Inventory Management Apps: Top Picks for 2018
There was a time when inventory simply referred to the amount of product a business had on hand — and most companies managed everything with paper ledgers and, more recently, computer spreadsheets. Today, however, inventory has much more of a story to tell, especially when merged with other key aspects of a business, such as point of sale data and accounting. Careful inventory management can effectively help you:
- Track trends
- Improve efficiency and speed
- Reduce costs
- Generate real-time reports for: expenses, revenue, profit, purchases, sales, returns, end-of-day totals
“It’s critical for success in this day and age,” said Marc Wulfraat, founder and president of Quebec-based MWPVL International, a specialized supply chain, logistics and distribution consulting firm. “If a customer wants to order 15 items and you only have 14 on hand, they’re likely to hang up and go somewhere else—and you’ve lost a large order because you failed to have enough in stock. Yet, you can’t be in stock on everything all the time because you have no way of predicting demand for everything,” Wulfraat said. Inventory data and analysis is crucial for preparing to meet demand, he said.
What is an inventory management app?
An inventory management application is software that manages and tracks inventory levels for companies. Very small businesses might be able to get by with a simple spreadsheets to manage inventory, but Wulfraat warned that even a successful, mid-sized businesses will find that tracking inventory “can get difficult very quickly.”
Companies of all sizes and industries have begun to rely on inventory management applications — typically mobile apps that you can run from tablets and smartphones — to track all aspects of inventory management.
What to look for in an inventory management app
Visit Google Play or the Apple App Store and you’ll find a number of inventory management apps with prices ranging from free to hundreds of dollars a month. With so many options, it’s tough to decide which one to use. For starters, research which apps stand out from the crowd. Also, make sure you give some serious thought to what your business needs most from an inventory management system. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much inventory will you be tracking?
- Is your inventory stored in one location or several?
- How many people will be using the inventory management app in your company (prices tend to vary by number of users and number of devices)?
- How much are you willing to spend? Keep in mind that a somewhat more expensive system might save money in the long run, depending on the size and complexity of your operation.
- How will you use the software?
- Will stand-alone inventory management suffice?
- Do you need a system that will integrate with your point-of-sale and accounting programs, among others?
Almost every program below has a scanning feature for data entry, which will save time and pay dividends in terms of preparing for electronic data interchange. Consider looking for systems that allow you to customize which data categories you track. If you’re shopping for a sophisticated system, look at one that integrates with numerous online retailers and shippers — and has a dashboard that gives you a real-time snapshot of how your business is doing in terms of stock levels, current orders, purchasing, sales and profitability.
Need business funding? Learn more about small business loan options here.
Top inventory management apps of 2018
To get you started, take a look at the following apps. Each is available through the Apple App Store or Google Play.
$4.99 for full version
Designed with small businesses in mind, the On Shelf iPad and iPhone apps allow users to sync between devices and easily access items with a barcode reader. On Shelf offers many features aimed at customer tracking, allowing you to import customer contact information, and see customer purchase histories and invoices.
- Inventory optimization shows which items are selling and which items aren’t hitting your sales projections.
- Customer purchase history shows contact information, sales invoices and order history. You can email the customer directly from the screen.
- You can invoice customers via the apps.
- Color-coded item tracking lets you quickly see the status of your inventory.
Stock Control Inventory
$9.99 for full iOS version
To help you maintain precise stock control, this app allows you to easily manage inventory by listing items, sorting them into categories and connecting them to locations. This is ideal if you’re managing inventories for more than one business or in multiple warehouses — or if you want to separate your personal inventories from business inventories.
- It comes with built-in search tools.
- Receive notification every time an item is running low.
- A CSV file allows users to export data to spreadsheets on a PC or Mac.
$5.99 for full iPad version; $2.99 for full iPhone version; free trial with the lite version
Formerly called Inventory Tracker, Inventory Now allows users to track inventory through the full product life cycle from stock date to sale to arrival at the customer’s door. The overview screen provides quick access to basic, essential information about items, including date, category, name, barcode, location, unit cost and sale price. Ongoing data is available for profits, profit margins and inventory value. Barcode scanning enables users to see all available information about any item in inventory.
- You can customize tracking information.
- Quick Filters allows you to filter inventory by location, category, status, name and/or date.
- PayPal Here integration lets Inventory Now double as a point-of-sale system.
- It features data import/export capabilities.
From $39.95 to $119.95 per month
Specifically designed to work with QuickBooks Online, SOS Inventory is a solution for inventory, order management and manufacturing. You can track purchasing, inventory, fulfillment and sales with the entry-level package; upgrades offer extras such as serialized inventory, bin tracking, barcoding and reorder calculations.
- It integrates seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks Online.
- It includes PayPal and UPS integration.
- You’ll get 24/7 email customer support.
Canvas Inventory Apps
Price provided on request for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows mobile and Windows desktop apps; 30-day free trial
Canvas offers dozens of inventory management apps for a wide range of business uses including insurance; candy sale management; bars and nightclubs; food service; farm, medical, and amusement park equipment; and more. In addition the apps are available across multiple platforms.
- You can accurately track products and supplies.
- You can organize by item, department and location.
- It includes detailed tracking by product description, current quantities, beginning and ending dates, and more
- You’ll have access to data collection tools for numerous devices.
Five service plans for iOS and Android: $18.99 to $319.99 per month
Goods Order Inventory (GOIS) is a cloud-based system that makes it easy to track inventory for multiple users in multiple locations. Users scan items on a mobile device to track on-hand quantities, inventory cost and value and reorder requirements. The app also keeps tabs on customers and vendors and generates reports on inventory history, purchasing and sales, stock projection and other analytics.
- You can add multiple organizations to manage data for multiple businesses (ideal for businesses with many locations).
- You’ll get online and offline access.
- You can customize units.
$75 per month for iOS and Android; free 14-day trial
Cashier Live combines point-of-sale data with item tracking to provide users with an ongoing, highly accurate appraisal of their inventory. You can input inventory data can manually or with a barcode scan. You can track by product description, price and quantity — and more advanced services include customer tracking, report generation and QuickBooks integration.
- Non-barcode users can create unique item codes.
- Reporting tools simplify tax payments by accounting for sales, returns, collected taxes, end-of-day reports and more.
- The dashboard includes real-time updates on cost, revenue and profit.
99 cents for iOS
This is a flexible, easy-to-use system for tracking product levels, orders, sales and deliveries and movement of inventory across multiple locations. The app works with iOS iPhones and iPads and the dashboard view includes real-time updates on cost, revenue and profit.
- A barcode reader is included and you have unlimited entries.
- You have access to preset and customizable filters, and you can export data to spreadsheets.
- It generates reports on current inventory, profit margin, total items bought, total items sold and more.
- Reporting tools simplify accounting for sales, returns, collected taxes, end-of-day reports and more.
myStock Inventory Manager
$4.99 for Android
Created with individuals and small- and mid-sized businesses in mind, myStock comes with a built-in barcode reader, transaction filtering and the ability to generate reports and bar charts.
- It features a barcode reader and image attachment for products.
- You get CSV data import.
- You can track multiple inventory locations.
- Data backup and restore come with it.
Inventory Control with Scanner
Subscription plans: $29.97, $56.94, or $89.99 per month after all discounts for iOS; single users pay $14.49 per month after all discounts.
Highly customizable and easy to use, Inventory Control with Scanner allows users to track inventory — in multiple locations, languages and currencies — with a barcode scanner. It also enables users to generate reports based on constantly updated information, such as stock list and stock value.
- It has an offline mode and features taxable/nontaxable item marking.
- You can export data.
- Advanced features include backup and restore.
- An access control list allows or denies employees to use designated features.
- iCloud support is included.
Four monthly subscription models: $299 Small Business, $599 Business, $799 Premium; call for a quote for TradeGecko Pro
With small business owners in mind, the designers of TradeGecko created an ambitious system that lets you manage inventory, customer accounts and the supply chain in a single platform. Integration with QuickBooks (among other online resources) means the app can automatically sync sales and income, stock purchases, cost of goods and inventory. Sales and new purchases are automatically updated and included in inventory counts.
- It automatically pre-orders inventory and fulfills orders.
- You can manage multiple inventory locations on one platform.
- It provides up-to-date assessments with a variety of inventory-based reports.
- Automated invoicing is included.
Three monthly subscription plans: $29, $79 and $249 (yearly rates also available) for iOS (Android “coming soon”); free version for two users with limited monthly services
In addition to tracking inventory across the full product life cycle, Zoho Inventory has strong analysis and reporting features with an up-to-the-minute dashboard overview. The cloud-based system also gets bonus points for integrating with many of Zoho’s business apps, shipping companies, online retail platforms and non-Zoho software (like accounting systems).
- It includes automatic reordering.
- It features serial number tracking from point-of-purchase to sale
- You can access reports on purchasing, sales and more.
- It tracks shipments and transfers between warehouses.
- Integration with Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Shopify
Three packages available for iOS, depending on company’s growth (contact for quotes)
Brightpearl’s cloud-based retail and wholesale system combines inventory, sales, supply chain and accounting software. Brightpearl inventory also integrates with Amazon, eBay, Shopify and BigCommerce (plus a variety of payment systems), and has up-to-date reports on inventory levels, cash flow and profitability.
- It comes with an intuitive barcode scanning system and automated shipping integration.
- You can track inventory in multiple warehouses in multiple locations
- It integrates point-of-sale, ecommerce and marketplaces.
From $499 to $2,700 per month for iOS, Android and Windows; free trial available, contact for a quote
A cloud-based system designed for online businesses, the Skubana interface lets users track low stock levels, fulfillment performance, workflow, and order and revenue tracking. Skubana features integration with Amazon, Jet, eBay, Newegg, Target, Walmart, DHL ecommerce, FedEx, UPS and more. The system also generates reports on best and worst sellers, year-over-year growth, shipping and warehouse performance and SKU profitability.
- You can process thousands of orders daily
- You can access stock level updates and get replenishment alerts.
- You can track inventory across multiple channels.
- It includes order and revenue tracking
- You’ll get cost-cutting insight.
The bottom line
Before choosing an inventory management app for your business, review all the information available on the developer’s website and read user reviews. The size of your business, industry and inventory needs will dictate which app is best for you; that said, it’s always a good idea to use a free trial when it’s available.