Print on demand (POD) is a business model that allows entrepreneurs to sell custom-made products without holding any inventory. This is a great way to start a business as it requires low upfront costs, and you can test different products to see which ones sell best. However, as your business grows, managing your POD inventory can become increasingly complex.
In this post, we'll explore the best inventory management software for POD businesses, and provide tips and strategies for managing your inventory and maximizing your profits.
Best Inventory Management Software for POD Businesses
This software is designed for POD businesses, and it integrates with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Orderhive allows you to manage your inventory, orders, and shipping all in one place, and it also provides real-time inventory updates and pushes them out to your integrated channels. It's not the cheapest solution there is, but if you're doing enough volume, this is a solution you'll want to look into.
This software is also designed for POD businesses, and it integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. TradeGecko allows you to manage your inventory, orders, and shipping, and it also provides real-time inventory updates. This software was recently acquired by Quickbooks and has been rebranded as Quickbooks Commerce. As such, if you already use Quickbooks in your business, this might be the perfect solution.
If you have a brick and mortar store, use Shopify, and want to manage your inventory, Stocky might be for you. What used to be a stand alone products was acquired by Shopify. Since it is now a Shopify plugin, it won't be of value unless you're running your business on that splatform. This software is designed for POD businesses that use multiple suppliers. Stocky allows you to manage your inventory, orders, and shipping, and it also provides real-time inventory updates.
Zoho describes itself as an "operating system for business." It's actually a suite of tools that work together that include everything from a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to customer support and finance offerings. One of their tools in Zoho Inventory. This software is designed for small businesses, and it integrates with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Zoho Inventory allows you to manage your inventory, orders, and shipping, and it also provides real-time inventory updates. So if you're already using one of Zoho's tools, this is a great option for managing your print on demand inventory.
Tips for Managing Your POD Inventory
Keep Track of Your Inventory
Yes, this is obvious. The entire goal of this section is to help you manage your print on demand inventory. How you do that will differ based on your current needs. Using inventory management software to keep track of your inventory is one way to go, but you can also use a simple spreadsheet if your volume doesn't demand software quite yet. Still, you need to make sure you know how many blanks you have on hand at all times so you avoid running out of stock and losing sales.
Monitor Your Sales
This point cannot be understated. Inventory only makes you money when it's churning. So make sure to keep an eye on your sales data to see which products are selling well and which ones aren't. This will help you decide which products to restock and which ones to discontinue.
Read More: Driving Sales with Print on Demand Marketing
Use a Reorder Point
Use a reorder point to automatically reorder items when your inventory reaches a certain level. This will help you avoid running out of stock. At Make Your Mark Design, we use Kanban cards set at a certain point in a stack of inventory. When the last blank product is removed from the stack and the kanban card is revealed, we know to order more at that point. As a bonus, the Kanban has all the reorder data on it in order to make that process easier.
Monitor Your Cash Flow
Again, an obvious point, but it must be made. Keep an eye on your cash flow to make sure you have enough money to pay for your inventory. Constant improvements to your product offerings will hopefully make this easier as you aren't just buying stock that sits on your shelves and doesn't sell.
Strategies for Maximizing Your Profits
Optimize Your Pricing
Make sure you're charging the right price for your products. Use data analysis to identify trends in your sales and inventory, and adjust your prices accordingly. Don't follow the pack - make your own pricing decisions and value your products and designs.
Minimize Your Costs
Look for ways to minimize your costs, such as using a fulfillment service or negotiating better terms with your suppliers. Ask for bulk discounts and special pricing - you'll be surprised how often this can work in your favor. Vendors like repeat customers so they'll often incentivize you to come back.
Use Upsell and Cross-sell Strategies
Encourage customers to buy more by using upsell and cross-sell strategies. This can be handled in multiple ways from using an upselling app on Shopify to following up with your customers providing them discounts on complimentary products.
Implement a Loyalty Program
Implement a loyalty program to encourage customers to come back and shop more. This can include discounts, rewards, or special promotions for repeat customers.
Utilize Social Media
Use social media to promote your products and reach a larger audience. Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to showcase your products, engage with your customers, and drive sales.
Offer Bundles and Packs
Offer bundled deals to your customers, like "Buy 2 get 1 free" or "buy a pack and save" offers. Selling complimentary items can can increase the average order value and boost sales.
Use Retargeting Ads
Utilize retargeting ads to reach customers who have previously viewed your products but haven't made a purchase yet. This can help to increase conversions and boost sales. There are many videos that can help you learn about how to effectively use retargeting in your marketing efforts.
Offer Personalized Products
Offer personalized products, like custom-made t-shirts or mugs, to your customers. This can help to increase the perceived value of your products and boost sales. This can take some logistic planning if you're used to selling pre-made designs on your products, but if you can figure it out, it will likely boost your sales dramatically.
Monitor Your Competition
Keep an eye on your competition to see what they're doing, and use that information to improve your own business. Look at their prices, product offerings, and marketing strategies to see what you can learn from them. That said, you're looking at these competitors to learn, not copy their products or pricing strategies.
Continuously look for ways to improve your business, whether it's through new product offerings, better pricing, or improved customer service. Remember, there's always room for growth and improvement.
Managing your POD inventory can be a complex task, but with the right tools and strategies in place, it's definitely possible. Use inventory management software to keep track of your inventory, monitor your sales, and optimize your pricing. Minimize your costs, use upsell and cross-sell strategies, and implement a loyalty program. Use social media to promote your products, offer personalized products and offer bundled deals. Monitor your competition, and continuously look for ways to improve your business. With the right approach, you can manage your POD inventory effectively and maximize your profits.