by running a more efficient business


These are only some of the benefits associated with implementing inventory management software for your business. Let’s look at some of the options available!

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​​7 Best Inventory Management Software for Small Businesses


Softr, best for SMBs and solopreneurs

softr homepage

Softr turns your data into a beautiful and powerful website, web app or client portal. Pick a template or start from scratch. From internal tools to websites and more, it allows you to build web and mobile apps with minimal technical knowledge, using an extensive collection of templates, including some for inventory management tools.


Price: Free plan, then $24/month


Pros

  • Affordable: Free plan available
  • Fully no-code: Easy yet powerful (no learning curve)
  • High-level security: permissions, google auth, SSO etc
  • Templates: Large selection to choose from
  • Community: Thousands of users to engage and communicate with 


Cons

  • Limitations: Lower plans are lacking some features (editing, users count etc.)
  • Design: Not as flexible as other options (but it is all responsive out-of-the-box)

Zoho Inventory, best for Zoho users

zoho inventory homepage

Part of the Zoho software suite, Zoho Inventory helps businesses manage their orders and inventory. The software can integrate with other products like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or Shopify.


Price: Free plan, then $59/month


Pros

  • Handy integration with the entire Soho suite of software
  • Plenty of connectors available with other products and tools


Cons

  • Can quickly become pricy
  • Not the best choice outside of the Zoho ecosystem.

Katana, best for manufacturers

katana homepage

Katana is a manufacturing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, designed to give companies the tools to control their businesses, including inventory and sales.


Price: Starting from $99/month (14-day trial available)


Pros

  • A complete ERP solution with lots of features
  • Caters specifically to manufacturing businesses


Cons

  • Expensive solution for smaller businesses

Quickbooks, best for limited inventory management needs

Quickbooks homepage

Quickbooks offers an all-in-one online accounting platform for small companies to run their entire business in one place.


Price: Starting at $15/month


Pros

  • Affordable suite of tools
  • Great fit if you’re already using Quickbooks for accounting


Cons

  • Limited inventory management capabilities

inFlow inventory, best for B2B wholesalers and distributors

inFlow homepage

inFlow inventory software is a cloud-based inventory management system helping companies manage costs through inventory and order management, and integrations with a number ecommerce and invoicing platforms.


Price: Starting at $79/month


Pros

  • Built-in B2B portal (only available on certain plans)
  • User-friendly with great customer service according to reviews


Cons

  • Limited advanced features

Cin7, best for growing businesses

cin7 homepage

Cin7 is a cloud-based inventory management software and ERP (ERP) alternative that covers inventory and order management for businesses ranging from B2B, B2C, online stores, and brick-mortar.


Price: Starting at $299/month


Pros

  • Ability to connect a point-of-sale (POS) software to your stock to sell directly from inventory
  • Connectivity with hardware devices such as barcode scanners, printers, cash drawers, etc
  • Included ​​enterprise resource planning (ERP) features


Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Lots of advanced features and options SMBs might not need

Freshbooks, best for freelancers


freshbooks homepage

Freshbook is an accounting software catering to freelancers and small businesses, which also provides basic inventory tracking.


Price: Starting at $15/month


Pros

  • Good for very basic inventory tracking needs 
  • Affordable solution for SMBs


Cons

  • Limited inventory management capabilities

Conclusion


As we’ve seen, there are many options available to small businesses to handle their Inventory Management needs. Whether you decide to pay for a fully-fledged, dedicated solution, or to build your own custom tool without should depend on your objectives, budget, and bandwidth.


For small businesses getting started with inventory tracking that don’t want to spend a lot of money and aren’t sure that they absolutely need a complete inventory management suite, we recommend trying out Softr.


Building your web app without code using Softr is as easy as assembling Lego blocks, connecting your different tools, and customizing your internal platform according to your needs.

Wanna build your own inventory management system?

Try Softr for free and get started today

Frequently asked questions about small business inventory software

Inventory management, sometimes called stock management, is the practice for businesses of keeping track of how much product they have in stock at any given time, as well as what they need to order, in what quantities, and when. Essentially, inventory tracking is about making sure there’s always sufficient inventory to fulfill product orders and avoid shortages.

Inventory management can be divided into four categories: Raw materials, works-in-process, maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) goods, and finished goods. Raw materials refers to materials used to build finished products. They can be produced internally or by a third party. For example, for a postcard company, raw materials could be the paper or ink used in the confection of the final products. Works-in-progress is describing the products that are unfinished and not ready to be sold yet. Continuing with the postcard company, this could describe the postcard as the ink and glue is drying out. Maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) are other products that are used during production but aren’t part of the final product. As an example, this could describe the molds used to seal the wax on envelopes. Finished goods, finally, are the finished products, once production is completed and they can be sold. In our example, the postcards.

To maintain inventory effectively, small businesses need to accurately track and monitor their sales activity. By tracking sales volume and using inventory management software (more info in the post), SMBs are able to gather insights, enabling them to: - Monitor product performance: What are your top-selling products? What items are underperforming? This will allow you to steer your inventory strategy accordingly. - Focus on your business: Implementing inventory management software allows you to free up time and energy to focus on what really matters. - Identify negotiation opportunities: By calculating product margins and sales volume, you’ll be able to negotiate with suppliers. - Track inventory in real-time: Proper inventory tracking will help you monitor how much of your money is tied up in inventory at any given time.

The two methods of inventory control are manual and perpetual. Manual inventory control (also called physical inventory control) refers to a method of inventory control where you’ll periodically go and count each item in the inventory, comparing your results with previous values to keep track of everyone coming in and out. Perpetual inventory control, on the other hand, continuously keeps track of products in the inventory through dedicated software, and automatically monitors everything that is sold and/or purchased. Note: Neither type of inventory control removes the need to inspect products. You still need to make sure they’re not damaged or haven’t disappeared.

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