Deciding Where Inventoroo Should Fit

Deciding Where Inventoroo Should Fit

One of the things that we’ve discovered while researching the market is that there is an awful lot of tools and an awful lot of ways you can track your inventory already.

There’s also a lot of awful half-baked solutions too. Solutions that are trying to serve everybody but end up serving nobody.

I had a great conversation with my friend Bryce from Metorik the other day and we were talking about the WooCommerce market.

Metorik is a sales reporting SaaS and it’s far from being the only one of its type out there. But the difference with them is that it’s 100% focused on WooCommerce.

You might think that narrowing the focus like that to just users of WooCommerce might be hindering, but Bryce’s product is very sticky. He has one of the lowest churn rates of any SaaS I’ve seen.

I think one of the reasons his product is so sticky is because of that focus. They know what they’re all about and they own it.

Where should Inventoroo fit?

I’ve counted over 20 legitimate SaaS businesses in the inventory management space, some being direct competitors and some indirect competitors.

That’s a lot of existing people to trample on our way to the top!

Actually, there’s a lot of existing research around choosing the right market approach. Books such has Wes Bush’s Product Led Growth and this essay titled The Jobs-to-be-Done Growth Strategy Matrix by Tony Ulwick come to mind.

And one common graphic representation of the approaches is this matrix (described in Tony’s essay):

inventory

“The matrix suggests that companies can create products and services that are (1) better and more expensive, (2) better and less expensive, (3) worse and less expensive, and (4) worse and more expensive.”

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Which segment of that matrix you choose depends on the market conditions, what you’re building, etc.

And of course, you can take a hybrid approach to the matrix.

There are some pretty convincing points made about choosing the right approach to the market given the variables.

For us, it looks like a disruptive strategy. Providing a tool for a segment of the market (just like Metorik does), might be the go. But there are parts of the other approaches I like as well.

Solving a job for someone

I like to think of building a tool as “solving a job for someone” just like Tony. To put it in my own words it’s about “solving someone’s big problem”.

Thinking of Inventoroo this way, for me, puts into perspective that the people who are eventually going to use the tool will use it to solve an inventory problem that is bothering them.

So with that in mind, I’d like to state that our primary goals are to:

1. Solve the problem of inventory for WooCommerce store owners

We love WooCommerce, we’re good at building stuff for its users (and have done so with a couple of successful products) and we believe in the platform.

We don’t believe the tracking of inventory is solved very well in WooCommerce. Inventoroo will fix that.

2. Solve inventory for WooCommerce more deeply than the general-purpose inventory solutions

Even though some of the 20-odd other inventory management tools out there have WooCommerce integrations, they don’t integrate very deeply and that bothers us.

The fact is people rarely run a vanilla WooCommerce without any extensions and most people rely on those extensions to solve other problems. Why should they have to compromise to satisfy their inventory management tool? Inventoroo will help those people who are left out to dry by other inventory management solutions.

3. Understand the people that use our solution and help them solve their problems

We have a strong grip on what we want to be the “core” of our product. Tracking the movement of inventory as accurately and as automatically as possible.

But what are the problems that store owners face on a day to day basis with their inventory? How can we make their lives easier and provide features that solve those problems?

We want to work hard at figuring out the best ways to solve all those little inventory related problems our store owners have and proving our worth is a high priority.

Some of the bigger things we’ve uncovered already and want to solve are:

  • Knowing what goes into the making of a product and being able to track those things accurately
  • Knowing when to reorder inventory items and helping people reorder from suppliers
  • Reporting on the worth of stock. Both in terms of movement and also what is sitting on their shelf in their warehouse
  • Making stocktakes easier to do and, at the same time, less necessary

Have ideas about inventory management? Leave a comment!

We’re open to talking to people about Inventoroo. If you’ve been waiting for that perfect WooCommerce focused inventory management solution to come along, that’s basically what we’re hoping to build!

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts 🙂

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. We use the Wholesuite plugin already several years with little problems, so we are happy with it. We are a small wholesale firm who distribute very good chocolate. We also sell to consumers, but we like to separate the consumer and B2B shop next year.

    I think you are very right to do something with inventory, there will be a big chance for you guys if you do it right. The ideas you explain are exactly what we were searching for but couldn’t find. I am only afraid that your solution will come to late for us (or may be just in time?). We need to be up and running nd of this year.
    You claim the core of the product will be: Tracking the movement of inventory as accurately and as automatically as possible. Yess, that is what we need!

    Our organic products are kept on our shelves without further manipulations, but we need to comply with lots of rules from SKAL, the dutch controlling firm. We got a severe warning because our inventory was not exact. So now we are desperately searching for a solution. We need to be able to track batch numbers and expiry dates. I found some solutions outside WooCommerce, but with a possibility to sync with WooCommerce, but they are rather expensive and will cost us a lot of extra work. What is important to us?
    • Fast entry of batch numbers and expiry dates from our incoming goods, may be with a csv import?
    • Automatic order items with batch numbers on the principle of FEFO, First Expired First Out
    • The batch numbers must be on the invoice. We now use WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips Professional for our invoices, because our clients need pdf’s for invoices.
    • Optional – lower the price from a certain date closer to the Expiration date.
    • Optional – keep track of all the prices, from buying to selling.
    • We need to be able to make inventory balance sheets of products. A report of a period that can be chosen with dates. We must know all the inventory transactions of the product/batches between those dates. We must know in what sales orders the batch numbers are sold. So, what clients received the batches.

    The problem with the systems I found is that they are more for bigger companies with a lot of extra handling. The challenge for you guys is to keep it simple, easy but with the ability to make.
    How far are you with the development? Can we expect Inventoroo before 2020?

    1. Hey Marijke,

      Thanks for the kind words and the insights into your business.

      Yes, expirable goods is a VERY interesting use case.

      We have some ideas around this but our main focus is getting the more general inventory management problem solved on the first run through. We’ll certainly be circling back to look specifically at the requirements for expirable goods and batches and stuff like that.

      For the legal side of things, what kind of laws do you need to comply with when it comes to this? Anything you could link us to?

      Cheers,
      Josh

  2. Hi Josh,
    I know that there are more shops struggling with this problem. All sellers of organic food must be certified. You can read some here: https://www.skal.nl/home-en-gb/food/labelling/ You see that ther must be an identifying mark for traceability on the invoice and a Skal’s code number. Hope this helps you?
    Regards,
    Marijke

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