Automate Your Shopify Store

Learn about the best ways to automate your e-commerce business and manage your inventory across multiple Shopify stores.
Inventory Turnover: Definition, Formula & Impact on Profitability (With Examples)
InventoryInventory Turnover: Definition, Formula & Impact on Profitability (With Examples)Does inventory turnover sometimes feel like a mystery to you? Certain products take forever to sell (even after you've discounted them many times), while others just fly off your shelves (figuratively speaking). Firstly, you must understand that inventory turnover is a balancing act between your sales and stock. Think of a scale: if you increase your sales but don't keep enough stock on hand to fill your orders then you can lose those sales. But if you have few sales, then your stock levels can remain high and cost you money instead of making it. Secondly, inventory turnover is a key performance indicator that helps you understand how well you're running your store and if your profitability is healthy. Keeping these two points in mind, let's try to demystify inventory turnover more. » Compare the best inventory management systems for your Shopify store Inventory Turnover Defined Inventory turnover is the ratio of cost of goods sold (COGS) to the average inventory value over a period of time. This ratio helps you measure how quickly your products are selling and how efficiently you're managing your inventory. High inventory turnover rate indicates that you're selling your products quickly and efficiently. Low inventory turnover rate suggests that there's an issue with either pricing or product availability. As we've already discussed, this is a balancing act and you need to find that sweet spot between high and low to ensure your long-term profitability. If your rate is too high, you may not have enough stock available to meet customer demand. If it's too low, you may be carrying too much stock and tying up valuable capital in unsold items. » Follow these tips to manage your Shopify inventory better Formula for Calculating Inventory Turnover Inventory Turnover = Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) / Average Value of Inventory You can compare your inventory turnover number to industry standards or previous years' results to get an idea of how well your business is performing. Now, let's break the formula down. Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) COGS represents the total amount it cost your business to purchase, manufacture, and deliver all the goods you've sold during a specific period. Average Value of Inventory You can calculate average inventory by adding your beginning and ending stock levels over a specific period together and dividing them by two. Example of Inventory Turnover Let's put the formula into practice: Let's say your business has $50,000 worth of cost of goods sold over the past year and an average inventory of $20,000 over the same period. To calculate your inventory turnover rate: COGS / Average Value of Inventory$50,000 / $20,000 = 2.5 In this case, your inventory turnover rate is 2.5—meaning it takes your business two and a half times to turn over its entire inventory during the given period. The Key to Profitability is Lowering Your COGS COGS has a direct impact on your profitability because it determines your gross profit. Gross Profit = Revenue — COGS Gross profit shows you if you're at least selling your products at a good enough price to make a profit. So: are you getting more out than you're putting in? By lowering your COGS, your gross profit can increase and you can get a better balance between your inventory and sales. Strategies to Lower COGS There are a number of strategies you can use to lower your COGS, including: Negotiating discounts from suppliersBulk buying when possibleImplementing just-in-time inventory management techniquesUtilizing barcode scanning systems to accurately and efficiently track your stock levelsUtilizing software to track purchasing trends and identifying potential savings opportunitiesAutomating ordering processes where possible » Can decoupling inventory help your online business? Don't Toss and Turn Over Inventory Turnover Anymore It's difficult to determine what a good inventory turnover is, because it depends on your industry and if you manufacture your products yourself or buy products to resell. By keeping an eye on your inventory turnover ratio and profitability, you can make informed decisions about your business's stock levels and overall purchasing strategy. With a bit of strategic planning and diligence, you can ensure that you are making the most of your inventory and achieving a profitable balance in the long run. » Explore Egnition's Shopify apps to simplify inventory management
Bulk Inventory Management: Weighing the Pros & Cons
InventoryBulk Inventory Management: Weighing the Pros & ConsIt's important for any e-commerce business to have an efficient inventory management system in place, but especially when you manage bulk inventory. Bulk inventory management (BIM) has 3 steps: ordering your stock in big quantities, storing the stock while it sells, and re-ordering new stock as you sell out. Below, I examine the advantages of BIM while also weighing its potential risks. By understanding both sides, you can make an informed decision about whether BIM will help you manage your Shopify inventory better. 4 Advantages of BIM With BIM, you can manage and track inventory levels, order fulfillment, and product availability. This makes keeping an eye on your products, orders, and customers easy. Let's discuss the advantages of BIM in more detail. 1. Access to Bulk Discounts & Wholesale Pricing By ordering large quantities of stock, you can negotiate with your supplier for a better price. In turn, you can use this extra margin to adjust your own selling prices or run specific promotions that will help your store stay competitive in the ever-changing online market. 2. Reduces Risk of Product Shortages Perhaps the most obvious advantage of bulk inventory is that your risk of running out of these products decreases. It also means that you're less likely to lose customers and sales to competitors because your products are available. 3. Accelerates Order Fulfillment Building on the previous point: if stock is readily available then it's easy and quick to fulfill customer orders. Think of the great impression your store and brand make if you can deliver a full order on a tight deadline. Customers don't have to wait for backorders or search for another store that can supply them sooner. 4. Enables Swift Replenishment Depending on how quickly your bulk products sell, it's easy to monitor the stock levels and place another bulk order for these products as your stock levels dwindle. You also don't have to re-order that often compared to single products that you keep in minimal quantities. » Here's how an automated inventory system can help you 5 Disadvantages of BIM Despite its above-mentioned benefits, BIM also has drawbacks—particularly when it comes to cash flow and warehousing. Follow along as I delve into this more. 1. No Margin for Error in Sales Forecasts Without a margin for error, you can't plan ahead if sales don't meet expectations. This can lead to overstocking or understocking, causing your business significant financial losses in the long run. » Opening inventory: Determine how much inventory you should start your Shopify store with 2. Warehousing & Storage Solutions Become Costly Warehousing and storage solutions can become costly. Firstly, you'll simply pay more for the space necessary to store your bulk inventory as opposed to the space for a few items because you only order stock as you receive customer orders. Secondly, if your sales forecasts are incorrect, you must still pay to store your products regardless of if they're selling or not. 3. Higher Risk of Inventory Becoming Obsolete Another potential risk is that inventory may become obsolete if you don't sell it in a timely manner. This may happen if you don't effectively monitor and adjust your inventory levels or you don't properly plan your inventory forecasting, particularly when it comes to products that are seasonal or a temporary trend. » Learn how to clear deadstock inventory 4. Minimizes Available Cash Flow BIM can affect your available cash flow greatly. Again, if your sales forecasts are incorrect, you may end up with an overstock of certain products. This means that your cash is tied up in excess inventory that's costing you money because you still need to pay your supplier, storage, insurance, etc. 5. Typically Results in Higher Insurance Premiums Your inventory is always valuable, but even more so when you work in bulk. Consequently, your insurance premiums can be higher because as your inventory levels increase, so does your risk. You need to properly insure your inventory against damage, theft, etc. » Find the best inventory management system for your Shopify store The Verdict I recommend bulk inventory management as a strategy for well-established companies. Whenever you work with large quantities, you must be able to capitalize on economies-of-scale, otherwise the venture isn't worth it. If you're a start-up or a young company, your risks are far greater at the moment than the advantages you would gain from this strategy. The costs of warehousing and insurance alone might make it unfeasible. But whether or not you opt for bulk inventory management for your store, having a better grasp on your out-of-stock items can't hurt. For my own store, using the Out-of-Stock Police app by Egnition greatly improved my inventory management strategy.
My 6 Expert Tips for Managing Pipeline Inventory to Meet Customer Demand
InventoryMy 6 Expert Tips for Managing Pipeline Inventory to Meet Customer DemandInventory management is an essential aspect of any business. What you might not realize is that inventory isn't limited to managing only the stock currently present in your warehouse—it also extends to pipeline inventory. Pipeline inventory refers to stocks that are in transit between locations and has not been purchased by a consumer. Remember, regardless of the lead time and demand rate, once the payment is made to a supplier, the product becomes your inventory. 1. Keep Track of Each Step of the Process I usually start by tracking where my pipeline inventory is in the supply chain, and I make sure I know how much time the manufacturing and transiting stages will take. This includes considering what aspects of my surroundings can lead to disruptions such as crises, accidents, disasters, or pandemics. Accuracy is vital so I like to create a single source of truth across multiple suppliers and freight forwarders. I use a host of different tools, including spreadsheets and real-time scanning technologies via barcodes, stock-keeping units, and smart devices. 2. Ensure Accurate Demand Forecasting Demand forecasting means I need to know how much a product will be in demand in the future so that I can align my stock according to that demand. Like with the previous step, accuracy is key because I don't want to be overstocked or understocked. I find that going through all the seller reports I get from my e-commerce platform helps with this. There are a number of factors that can influence customer demand for a product or service. Some of them are: Pricing: High prices tend to decrease demand whereas low prices lead to high demand.Quality: Customers are more likely to demand a product or service that is highly qualified.Features: Customers tend to demand a product with certain features such as ease of use, durability, and so on.Competition: Lack of competition can lead to high demand.Brand reputation: Consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they trust and perceive as reliable. » Haven't done inventory forecasting before? Here's how 3. Consider Placing Safety Stock Safety stock is an essential aspect of a business. It means that I set a certain amount of stock aside so that I can keep on meeting customer demand if any mishappening should occur at any point in the supply chain. So, safety stock serves as backup inventory and is invulnerable to the risk of losing customers and production slow-downs which can happen because of transit or manufacturing issues. 4. Implement Third-Party Integrations Integrating third-party apps with my pipeline inventory management system helps to enhance the functionality and capabilities of my system. Useful apps like Katana (manufacturing) and Ordoro (inventory management) can help a pipeline inventory management system access and utilize additional data, automate certain processes, and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of managing pipeline inventory. 5. Establish a Real-Time Inventory Management System Establishing a real-time inventory management system with the help of software like Cogsy, Zoho, NetSuite, or Fishbowl allows me to improve real-time visibility and control over inventory levels so I can optimize my operations and make better, more informed decisions. 6. Automate Your Inventory Management Process Finally, my last tip is to automate inventory management processes where you can. Stop performing tasks manually like drawing up stock reports. The right software will automatically provide these, thereby streamlining your reordering process. In some cases, you'll even be able to auto-replenish your stock and keep a certain amount of inventory on hand at all times. Automated processes can also help you forecast sales and lead times. This means that pipeline stock can be adjusted on the fly, automatically ensuring you can meet all of your customers' future orders. » Explore these best inventory management systems The Verdict Almost all e-commerce retailers must deal with pipeline inventory and just overall inventory issues in the supply chain. I suggest starting by identifying and qualifying pipeline inventory before you move on to balance your cash flow and supply. You don't want to undersell or sit without stock. By effectively managing your pipeline inventory, you'll be more than capable of dealing with changing customer demand—and thereby monitor the impact this has on your profitability.
7 Easy-To-Follow Steps to Optimize Your Shopify Product Images
All-in-one image master7 Easy-To-Follow Steps to Optimize Your Shopify Product ImagesImages are essential to an online store but when they aren't correctly optimized, they can negatively impact your Shopify store by slowing down your website speed. The world is a visual place, and without high-quality product images that don't affect your site speed, you will find it nearly impossible to make sales, regardless of whether your customer is viewing your store via mobile or desktop. To optimize your product images on Shopify, you will need to go through a multi-step process involving various elements and changes. 1. Prioritize Product Photography Unique content is easier to create and is favored by search engines such as Google, so it's important to take as many high-quality product images as possible. When taking pictures of your products, consider your camera angle, background, and lighting. Finally, consider the dimensions of the image. Images with larger dimensions take longer to load and slow down your site. Visitors will be viewing your store on different-sized screens, so ensure that your product images are responsive. 2. Use the Correct File Type The file type of your images will have an impact on your store's performance and appearance. By using the correct image file type, you can: Ensure your images hold all their intended color and detailEnsure your images aren't stretched or pixilatedReduce webpage load speed Two of the most commonly used image file formats are JPEG and PNG. JPEG: This is easily the most used image format as it has the smallest file size and best picture quality. JPEGS also hold their quality and detail better when compressed. PNG: PNGs can also be used for store images, although their file size is larger and they lose quality when compressed. PNGs are great for transparent backgrounds or small images with high detail. 3. Name Images Appropriately Every image that you take with your camera will have a default name provided for it. Although it's possible to upload the image as is, to boost your SEO, you'll want to give your image file an appropriate name. Your image name should be keyword rich and descriptive. Take the following product as an example: Your camera may produce a default generic name such as "DCMIMAGE10.jpg", however, this is far from ideal. Instead, consider renaming the file to something SEO friendly and descriptive such as "2022-Crocodile-Leather-Men-Shoe.jpeg". 4. Resize & Compress Images As Google uses page load speed as a ranking factor—and most visitors won't wait more than a few seconds for a page to load—it's essential to keep your images as small as possible. Shopify automatically compresses images, but it's good practice to compress them beforehand. There are two ways you can do this: Manual Compression: It's possible to reduce the image data using image editing software such as Photoshop. However, this takes both time and know-how. Automatic Compression: There's an abundance of image compression software on the web that can be used for free. It's best to use an app that has been developed for Shopify to ensure the best results. » Not sure how to resize an image? Easily resize an image for your Shopify store 5. Write Descriptive Alt Attributes Alt attributes are used to describe an image when it hasn't loaded, or if the page is being visited by the visually impaired. Google also uses alt attributes to understand what an image is about. Alt Title Also known as the title text, an image's alt title is the text that a user sees after hovering over the image. This is mainly used to describe something that's unclear in an image. Alt Text Alt text is used to describe an image to those who can't see it and to search engines. Your image alt text should therefore be descriptive, yet brief (approximately 125 characters), include keywords, but not be keyword stuffed. » How do you add alt text to images? Follow these steps 6. Create Image Sitemaps Web crawlers can’t crawl images that aren't called out in the source code. This means without image sitemaps, search engines won't discover your pictures. To add a sitemap, simply insert the following into your robots.txt file: http://example.com/sitemap_location.xml Alternatively, submit it to the Google Search Console. 7. Test Your Images It's important to find a balance between the elements on a webpage. Optimizing extensively for page speed could hurt conversions. Alternatively, creating a page with only visual appeal could leave you lost in the search results. Consider what your goals are, and continue to test for improvements in the following: SERP resultsConversionsPage load speed Ready to Optimize? It's an extensive process to optimize Shopify store images and can be extremely time-consuming. Using an app to streamline the process is the suggested route. There are various Shopify apps that address each step, but an app such as the All-In-One-Image Master from Egnition will cover almost all of the above steps—from compressing and optimizing, editing, removing backgrounds, resizing, and creating automatic alt texts to approving previews. Save yourself time and effort with this all-in-one solution. All-In-One-Image Master
Edit Your Shopify Product Tags Quickly With These 5 Steps
Product organizationEdit Your Shopify Product Tags Quickly With These 5 StepsProduct tags are an important part of inventory control because they help you to manage and organize your products and orders like a real pro. These tags are not only intended for your customers—but they also make it easier for you to categorize and search for products within your e-commerce store, especially if product numbers increase. Shopify Product Tags Product tags are labels you can use to categorize a range of items like products, orders, customer data, blog posts, returns, and transfers. By using selected tags, you can easily search and add filters on your drop-down menus, e.g., you can group all the products you source from the same distributor for your e-commerce store together. Benefits There are many benefits of using product tags. Besides streamlining the purchasing process for both you (as the seller) and your buyers, product tags: Make it easier for sellers to create automated collections and, as a result, stay organized.Allow your customers to search and filter your products easily and efficiently. If you make a mistake and need to change your product tags, you can simply edit them. » What other benefits do product tags have? Discover how product tags affect SEO How to Edit Product Tags on Shopify There are five easy steps to editing your product tags within your Shopify store. Step 1: Log onto Shopify Go to your Shopify Admin. Step 2: Navigate to your product list Once you are admin, go to Products and then click on All products. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/edit-tags.html Step 3: Enter your tags Type in the tags you want to add to the product. If you need to add multiple tags, separate them with a comma. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/edit-tags.html Step 4: Edit the tag Delete the existing Shopify tags you want to edit by clicking on the cross icon. You'll find it near the tag. Then edit the tag to what you need the tag to read. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/edit-tags.html Step 5: Save your changes Locate the Save button and click on it to save the edits you've made. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/edit-tags.html Best Practices for Using Shopify Product Tags Below, we touch on some of the more important best practices to help you use the tags optimally and get the most out of them for your Shopify store. Use Tags for Promotions & Discounts Everybody loves a good discount. These product tags allow you to apply promotions or discounts to a group of certain products. All you need to do is add the tags to your chosen collection and show the product badges in every store section. For more flexibility, add the tags using the promotion type and not the features of a product. It's easy to reuse these tags. Create Tags Based on Shipping Details Streamline your logistics and distribution processes by creating tags based on shipping details. You can quickly and easily check on the status of orders and deliveries if you have tags that will allow you to filter according to delivery dates, urgency (e.g. the package must be delivered in time for Christmas or a birthday), zip codes, etc. The tags can also be implemented in emails if you need to send updates about cancelations or partially filled orders. This will all contribute to a better customer experience because you remain in control of all your processes. Create Reusable Product Tags Being able to reuse discounts and promotions within your e-commerce store can save you time and effort. Consider using this for events you know happen annually, e.g., seasonal sales, Christmas, Black Friday, etc. Consider a Shopify App for Product Organization There are several apps you can consider for product organization on Shopify. If you decide to choose the Bestsellers reSort app from Egnition, you will be able to take advantage of a few handy features. With Bestsellers reSort you can: Sort and order your products, change sorting rules to coordinate your clients' purchasing cycles and inclinations, and improve your store to sell more.Sort items by income, deals, or labels, advance items physically, and push sold-out products down much more.Properly organize collections, thereby selling better, increasing Return on Investment (ROI), and driving organic traffic. Bestsellers reSort Conclusion Efficient product organization can lead to increased sales. Egnition's Bestsellers reSort app with its various easy-to-use features can help you optimize your products and collections, both for yourself and your customers. If you're still unsure, try a 7-day free trial. Bestsellers reSort
How to Add Alt Text to Product Images in Your Shopify Store
All-in-one image masterHow to Add Alt Text to Product Images in Your Shopify StoreAdding alt text to your product images provides you with textual descriptions of your media. This is important for two reasons: accessibility and SEO. » How does alt text influence SEO? Learn how alt text can help boost SEO How to Add Alt Text to Your Shopify Product Images Let's jump straight into the nitty-gritty of how to add alt text to your images. You can follow this easy step-by-step guide: Step 1: Log into your Shopify admin. Step 2: Navigate to Products. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/how-set-image-alt-text-shopify.html Step 3: Click on the name of the product you want to edit. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/how-set-image-alt-text-shopify.html Step 4: You should now be on the Product details page. Click on the image to go to the Preview media page. Step 5: Click on Add ALT text. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/how-set-image-alt-text-shopify.html Step 6: Add your alt text, followed by clicking on Save to confirm the alt text. Source: https://blog.avada.io/shopify/docs/how-set-image-alt-text-shopify.html Step 7: Lastly, to finalize the alt text, click on the X to leave the preview page. Importance of Writing Good Alt Text Good alt text is very important for a variety of reasons including the impact it has on SEO. That's because good alt text is a key contributing search engine ranking factor. It gives your images context and informs search engine crawlers, allowing them to effectively index your images because they can't read image content. Writing good alt also has these benefits: Your pages will get ranked on search engines.It will significantly enhance your customers' user experience.Customers can still access your images when contents won't load. Expert Guidelines Here are some handy and helpful guidelines to help you write great alt text for your images: Don't add alt text to all your images There are exceptions that you should be aware of. If you have purely decorative images or if an image is described in nearby text, rather leave the alt attribute empty. Be specific in your description Use the image's context and its subject as a guide. Add context that relates to the page's topic If your image doesn't include a place or person that users recognize, add context that's based on the page's content.Monitor the number of characters you use Don't exceed 125 characters, because screen-reading tools don't read more than 125 characters. Your description might be cut off, making it difficult for the visually impaired to understand when the description is verbalized.Check for spelling errors Besides appearing unprofessional, it can also disrupt the user experience and confuse search engines. Don't start with "a picture of" Jump straight into the description of your image. Include your keyword in at least one of your images but not all of them Identify an image that you feels represents the topic best. Use that image to include your keyword in the alt text.Use your keywords sparingly: Brainstorm some semantic keywords. For example, if your article's keyword is "how to lower cart abandons," you can try using "cart abandon optimizations". "How to..." doesn't improve the richness or depth of your keyword naturally. The Bottom Line At this point, you may be thinking that it's just too complicated to write good alt text for your images. Then consider using an app that does the work for you (plus extra). The All-In-One-Image Master app by Egnition is versatile and easy to use. It has several useful features—including helping you create good alt text for your images: You can create a template for alt text using product name, vendor, and any additional text, which will then be automatically generated for every image.You can compress and optimize your product images to reduce image size but keep their quality.The flexible settings allow you to keep the same style for all images. Just save once and your settings will be suggested every time.If you choose images that you want to edit from the product page, you can process them all at once with the same set of rules to get uniform results. All-In-One-Image Master
4 Simple Steps to Creating a Percentage (%) Discount on Shopify
Product organization4 Simple Steps to Creating a Percentage (%) Discount on ShopifyOffering discounts to your customers is a powerful marketing tool that allows customers to feel valued and like they have greater purchasing power. This can quickly boost your brand's popularity, drive a higher number of sales, and, ultimately, increase your profits. Percentage-based discounts apply a discount to the total of an order or a specific product according to your specified discount amount, e.g., 20% off. This discount remains constant regardless of the price or currency that's used. Follow these simple steps to add a percentage discount on Shopify. 1. Navigate to the 'Discounts' Tab Log in to your Shopify Admin and navigate to the Discounts tab on the left. 2. Create a Discount From the Manage Discounts and Promotions window, click Create Discount. From the pop-up window, select the class of discount you wish to create. For % discounts, choose from Amount Off Products or Amount Off Orders. 3. Configure the Attributes of the Discount Next, you'll need to configure the attributes of your discount: Discount Code Decide if you want the discount to be automatic or if your customer will need a discount code. For automatic discounts, input a title you wish your customers to see. If you opt for a code, you can manually input a discount code of your choice or choose to automatically generate it. Options Under the Value section, you can choose from a percentage discount or a fixed amount. Select Percentage and enter the % discount you wish to offer. Applies to In the same Value box from the above step, select what the discount is applied to. You'll have the options of: Specific collectionsSpecific products Once you've selected specific products or collections, click Browse to search for the collection or products you wish to apply the discount to. Minimum Requirement Next, you'll need to set the minimum purchase requirements to activate the discount. Your options include: No minimum requirementsMinimum purchase amountMinimum quantity of items If you wish for no minimum requirements, select the relevant box and move on. If you wish to set a minimum purchase amount, select Minimum Purchase Amount and enter the amount (in your store's currency) that customers need to spend to obtain the discount. To set limits by item quantity, select Minimum Quantity of Items and enter the required value. Customer Eligibility Under the Customer Eligibility box, you'll be able to select which customers, or which type of customers, will qualify to use the discount. You can choose from: All customersSpecific customer segmentsSpecific customers For specific customers, select Browse and choose the customers you want to make eligible for the discount. For specific customer segments, select browse and choose one of the following segments: Customers who haven't purchasedCustomers who have purchased more than onceAbandoned checkouts in the last 30 daysEmail subscribers Usage Limits Next, decide whether you want to limit customers to the number of times they can use the discount. Select either: Limit to one use per customer, orLimit number of times this discount can be used in total If you want to set a usage limit, select the relevant box and input the value. Active Dates Finally, select the dates your discount should run. Select a start date and time, but choosing an end date is optional. 4. Save & Promote Your Discount Once you've configured your discount, you can review its details in the box on the right-hand side of your screen. If you're happy with your configuration, select Save Discount and your percentage discount will be added to your Shopify store. Once your discount is saved, you can promote it throughout social media and your other chosen marketing channels. Conclusion The process of adding discounts by percentage on Shopify is straightforward, but specific situations and conditions require more in-depth thought. Using an app such as Order to Discount by Egnition will automate your customer care process and allow you to create specific email and discount templates. This will ensure that your customers get the best available support, feel valued regardless of their situation, and, ultimately, bring them back over and over, thus boosting your sales and ROI. Order to Discount
3 Best Inventory Management Systems for Your Shopify Store—A 2022 Review
Product organization3 Best Inventory Management Systems for Your Shopify Store—A 2022 ReviewOnce your Shopify store starts scaling up, you'll need to start using an inventory management system (IMS). While management concepts such as FIFO inventory management are often discussed when considering inventory management, you'll need the right software system to carry out the functions first. An inventory management system is a program designed to streamline inventory functions such as tracking, stocking, and fulfillment. Such systems handle everything from the supplier to the customer, helping to keep things running smoothly with minimal manual input. Using such systems in tandem with inventory management apps will help you avoid stockouts and fulfill orders quickly. It's best to make the transition from manual systems to an IMS before you're overloaded. Key Features to Look For in an Inventory Management System Here are some key features to look for before choosing an IMS: Multi-store and omnichannel support If you have multiple Shopify stores and physical locations, you'll need an IMS that can bring them together into a unified system.Metrics and forecasting A good IMS goes beyond tracking stock by analyzing historical data, forecasting demand, and acting accordingly. IMS metrics are a rich source of data on which to build models and plan strategies.Integrations Beyond the obvious Shopify integration, an IMS should support point-of-sale (POS) systems if you have physical locations as well as integrate with your logistics systems.Complete automation A good IMS will be able to automate inventory management in various ways, not just record simple metrics and numbers. Functions such as managing out-of-stock items, managing pre-orders, and ordering from suppliers when stock gets low will make the store manager's life a lot easier. Our Top 3 Picks for the Best Inventory Management Systems in 2022 Here are the best IMS picks for Shopify. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a good place to start and figure out what you're looking for. 1. Multi‑Store Sync Power—free to $25.99/month Automatically synchronize inventory data from all of your stores. Multi-Store Sync Power is the ideal software if you're managing multiple stores, because it links all of your inventory data, thereby removing any manual processes. Whenever a new product is created or updated, or whenever inventory levels change, it automatically reflects across all of your stores. The app offers flexibility and allows you to work according to location or stores. Pros: Automation saves time and eliminates mistakesDetailed history reporting featuresEfficient customer service Cons: May require customer service support to set up 2. Out‑of‑Stock Police—free to $26.99/month Comprehensive out-of-stock software to manage sold out items. Out-of-Stock Police helps you to manage your inventory by automatically removing or hiding sold out items in your collections, but will still keep your items visible to search engines to improve SEO. The app will notify you when stock levels are low or have run out, giving you more control over re-ordering and timelines. Pros: Customizable to your inventory cycleRe-stock more efficientlyIncrease targeted organic trafficEfficient customer service Cons: Out-of-stock reports may require refinement 3. Bestsellers reSort—free to $34.99/month Complete online merchandising tool to organize your product collections. Bestsellers reSort is a unique product sorting tool that provides additional analytical functions. The app allows you to set sorting rules whereby it organizes your products into collections, including product features, gross profit, inventory levels, discounts, and more. It will also analyze your sales according to the timeline you've set. Utilizing these functions can increase your sales by optimally organizing your items for your customers. Pros: Customizable to your store's needs—including multiple locationsIncrease sales and ROI by matching customer buying behaviorEfficient customer service Cons: May require customer support to set up Make the Right Choice for Your Shopify Store When deciding which IMS is best for you, remember to check which one works the best for your specific needs, not just the one with the best reviews or the cheapest price. All three of our picks scale well, but it's best to ask for demos to make sure you're getting the right solution to manage your Shopify inventory better.
Practicing Test Orders on Shopify Development Stores: Step-By-Step Guide
Multiple storesPracticing Test Orders on Shopify Development Stores: Step-By-Step GuideBefore moving your Shopify store to a paid plan, you should consider creating a development store to test Shopify apps, custom themes, and orders to ensure everything is running smoothly. Testing orders on a Shopify development store will help ensure that your store's checkout process and order process settings, inventory, shipping, notifications, and taxes are streamlined and work correctly, both for your customers as well as your team. There are three ways in which you can do this, however, it should be noted that draft orders and real transactions can't be tested on a development store. Option 1: Use Shopify’s Bogus Gateway As the cost of a development store is only the time it takes to sign up to Shopify Partners, using a development store's Bogus Gateway provides a simple means to test transactions. Log in to your Shopify admin and navigate to Settings > Payments.If you have a credit card payment provider, deactivate it by clicking on Manage > Deactivate.In the Shopify payments section, navigate to See all providers > Payment providers > Choose a provider.Select (for testing) Bogus Gateway.Select Activate (for testing) Bogus Gateway.Click Save.Navigate to your store and place an order using the following card details: Card name: Enter "Bogus Gateway" Card number: 1 - Simulates a successful transaction 2 - Simulates a failed transaction 3 - Generates an "error from the provider" messageCVV: Any 3-digit number Expiry date: Any future date Option 2: Use Shopify Payments Test Mode If you're using Shopify Payments, you can use the test mode to assess how your customers pay and how their orders are processed. You should note, however, that when test mode is activated, real cards can't be used to process orders. To activate Shopify Payments test mode Log in to your Shopify admin and navigate to Settings > Payments.Under Shopify Payments, select Manage.In the Test mode section, click Enable test mode.Select Save. To simulate a successful transaction with various cards Utilize the following test numbers with their corresponding card type: Visa: 4242424242424242Mastercard: 5555555555554444American Express: 378282246310005Discover: 6011111111111117Diners Club: 30569309025904JCB: 3530111333300000 The remaining card details can be filled in by using the following: Card Name: Enter at least two words. Expiry Date: Enter any future date. CVV: Any three digits. To simulate failed transaction error messages Utilize the following codes with the corresponding message type: Card declined: 4000000000000002Incorrect card number: 4242424242424241Disputed transaction: 4000000000000259Invalid expiry month: Use a number higher than 12Invalid expiry year: Use a year from the pastInvalid security code: Use a 2-digit CVV code You should note that you will be charged for purchased shipping labels when fulfilling test orders, so you should deactivate any third-party apps that do this automatically. Once you've completed the test transactions, you should deactivate test mode so that your customers can continue to make purchases. Option 3: Use a Test Mode for Third-Party Payment Providers If you're selling products using a third-party payment provider, some offer a test mode option similar to Shopify Payments. To enable test mode on your payment app, navigate to Admin > Settings > Payments, and select Enable test mode on your payment provider. Testing Orders With Real Transactions Testing orders can also be done by using real transactions and then canceling them shortly after. However, this can't be done while using a development store, therefore you will need to choose a paid plan and transfer your development store. Conclusion Whether you're testing out your first store or planning to manage multiple Shopify stores, it's always a good idea to use a development store to smooth out the process before finalizing changes and making your site live. Ensuring that your order process runs smoothly is essential to establishing customer satisfaction and a smooth-running sales funnel from the day of launch.

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