BigCommerce inventory management guide for manufacturers

This article will help you become a BigCommerce inventory management expert. You’ll learn all about BigCommerce inventory features, how to activate tracking, steps to optimize your stock management, and the best third-party software for managing inventory as a manufacturer.

inventory management software for BigCommerce manufacturers.
Last updated: 02.05.2022

When someone in the remotest part of the world can access the internet and do their shopping, it highlights the need for businesses to have an e-commerce store.

If you’re a manufacturer looking for a new e-commerce platform, then this is the article for you. BigCommerce is a platform that will help you create an online store and manage your finished goods inventory. However, there are some limitations for manufacturers looking for tools for managing their inventory and production.

So without further ado, here’s the ultimate guide for managing your BigCommerce inventory management as a manufacturer.

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Inventory management for BigCommerce

  1. What is BigCommerce?
  2. Why is BigCommerce inventory management important?
  3. How to set-up BigCommerce inventory management
  4. 6 tips to optimize your inventory management in BigCommerce
  5. Managing your BigCommerce and manufacturing together with Katana ERP

What is BigCommerce?

BigCommerce is a software platform for manufacturers and merchants looking for an online store builder e-commerce site.

BigCommerce supports small to mid-size businesses that need to manage products, process orders, create discounts, and more. The e-commerce software has features to help maximize profits, such as fraud monitoring, abandoned cart saver, and product ratings. BigCommerce also gives you simple but powerful drag and drop panels to help you easily design your store.

What is BigCommerce inventory management? 

Knowing about BigCommerce is all very good, but what about its native inventory management features for manufacturers?

BigCommerce comes equipped with the necessary tools needed for managing inventory. From inventory tracking to setting reorder points. However, the biggest downside for manufacturers is that these features are only available for monitoring finished goods inventory.

Manufacturers need to track raw material and work-in-progress inventories too.

If you head over to BigCommerce, you’ll find that they suggest third-party apps to assist in optimizing your inventory control for manufacturing.

Why isn't overstocking warehouses an effective solution for a problem of low availability? Because it ties up capital in your inventory.

Why is BigCommerce inventory management important?

In recent years, many merchants and manufacturers have drifted to omnichannel selling.

This need to focus on this method of selling is because, with technological advancements, customers now expect a smooth and convenient buying process, regardless of where they are or how they’re shopping. This means that manufacturers need to keep and maintain additional stock for each new platform introduced into their selling process.

According to marketingcharts.com, a study among vendors found that:

  • 87% agreed that omnichannel capabilities need to be improved to serve customers
  • 86% believe effective omnichannel management is critical for long-term success
  • 83% believe becoming an omnichannel company will drive more sales and profits

But even though there’s a broad consensus that adopting an omnichannel sales process is essential, according to another study, only 18% of small businesses in the US use inventory management software or systems.

Getting ahead of the curve and the competition could be as simple as adopting an omnichannel sales strategy into your business alongside inventory management tools. This is where BigCommerce inventory management comes in. Its native features give users the tools to integrate their storefronts and manage their inventory, all from BigCommerce.

However, manufacturers who need more functionality to manage production will be glad to know that BigCommerce integrates with ERP manufacturing software.

We’ll look more into manufacturers using BigCommerce later, but for now, it’s important to set up BigCommerce inventory management to:

  • Improve the accuracy of your inventory tracking
  • Make better data-driven decisions
  • Improve the productivity of your business
The primary goal of inventory management is to minimize the changes of having stock stuck on your shelves and making sure you don’t run out at the same time.

Why is BigCommerce inventory management important?

The good news — setting up inventory management in BigCommerce is straightforward.

The bad news — you can only track finished or sellable goods.

But, at the very least, BigCommerce is built to be as straightforward as possible when setting up your online platform.

In this following chapter, we’ll focus on adding new products and highlighting the most important features for manufacturers selling online. We will simplify the process by only showing the steps to set up inventory tracking to make it easier to understand. However, you’ll quickly see how easy it is to get your store and products set up as we go through.

Adding new products for inventory tracking

You’ve created your store, and you’re ready to start adding products.

To the left of the dashboard, you’ll see a menu. Go ahead and select “Products” to access the inventory screen. Once here, simply go ahead and click “Add.

Control is expensive but helps keep inventory especially secure? With BigCommerce’s native inventory features you get control inventory and expenses.

This will take you to the “Add Product” screen. You can now start adding all the relevant information. This information you can update includes:

  • Product name
  • SKU
  • Product type — physical or digital
  • Default price — excluding tax
  • Brand
  • Weight — for shipping purposes
  • Categories for selling products — you can create new categories at this stage too

This is the first step. Once you have finished that, you can either scroll down through the different sections or use the “Product Information” menu on the left to skip to specific sections. Each section is important, and continuing allows you to update:

  • Description
  • Images and videos
  • Product identifies
  • Taxes
  • Storefront information
  • Fulfillment requirement
  • SEO

However, we’re going to focus on the inventory management functionalities of BigCommerce.

So, moving on to “Inventory.” Here you have the option to enable if you wish to start tracking these items at product or variant level — but you’ll need to set up your variants if you want to track at the variant level. Either way, here you can set your current stock levels and low stock levels, aka your reorder points.

Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock. Having this information to hand will help you better improve communication with customers.

If your product comes in different variants, you can configure them in the next section called “Variations.”

Go ahead and click “Add Variant,” which will open the configuration page to define your variations. Under “Name,” you can select the variation — for example, color. Under “Values” you can determine the different types of that variation — like red, green, and blue.

There is also “Type,” which simply means how the variations will appear on your website.

Inventory management software for BigCommerce will help you get control over your stock and improve profit margin.

Once you’re finished, back at “Product Options,” you’ll find a generated list of all your variations, and you can set individual stock levels, reorder points, and prices for each one.

Finally, there’s “Modifier,” which is a fancy way of saying if you provide customizable options for customers such as custom text printed on a product.

Why isn't overstocking warehouses an effective solution for a problem of low availability? Because it will ultimately leave you with too much inventory, driving up carrying costs.

As mentioned, there’s a lot more you’ll need to do when setting up your products, but in a nutshell, that’s how to set up BigCommerce inventory management.

Below you can find a brief video of the process:

 

 

What about BigCommerce Advanced Inventory?

Once you’ve added your products and updated inventory levels, you can select “Advanced Inventory” to further configure other settings.

Here you can hide products or redirect customers to a category page if you have stock-outs. Display stock levels beneath displayed products for customers — nothing adds incentive to purchase than reading how little stock is available. And finally, you can set up out-of-stock or low stock notifications to be sent to a preferred email address.

6 tips to optimize your inventory management in BigCommerce

Now you know how to add your products and set up inventory tracking on your BigCommerce account. Next is understanding how to perfect your control. You can use the following steps to get started:

1. Demand forecasting

Demand forecasting, sometimes referred to as demand planning, analyzes previous sales to determine future selling trends.

This will help you optimize stock levels by saving resources and avoid acquiring slow-moving inventory. This will, in turn, increase profits by only producing the products you’ll sell. By doing your demand planning accurately, you can predict future revenue and get total control over your inventory.

Check out our article Demand planning: how to properly forecast your sales to implement better forecasting and control of your production runs.

2. Tracking bundles

Creating bundles or inventory kitting is an excellent tactic for removing dead stock, managing deals, and organizing inventory.

However, as you’ll be more than likely selling the same products individually and in bundles, it’s essential to have a means of accurately tracking inventory counts across all iterations of the product. The worst thing that can happen is to run out of inventory but have bundles still available. Not properly tracking bundles will lead to order cancellations and harm your reputation with customers.

Want to learn how to track bundles? Read our article Kitting out your online store with product bundles of joy and start driving more sales to your BigCommerce store.

3. Follow the 80/20 rule for your products

The famous Pareto principle, 80% of our output comes from 20% of our input.

The 80/20 rule can be applied to every aspect of life and business. Understanding this will rule will help you identify the 20% of your products that account for most of your sales and better target new visitors to your store with these products. Taking this approach will improve customer satisfaction and the user experience on your site.

Be sure to read our article, What is the 80/20 inventory management rule to see how and where you can apply it in your business.

4. Calculate product lifecycle

Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of understanding how to handle products as they move through different stages of its product life:

  • Development
  • Introduction
  • Growth
  • Stability
  • Decline

5. Don’t hate, automate 

Once you have focused on the previous points, now is the time to make your life and customers’ lives easier with automation.

For example, building or finding tools that can automate your inventory management will speed up the process and reduce the potential of making mistakes. Automating different functions in your workflow will free up resources and better understand inventory movements in real-time. What’s great about BigCommerce is that it can integrate with many different tools to synchronize information traveling between manufacturing, sales, and accounting.

6. Centralize sales, inventory, and manufacturing with 3rd party software

Following on from the last point, connecting your different tools to make a centralized point of truth to monitor your entire business.

This level of control over your business is important, especially for manufacturers, as they need to plan production, manage different types of inventories, and other important aspects of running a business. Better still, you can integrate BigCommerce to your other sales channels to implement an omnichannel selling approach into your sales strategy.

Read our article, Embrace manufacturing process automation in your business,> to see all the benefits of automating your workflow.

Control is expensive but helps keep inventory especially secure? It will help prevent theft and help track if inventory is being lost.

Managing your BigCommerce and manufacturing together with Katana ERP

As mentioned throughout the article, BigCommerce is great if you’re looking to get started or upgrade your e-commerce sales fulfillment.

But, manufacturers need a little more oomph with the inventory management features as tracking different inventory types is essential — possibly even a legal requirement for perishable inventory industries. That’s why many BigCommerce manufacturers turn to third-party integrations to manage their sales and manufacturing side-by-side. So, with so many tools to help you achieve this, where do you even begin to look?

Introducing Katana ERP + BigCommerce integration.

Katana gives thousands of manufacturers a live look at their business with visual, intuitive, easy-to-use ERP software.

The Katana integration with BigCommerce simplifies your order fulfillment, inventory management, and manufacturing control in just a matter of minutes, saving you hundreds of hours of manual work in the long run. Connect BigCommerce + Katana with ease by importing product, customer, and sales orders information to Katana. Then, any future orders generated in BigCommerce will automatically appear in Katana too.

Any new information (for example, products, customer details, or sales orders) created in BigCommerce is automatically generated in Katana, giving you a centralized point to manage your entire workflow process, from manufacturing to sales.

Optimize your BigCommerce inventory management

Centralize your entire workflow from sales to manufacturing, and supply chain management. Try out Katana + BigCommerce for free.
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Taking your BigCommerce inventory management to the next level

And there you have it — Now you know how to set up the inventory tracking features in BigCommerce.

The next step is to harmonize your sales and manufacturing processes too. Katana manufacturing ERP is specifically built to support manufacturers selling via BigCommerce, empowering them to take control over their manufacturing, inventory, and sales.

Try the 14-day free trial, select settings, and integrate your BigCommerce to see just how easy it is to optimize your entire business.

And until next time, happy manufacturing.

author bio test

James Humphreys

Content Manager

James Humphreys has a background in creative writing and has been writing about the manufacturing industry for 3+ years.

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