Keeping track of all orders and stock levels across sales channels becomes more and more difficult as demand increases. This is when most businesses start looking into inventory management solutions for their Shopify store. A WMS can be a valuable tool for working with Shopify.
What is a WMS?
A warehouse management system is a software application designed to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management.
Why do you need a WMS for Shopify?
A WMS will help manage goods and their availability at point of sale. They allow you to create shipping orders directly from Shopify which means all orders in Shopify are automatically included when sending the logistics to the suppliers. This will leave you with the least amount of time possible to fulfill every order, a great tool to increase your business’ productivity.
If you have fluctuations or spikes in demand, a WMS will help optimize your warehouse space by knowing the exact location of each product and planning your logistics accordingly. And it will stock your products in the right location before your shipment arrives so they’re ready to go out as soon as they arrive at your warehouse.
How do WMS systems work?
Most WMS systems are client-server applications. This means there is a persistent server storing the records of the system. It is normally installed in server rooms in the warehouse. The client is the software that can be installed on a PC or mobile device. This application can update and manage inventory from anywhere the app is connected to the internet.
Most server side WMS systems allow the administrator to manage the inventory of a number of locations. This can be across one or many warehouses.
Setting up your Shopify store with a WMS
Like a lot of things, when installing a WMS to work with Shopify, there are quite a few different options. This becomes a bit of a headache once you’ve started exploring all the different features, integrations and more. Most people opt for a third party app dedicated to integrating Shopify and a WMS. Others decide to use an existing WMS to manage their inventory. Either way, planning in advance will help you make an informed decision.
Before installing a WMS, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you want to use a WMS to manage the entire business or just simple inventory management? This will tell you if you need an enterprise level WMS or should use a dedicated cloud service.
How much will the WMS app affect load times of your app? the speed of your website. – Most app developers will have their apps tested to allow for the speed to be as good as possible on your website.
How much setup time will the WMS take? – Some implementations can be as quick as 10 minutes, others will take several hours to set up correctly and maintained.
What costs will there be to have a WMS and set it up? – The cost of a WMS might be limited to ongoing maintenance and fees per order (if applicable). This usually becomes negligible once you take into account the time saved and money saved when orders are fulfilled faster.
What integrations does it have? – Depending on what you want to do with the WMS, having integrations with other CRM, accounting systems and inventory management systems can be vital for your business.
Benefits of a WMS for Shopify
When you find the appropriate WMS for Shopify, you will see a boost on fulfilling orders and an overall increase in productivity. So what are the main benefits of using a WMS?
Increase in productivity and fulfillment
Time is money. All the stops you can make to increase productivity is an investment in your business. It is vital to make sure you will be able to find the information you need quickly. You need to pick the right WMS that has well-organized tabs on their interface.
Saves you time managing inventory
You only focus on what really matters, increasing sales and revenue. A WMS can do a lot of the inventory management work for you so you can focus on other aspects of the business.
Improves team communication
Not only will the orders be getting fulfilled quicker, but the team and management will be more efficient at communicating with clients. You should consider the optimal locations for the different departments in your business.
Keeps your business secure
Any WMS should prevent the loss of items in the warehouse and shipping process. A merchandise damage report will be available shortly after the service has been used. This report will be used by buyers for further claims and the management to prevent future losses.
Improved safety standards
If a WMS means your operation is safer, this is a great benefit to having one. Your supplier might be able to add labor or safety management as part of your order. This could be a great incentive for your delivery requirements.
Reports and analytics
One of the most important things you need when working with a WMS is proper tracking and reporting. There are many different solutions depending on what you want to be able to track in your business.
Ability to inspect damaged goods immediately
If the products are damaged, you need to know right away. Product loss, is a big problem for any business. You need to make sure you can manage the loss of your inventory properly.
Depending on the WMS you use, there are many other benefits and features that can help increase your sales. Make sure you know what you need and check the WMS you are looking into has the features and integrations you need.
Key features of a WMS for Shopify
Most WMS that you will use with Shopify will have the following features:
- Most WMS will have a warehouse management system built-in
- Customer relationship management
- Product Information Management
- Monitoring and Alerts
- Inventory Management
- Custom reports
- Advanced analytics
The most important feature will be the integration with Shopify. Because the coupling needs to be seamless. Nothing should slow your loading speed down. No one wants a website that takes too long to load. Or worse, someone to have to log out, login with the WMS, and login in with Shopify.
Integration with third party systems
Being able to integrate with other systems is a great option to give another level of insight to your business and to give you a great overview of your business. If you can’t get the information from your WMS, you might not get it from any other system. The best thing to do is find out the integrations first and then find the best WMS to manage your inventory, create your shipping orders, and manage your warehouse.
Shortcode and extensions
Depending on the WMS you use, you might be able to get extensions or shortcodes to embed a better layout into the Shopify app development.
Organize your inventory without compromising on speed
Efficiently managing your inventory is vital to your business. But how can you do it without slowing down the traffic on your website. Every shop is different, and very often the size of your warehouse management system will determine how much you can do in any one session. It is important that you always rely on your WMS system to keep your speed in mind. It would be useful to know how many users you should plan for.
Recommendations for using a WMS on Shopify
When you have decided to use a WMS for Shopify, here are some tips and recommendations on how to get the best results:
Allow yourself time to get used to the interface
Because your team is going to be using the system every day, you need to make sure you explain everything properly and allow them time to learn how to use it. Messing up an order or causing an error might be costly and cause you lost orders.
When you hire someone new, consider the help they need to get to where you are. Don’t force a new worker to be up to speed in a short amount of time. It will be frustrating for them.
Allow your employees to have time to understand your system
You are an owner, it is easy to forget that your employees might not only have to work when you are working. Which is why it is so important to make sure you staff is trained, get time off, and have time to have life outside of work as well.
How to stay proactive with a WMS
Make sure you plan for constant maintenance and updates to the WMS. They are normally in constant updates and being proactive can play a big role in how well the WMS performs for your business. The last thing you want is for the system to fail when you need it the most.
Plan for security considerations
Being hacked or your information being leaked will cause you a lot of damage. Cyber security is very important when using any technology for your business. If you are not able to secure your WMS, no one else is either. You will need to make sure that you schedule regular scans and security checks.
Focus on sales and reviews
Don’t focus on replacing your WMS. Focus on how it can help you increase your sales. Your reviews will depend on the WMS, how it performs in your business, and how well you perform with it.
Key components to consider for a WMS for Shopify
Before you decide on which WMS to pick for your Shopify application, you will need to answer some questions to find the right system for your business.
- What systems does the WMS integrate with?
- Will you need to track your orders manually, using the WMS or will you take care of everything on your own?
- How is the support of the app?
- How integrated is each component?
- Are all the tools you need included in the WMS?
How to get More From Shopify with a WMS
When it comes to Shopify, you don’t need to be stuck in the way you manage your inventory. You can find out what is working and what is not, and improve as you go. Some of the best improvement, making sure that your order is confirmed, and shipped. You need to be able to know where all your inventory is at any given time. When it comes to inventory management, you don’t want a single item left out of stock. If one of your items is out of stock, you might lose a customer.
The best way to keep your inventory organized and up to date is a WMS. These systems can be complicated but based on your business, you can find something that will work for you. With a Shopify application, you can collect more data on your clients and use it to help improve your business. You might have to get into it to see what you are missing out on. And if you don’t have a Shopify, then you can stop by the Shopify website and set up your own shop, completely free. You can find a theme to set up your shop and a free consultation with a Shopify expert near you.
How do you procure WMS for Shopify?
If you want to purchase a WMS for Shopify, the system you want to find needs to be able to integrate with the platform. It has to be able to give you the ability to manage your orders and your inventory. And need to be able to create custom reports. Another important thing is that you want it to be able to send out automatic updates to your customers. Everyone likes to know when their order has shipped. And the last thing you need to do is leave anything out of stock.
Choosing the right WMS for Shopify
The process of choosing the right WMS for your Shopify stores can be difficult when you are inexperienced in the software industry. Sometimes, it is difficult to know or come up with a solution. You can start off with the WMS you are currently using. But as your business grows, you might need to switch to another option. And this is where the process begins. Wondering what order you should go in when choosing a WMS for Shopify. And how to choose the right WMS for your business. For example, if it is a large business you might need a different system that if it is a small company.
Some of the factors you will need to consider are:
The attributes, the workflows, the system protocols, and the external integrations. Your choice might be based on the complexity, if it is high, you might need to focus on the more technical solutions. If it is a smaller business, you can use an open source system.
Once you have decided on a system, then you need to consider how you will be able to incorporate the system. Be sure to plan your implementation phase so you can implement the system without compromising on updates. Without hurting existing business users.
And also keep in mind that your goal is to get the system as quickly as possible.
How do you choose a WMS?
So, you’ve decided to choose a WMS for your business, but you are not sure if you have picked the right one for your needs. To do so, you need to consider a few factors. Some of them are:
- The ease of use of the system.
- The integrations available with other systems.
- The tech stack used to create the system.
- The support available for the software.
- Do you want Android and iPhone apps?
- How robust is it?
- Is there a manual and is it easy to read?
You also need to consider if the application can integrate with all of the platforms you are planning to use for your business.
What are the main features of WMS for Shopify?
If you are already looking for a WMS for Shopify, then you are looking for a good one. Because a good Shopify WMS will have all the features you need for your business. Previously we reviewed WMS, and went over some of the main features you will need for Shopify. Some of these features are:
- Multiple warehouses
- Configurable workflows
- Mobile applications
- Bulk inventory editing