A dynamic inventory management product not only comes equipped with the best must-have features, it is also affordable and scalable, adapting effortlessly to the needs of a growing retail business. If you’ve been contemplating upgrading your retail inventory management process, look for the following essential features that make an inventory management solution stand out among a host of wannabes.

Comprehensive product management

A retail business will often have a large number of products and categories—which calls for a solution that can effectively manage and track hundreds of different products based on specific features. Essentially, you should be able to automate inventory transfer and adjustments, add custom tags and serial numbers, upload documents and photos, track batches and lots, track financial data and manage product bundles with a few clicks.

Location-wise stock tracking

For a business that’s spread across locations, tracking the changing inventory at different locations is essential for a seamless workflow. A good inventory management solution helps avoid the problems of under- and overstocking by tracking incoming and outgoing stocks at different outlets, warehouses and sub-locations. You can not only view the stocks in real time but also generate reports to get in-depth insight into inventory trends for each product line.

Low inventory alerts

An essential element of a stock management system is its ability to alert you when stocks of a particular item reach a predefined minimum level. It allows you to set low inventory thresholds for each product at each location, reaching which it will automatically set off an alert—additionally, advanced systems will also auto-generate a purchase order to replenish supplies.

Barcoding

Inventory management processes thrives on granular product tracking, which is only possible if the system has the capability to define RFID and barcoding for a large database of products. Does the software allow integration of your existing barcoding database into the new system? Does it allow adding and editing barcodes as you go along? Can you scan barcodes or will you have to key in identifiers? Purchase a system that will automate the day-to-day processes as much as possible so that your staff can work faster and more efficiently.

Automatic generation of purchase orders

How about an inventory management solution that auto-creates a purchase order when it detects low inventory for a particular item at a certain retail location? This feature takes away yet another manual step in stock management. Furthermore, the inventory levels are then automatically adjusted when the items are received at the location.

Don’t worry about automatic purchase orders wreaking havoc on your distribution network—each order needs to be approved before it is processed. Even with a great technology-driven solution, a human will always be in charge.

Automatic tracking of bills and payments

Whenever a purchase or sales order is fulfilled, the system should not only make adjustments in stock levels, it should also be able to generate invoices and track bills, applicable freight and taxes, payments and credits.

Integrated customer relationship management (CRM) and vendor management

This is a particularly useful feature for retail businesses that offer different price points for different customer and vendors. Advanced inventory management software will have integrated CRM and vendor management so that you can keep track of sales orders from each customer and purchase orders from each vendor according to product type, location and pricing.

Comprehensive reporting options

Regardless of the volume of your sales, you will need reports that can help you understand and control your purchase and sales trends, predict demand and supply with greater accuracy and manage stocks more efficiently. Does the system you intend to buy offer a wide range of reports? Does it allow customization of reports based on your needs? Invest in an Inventory Management Software System that comes equipped with a variety of reporting options.

Complete control over user access with multi-level tracking

This feature enables multi-level auditing of the system, allowing you add and manage users at different locations, control access for each user and track daily activity for each module.

To conclude, invest in a good inventory management system to gain greater control over stocks, purchase and sales, demand and supply, customer relations, vendor management and more. At the same time, purchase your software from a company that has the expertise and experience to offer you a great product as well as exception after-sale service and support. They should be available to resolve your queries, particularly during the implementation period, and be forthcoming to help integrate the system and train your employees.