BigCommerce Inventory Management Basics
E-commerce is reaching new heights, much thanks to platforms such as BigCommerce that make opening a webstore easier than ever before. Managing a growing e-commerce company, however, becomes increasingly difficult and soon merchants discover that they need more advanced tools than what is available on BigCommerce.
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Competition is growing in e-commerce
Although retail businesses have reopened across the world, e-commerce sales show no sign of slowing down. The pandemic made people that were used to shopping in physical locations turn to the internet and the convenience of ordering stuff to their doorstep is not going to be forgotten now that restrictions have been lifted. That, however, means that there is an ever-increasing number of companies trying to get a slice of the e-commerce pie, with new e-shops popping up each day, adding to the 26 million that are already active on the market. While it may seem that the market is already over-saturated, e-commerce sales are projected to account for 95% of total retail in the UK by the year 2040, with the rest of the world stepping firmly in the same direction.
The first and foremost task of an e-commerce site is to get noticed in the avalanche of others by way of eye-catching, witty, and strategic marketing that is tailored for their target audience. But as a company starts to grow, soon they find that they also need to worry about inventory management. And even though e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce offer their own basic inventory management functionality, it is often not enough for a growing business, especially for direct-to-consumer businesses that manufacture their own products.
Why is Inventory Management important?
Inventory represents a major investment and a large part of any company selling physical products. As such, it makes sense to start knowingly managing it as soon as possible.
Inventory management is an umbrella term for activities such as inventory tracking, planning, ordering, storage, control, and inventory analysis. All of this is essentially done to ensure that the company would be able to serve their customers while also balancing the inventory holding costs. That means avoiding both stock-outs as well as overstocking.
Let us take a look at what BigCommerce offers in the way of inventory management and what kinds of third-party solutions e-commerce companies can use to improve their processes.
BigCommerce Inventory Management basics
BigCommerce offers its users the basic inventory management functionality needed when starting a micro business.
It allows for inventory tracking by either products or by product variants, meaning that when you have the same product in several sizes, colors, or with other variable attributes, you can track each variant separately.
It also allows users to turn on low stock warnings. When a certain product is out of stock or has reached a predetermined reorder point, the platform will send the user an email to notify them of this. That provides BigCommerce merchants with a simple solution for making sure they replenish their inventory before a stock-out occurs.
In addition, BigCommerce offers a couple of different options for communicating stock levels to customers. First, you can choose to display stock levels on the products’ details page – but you can also have them displayed when low stock levels are reached in order to nudge the visitor towards a hasty purchase. Merchants can also create custom out-of-stock messages to be displayed when an item is unavailable, but just automatically hiding an out-of-stock product is possible, too.
This inventory management functionality is very basic and BigCommerce understands this well. That is why they also have an extensive catalog of third-party integrations that bring a lot of extra punch to users that need more advanced tools for managing their business.
Best BigCommerce Inventory Management apps
Currently, BigCommerce has 60 inventory and order management integrations available, which makes choosing the right one a task of its own, especially for those with no previous experience with these types of systems. And although it is fundamental to first map out the needs that the new system has to cover and go through trials with several solutions, there are some third-party BigCommerce inventory management apps that stand out among others.
Ecomdash – best for small retailers
Ecomdash is a popular BigCommerce app for inventory and order management. Its simple interface and small price point make it a favorite of drop shippers and small retail companies.
Ecomdash allows merchants to manage multiple sales channels and have an overview of their inventory levels across various locations. It also provides users with the functionality to manage product variations and bundles, and to print picking lists, packing slips, and shipping labels – including in bulk, which could be a huge timesaver.
Thanks to the system’s capability to integrate with various sales platforms, you can use it as a central management hub and update product information simultaneously on all your sales channels.
The app also has some basic manufacturing management capabilities, but serious manufacturers have to look elsewhere to fulfill their business management needs.
Brightpearl – best for large retailers
Brightpearl is a business management app for large retailers with revenues of $1 million or more. The system has been created to support bulk orders that larger businesses experience and the management of multiple warehouses and sales channels.
If you use many different e-commerce platforms (such as BigCommerce, Amazon, Etsy, etc.), Brightpearl can be used to sync up everything from product data to inventory levels. That means no time is wasted on grueling data entry tasks on separate platforms and that there are no unexpected stock-outs due to unreliable data.
Brightpearl allows large retailers to get a handle on everything from orders to shipping and accounting while also offering great reporting capabilities that help you make better, data-driven decisions.
MRPeasy – best for manufacturers and distributors
MRPeasy is an ERP/MRP system for small and medium-sized manufacturing and distribution businesses. Effectively a business management suite, it provides companies with advanced functionality for inventory management, sales, production planning and scheduling, procurement, finances, and HR.
It allows you to create SKUs for your stock items, bills of materials for manufactured goods, product variants for customizable items, and track your whole business process from order to production to shipping. When an order is placed on your website, MRPeasy allows you to book the necessary products, create manufacturing orders or purchase orders for missing goods, and automatically schedule manufacturing operations according to material and labor availability, and supplier lead times. When products are sold or shipped either through BigCommerce or MRPeasy, the systems sync up and provide you with accurate inventory levels in both interfaces.
The system also allows for advanced inventory control with barcoding, lot tracking, serial number tracking, low stock alerts, inventory statistics, and many other features that make MRPeasy a top choice for SME manufacturers and distributors. While the features of MRPeasy are highly developed, the software vendor has aimed to make the system accessible both with its ease of use and the price point. Most MRPeasy users report that no external consultants are necessary for implementing the system and the price starts from only $49 per month.