Painless Inventory on Shopify: Three ways private apps can manage products painlessly for you

Top Shopify merchants, no matter what size, have the same problem locking in their success. Even if they're making a decent profit, they are always under a lot of pressure to keep tabs on merchandise at every single stage of the sales process.

Unfortunately, Shopify doesn't make this task very easy.

Using their standard procedures, merchants are still left with a lot of tedious, keyboard-tapping hours required to manually input product items, communicate with suppliers and simply get a handle on exactly what items are in stock and available for purchase.

In my work with Shopify merchants, I can say with deep confidence that a private app can provide tidy solutions to these all-too-common inventory snafus - and let you dramatically increase the accuracy of your data in the process.

Three Shopify Inventory Solutions that Private Apps Can Offer Now

1. Automate the order fulfillment process

Once a sale is made, the product needs to get to the customer as soon as possible. Instead of compiling groups of orders and sending them from your store to the suppliers, a private app can remove the steps of collecting, organizing and communicating.

After payment is made, a message goes directly to the supplier without you having to move it along. You can be asleep or sitting in your favorite coffee shop while your supplier gets the order and dropships it directly to the customer.

Not only does this free you from having to babysit orders going to each supplier - timing them, checking on their accuracy, making sure each detail is covered - but your suppliers will appreciate having a communication tool that's created to interface exactly with their software.

You will see smoother shopping and fewer glitches after that because you're no longer the bottleneck! Even if you're having technical issues with power outages or hardware failures, the store can keep going.

2. Update inventory data directly from the supplier

This automatic communication cycle works the other way, too. A private app can receive input from your supplier and automatically give you and your customers an up-to-the-second report on which items are available.

If an item is almost gone or out of stock at your supplier, customers will see that message as they're purchasing, not a day or a week afterward. This can show up as a simple "out of stock" message right next to the item so people won't even put it in their carts.

This instant communication saves you several headaches. You won't be dealing with irate customer service calls from people who were counting on their item by a certain date only to find a half-empty box and "out of stock" on their invoice when they receive their order. You'll also avoid awkward follow-up emails with people who ordered when the item wasn't available but you didn't know it at the time.

Private apps can also give shop owners warnings about low inventory before customers see that there's a problem, giving you time to contact the supplier and find a solution or even substitute another item.

3. Import new product information directly from the supplier

Private apps can even improve communication with suppliers about products you've never offered before!

Your Shopify store front probably has hundreds or thousands of items for sale, and adding them is one of the ugliest chores you and your employees have. Because these items have to be added in a group through the Shopify system rather than a few at a time, this process is almost the textbook description of time sink.

Keying in descriptions by hand, making sure each price and detail information is correct and keeping everything straight is agonizing, and to make matters worse, some merchants have reported that if they run into a technical glitch as they're loading items and descriptions, their work evaporates.

Here are just a few of the possible nightmare scenarios with loading items and descriptions into Shopify that I've heard about:

Spending hours inputting data for new products, only to lose all of it when the upload stalls or quits Having to batch huge amounts of new product inputs at once Having to delete all previous product entries in order to add a few new products or update the current product descriptions Changes not saving in the product

Private apps make shortcuts around the data entry process. They collect all of the essential information about each product for you directly from the supplier and post them.

No more peering over pages of information.

Say goodbye to hours of copying and pasting into online forms, praying you put the information in the correct place.

No more wrestling with different interfaces from each supplier which make the process even more confusing. What makes this scenario an especially powerful win-win is that you've also removed busywork for your suppliers. They won't have to try to get you all of the product information in just the right format. Your app will talk to their database, and the correct items and descriptions will be waiting for your customers to peruse.

No app or service can solve all of your problems, but when it comes to the very lifeblood of your business -- inventory management and delivery -- removing time vampires is essential.

Private apps can return hours of your time and save costly mistakes. You can stop chasing inventory crises and get back to innovation, service and progress.

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Topics: App examples Private app Product inventory

Would you like a daily tip about Shopify?

Each tip includes a way to improve your store: customer analysis, analytics, customer acquisition, CRO... plus plenty of puns and amazing alliterations.