There’s no doubt about it – one of the most challenging aspects of running a small online business is inventory management. In this particular writing, we’ll have a deeper look at WooCommerce inventory management.
While this remained a highly specialized field in the early 2000s, a massive surge in big data collection and analysis sparked a quiet revolution. Ten years on, the marketplace is flooding with high-quality, accessible e-commerce tools that help us understand customer behavior, make sound investment decisions and identify weaknesses.
The process begins with a competent, well-optimized, and scalable website builder for your online business – that’s where WooCommerce comes in. Launched in 2011, the e-commerce building tool is equipped with everything you need to establish a digital storefront, highlight products, and seamlessly connect customers to payment gateways.
Today, the platform hosts nearly four million websites – a testament to its reliability and adaptability. This makes it a fantastic choice to use – especially when combined with powerful plugins to handle your inventory management needs.
Before we get into details, let’s take a look at the benefits of WooCommerce inventory management.
Any decent investment in your business comes with a price – it takes some time and money to ensure that your business remains optimized and competitive. Woocommerce inventory management is an excellent place to start analyzing data to better understand your company – here’s why.
One of the biggest barriers to entry when it comes to establishing a business is retaining inventory – it takes a significant amount of capital to store and source products.
Without detailed inventory data, your business bleeds potential profit. WooCommerce inventory management allows you to:
Determine better, more efficient ways to store your product. Quickly identify low-selling products. Ensure that your business builds a reputation for being well-stocked. Spend your warehousing budget on accurate requirements.
While all three of these are important, it’s the latter that truly makes a difference over time. Think of the last time you wanted to buy an item online, only to find out that it was out of stock. Chances are that you’ll quickly find another website to buy a similar product on – and decide that the old one wasn’t worth your time.
If your customers end up in a similar situation, you won’t just lose out on one sale – you could potentially lose out on several future orders as well.
WooCommerce comes with its own proprietary inventory management system – although it will seem a bit hidden for newcomers. To track inventory details and listings, you will have to Enable Stock Management under the Products Inventory Settings tab. This opens up the stock management screen – allowing you to take a better look at listings
As you can observe, the stock manager allows you to manage your entire range of products, complete with color-coded alerts and product details.
Now that we’ve got the page up and running, let’s get started with setting up a basic inventory.
If you’ve got a business that primarily deals with inventory for finished and ready-to-ship products, WooCommerce is quite simple to get going. To start with, open up your Products tab and you’ll be presented with a choice of four product types to register, depending on the kind of business you’re running.
Here’s a simple breakdown for each of them:
This refers to products that don’t come in any WooCommerce inventory variations.
Let’s say that you run a store specializing in stationery. If you have a specific pen that comes in only one style and color variant, you can simply add in your product details and marketing content (such as product images), and your pen will be uploaded as an individual product.
Sometimes, your store will need to sell products that come in different variations – perhaps you’re looking to cater to a wider variety of customers. Using the variable products option allows you to add different product variants simultaneously.
If you see product reviews that ask for a different color of pen, you can capitalize on customer demand by using the variable product option to add in more variants to the same listing.
Some businesses make use of inventory kitting to sell products in a bundle. This allows them to reach customers in a grouped format on the e-commerce website.
Take note that while grouped products will be displayed as such on the platform, customers will still have the choice to purchase them individually.
Some businesses take a commission on products marketed on their platforms, that are actually sold by other businesses.
Maybe your stationery store has partnered with a designer for some product – putting their goods under the affiliate product section can take the customer to the designer’s sales portal to complete the purchase.
Once you’ve added in your products, you can also set a Low Product Threshold for each listing. This lets WooCommerce send you a notification when your stock begins to run dry. You will also have to set each product’s stock levels and SKUs (stock-keeping units). The latter is an alphanumeric barcode that you can use to track the movement of your inventory.
To further optimize your WooCommerce inventory management, consider adding upsells and cross-sells.
This setting allows you to suggest products that appear as recommendations over the listing a customer is currently on. By using these skillfully, you can recommend more profitable/higher quality products to a customer than the listing they’re on, potentially changing their mind and getting them to make a greater purchase.
Instead of encouraging customers to buy a better product, cross-selling encourages them to buy more products that complement or support their original intended purchase. The setting functions by allowing you to push a purchase link to a product once a customer has placed a complementary product in their cart. Conclusion
On its own, the base WooCommerce inventory management system is fairly flexible, if a little barebones. It allows you to handle a decent variety of product types and gets the job done for free – but if you’re looking for really robust management, you’re better off getting a dedicated plugin.
WooCommerce in stock form cannot handle raw material inventories, can’t track multiple inventory locations, and worst of all is very time-consuming. Any business owner knows that time is money – and that’s why an all-in-one plugin is what you’re looking for.
That’s where Finpose comes in. Now in its third iteration, the robust and fully-kitten WooCommerce accounting tool handles everything from inventories to taxation, order fulfillment, and automated financial reports.
Inventory management doesn’t exist in a bubble, after all. Every restock is a monetary decision to make, so having your finances right at your fingertips is a business advantage that’s hard to beat.
In particular, Finpose allows you to understand the total value of your entire stock in a single click, while constantly providing you with crucial data such as calculated profit margins and projected stock runout.
If you’re looking to upgrade your WooCommerce experience to the next level, check out Finpose here.