Compare inventory management solutions to choose the best one for your business

Growing inventories and marketplaces demand robust inventory management solutions. The art is in picking the best one for your business. With so many options available, determining which features and services are worth investing in can feel overwhelming. Adding to the complexity are accelerating shifts in buyer behavior, including the rise in omnichannel B2B and B2C commerce.

Here to simplify your decision is an in-depth comparison of the strengths and potential weaknesses of some of the top competitors. Use it to evaluate which inventory management solution is best suited to your business size, model, and trajectory.

In this inventory management solutions guide, you’ll learn:

The top 6 inventory management solutions for 2022

Adobe Commerce

Whether you operate a direct-to-consumer or wholesale business (or both), Adobe Commerce has the tools to build, launch, manage, and scale your ecommerce website within one platform. True to Adobe’s brand and mission, the solution emphasizes high-quality user experiences powered by deep customer analytics and engagement tools. Meanwhile, native integrations with products like Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, Adobe Experience Manager, and Adobe Creative Cloud allow for quick access to a powerful CRM ecosystem at any point in your business lifecycle.

In addition to offering powerful performance, Adobe Commerce has been designed with intuitive usability in mind, making it a top choice for companies looking for a solution with a low barrier to entry. Its interface is easy to use, and drag-and-drop features make creating and personalizing customer content simple and seamless. In addition, pages update quickly, allowing quick customization and feature build capabilities:

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NetSuite

Designed by Oracle, this cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software serves as an integrated hub for not only inventory management, but also finance, human resources, marketing, and more. From accounting through every part of the supply chain, NetSuite ERP provides companies with clear real-time visibility into data, operations, and performance across every department.

View activities at a high level or a more granular view with a customizable dashboard — the result is fast and simple access to all your business data. Available in 27 languages, this solution is a great fit for brands with a global footprint or international aspirations:

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InFlow

Budget-friendly and easy to use, inFlow is designed with ecommerce entrepreneurs and small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in mind. In addition to connecting you to 35 online marketplaces, this app lets you select, pack, and ship items from one place. Additional tools help track the cost of manufacturing and components on each build, giving you the ability to better project the profit of each product.

Also, inFlow is unique in that it offers hardware solutions that pair with its software. For example, for an additional price you can purchase a specially designed Android smartphone with a built-in laser scanner designed to increase the accuracy and speed of inventory tracking.

With Online Showroom and Special Showroom features, inFlow lets users display online products without developing a full retail site, and it gives customers simpler, more streamlined B2B ordering options. Integrations with popular ecommerce sites and accounting software make inFlow easy to use:

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Fishbowl

Above all else, Fishbowl prides itself on its powerful integrations with QuickBooks designed to speed up some inventory management tasks like reordering, while automating others such as packing list creation. Other integrations extend the manufacturing and ERP capabilities of QuickBooks, including by tracking a nearly unlimited number of parts in myriad locations using serial and lot numbers.

Fishbowl is a solid choice for small- and medium-sized businesses looking for a complete inventory management solution. It’s cost-effective compared with other enterprise ERP solutions and offers most of the same functionality. In addition to QuickBooks integrations, Fishbowl connects with more than a dozen other popular ecommerce platforms. This kind of partnership helps increase ROI on other software investments:

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Zoho Inventory

Zoho Inventory is built for B2C retail businesses looking to integrate operations across online marketplaces. For those who fall into this category, the automatic updates to inventory quantities across all digital storefronts is an absolute game changer.

The same goes for the ability to buy and sell in multiple currencies and measure performance across sales channels from a single dashboard — which is a significant advantage for companies doing business across several different markets. Basic warehouse and order management tools add a layer of sophistication to the otherwise stripped-down offering.

Zoho is versatile and cost-effective, and it has scalable options for companies with both small and large customer bases. It comes with an API that enables integration with a wide variety of other business software, as well as robust tracking features suited to companies selling time-sensitive or perishable goods.

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Cin7 Orderhive

In early 2021, the order and inventory management software company Cin7 acquired ecommerce automation provider Orderhive. In doing so, it created one of the most robust online retail solutions on the market, with integrations for 16 virtual marketplaces, 9 online stores, and Fulfillment by Amazon in even its most basic offering.

Like Zoho, Cin7 Orderhive provides automatic multichannel inventory syncing, plus a wide range of returns management tools. Multi-warehouse management, kitting, barcode printing, and stock transfers are also included as part of its inventory management offerings.

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What is inventory management software?

On a basic level, inventory management software is designed to allow businesses to audit and move their physical products, often from a distance and across a range of sites. Other features may include those designed to manage manufacturing, orders, returns, and digital storefronts — all within the same platform.

Factors that determine the type and number of these additional features often include the business size and model that a specific solution aims to support, from small ecommerce retailers of consumer goods to global wholesalers of commercial-grade heavy equipment.

Inventory management software is best for automating the tracking and auditing of stock, granting you greater visibility and control over your physical products. As mentioned, however, many go above and beyond to provide varying levels of manufacturing, order management, ecommerce, and marketing support. Fewer include financial and supply chain capabilities, often aided through integrations with third-party apps.

Experts recommend that inventory management software be cloud-based. This allows data to be collected, processed, and displayed in real time, and it enables access across devices and locations. Cloud-based solutions are managed by the software company, which eases management, IT, and security provision burdens for subscribers.

The benefits of inventory management software

Inventory management software frees business owners from the onerous tasks of manual stock tracking and audits. Providing real-time visibility across every department and disparate locations, inventory management software delivers up-to-the minute information that can be used to save precious time and mitigate errors, which may result in too much or too little inventory.

Other benefits of inventory management software include:

In short, an investment in the right inventory management software is an investment in the long-term financial health and scalability of any business — from mom-and-pop Etsy shops to multinational wholesalers.

Rich in automations and features designed to eliminate errors, inventory management solutions are your secret weapon for streamlining not only inventory tracking but also order, shipping, and customer relationship management — depending on your chosen software.

Features to look for

Inventory management software is as varied as the industries and business models it aims to service — features and pricing structures can vary widely depending on the target audience and their unique needs.

When it comes to pinning down the right one for your brand, begin with the basics: how many orders you need the software to process each month, plus the number of warehouses you need to manage and the users who will require their own account. Starting here will help you to avoid either overpaying for unused volume on the one hand, or getting hit with extra fees for overshooting too-tight limits on the other.

At the same time, be sure to note the absolute maximum allowed for all three of these categories: orders, users, and warehouses. Switching software is costly in terms of both time and money. Be sure that wherever you are now in terms of sales, you’re investing in an inventory management solution poised to grow with you.

The size and trajectory of your brand may be the primary factors to consider, but they’re certainly not the only ones. Others include business model and industry.

For ecommerce brands, native customer relationship management tools, including the ability to fragment and target individual audiences with personalized experiences, are critical for meeting — and exceeding — customers’ ever-increasing expectations for digital brands.

Those looking to operate storefronts across ecommerce platforms should also be on the lookout for a solution with integrations for a wide range of online marketplaces. Multichannel inventory synchronization, integrations with shipping partners, and barcode printing are all incredibly useful for this kind of omnichannel business as well.

Meanwhile, those in the business of assembling their own products or kits will want a solution capable of connecting their bill of materials to their final products, enabling them to track costs automatically and price final products accurately. Supply-chain management records, meanwhile, can help record and update production data in real time, thereby keeping procurement aligned with production at all times.

In case you’re still unsure what solution is right for your business, check the software’s home page for examples of its current customers. This will give you a quick sense of the kinds of brands that a particular solution is designed to support. Odds are, if you see a few of your competitors listed you are on the right track.

Finally, whatever inventory management software you pick, be sure to pay attention to what current customers have to say when it comes to customer service. Inventory problems are often costly and urgent. Investing in a solution that views itself as a partner that’s there to help you perform your best at all times is an investment sure to pay dividends over the long term.

Cost and pricing tips

Inventory management solutions are overwhelmingly purchased as flexible monthly subscriptions rather than perpetual licenses. This à la carte approach improves affordability by avoiding overpayment for bells and whistles that do nothing for your particular company’s bottom line. At the same time, those features remain within reach should your brand ever reach a point where — either because of change in size or a shift in business model — they become relevant.

Customization and personalization are both significant advantages to this software-as-a-service approach. If there is a drawback, it’s that initially affordable monthly price tags can swell quickly. Meanwhile, weighing the cost and potential benefit is a time-consuming task. Fortunately, many software solutions are sensitive to this and have responded by offering complimentary one-on-one consultations with their sales team before you ever have to reach for your credit card.

Getting started with inventory control software

Rich in automations and features designed to eliminate errors, inventory management solutions are your secret weapon for streamlining not only inventory tracking, but also order, shipping, and even customer relationship management — depending on your chosen software.

Adobe Commerce, for example, prioritizes digital marketing and omnichannel commerce, earning it the distinction of being the number one provider to the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 online retailers for the 10th consecutive year and the Top 500 Guides for Europe and Latin America.

Regardless of what decision you ultimately make, the first steps are the same: Outline a wish list of features you’d like your inventory management system to have, tailored to your current brand. Then do the same thing for your business in five years, and then 10. This is your initial roadmap as you weigh the above solutions and any others you might be considering.

Take an Adobe Commerce product tour or watch this overview video to learn more.