Inventory management is an important component of any reselling business, no matter how much or how little inventory you may have. A reseller inventory management system has two components: physical inventory storage and electronic management. Physical inventory management refers to where you store your inventory. Electronic inventory management refers to where you record the data and information about your inventory. Over the years, I have tried so many different methods for inventory management. Here are some of my best tips and tricks for inventory management to grow your reselling business!
Physical Reseller Inventory Storage
When I first started reselling on Poshmark for profit, I tossed my listed items in a few boxes stacked in a corner of my bedroom. Very quickly, this became inefficient as I was digging through boxes to find things, and many items look similar. More than once, I sent the wrong thing to the wrong buyer, and every day I was wasting time looking through the same boxes over and over again, wrinkling everything, and navigating through the towering maze of cardboard stacked in my bedroom. I needed a new system.
There has to be a method to the madness. A business is not scalable if it is not organized. There are many different ways that resellers organize their inventory. Many use clothing hanging racks, perhaps organized by size or color. Other sellers use shelving units, with some type of method to determine what is placed where. Most large-volume sellers use a SKU system with correlating bins. I highly recommend the bins/SKU system.
For many years, I used hanging racks that I scored when a local department store went out of business. Everything was organized by type and color, and it was relatively quick to find something when it sold. The downsides to this system were vast: the racks took up a ton of room, The (expensive) hangers were so jammed together that I couldn’t separate them, and the shipping process was tedious because the items were not ready to go. When I moved into a smaller apartment, I knew I couldn’t take my ten commercial clothing racks with me. It was time to try bins!
I firmly believe that a bin system is the best method of inventory management (depending on the type of inventory you’re selling, of course). There are many ways to use a bin system. Some resellers number their bins rather than their items. So, they note that the black Lululemon Leggings are in “Bin A,” and they don’t necessarily assign the leggings an inventory number. This method is efficient because you can always put new inventory in whichever bin has the room for it. Alternatively, some resellers (like me) assign a SKU number to each item, making it much faster to determine which bag with black leggings is the correct pair that you’re looking for. My inventory is so well-organized that anyone could pull my items for shipping if I was out of town, or an emergency arose. For me, SKU numbers work best to save time and reduce errors. Plus, the items have been inspected for flaws, lint-rolled, folded nicely, and they are ready to toss in a mailer and ship out!
Switching to a bins system made inventory management so much easier. When I decided to switch to this type of system for my reseller inventory, I purchased some totes, recyclable inventory bags (in different sizes), and SKU number stickers, to prepare for the project of inspecting, lint-rolling, folding, bagging, and numbering the five thousand items that I had in stock at that time. I began the process of assigning everything a number when I ran into the next problem: where would I record and keep track of the SKU numbers?
Electronic Inventory Management
I created a spreadsheet (this was before any of the reselling platforms could run reports for download). The spreadsheet was organized with SKU, brand, category, size, and color. I was really proud of it! When something sold, I simply went into the spreadsheet to locate the SKU, and went to the bin to pull the item! The item was already bagged and ready to ship! It was a perfect and efficient process... until I continued to grow my business…
Managing spreadsheets is tedious, it takes a lot of time to keep articulate and accurate business records. There is also huge room for error, and they require patience and attention to detail. At one point I had the most complex spreadsheet that included the basic information about each item including the date acquired, my cost of goods (COG), and where it was listed for sale. Upon sale, I also input the sale date, where it sold, the platform fees, and any shipping fees. The processes were further complicated as I started doing consignment and wholesale. Maintaining a large inventory and cross-listing to multiple platforms was very tedious. Frankly, it wasn’t fun, either.
I was spending too much time book-keeping each day to keep diligent records, nor were my records always diligent… because I failed to keep up with them and made many mistakes. When you’re selling on multiple platforms, you need to have something that tells you what is listed where so that you can quickly remove an item from other platforms once it sells. For tax purposes, you will need to know the value of your current inventory. I needed a new system, and I tried quite a few costly applications and inventory management solutions to try to simplify the process and save time and money. While some were better than others, none of them saved me enough time to justify the cost. Reseller book-keeping is a lot of work! In speaking with many resellers, this is a common obstacle that prevents people from scaling their reselling business.
Inventory Management for Resellers with Vendoo
Everything changed when I started using Vendoo! Vendoo offers amazing reseller book-keeping and inventory management. Switching to Vendoo was hands down the best decision I have ever made for my reselling business. Vendoo stores all of your unlisted, listed, and sold inventory information, in an organized and aesthetically pleasing way! Most importantly, it pulls all of this information as you list your items. When I enter the information about my item into the Vendoo form, it records all of the information that I need for inventory management (and for cross-listing on multiple reselling platforms) including:
- Shipping Information
- Category & Subcategory
- Cost of Goods (COG)
- Internal Notes
You might also be interested in the article How to Use Vendoo To Increase Your Sales
I no longer use any spreadsheets, because Vendoo has all of the information that I need. As soon as I receive new inventory, I start a draft in Vendoo with a title and my cost of goods.
For my listed inventory, Vendoo keeps track of how long it is listed and which platforms each item is listed on. For my sold inventory, Vendoo keeps track of when and where it sold, and all fees related to the sale. Vendoo accommodates my consignment listings, and allows me to use custom labels to organize my inventory, too! At any time, I can download a full inventory report via CSV (an editable spreadsheet for download). These reports are a savior at tax time.
When I started using Vendoo for inventory management, I saved so much time. I can sort my inventory by title, SKU, price, date created, date modified, where it is (or isn’t listed for sale), or by the custom labels that I create. Of course, I can sort by unlisted, listed, and sold as well. Vendoo is the most comprehensive inventory management system I have ever used, and inventory management is included in all Vendoo plans, even the free ones! With a large volume of inventory for sale on several platforms, Vendoo does everything I need, saving me time and money!