If you are running an eCommerce business, managing inventory is crucial to your success.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, and it offers a range of stock management options to help you keep track of your inventory.
However, for businesses with a high volume of stock and complex inventory needs, stock management software can be a game changer.
In this blog post, we’ll explore 9 of the best WooCommerce stock management software options to help you streamline your inventory management processes and grow your business.
- WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce platform that can be further enhanced via plugins and inventory management software.
- There are many different types of stock management software for WooCommerce, so it’s key to understand what’s best for your eCommerce store.
What is stock management software and why is it important?
Stock management software is a category of eCommerce software that enables businesses to manage their inventory levels and track the movement of their products in a database.
It provides a centralized platform for businesses to manage their inventory and make informed decisions based on real-time data. With stock management software, businesses can efficiently manage their stock levels, reduce stockouts and overstocking, and streamline their supply chain.
Stock management software is important for businesses of all sizes, especially those that want to prioritize inventory management best practices.
Without it, businesses may struggle to keep track of their stock levels and may experience issues such as stockouts, overstocking, and inaccurate inventory records.
These issues can lead to lost sales, unhappy customers, and a decline in business profitability.
By using stock management software, businesses can automate many inventory management tasks associated with running an online store, reducing the risk of human error and saving time.
It can also help businesses optimize their stock levels, reducing the amount of capital tied up in inventory and freeing up resources to invest in other areas of the business.
Some of the more robust software solutions also provide businesses with insights into their inventory levels and sales patterns, allowing them to make data-driven decisions about stock purchasing and management.
This can help businesses improve their supply chain management and reduce costs associated with excess inventory and stockouts.
Three types of WooCommerce stock management software
When it comes to managing stock levels and inventory for online stores, there are three types of WooCommerce stock management software tools that businesses can choose from:
- Built-in WooCommerce stock management features
- Stock management plugins
- Inventory management software
Each of these types of software has distinct features and advantages, which we’ll explore in detail throughout this post.
Built-in WooCommerce stock management features
As one might expect, WooCommerce has some built-in stock management features that businesses can use to manage their inventory levels.
These features include the ability to track inventory at the product level, set low stock thresholds, and enable email notifications when stock levels are low. While the built-in inventory management tools are simple, they can be expanded with free and paid plugins.
Some of the key inventory management features of WooCommerce include the ability to:
- Track inventory at the product level
- Set low stock thresholds
- Enable email notifications when stock levels are low
- Use bulk editing to manage inventory across multiple products
- View stock reports and analytics to make informed decisions about inventory levels
- Use individual product stock settings to manage inventory on a per-product basis
WooCommerce comes with four default product types: simple, variable, grouped, and external/affiliate products.
Each of these product types can be tracked using the built-in inventory management features and can be customized with free and paid plugins.
Overall, WooCommerce provides businesses with a powerful, flexible, and affordable solution for managing their inventory and running their online stores.
But while these built-in features are useful for basic stock management, they may not be sufficient for businesses that have more complex inventory management needs.
Stock management plugins
Stock management plugins are add-ons or extensions that can be integrated with WooCommerce to manage stock levels and inventory for online stores.
Since WooCommerce is built on the WordPress platform, the plugins are technically WordPress plugins that interact with and enhance WooCommerce’s functionality.
These plugins enable businesses to manage stock levels, set minimum and maximum stock quantities, and receive alerts when products dip below a predetermined low-stock threshold.
They can also help businesses to automate their inventory management processes, update stock levels in real time, and manage product variations.
Some WooCommerce inventory management plugins include ATUM, Stock Manager for WooCommerce, and WP inventory manager.
Stock Management Plugins Characteristics:
- Easy integration with WooCommerce
- Affordable and cost-effective
- Focus on inventory management features only
- May have limited features and scalability compared to other types of software
- May break certain WordPress features or negatively interact with other third-party WordPress plugins
Inventory management software
Inventory management software is a more robust solution for businesses that want complete control over every facet of their business, or need to manage inventory levels across multiple sales channels and locations.
Rather than existing within the WordPress ecosystem, inventory management platforms are standalone (often cloud-based) applications that integrate with WooCommerce but are usually much more feature-rich.
This type of software typically provides features such as real-time stock updates, purchase order management, and inventory forecasting.
It can also help businesses to:
- Manage sales orders
- Track customer orders
- Integrate with multiple sales channels
- Integrate with other business-critical platforms (accounting software, CRM, marketing automation tools, etc.)
- Produce detailed reports
- Automate order fulfillment
Popular examples of inventory management software include Linnworks, TradeGecko, and SkuVault.
Inventory Management Software Characteristics:
- Comprehensive features for inventory management
- Can handle inventory across multiple sales channels and locations
- May have a steeper learning curve and higher cost compared to stock management plugins
Best practices for WooCommerce stock management
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of plugins and software, let’s go over some fundamental best practices when it comes to managing stock in WooCommerce.
Enable stock management
First, make sure that you have enabled stock management in your WooCommerce settings. To do this, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Products > Inventory and check the box next to “Enable stock management.”
You can also set your hold stock status from this dashboard, which is a figure (in minutes) that designates how long a pending order will remain in a customer’s cart before disappearing.
Set your low stock threshold
Determine the minimum number of items you want to have in stock before you consider them “low stock.” This will help you stay ahead of inventory shortages and avoid stockouts.
In the same inventory settings, you can set your low stock threshold and choose whether to receive notifications when stock falls below that threshold.
Use product-level inventory settings
To manage your inventory on a per-product basis, you can use the individual product stock settings. Go to Products > All Products and select the product you want to edit.
Scroll down to the Inventory section, where you can set a SKU number, manually set the stock quantity, and allow backorders.
Use bulk editing
If you need to update multiple products’ inventory levels at once, use the bulk editing feature. Go to Products > All Products and select the products you want to edit.
Choose “Edit” from the bulk actions dropdown and then click “Apply.” From here, you can update the stock quantities and other inventory settings for all the selected products at once.
Use reports and analytics
WooCommerce provides detailed reports and analytics to help you keep track of your inventory levels and sales. To access these reports, go to WooCommerce > Reports > Stock. Here, you can see your top-selling products, your inventory levels, and more.
Plugins for WooCommerce stock management
If you find that the built-in inventory management tools just aren’t quite cutting it, it may be time to enhance your WooCommerce experience with third-party software.
Let’s start by looking at some specific plugins for WooCommerce stock management.
WP Inventory Manager
WP Inventory Manager is a free inventory management plugin for managing your store’s inventory in WooCommerce. It provides a user-friendly interface for adding and updating products and tracking stock levels right from the WordPress dashboard.
Pros: WP Inventory Manager is easy to use and offers some useful features for managing inventory in WooCommerce. It allows you to add and edit products quickly and provides stock-level alerts.
Cons: WP Inventory Manager is a relatively basic inventory management tool and may not be suitable for businesses with more complex inventory needs. The free version does not provide all the features that larger businesses may require.
Stock Manager for WooCommerce
Stock Manager for WooCommerce is a free plugin that provides a simple interface for managing your inventory in WooCommerce. It allows you to add and edit products, manage stock status, and set low-stock or out-of-stock alerts.
Pros: Stock Manager for WooCommerce is a free and easy-to-use inventory management tool that provides basic features for managing inventory in WooCommerce. It allows you to quickly add and edit products and provides low-stock alerts.
Cons: Stock Manager for WooCommerce is a relatively basic inventory management tool and may not be suitable for businesses with more complex inventory needs. It does not provide some of the advanced features that other inventory management plugins (or inventory management software platforms) offer.
ATUM WooCommerce Inventory Management and Stock Tracking
ATUM is a powerful and advanced free inventory management solution for WooCommerce. The plugin includes various features such as inventory statistics, stock central, inventory logs, quick price changes, suppliers, purchase orders, and premium add-ons.
The intuitive layout of each section favors the experience of store owners, facilitating stock management, and contributing to the optimization of time and resources. The ATUM inventory management dashboard offers quick links to support, documentation, and business stats, making it a handy resource for shop owners.
Pros: ATUM is a free and advanced inventory management solution for WooCommerce that boasts an intuitive layout and user-friendly interface. ATUM is also fully compatible with WPML, allowing for multilingual support, and it offers weekly and fortnightly sales, lost sales, and inventory level indicators to help with reordering plans.
Cons: ATUM has some drawbacks, such as its complexity, which may make it challenging for beginners to navigate and fully use all its features. Additionally, while the core plugin is free, some advanced features require purchasing add-ons, which can add up quickly.
Inventory management software for WooCommerce stock management
The full breadth of what inventory management software can do is a topic far outside the scope of this post. However, here’s an overview of the three most reputable inventory management platforms.
Linnworks is a powerful cloud-based inventory management system that enables you to manage your entire eCommerce business from one central location.
It offers a range of features including order management, inventory control, shipping management, and reporting and analytics.
With Linnworks, you can automate repetitive tasks, such as inventory replenishment and order processing, and streamline workflows across all sales channels.
The system also integrates with over 100 eCommerce platforms, tools, and marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, and Shopify, making it easy to manage your entire business from a single source of truth.
TradeGecko is an all-in-one inventory management solution that provides a range of features to help streamline operations and optimize supply chain management.
It offers automated reordering, stock tracking, and order management, as well as integrations with leading eCommerce platforms and marketplaces.
TradeGecko also includes features such as multi-currency support, B2B eCommerce capabilities, and analytics and reporting tools that provide insights into product performance and sales trends.
SkuVault is a cloud-based inventory and warehouse management system designed to help businesses optimize their warehouse operations and improve inventory accuracy.
It offers a range of features such as barcode scanning, inventory tracking, and cycle counting, as well as order management, shipping management, and reporting and analytics.
SkuVault is particularly suited to businesses with high volumes of inventory and complex warehouse operations, and it offers integrations with a range of eCommerce platforms, including Amazon, Shopify, and BigCommerce.
SkuVault also includes features such as automated purchasing and replenishment, demand forecasting, and multi-warehouse management, making it a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to streamline their inventory and warehouse management processes.
Plugins vs. standalone software: Which should you choose?
Choosing between a plugin and inventory management software depends on several factors, including the size of your business, the complexity of your inventory management needs, and your budget.
If you’re a small business with a limited budget and a relatively simple product catalog, a plugin like WooCommerce Stock Manager or ATUM WooCommerce Inventory Management and Stock Tracking might be the best fit for you.
These plugins are easy to use and can provide basic inventory management features like stock level tracking, supplier management, and purchase order creation. They also tend to be more affordable than inventory management software and often have free versions available.
However, if you’re a larger business with a more complex product catalog and more advanced inventory management needs, you may want to consider inventory management software like TradeGecko, Linnworks, or SkuVault.
(This is especially true if you’re starting to get into advanced forecasting.)
These solutions are typically more robust and can provide features like:
- Multi-channel inventory management
- Warehouse management
- Label printing and scanning support
- QA features and more
They can also integrate with your eCommerce platform, shipping carriers, and other business tools to provide a more streamlined and automated inventory management process. However, they tend to be more expensive than plugins and require more setup and training.
In terms of budget thresholds, there’s no hard and fast rule, but generally speaking, if your business has an inventory value of $10,000 or more, it might be time to consider inventory management software.
At that level, managing inventory manually or with a plugin can become time consuming and error prone, and the cost of errors can quickly add up.
FAQs about WooCommerce stock management
What is a stock management plugin?
A stock management plugin is a software tool that integrates with WooCommerce to help store owners manage their inventory levels, track stock movements, and set alerts for low stock levels or out-of-stock items.
How can I enable stock management and the stock display format in WooCommerce?
To enable stock management in WooCommerce, you need to go to the product editing screen and find the “Inventory” tab. Here, you can choose to enable stock management, set the stock quantity, and select the stock display format (e.g. “Always show stock” or “Only show stock when low”).
What is the WooCommerce inventory tab and where can I find it?
The WooCommerce inventory tab is a section of the product editing screen where you can manage the stock settings for a particular product. Here, you can enable stock management, set the stock quantity, and select the stock display format.
What’s the best way to manage stock visibility in WooCommerce?
The best way to manage stock visibility in WooCommerce depends on your specific business needs. Some store owners prefer to always display the stock quantity, while others may choose to hide it until the stock reaches a certain threshold (to create a sense of scarcity).
Some stock management plugins or eCommerce platforms offer customization options for stock visibility.
What’s the difference between order management software and inventory management software?
Inventory management software is focused on managing inventory levels, while order management software is focused on managing the entire order process.
Order management software has features such as order tracking and shipping management, while inventory management software has features such as real-time stock updates and purchase order management.
Using both types of software in conjunction can help businesses streamline their inventory and order management processes and improve overall efficiency.
What does the “manage stock” option in WooCommerce do?
The “manage stock” option in WooCommerce allows you to enable or disable stock management for a particular product. When enabled, you can set the stock quantity and choose whether to allow backorders (i.e. orders for out-of-stock items).
Can I set a stock status for my products using a stock management plugin?
Yes, with most stock management plugins, you can set a stock status for your products based on their availability. For example, you can set a product to “in stock”, “out of stock”, or “pre-order.”
Can I set a minimum and maximum stock quantity for my products using a stock management plugin?
Yes, almost all stock management plugins or inventory management platforms allow you to set minimum and maximum stock quantities for your products. This can help ensure that you always have enough stock on hand to meet demand while avoiding overstocking.
Can a stock management plugin help me track the stock movements of my products?
Yes, a stock management plugin can help you track the stock movements of your products, including sales, returns, and restocks.
This can help you identify trends and optimize your inventory management strategy.
How often does a stock management plugin update the stock quantity of my products?
The frequency of stock updates depends on the specific stock management plugin and how it’s configured. Some plugins update stock levels in real-time, while others may update on a set schedule (e.g. daily, hourly, or every few minutes).
Can I import and export stock data using a stock management plugin?
Yes, with most stock management plugins and inventory management platforms, you can import and export stock data using a CSV file. This can be useful for bulk updates or migrating data from another system.
Are there any limitations to using a stock management plugin with WooCommerce?
There may be some limitations to using a stock management plugin with WooCommerce, depending on the specific plugin and your business needs.
For example, some plugins may not support certain product types or may have limitations on the number of products you can manage. It’s important to carefully evaluate your options and choose a plugin that meets your requirements.
There are various options available for WooCommerce stock management – most notably stock management plugins and inventory management software.
While stock management plugins are ideal for smaller businesses, inventory management software is better suited for larger businesses with complex inventory management needs.
With its powerful features, user-friendly interface, and reliable customer support, SkuVault can help you streamline your inventory management and grow your business. Check out the features page to learn more about SkuVault, or schedule a demo to experience it in action.