Inventory management is the backbone of any ecommerce business, so we get a lot of questions on what is the best system out there?
The biggest problem with ecommerce is that each store is completely unique and has its own needs as a result. For our stores (we have four), we utilize multiple warehouses, 3PL, drop shipping and Amazon FBA across BigCommerce, Shopify, eBay, Etsy and Amazon. This might be overkill for a small ecommerce shop that wants to simply sell on eBay, but our requirements might also look like peanuts to the enterprise giant that is on a dozen marketplaces with triple digit bin picking locations.
In evaluating our own platform to use, it took a solid month researching, analyzing and testing before we finally made a decision on a platform last year. Having outgrown that platform, we’ve had to do a complete re-evaluation again and decided to publish what we found as we went along. If you have comments or experience of your own, we would love to hear it in the comments section below. If you have questions or need advice, you can get in touch with us for consulting services.
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Master Listing Sku: Enables different SKUs at each channel while synchronizing to a master SKU.
Channel Allocation: Ability to set inventory levels at certain channels differently than actual inventory on hand, to prevent overselling.
Transfer Orders: Used to move inventory from one channel or warehouse to another
This feature list doesn’t comprise all of the inventory platforms out there but represents the top players in our eyes. In most cases, we have ran an ACTUAL install and testing or trial run of the software, with the exception of HubLogix. Unlike some of the other “review” sites which are written by paid writers who have zero ecommerce experience whatsoever, the feature matrix here is made with store owners, warehouse and production managers in mind.
Stitch Labs Review – http://www.stitchlabs.com
Both Mike and I have been using Stitch Labs for over a year and know it well. Stitch is fairly intuitive, has a sleek interface and will meet most of the needs for about 90% of multi-channel sellers. It has the right mix of ease of use and power features. At the same time, we both feel that it suffers from performance issues and the UI trades beauty for functionality. Overall Stitch Labs is a solid choice for mid-sized ecommerce stores.
- Solid job at inventory control, with master inventory, multiple warehouses and transfer orders
- Feature rich, with purchase orders, invoicing, solid reports, product listing onto channels
- Extensive order editing, costing and inventory manipulation
- Updating stock levels can be incredibly frustrating unless uploading via CSV
- UI relies far too heavily on dynamic search, which is buggy and slow
- Supports multiple warehouses, but will always automatically route orders to a master warehouse
Sellbrite Review – http://www.sellbrite.com
The first thing that you’ll notice about Sellbrite is it’s simplicity. For that reason alone, this is the platform I would most recommend to all small ecommerce companies that are using multiple channels. Sellbrite might not have all the advanced functionality of the medium and enterprise grade platforms, but I could trust my grandma to use Sellbrite and not get totally lost. As someone that has a UI/UX background, Sellbrite is just pleasant to use. Sellbrite seems to know its intended audience and isn’t diverging from that route too much (which is a good thing in my opinion).
- Supports big four ecommerce platforms (Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce) and marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Sears, NewEgg, Rakuten)
- Affordable at $179/mo for 3 channels, 2500 SKUs and unlimited orders and listings
- Hands down, best eBay listing tool. For smaller merchants looking to explore selling on Ebay and keeping inventory up-to-date, Sellbrite is light years ahead of other “listing tools” that barely qualify (cough, BigCommerce, cough).
- Simple product and inventory management. Auto-builds and pulls products from channels and can bulk upload and publish without need for CSV editing
- Multiple warehouses, Amazon FBA fulfillment support and seems to support split shipments
- Lack of business features: accounting integration, purchase orders and receiving, manual orders, editing of orders
- Sales reports are minimal at best (sales by time period, SKU or low inventory)
- Basic product management (category only), no kitting or bundling
Skubana Review – http://www.skubana.com
Skubana holds the title for street cred, because the founder of Skubana is Chad Rubin, who is a top Amazon power seller that created the platform in-house for their own needs selling air filters. As the platform evolved, it became geared for public use and so Skubana was launched. Not suprisingly, Skubana is heavily geared toward enterprise Amazon sellers and does a very solid job for that niche. The drawbacks are that Skubana seems to lack some very basic features that a normal non-Amazon seller would need at times. As of this writing, I’ve had a solid week of experience on Skubana after migrating off Stitch Labs and believe it’s a serious up and coming contender for mid to enterprise sellers.
- No arbitrary SKU, order or channel limits, which is very refreshing. Simple pricing model with per order fee, but starts at $500 minimum/mo.
- Good performance and seems to handle many SKUs and orders without any issues
- Enterprise grade inventory management, with locked levels, allocation, automatic purchase orders and receiving, true multi warehouses, vendor SKUs and list SKUs
- Order and shipping logic via “Orderbots” that handle IF/THEN type functions to orders that can modify shipping, warehouse and order details. Very powerful stuff.
- Built in shipping, makes for seamless integration and much better channel visibility than daisy chained through Ship Station.
- Strict error tolerance: No editing of orders, no returns, no custom orders, must have complete defined relations between master, list and vendor SKUs before Skubana can truly function
- Seems to be focused on Amazon FBA sellers
- Compartmentalized inventory management makes migration to or starting up on Skubana a somewhat rough experience. Can’t create manual orders until SKUs are assigned to “Manual” channel for example. Lots of CSV import/export required.
- For an enterprise level app, the lack of Quickbooks or Xero integration is surprising.
Side note: I had the pleasure of speaking to Chad Rubin, CEO of Skubana after a post on Reddit. I mentioned I just wouldn’t be interested in a platform without auto import and product build abilities and lo and behold, Skubana released that feature a few months later.
Coming Soon, Reviews For:
Alternative Inventory Management Platforms
Again, we listed what we believe are the top players for the most typical ecommerce SME business. Enterprise and manufacturing grade platforms are usually on a whole different level and most of the time require significant onboarding and those companies will have their own development teams to assist with integration and customization.
That said, we try to spread the love so here’s a list of other platforms with a little bit about each:
Solid Commerce – http://solidcommerce.com/
- One of the oldest inventory stock management tools around and has a major focus on Amazon FBA and eBay sellers
- No published pricing, but I’ve heard it’s upwards of $1,000/mo for standard accounts
- All standard features plus eBay and Amazon product listers, partial shipments, bar coding and Amazon repricing
- Cons: Solid Commerce has had lots of negative feedback about the reliability and pricing.
- Summary: Good when it started, but hard to justify cost for feature list
Webgility – https://www.webgility.com
- Accounting focused platform that reconciles each transaction in Quickbooks, plus marketplace, listing and merchant fees.
- Full featured inventory management platform at the higher tiers
Channel Advisor – http://www.channeladvisor.com/
- Enterprise only, upwards of $10,000 per month to get started
- Main ability to publish and sync across just about every marketplace out there
- Cons: Hard to justify prices with other enterprise platforms charging much less
- Summary: For large businesses that simply want to outsource their entire channel management
EcomDash – http://www.ecomdash.com
- Standard inventory management features but at very reasonable rates based on orders vs SKU or Channel usage. Starts at $50 for under 150 orders/mo and $75 for up to 500.
- Nowhere published about multi-warehousing, but does support, along with Amazon FBA.
- Easy to use interface, very intuitive and similar to Sellbrite or Orderhive
- Cons: Seems to suffer from laggy interface similar to Orderhive as well
Duoplane – https://duoplane.com
- Business oriented platform, with advanced ship routing, drop shipping and accounting integration.
- Only main ecommerce platforms (Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Channel Advisor). Oddly lacking Amazon FBA.
- Pricing tiers are $99 / $499 / $999 but initial tier is limited
- Summary: Recommended for drop ship heavy businesses willing to pay the $499 plan
Orderhive – http://www.orderhive.com
- Cheapest of all the platforms at $29/mo for two channels, $99/mo for 4 channels and $129/mo for 6 channels
- Surprising level of advanced functionality (forecasting, bar code, partial shipments, built in shipping, B2B portal, mobile app, manual orders, email dropship)
- Built in shipping supports freight tracking (RL, Old Dominion, TNT, Estes, Con Way to name a few) which is huge for B2B sellers
- Cons: Slow back-end during testing, does not support multiple warehouses, no Amazon FBA
- Summary: Bang for the dollar, Orderhive is VERY impressive for features.. but you get what you pay for on the performance side.
Note that some of our links are affiliate based, but that has not affected our table matrix or opinions on the matter.