Managing your stock to make sure that you are always able to fulfill your orders promptly without having excess stock on hand is a difficult balancing act that only stock management can help you achieve.
There are many ways that you can manage your stock. You can do this manually or create a bespoke system, but this can take time and be inefficient.
You may need to constantly manually update your records and other areas your business may not be able to access the information in real-time.
This can waste time and any time wasted is also money wasted.
This is where inventory management software can help. It can streamline your inventory management, making it both quicker and more reliable.
Software specially designed for inventory management will include the tools you need to keep your records up to date and can integrate with other pieces of software you have to ensure every aspect of your business is always working with the most relevant information.
In this article, we have recommended the best inventory management software for small businesses. We also have a buying guide to help you make your choice and have answered a few commonly asked questions.
Cin7 is much more than just an inventory management system as it offers several different features for businesses in one package.
It allows you to link your point-of-sale software to your stock system, so your sales team will have a constantly updating list of the available stock.
This includes everything in your warehouse or even any unsold stock that is in transit (Need a way to organize your warehouse? Check out our review of Indigo, a warehouse management software).
You can also connect everything with your hardware, such as barcode scanners, so your stock levels will update as items are sold.
Cin7 also gives you the option to set up individual warehouses and stores, regardless of whether they are physically different locations or just classed as different for your business purposes.
You can automate many processes with Cin7.
For example, you can set stock levels so that whenever your stock in a particular location drops below this level, stock transfers are automatically triggered.
If you sell via Amazon, Cin7 can integrate with Amazon’s services to help you manage your business through the site.
There is a free trial available for new users so you can give the software a spin before you have to pay anything.
It has several different tiers that give you different options, depending on your needs and the size of your business.
The lowest tier is the Standard plan and this costs $325 per month. This gives you five users for the software.
You can also choose from the Business plan ($749 per month), Advanced plan ($999 per month), or a bespoke Enterprise plan.
- Offers more features than just inventory management
- Automate processes and update in real-time
- Full integration with Amazon
- Free trial available
- May have features than some small businesses need
If you are a small business that not only expects to remain a small business but is working on a very tight budget, then ABC Inventory is a great option.
This is a completely free inventory management system that may be limited in scope compared to some others on this list, but can also do a great job.
The free version of ABC Inventory allows you to have an unlimited number of records and it can be installed on an unlimited number of workstations.
However, you can’t link together the data on the workstations so don’t expect updates made on one to automatically update on another.
You can manage your stock over multiple warehouses and companies and create purchase orders with a variety of different features.
It will alert you with reports of low stocks and suggest when new inventory needs to be ordered. You can integrate barcode scanning of goods when they both enter and leave your warehouse.
There is a paid version of ABC Inventory that offers more features. It will give you customer support for a year and lifetime software updates.
There is no subscription as you just pay once and the paid version is yours. This begins at $435 for a single user and is $635 for a version with cloud storage.
If you’re willing to pay for inventory management software, however, we would recommend one of our other choices.
- Free version available
- Has all of the basic features you need
- Unlimited warehouses and companies supported
- Automated reports
- No network or cloud updates on the free version
This inventory management software is suitable for small businesses but is best for those that are more focused on acting as wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors.
If your primary sales are B2B (business to business) instead of to the public, this software might be the best fit for you.
One of Unleashed’s greatest features is that it will give you an e-commerce portal that your B2B customers can use.
This will allow them to manage their orders from you by checking the stock you have available and tracking the progress of their own orders.
Unleashed also gives you great detail and control over your stock.
There are a large number of reports that you can access that will help you track both finished products and the materials you need to make them.
You can also track finished products after they’ve been sold so if needed, you can trace materials in case of needing to recall them.
Although Unleashed is directed at B2B companies, you can add additional features to make it more compatible with selling to customers.
If you’re primarily a business that sells to the public, however, we would recommend that you choose another software that is geared toward this.
There is a free trial available for this software. For subscriptions, you can choose between a monthly or an annual subscription, with annual subscriptions working out cheaper.
The cheapest plan is the Medium plan which costs $319 per month (annually) or $349 when paid monthly. There are two higher levels as well.
- Best option for B2B
- E-commerce portal for customers
- All the reports you need
- Free trial
- Not the best choice for sales to the public
This is another comprehensive piece of software that aims to cover several different functions.
It’s primarily aimed at small businesses with a small number of employees, however, making it a great choice for small businesses.
You can integrate Dear with popular sales channels and sites such as Amazon and Shopify and it is also compatible with different popular accounting software such as Xero.
It has powerful point-of-sale software that is compatible with a variety of other systems, too.
The inventory management features in Dear are also very powerful.
It can automatically produce reports for you that will help you keep on top of your stock and product data.
You can even get Dear to help organize your warehouse and produce maps so your employees can quickly find the stock they need.
Dear is a great system for small businesses that make their own products but it’s not ideal for businesses that have complicated products.
If you make things to order or have overly complicated products, then we would recommend another product such as Cin7.
For smaller and more straightforward businesses it is a great solution.
Dear offers a 14-day free trial and you can purchase a subscription on a monthly or annual basis.
The Standard plan is the lowest level available and this costs $325 per month or $3,575 per year.
- Designed for small businesses
- Compatible with Amazon and Shopify
- Automatically produces many reports
- Can organize your products
Not suitable for complex manufacturing
The paid levels of Zoho increase these numbers so that you can have more warehouses, orders, warehouses, and users.
It’s a very basic inventory management system but if your business is also straightforward and small, it may do all you need.
- Free version available
- Integrates with Shopify and other channels
- Paid levels are reasonably priced
- Covers multiple features
- Not for complicated businesses and products
Before you choose the best inventory management software for your small business, there are several factors you should take into consideration.
These should help you decide which one is best for you and your needs.
There are a wide variety of different features available with inventory management software.
Although their primary purpose is to help you manage and count your inventory, they can also do several more things.
You can choose a piece of software that can automate your ordering systems or links to your barcode readers to update your inventory as each item gets sold.
Some applications will let you integrate with Amazon’s seller services to make your business through Amazon more efficient as well.
Take a look at the features of each inventory management software and ensure they have what you need.
The goal of every small business is to eventually become a larger one. For this reason, you should always have an eye on the future when you commit to any software purchases.
The inventory management software that works for your business now should also work for it as the business grows and hopefully becomes much larger.
When you choose the best inventory management software for your business, look for one that has additional features or levels of membership that you can add.
For example, if your long-term goal involves adding another warehouse or store, choose some software that can add extra locations.
An important factor that you need to take into consideration is how many people will need to access the software.
Many of the inventory management software options that we recommended require each user to have their own license to access it.
Some pieces of software will have a limited number of licenses included and require additional payments or levels of membership to acquire more.
Although you may be tempted to use just one license for the entire company, we wouldn’t recommend doing this.
If the license holder is on vacation or absent due to illness, you may find yourself stuck with no access to your inventory!
If you have some other software in place for your business already, then choosing inventory management software that will integrate with it can make your life much easier.
Linking your inventory to other software can streamline or even automate many other processes.
It can help you double-check your sales and profits or ensure that you order the materials you need to create more stock whenever it drops too low.
Ease of Use
Inventory management software is supposed to make your life easier. It should make tracking your inventory quicker and more reliable.
If the software is too difficult to use or takes too long to learn, then it may not be worth the effort.
Complicated is a subjective term though and software that may be considered complicated by one person might be easy to sure for another.
This is where taking advantage of free trials can come in handy!
You should also look for software that is well-supported with tutorials.
Many software developers take the time to create video tutorials that will walk you through how their product works or have active communities to help new users.
As a small business, profits can be tight. Before you commit to any piece of software make sure you’re fully aware of all of the costs involved and that it is software you can afford to run.
Most of the software created for inventory management requires a live subscription to use.
You can often choose from either annual or monthly subscriptions and although annual subscriptions are cheaper over the year, that’s not always manageable.
We would also recommend taking advantage of any free trials that are available.
This will let you try the software without having to waste money on a product that might not work for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve looked at the best products and the factors you should take into consideration before you make any purchases, let’s answer a few lingering questions.
Does My Small Business Need Inventory Management Software?
Inventory management is important for every business, no matter how big or how small.
You need to know how much inventory you have on hand so that you can ensure you can quickly fulfill your customer’s orders.
This is also essential if you’re selling any kind of perishable goods as you need to make sure you never have too much in case it expires.
You can manage your inventory any way you want. You can keep records on paper, use an Excel spreadsheet, or create your own system.
However, using software that is specially designed for inventory management will give you more reliability and functionality than anything you design yourself.
How Can Inventory Management Software Help My Small Business?
You might be wondering how inventory management software can help your business.
There are several ways you can make this software work for you in ways that other methods can’t.
For example, using specially designed inventory management software can save you a great amount of time.
It can literally save you hours a week and those hours soon add up over the course of several months.
Making this process quicker will save you on labor costs as you can direct the manpower to other jobs instead.
The software can give you easier access to your stock levels compared to using more traditional methods as you can often access it from anywhere that has an internet connection.
You can also get real-time updates as an update from one user will automatically update for everyone else.
In this article, we introduced and recommended the best inventory management software for small businesses.
We picked several very different options so whatever you are looking for to help your business, there should be something to suit your needs.
Before you make any decisions, however, we suggest reading through our buying guide and taking these factors into consideration.
You need to pick some software that has the features you need, can grow with your business, can be used by the right number of people, and is easy to use.
We highly recommend taking advantage of any free trials so that you can try the programs before you make a financial commitment.
We hope that this article will help you choose the best inventory management software for your small business.