How to manage your inventory on Shopify

The complete guide to managing your Shopify inventory.

Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce web platforms that allows you to create a flourishing online store for your handmade products. It has a simple and straightforward interface that requires no knowledge of coding or complex web building experience - all you need to do is signup, provide some details on your business and create your listings.

Once you have created an account, you can choose from a wide range of templates that you can then edit, customize, and add your branding. Whether you are looking to sell digital or physical products, it is a simple and effective way of getting your offerings in front of thousands of potential customers.

One of Shopify’s main aims was to allow anyone to create an online store without a developer or any prior knowledge; however, if you have coding skills, you can also use them to customize your site further. At present, over 500,000 businesses in 175 countries use Shopify to power their business and that number is only continuing to rise.

How does Shopify work?

Shopify is an all-inclusive e-commerce site solution that works by charging users a subscription. This differs from marketplaces like Etsy that charge to advertise your product via listing and transaction fees.

The prices differ depending on the package that is right for you, with “basic Shopify” catering more for new businesses, “Shopify” with a few more features for a mid-range business and “Advanced Shopify” which is tailored for companies looking to scale their business and is packed with even more additional features.

You can pay upfront or monthly, with the upfront plan offering you a 10% discount if you sign up for a year and 20% if you sign up for two. This is a good option if you are looking for something more long term.

You can also sign up for a free 14-day trial to experience the features and benefits of Shopify before committing to a plan. Once you have decided on a plan you can go straight into developing your online store. Shopify includes features such as secure, reliable hosting, 24/7 support, sales channels, manual order creation and a free SSL certificate and is ready with all you need to get your business off the ground.

What are Shopify’s inbuilt inventory management tools?

An inventory is a vital tool for your business as it allows you to monitor the quantity of a particular product that is available for sale. It is a tool that will ensure you know how much stock you have left and avoid disappointing customers by running out. It will let you know when it is time for you to re-order and you can set when it sends you alerts.

Before you can start utilizing the features in your Shopify inventory, it is essential you set up the inventory tracking. Once this is done, an inventory history is available for 90 days which is useful for tracking orders and seeing trends with your products and sales. When you view the inventory history for a product you will be shown the date of each adjustment, the event that caused the adjustment (where it is a transfer or an order), who adjusted the number, how much it changed by, whether it was positive or negative and the quantity it was adjusted to. If you manage inventory that spans more than one location and need to adjust them accordingly, you can do this through your account easily and simply.

One of the most simple ways to update your inventory is with a CSV file that details the quantities for each product. You can use this method for both single locations and multiple location inventories, the process is just slightly different. It is a very simple and useful way of updating your inventory - there is a more detailed guide on the ​Shopify help section.

Another useful Shopify inventory management tool allows you to hide out of stock products via automated collections. You can do this via an inventory management app or manually on the collections page, it depends on your preference and how many different products you might have. If you are only dealing with a small amount, you may feel happy to do this yourself, but if you have larger quantities, this could become very time-consuming. Inventory tracking automatically keeps track of how many of each product is available, and if something is out of stock, it will be removed from the front end of the website until the stock levels reach an acceptable level again.

Shopify also has a transfer tool that allows you to record, track, and receive incoming purchase orders and inventory from your suppliers. These transfers are useful as they allow your product inventory to update automatically once you receive the items from your supplier. You can also indicate if you have received a full or partial inventory leaving you to process it at your own pace.

If you have more than one active location on your Shopify account you can use transfers to move inventory from one to another. This allows you to keep track of your inventory and is a great tool for monitoring what stock you have where.

If you are a brick-and-mortar retailer you can also take advantage of Shopify’s Stocky feature. This is an advanced inventory management solution that tracks inventory levels, forecasts the inventory you need, and suggests products to order. It’s an innovative and useful tool ideal if you have a physical store as well as an online one.

Why Shopify is important for your business success

One of the first reasons Shopify is so important for your business success is that you can do it yourself saving you both time and money. Rather than having to train someone up to learn in-depth coding or splash out on a high-end developer, you can have your shop up and running from nothing in the space of half a day.

Due to the myriad of customization abilities offered from Shopify, you can easily integrate it with other apps, further adding extra features and functionalities. Craftybase Inventory Management software is one such integration, designed specifically for sellers of handmade products. Craftybase allows you to track both material and production processes so you can calculate accurate COGS and pricing.

Another great feature that is integral for business success is the fact it is mobile-ready. In a time when there are more mobile visits to websites than desktop, it is essential that your site works seamlessly across all platforms. All of the themes on Shopify are mobile responsive with a free built-in mobile commerce shopping cart allowing your customers to both browse and shop on the move.

There is no point in having a fantastic site and great products if no one can find it. Shopify’s powerful SEO tools help your business to rank in Google as well as allows for product reviews and email marketing. These, coupled with the useful inventory management tools are just some of the reasons Shopify is so important for your business success.

Shopify is a powerful tool that can help to leverage your business to the next level. By utilizing its range of inbuilt inventory management tools you can ensure you never run out of stock and that if you do, your customers won’t be left frustrated by seeing a multitude of products which are “sold out” as these will be hidden in the back end until they are available to buy again.

It is a must-have system that will soon leave you reaping in the benefits.

Nicole Pascoe Nicole Pascoe - Profile

Written by Nicole Pascoe

Nicole is the co-founder of Craftybase, inventory and manufacturing software designed for small manufacturers. She has been working with, and writing articles for, small manufacturing businesses for the last 12 years. Her passion is to help makers to become more successful with their online endeavors by empowering them with the knowledge they need to take their business to the next level.