October 25, 2014

Managing Your Small Business Inventory With InFlow Inventory

It’s no easy task for a business to manage inventory. In addition to tracking the actual number of products in inventory, you deal with customer orders, purchase orders and re-ordering stock. This review of inFlow Inventory is for the business owner or executive who is ready to move beyond the spreadsheet.

Manage Inventory with inFlow Inventory

inFlow Inventory comes in three flavors: Free, regular and premium. We’ll focus on the free edition, of course, and it differs from many of my reviews in that it is not a web-based solution. It is software that you download. But since you can use the free version with up to 100 products, it is better (in my mind) than the 30 or 45-day trials you get with web-based software. The paid editions are $299 and $499 per license, respectively.

I have been working on a small eCommerce project and dealing with tracking product inventory. Of course, I started out using a spreadsheet. But that quickly got cumbersome, so I went searching for an easy-to-use solution. That’s how I found inFlow and gave it a test spin.

manage inventory

Once downloaded and installed, it was a piece of cake. Since I had 107 products to load, I quickly went looking for the “import” tool and found it intuitive and comprehensive. I could map all my product data to the inFlow system and it worked perfectly after I remembered that I had to get rid of 7 products for the free edition. But this was no problem for my test needs.

What I Really Like:

  • Make small business look big: Easily produce sophisticated business documents such as invoices, purchase orders, sales orders, receipts, shipping documents. All customized to your needs and look/feel.
  • Intuitive dashboard instantly shows outstanding orders, a top 5 list (which you can see in the screenshot below, although this is pre-sales, thus the flatline) and has a customizable graph of cash flow, sales, profits and costs. 

manage inventory

  • Auto Backup. It is a simple thing, but it automatically backs up your data. You can set it for whatever interval works for you.
  • Less time on manual entry with intelligent features such as the “auto fill” button and the one click purchase order option when low stock is detected (which is half the reason most would want to use it – know when you’re running low on something).  Plus, inFlow is barcode-capable, too.
  • All product information in one place including locations, pictures, prices and categories.

What I Would Like to See:

  • Some user help in the main dashboard about connecting to my eBay (or Etsy) storefront. They do have a help desk support thread with how-to information on downloading transactions from eBay and Etsy, but I had to search it out on my own.
  • QuickBooks integration. Some sort of automatic integration with the dominant financial account software would be great. For now, integration with QuickBooks (or any other software) is manually through exporting inFlow data and inputting into QuickBooks via CSV.  They do have a help sheet.

InFlow focuses on the small business owner with 10 or less employees in wholesale, retail or manufacturing. The site and reviews show that the software is used by over 315,000 businesses in over 60 countries – that’s a solid footprint.

If you’re in the market for moving past a spreadsheet for managing product inventory, take a closer look at inFlow.

32 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.

32 Reactions

  1. Thanks so much TJ for the review!

    If anyone has any questions regarding the inventory software, we’ll be more then happy to answer here :)

    • Can it generate inventory report showing all the product info with picture?

      • Hi Gilbert

        It can generate all sorts of inventory reports and you can attach images to products.

        However, at this time the reports don’t output images. It’s a good idea though and it’s on our wish list.

        How would you be using the reports with pictures?

        -Matt

  2. Great review, TJ. It’s awesome to know that there’s a simple software available to use to make inventory easier.

    Ti

  3. We try to make inFlow as simple as possible for everyone to use. Thanks Ti for the comment!

  4. This was a great article! Will take a further look into the benefits.Does anyone know how this application works with Mac products?

  5. Hi Shay

    While we love Apple (we code on Macs) the software is for Windows only. However, you cam use inFlow on a Mac by using a tool called Parallels. More details here: http://www.inflowinventory.com/software-support.aspx#/article/21227673/does-inflow-work-on-mobile-devices-apple-macintosh-mac-or-linux-computers

    You can also email support@inflowinventory.com if you need any help.

  6. I’ve been using inflow for 6 months now.
    Inflow is very Simple, easy to work with.
    I’ve tried more than 10 softwares and thank god I found inflow :)

    What I would like to see is a more simpler way to Customize printing documents and such.

  7. Wow, it sounds like you tried them all, Kitti! Thank you so much for your support and recommendation!

    We will definitely keep your suggestion in mind and see how we can make customizing docs easier. We also have community forums where our customers make requests and suggestions (in case you have others): https://getsatisfaction.com/inflow_inventory

    Thanks again!

  8. Wow Matt, you have to be the most responsive person at a company I’ve ever reviewed, in all these years, with tons of reviews. Kudos to you. Thanks for answering the kinds of questions our readers, your potential customers, care about. Keep it up.

  9. It’s the very least I could do! If you think I’m good, you should see our support team ;)

  10. hello
    i’m using inflow in my retail business and i was surprised to know that i cannot find a report at the end of the day about the payement method , because i would like to know at the end of the day the total cash , visa cards, cheques, paypal etc etc
    but there is no way to know this and simply inflow give me the total mixed
    so there is no control on employees and total cash and every day we are loosing time to all recalculate !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Hey Malik

    Thank you kindly for using inFlow!

    Good news is, you should be able to do this with the “Customer Payment Details” Report.

    Make sure you click the “more” link so you can select “Payment Method” as one of the columns.

    You can also save this report to “My Reports” so you don’t have to do the settings over again.

    Every report can also be exported to excel if you needed to do some further analysis.

    Let me know if this helps!

    You can also get in touch with our support team any time at support@inflowinventory.com. Happy to help you!

    Cheers,
    -Matt

  12. Ashveen Dreepaul

    Does inflow has any loyalty card software?

  13. Hi Matt,

    I am evaluating this software. Something I need badly to manage my inventory is the expiration date of the items. Would you be able to tell me if this function will be available soon or in the near future?
    Thanks,

  14. Can it be used on other computers?. Like a log in option and I can just use any computer as long as I have the software?

    • Hey Raymund

      Yes!

      Multiple computers can be connected no problem. Licensing is per concurrent use. So if you want 2 people to be able to use inFlow at the same time, you’d need 2 licenses.

      If, for example, you have a laptop and desktop and are only using inFlow on one computer at a time, the 1 license will work fine.

      It’s also interesting to note that you can install inFlow on an unlimited number of computers for read only access. That means, everyone in the company can know exactly how much stock you have at any given time. Pretty useful feature in my opinion that not allot of people know about. :)

      Let me know if this helps!

      Cheers,
      -Matt

  15. Hi Matt

    I am in the process of building an online store using a wordpress woocommerce template.(Well the developer I outsourced to is :) ) So far after much extensive research, I think inFlow is the one for me. Does it integrate with online stores such as the one I’m building?

    • Hey Rumbie

      Woocommerce is an awesome platform to build your web store with!

      At the moment, we don’t have direct integration (we’ll be working on that!) but you can still use inFlow via CSV import/export.

      For example, you’d need this $79 extension: http://www.woothemes.com/products/ordercustomer-csv-export/

      Or, to keep it simple, just have inFlow take care of your bigger orders from suppliers and sell to your web store when you make sales to keep inventory correct (we have a few customers managing their online presence this way).

      Hope this helps!
      -Matt

  16. Dear Matt,

    I would have several questions regarding your softwre Inflow, as I am very interested by it.
    Right now, I am working on an excel file with one big log, and for each product I have to enter the details in several files then I could have the inventory per product. So, with Inflow, Like on any other software, I have to type every purchase order and its details, right? So I will give up all the files per product.

    Then is it Mac compatible?

    Can I connect this system to the one of the warehouse: when the goods are shipped, then the warehouse enters the outbound and if it is connected I could know exactly when and if the product is no more at the warehouse?

    Is it compatible with Quickbook? I mean, if fill in all the data in Inflow, can data on Inflow fed Quickbooks and then ease packing slip and invoices edition?

    Thank you for all your help Matt,

  17. Hi there,
    When do you think you will release the woocommerce integration you mentioned above?
    And how much roughly will it be please?
    I would like to upgrade, but if you have an integration coming out soon, I’d rather wait for that.

    Thank you :-)

    • Hi Nicola

      Thanks for your comment!

      The extension I mentioned above was created by the woo team. It allows you to simply import/export your shop’s data by CSV.

      It doesn’t have anything to do with inFlow, however, you could use the CSV import/export functionally of the woocommerce extension and inFlow to get them to talk together (manually though..)

      Now’s a REALLY good time to be buying inFlow. We’ll be releasing version 3 shortly and the price will naturally be increasing. If you purchase inFlow now, you’ll be getting a free update to v3. :)

      Hope this helps!
      -Matt

  18. Hi Matt,

    I purchased an inFlow Regular license and I’m extremely excited to get started. We are in the process of launching an e-commerce shop via Bigcommerce, and we will also have a retail location (although the majority of sales will be e-commerce).

    Can you recommend the best method to integrate with e-commerce with Bigcommerce. Is it still the same as you mentioned above (“sell” to my webstore to keep accurate inventory levels)?

    For the retail store component, that’s where I get a bit confused. I purchased a barcode scanner, a barcode printer, and I’ll be creating our own barcode system since our inventory is internal only. However, I’m a little unclear on the POS process. Is there a POS software that integrates or that you recommend to use with inflow? When I am scanning the items in at the time of ringing up the customer, I guess I’m not sure how that reduces the inventory levels in inFlow and rings up the customer.

    For our retail POS, I don’t want to have to enter sales orders and customer information for every customer that just wants to check out and pay for their basket. I already have my own credit card terminal and merchant processing. I’m looking for the last piece of the puzzle for the in-person POS process at the counter. Not sure if inFlow takes care of this.

    If not, I need to find a 3rd party software…do you have recommendations? All the POS solutions I have found are inventory management & merchant processing all in one package. I don’t need those aspects, but I need one that will integrate with inFlow.

    Many thanks!

    Grace

    • Hi Grace

      Great questions!

      Yes “selling” to your webstore is one of the easiest methods right now. Or if you wanted individual orders into inFlow you could use the CSV import functionality. Here’s a guide for Magento (which should be similar to Big Commerce)

      http://support.inflowinventory.com/article/50083294/downloading-orders-from-magento-into-inflow

      We’ll be working on integrations soon to make things more seamless.

      In terms of your POS, you could still use inFlow for it. For example, create a sales order and set up a customer as “walk in” That way, you don’t have to enter all your customer’s details as they come in (just keep using “walk in”)

      Scan the items, complete the sale and then your inventory will be deducted.

      This is how a few of our retails operations do it :)

      Let me know if that helps, Grace! And feel free to get in touch with me matt@inflowinventory.com

      Cheers,
      -Matt

  19. Hi Matt
    we interested in inflow inventory, but we don’t no where to buy because we are in Iraq we want to have CD not downloading from net, so can we buy CD in turkey or in UK/HOLAND/SWEEDN, also is there any course
    to learning inflow thanks.

    BEST REGARDS
    WLAT ALI

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