Best Inventory Management Software of 2024

The best inventory management software supports all of your business’s sales channels, streamlines order management and generates detailed reports.
Hillary Crawford
By Hillary Crawford 
Edited by Christine Aebischer

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Inventory management software tracks how much inventory your business has on hand and when it’s time to reorder. You can also use it to identify seasonal sales trends, so you know which products resonate most with your customers and when. This ultimately helps you maximize profit and keep waste to a minimum.

The best inventory management software supports all of your business’s sales channels, streamlines order management and generates detailed reports. The basic inventory tools that come with small-business accounting software and point-of-sale systems can be sufficient in some cases, but more complex operations may require third-party apps with extra capabilities.

All of our picks for the best inventory management software are chosen by our editorial team, who follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our coverage to help you choose the right software for your company. NerdWallet evaluated 17 inventory management software products on their key features — like multi-channel sales tracking, barcoding, reporting and order management — along with integrations and cost. View our full methodology.

Here are our best inventory management software picks and what makes them stand out from the competition.

Best inventory management software

Brightpearl

Our pick for: Built-in accounting module
Brightpearl
Brightpearl

Brightpearl

Starting At 

$0

Quote-based pricing. 

Why we like it: Quickly growing e-commerce businesses that need a holistic solution for running their retail operation might consider Brightpearl. Its inventory management capabilities go beyond the basics: You can create order processing workflows, manage separate shipping carriers for each sales channel, set up dropshipping rules and receive buying recommendations. When it comes to accounting, you can either use Brightpearl’s own module or integrate with third-party products like QuickBooks and Xero. The system will help you create budgets, track expenses and run essential accounting reports.

In addition to offering e-commerce inventory and order management, the retail operating system also has an integrated CRM solution and POS system. Retail store owners with a brick-and-mortar location can sell items in person using Brightpearl’s iPad app and then sync those offline sales with online ones. The POS app lets you offer loyalty programs for repeat customers, too. On the CRM side, Brightpearl will remind you to get in touch with customers and lets you view past interactions.

Pros

Sync inventory across multiple channels online and in-store.

Create automation rules for tasks like order processing and invoicing.

In-depth reporting on sales channels, customers, suppliers and marketing campaigns.

Forecasting tools predict demand and make inventory recommendations.

Also offers its own POS system, accounting and invoicing capabilities, CRM system and warehouse management software.

Cons

Quote-based pricing makes it difficult to compare costs.

Excessive for small businesses that don’t plan to grow.

Square Retail POS

Our pick for: Small retail shops
Square
Square

Square Retail POS: Inventory feature

Starting At 

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $89, custom. 

Why we like it: Square, a top-rated POS system, is known for being intuitive, simple to use and affordable. It has a variety of POS hardware options, including customer-facing displays, countertop registers and portable card readers. While Square for Retail doesn’t have the most complex inventory management features, they can be sufficient for lots of small retail businesses.

Square’s inventory management system lets business owners sync inventory across multiple channels, both in store and online, making it a great launching pad for brick-and-mortar businesses that already use its POS system. All plans come with a free online store and let you offer in-store pickup and delivery options, send invoices, group items into categories, set up low stock alerts and add product details, like size or color, to each item. For more time-saving capabilities, like inventory scanning and barcode label printing, you can upgrade to the paid Plus plan.

Pros

Built-in POS system and payment processing; in-house POS hardware available.

Unlimited items in all plans.

Barcode printing, mobile inventory counting tool, COGS tracking, stock forecasts and reorder recommendations in paid plans.

Easy to navigate.

Cons

Categories, coupons and sale prices don’t sync between Square Online and Square POS.

Fewer inventory reports than some competitors.

Lightspeed Retail POS

Our pick for: High-volume retail stores
Lightspeed
Lightspeed

Lightspeed Retail POS: Inventory feature

Starting At 

$89

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $149, $269, custom. 

Why we like it: Lightspeed Retail is a POS system with strong, built-in inventory management features. In addition to keeping track of stock, you can fill out purchase orders from within the software, bundle multiple items and make bulk price changes across sales channels. The system lets you set up reorder points and low stock alerts, choose from a wide variety of product variations and generate an unlimited number of barcodes, which is important for businesses that sell a high volume of items. You’ll notice different report customization options, too. On top of being able to filter by date, outlet, supplier and brand, you can also filter reports so they only show inventory that’s on hand or low.

If you want to sync your sales and inventory data with an accounting software product, like QuickBooks or Xero, you’ll have to opt for the more expensive Standard plan. This is highly recommended since manually transferring data can be tedious and is prone to human error.

Pros

Built-in POS system and payment processing; in-house POS hardware available.

Generate unlimited barcode labels.

Create purchase orders from within the software.

One-on-one onboarding and a dedicated account manager included with all plans.

Cons

Lowest-tier plan doesn’t include e-commerce features.

Contract required.

inFlow Inventory

Our pick for: B2B specialization
inFlow Inventory
inFlow Inventory

inFlow Inventory

Starting At 

$110

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $279; $549; $1,319. 

Why we like it: InFlow is a good option for B2B businesses that sell their products online and want an easy way to manage online orders and stock from one place. All plans come with two hours of one-on-one setup assistance, a dedicated account manager and demos to get business owners started. The company’s hardware lineup features a convenient handheld scanner for businesses that need to take stock of items around the store or warehouse, too.

The inventory management system stands out for offering an online showroom in its most popular midtier Small Business plan. The B2B portal showcases all of your available products, and you can create password-protected showrooms with custom pricing for certain customers. From there, inFlow can let you know when customers abandon their online shopping carts and then automatically send reminder emails to them.

Pros

Offers in-house smart scanner device.

Generate barcode labels.

More than 30 reports available.

Integrated business-to-business showroom for listing items online.

Cons

Must opt for more expensive plan to access unlimited locations.

Number of included integrations is limited for all plans; must pay additional monthly charge to add integrations.

Restaurant365

Our pick for: Restaurant management
Restaurant365
Restaurant365

Restaurant365

Starting At 

$435

Additional pricing tiers (per month, billed quarterly): $635, custom. 

Why we like it: Restaurants, especially those with multiple locations, might consider Restaurant365 if they can take advantage of some of its more advanced features. The powerful restaurant management platform is capable of recipe costing, measuring actual versus theoretical food costs and pointing out food waste. It helps you measure demand and keep track of margins so that you can create the most cost effective menu.

While some inventory management systems can work for businesses in a variety of industries, restaurants in particular should search for industry-specific solutions because they work mainly with perishable items and stand to lose a lot of money if those items consistently go to waste. Separately, menus can be changed endlessly, and the possibilities can feel overwhelming — inventory data that shows you which recipes are most profitable can be a good guide post.

The platform also has its own accounting software and can directly integrate with more than 100 POS systems, giving you lots of flexibility.

Pros

Built-in accounting and scheduling functions.

Recipe costing features, plus ability to track food waste.

Create purchase orders from within the software.

Add-ons for hiring, payroll and HR available.

Forecasting tools for predicting labor needs and stock.

Cons

Implementation fee.

Could be excessive for very small, single-location restaurants.

Katana

Our pick for: Manufacturing companies
Katana
Katana

Katana

Starting At 

$129

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $349, $999, custom.  

Why we like it: Created specifically for manufacturing companies, Katana’s inventory software lets you track both raw materials and finished products, set reorder points and see which items have the best profit margins. Its “insights” dashboards are easy to read and while plans can be expensive, they aren’t as costly as some other competitors. The Shop Floor app, which comes with the Advanced plan and higher, caters especially to manufacturers that need to assign specific jobs to specific employees and closely track production progress.

Katana’s purchase order functionality is another plus: When you create a purchase order, the software will take stock of your inventory from that particular vendor and let you know if you’re missing anything. The system integrates with a range of products, including QuickBooks Online, Xero, WooCommerce and Shopify.

Pros

Access to accounting and e-commerce integrations in all plans.

Introductory plan lets you track inventory in up to three warehouses.

Use Katana Shop Floor app to track time spent on particular tasks, scan barcodes and assign jobs to employees.

Gain insights into top-selling products, profit margin by category and cost of goods sold.

Create purchase orders from within the software.

Cons

Additional users cost extra in all plans.

Higher-tier plans require costly implementation package.

Finale Inventory

Our pick for: QuickBooks Online users
Finale Inventory
Finale Inventory

Finale Inventory

Starting At 

$75

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $199, $349, $549, custom.  

Why we like it: Finale Inventory supports a number of industries from apparel businesses and distributors to pet suppliers and solar companies. A unique feature of this inventory management software is that it allows you to bundle QuickBooks Online Advanced, the most expensive QuickBooks Online accounting plan, with Finale Inventory’s Silver plan or higher, so you can save some money overall. These bundles start at $499 per month or $4,990 per year, making them more ideal for growing businesses as opposed to very small ones.

All Finale Inventory plans include kitting and bundling, invoicing and serial number tracking. Each plan increases the number of users, monthly purchase and sales orders and integrations. The Silver plan comes with additional capabilities like report customization, but you’ll need to subscribe to a higher-tier plan if you want access to the Android app for barcode scanning.

Pros

Finale Inventory and QuickBooks Online Advanced subscriptions can be bundled.

Offers a variety of POS and e-commerce integrations including Lightspeed, Shopify, Square, Amazon and Etsy.

All plans include at least one virtual training session.

Can create purchase orders from within the software.

Cons

Must subscribe to the Silver plan or higher to integrate with QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Enterprise

Our pick for: Locally installed inventory management software
QuickBooks
QuickBooks

QuickBooks Enterprise: Inventory feature

Starting At 

$1,410

Additional pricing tiers (per year): $1,830; $2,250; $4,400. Adding users or cloud access costs extra. 

Why we like it: QuickBooks Enterprise, a desktop accounting software product with optional cloud access, comes with advanced inventory functions, including COGS tracking and the ability to switch between average costing and FIFO, in the Platinum plan and up. After a customer places an order, you choose which warehouse it’ll come from, remotely assign someone to pack up all the items in the order and then mark it to be shipped out. In addition to tracking single inventory items, you can track assemblies, or finished products, and their various components, making Enterprise a particularly good solution for manufacturers. The product advertises solutions for contractors, wholesalers, retail businesses and nonprofits as well.

Business owners who already use QuickBooks Enterprise might try out its built-in inventory features before integrating with a third-party app.

Pros

Robust, built-in accounting system.

Solid inventory management solution for small businesses that prefer desktop products, though Advanced Inventory features do require an internet connection.

Generate barcode labels; use app to scan barcodes with mobile Android devices.

Advanced reporting; access to more than 200 reports.

Cons

Must opt for Platinum plan to access advanced inventory features.

Expensive; annual subscription prices rise if you need more than one user or require cloud access.

Limited to Windows users.

Zoho Inventory

Our pick for: Free inventory management software
Zoho Inventory
Zoho Inventory

Zoho Inventory

Starting At 

$0

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $39, $99, $159, $299. 

Why we like it: Unlike many of its competitors, Zoho Inventory offers a free plan, and it includes a decent handful of features. You can use it to process 50 sales orders per month, print 50 shipping labels per month, track items from one warehouse, integrate with one Shopify store and run inventory reports. All plans come with e-commerce, payment gateway and accounting integration options, too. To set up time-saving automated workflows and email alerts, you’ll need to subscribe to the Professional plan ($129 per month) or higher.

Zoho Inventory’s plans scale up according to the number of users, warehouses, orders, bills and shipping labels, meaning small businesses don’t have to pay for what they don’t need. The software is especially ideal for entrepreneurs who already subscribe to a separate product in the Zoho suite, like Zoho CRM or Zoho Books.

Pros

Sync inventory across multiple online sales channels. Other integrations include Zoho Books and QuickBooks Online for accounting.

Free plan includes a customer portal, dropshipping options, backorders and item bundling.

Free barcode, purchase order and shipping label generators.

Mobile app available for iOS and Android.

Cons

Free plan caps users at two, purchase orders at 20, and shipping labels and sales orders at 50.

You’ll have to pay for setup help.

Cin7 Core

Our pick for: Industry-specific plans
Cin7
Cin7

Cin7 Core

Starting At 

$325

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $550, $650. 

Why we like it: Whereas some inventory management software products only accommodate businesses in a particular industry, Cin7 Core can be a good fit for a variety of businesses, thanks to its robust set of features. Each of its three plans support multiple users and include accounting integrations, multi-channel order management, reporting and inventory planning tools. An optional POS add-on, along with a built-in accounting module and B2B portal, help make Cin7 Core an all-in-one solution for growing businesses. If you’re not sure which plan is right for you, start with identifying the type of business you own. There are separate plans for retailers and for manufacturers.

Pros

Can accommodate businesses in multiple industries, including retail and manufacturing.

All plans include two e-commerce integrations, plus an accounting integration.

Track components and finished goods.

More than 100 reports available.

Cons

Plans can be expensive.

Limited number of users in all plans.

What is inventory management software?

Inventory management software is a program that tracks how much inventory you have in stock, how much you’ve sold and where each item is located. Most products are cloud-based, so you don’t have to download anything to your computer. After signing up for an account online, you might be prompted to enter details about your business, such as its industry, currency, address and logo. Then, you’ll add all of your inventory items to the system or import a list of them. From there, you may fill out purchase orders and track sales from within the software.

More sophisticated inventory management software will forecast stock levels based on previous sales and tell you how much inventory you should order and when. That way, you’ll have your most in-demand products in stock when you need them.

On the flipside, inventory management software can also prevent your business from buying too much product. Items that sit on the shelves for too long take up space that new products in higher demand could fill. Then, they can begin to depreciate in value or expire altogether. And if you have to sell them at a discounted rate or throw them away, you could lose money on your investment.

How to choose inventory management software

Consider the following factors to find out which inventory management software is the right fit for your company’s needs.

Industry specificity

Basic inventory management software can help your business run more smoothly, but industry-specific options will maximize efficiency. For example, managing perishable inventory, like food or cosmetic products, is quite different from managing nonperishable products, like clothes. The type of inventory you work with will dictate how long it can stay on shelves, how much of it you should order and how frequently.

Integrations

Your inventory management software should integrate with all of your sales channels — both online and in person. That means your e-commerce platforms and your POS system. On top of that, make sure it integrates with your accounting software. Inventory is considered a current asset account and appears on your balance sheet. Direct, built-in integrations are typically better than indirect integrations and you usually don’t have to pay extra for them.

Scalability

Will the inventory management software or app you choose be able to grow as your business does? The last thing you want is to have to manually reenter all your inventory if you outgrow your current system. Second, how many users will eventually need access to your inventory management software? Having to pay for extra users can add up quickly. Be sure to include yourself and anyone filling or counting inventory, and maybe even your accountant.

Cost

Cost can vary from free inventory management software to products that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month. Free or low-cost products may be adequate for small operations, but businesses with more complex inventory needs may need to opt for a more expensive option, especially if they stand to lose a significant amount of money from an inventory mistake.

How much does inventory management software cost?

Unless you choose one of a handful of free options, inventory management software can be expensive — upward of $300 per month in some cases. Less-expensive products cost closer to between $50 and $100 per month, and most offer a range of plans and prices. The more complex your business’s inventory needs, the more you should expect to pay.

The following factors may impact your monthly inventory management software costs:

  • How many inventory locations or warehouses your business has. 

  • How many items you need to track. 

  • The number of sales channels you need to integrate. 

  • How many users need to access the inventory management software. 

  • The number of sales orders you create per month. 

  • The complexity of your production process. For example, it may cost more to track both parts and finished products. 

  • Whether you need add-ons for shipping. Small businesses that ship orders may need a more sophisticated product that includes end-to-end order fulfillment options. 

  • Your payment schedule. Opting to pay annually, as opposed to monthly, will usually save you money. Just make sure you’re ready to commit to the product for an entire year if you go that route. 

What features does the best inventory management software have?

Above all, the best inventory management software for you will integrate with your existing software ecosystem so that it can centralize all of your sales data. Once you check for integrations and weigh monthly costs, here are a few other key inventory management features to consider:

  • Real-time inventory tracking. This is important for businesses that need to track inventory items as they move through the supply chain and order fulfillment process. Systems with this feature will immediately update when returns and sales are made, too. 

  • Multi-channel inventory management. Businesses that sell products in multiple places will need to centralize their sales and inventory data in one place. 

  • Low-stock alerts and reorder points. You can set custom reorder points so that you’re notified when it’s time to order more inventory. Some software will even suggest or calculate reorder points for you. 

  • Purchase order management. Creating purchase orders and sending them to vendors is much more convenient when you can do it from within your inventory management software. This is especially true if you use the just-in-time inventory strategy and frequently make purchase orders to restock what’s been sold. 

  • Digital labeling and barcode scanning. Counting inventory by hand takes time and is prone to human error. Scanning items’ SKU or UPC labels is much more efficient. You can scan digital labels as inventory items get delivered and as you pack them out for shipment or sell them in store. Some software lets you use mobile devices as scanners. 

  • Kitting and/or parts and assembly tracking. Maybe you sell subscription boxes with multiple related products — together, these items make up a kit. Or, if you manufacture something like bars of soap, you might want to track raw materials and finished products. 

  • Reporting. Look for reports on inventory forecasts, cost of goods sold, inventory profitability and sales by item or product. 

  • Item variants and units of measure flexibility. Businesses that sell the same shirt in multiple sizes and colors, for example, will need inventory management software that lets you record variants (like color and size), as well as descriptions. Some businesses will need to switch between units of measurement, too. Each shirt could count as an individual unit, but you might want to measure material in yards.

  • Order fulfillment options. When a customer orders something online, it has to be picked from the warehouse, packaged and shipped to the correct address. Inventory management software with shipping add-ons or features helps you manage this process end-to-end.

How can inventory management software benefit your business?

Inventory management software can save your business time and money in a variety of ways. Ordering too much inventory can be a costly mistake if it sits on the shelf for too long and depreciates or, even worse, expires. At the same time, you don’t want to run out of inventory and lose opportunities to turn a profit. Software can help solve this by calculating reorder points and forecasting inventory levels. It can also speed up inventory counts with barcode scanners, automate purchase orders and streamline different stages of the order fulfillment process, such as shipping.

A more efficient inventory management system could boost your inventory turnover ratios, too. In general, a higher ratio means your business’s inventory is selling well. Products sitting on your shelves for too long, however, can drag your ratio down.

Inventory management software FAQ

Inventory management software helps your business avoid ordering too much or too little inventory, so that you can reduce waste and save money. It keeps tabs on how much of each item your business has and when particular products are in high demand. That way, you can make sure your shelves are stocked accordingly.

Robust, industry-specific inventory management software can cost well upward of $100 or even $300 per month. Sometimes, you can save by paying annually instead of monthly. Companies like Zoho also offer free inventory software options that can be a great launching point, as long as they integrate with your existing software ecosystem.

Methodology

NerdWallet evaluates inventory management software based on its features, scalability, cost, integrations and specialization. Most products include some combination of the following features:

  • Granular inventory tracking.

  • Reporting. 

  • Accounting, POS and e-commerce integrations. 

  • Barcode scanning. 

  • Purchase order management. 

  • Order fulfillment options or shipping add-ons. 

Since inventory management software isn’t as universal as some other types of business software, we also weigh a product’s ability to fill a particular niche or accommodate a specific industry.