Managing your inventory can be a tedious task but if you ask anyone who’s in the business, they will tell you it’s the most important part. It makes sense: The products you sell are the core of your business. If you don’t have them, good luck trying to make a sale. Inventory Management can look very different depending on the size of a business though. For a small company, spreadsheets in Excel could be the go-to. E-Commerce businesses quickly outgrow that tool because of the scale they operate at.
A necessity for them is having a platform to host their online shop. Magento is one of the most popular ones for that purpose and is used by famous brands like Ford or Coca-Cola. However, even the most “perfect” platform can have its shortcomings. Installing a third-party app will optimize your E-Commerce efforts and decrease developer costs, plus it will probably be easier to get into it than figuring out the Magento version. And that’s why we created this guide to show you in detail how to manage inventory in Magento with Plugins 😉
- What is inventory management & why should you use it
- Does Magento offer a native inventory solution
- Benefits of inventory extensions for Magento
- Who gets the most value out of it
- What to look for when choosing an inventory management plugin
- What does the integration look like?
- Other popular Magento 2 Inventory Management Plugins
What Is Inventory Management And Why Should You Use It?
Inventory management is the act of keeping track of how much of a product you have. Therefore, it’s essential for any business, especially if it sells physical products in an online shop. It allows you to keep track of the amounts of each product in stock so that you know when to restock. This will make sure that your customers can always find what they’re looking for, and that you don’t run out of stock unexpectedly.
The best way to keep track of your inventory is with a good inventory management system. It is also essential for any eCommerce store that wants to keep its system simple and avoid spending time on manual data input. They automate the process of adding products and keeping track of inventory levels, so you can focus on other important tasks for your business.
Does Magento Offer A Native Inventory Management Solution?
Magento itself has an inventory solution called MIM and it is installed disabled by default. You might choose to use it because you think it’s the easiest option.
However, it has some shortcomings. Here are some of them:
- Errors with transactions because of missing quantity that should be calculated by the software itself
- Problems with international sales because of currency issues
- Website performance declines the more products you have in your catalog, especially at the checkout stage. This issue should thankfully be resolved after the 2.3.4 version
- Magento has a complex architecture and needs a high-performing hosting environment to work smoothly
Here you can find the overview page on Adobe Developer.
What Are The Benefits Of Inventory Management Extensions For Magento?
Magento is known to have thousands of extensions available that can be integrated with its platform. That enables eCommerce business owners to modify their store just how they like and make it a perfect fit. Your company can take advantage of many benefits by using an inventory management extension. Let’s go through some of the most important pros.
It’s keeping your Magento back-end as light as possible
Outsourcing your inventory management to a third-party platform will remove unnecessary workload from the Magento platform. It can already be a very heavy and complicated application in and of itself, so try to stay off it as much as possible.
Increased visibility on all levels
By synchronizing all stock numbers automatically and minimizing double entries you increase visibility for your employees. You can even opt for an inventory system that offers barcode scanning to take out the manual work as much as possible.
This will not only help on a warehouse level but along the whole supply chain as it keeps everyone updated – if they’re working in a warehouse in Poughkeepsie or in an office in New York.
Improve order management & shipping procedures
Inventory extensions enable you to edit a few settings in the background that will affect Magento’s front-end and your customer experience. These will become extremely helpful when you receive more and more orders. For example, you can choose which warehouse you want to ship your products out from to ensure faster delivery times. Of course, you can also divide it further and install a specific extension like Delivery Date Scheduler to separate shipping and inventory processes.
Moreover, you can connect all your sales channels and multiple store/inventory locations to manage orders more efficiently. With increasing order levels, a manual approach will most definitely result in some errors that can directly affect your brand’s reputation.
Measure success & improve efficiency with advanced reporting features
Inventory Reports help you analyze the movements within your inventory, uncover errors in your warehouses, and make decisions on re-stocking products. It also makes calculating Carrying Costs, Landed Costs, the amount of Safety Stock you need, or Holding Costs much easier. We actually wrote a whole article on different inventory reports, so make sure to check it out!
Benefits for manufacturing companies using Magento
If you’re a manufacturing company dealing with converting raw materials to finished goods, tracking that process can only be done with a 3rd party extension. The native Magento inventory management solution doesn’t offer that feature.
Wait, are you looking for the benefits of Magento for your eCommerce store? 🤔Then check out this article!
Who Gets The Most Value Out of It?
E-Commerce businesses that experienced a lot of growth and expect even more in the future will get the most value out of an inventory management extension in Magento. Especially retailers with multiple stores, warehouses, or drop-ship locations that need to manage big sales and order quantities can make the most out of this option.
“Being properly prepared is one of the biggest assets in business.”Keeth Smart
In case you’re a business that mostly deals with services or digital products, this might not be the best option for you as there won’t be any stock to monitor. Also, a single person or a company with only a few orders can easily use a simpler version provided by Magento without integrating a new application.
What To Look Out For When Choosing a Magento 2 Inventory Management Plugin
The first step you should do is to consider how you have been managing your inventory so far. Do you already use a system that you might only need to integrate with your Magento platform? Or are you starting with a new business at square one? Depending on your answer, you will have different needs for your software. One common thing though is that inventory is, basically, data. Hence, the inventory management software should have the capacity to handle large amounts of data and interpret that data. A few main features you should always look for are:
- Adding / Deleting / Grouping products (obviously)
- Automatic Low-Stock Notifications
- Handle supplier and client relationships in regards to orders
- Easily import existing product data from Magento or Excel
What sets an all-inclusive inventory software extension apart from all the plugins out there that only concentrate on one or two features (like the delivery date scheduler mentioned above) is that it does a whole lot more than just manage inventory. In the best-case scenario, it puts all the pieces of the puzzle together. Megaventory’s specialty, for example, is offering a lot of customization on top of inventory management. Being able to localize the whole platform, as well as the constant improvements over the last decade, have been the reason for a lot of loyal clients.
What Does The Inventory Management Integration Look Like In Magento?
So, how does the Megaventory inventory management application combine the pieces of the puzzle? For sure, you can do more than just hitting -1 when you sell one item. You can send invoices. You can keep up with your supplier relationships to keep multiple warehouses stocked. You can create purchase and sales orders. You can integrate with a multitude of apps to make your business as efficient as you would want it to be.
When you’re already using Megaventory the integration will create an additional section in your Magento admin panel (as shown in the screenshot below). You have to enter a few initial settings and perform a sync.
After that, you can either go into Megaventory and manage your orders as usual or log into Magento for your usual work processes with it.
The other option is to sign up for a new account and make sure to check the Magento Integration box. Anyhow, it will be a one-off task and from there, double entries are eliminated and any information is synchronized between the two applications. This will improve your workflows and increase efficiency.
Other Popular Magento 2 Inventory Management Plugins
While Magento provides an in-house solution for inventory management, third-party integrations can offer more features for rapidly growing businesses.
By integrating Magento with an inventory management extension such as Megaventory you’ll be able to keep your backend lean and get access to all the additional features. Synchronize stock levels in real-time, connect all your warehouse and store locations, manage incoming orders and make work easier for your employees.
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Svea Schüler is a Digital Marketer for Megaventory, the online inventory management system that can help medium-sized companies synchronize stock over multiple stores. She believes content and social media marketing are the best solutions to create awareness and secure long-term customer satisfaction.