Finding the right shoe inventory software and POS system is key to the success of your shoe store. This is because proper shoe store inventory management is a necessity for the footwear industry, with shoe stores having some of the most complex inventory in the apparel space. Fortunately, the right POS system and POS software will give you full control over this complex inventory management.
Think about it, if you only sold Converse All Stars sneakers, you might choose to carry 10 of the most popular colors (out of dozens of Converse colors available). You might also choose to carry both mens and womens varieties. In terms of sizing you might carry 14 sizes and half-sizes for men, and another 14 sizes and half sizes for women. On top of this, maybe you carry both high tops (above the ankle) and low cut (below the ankle) versions of the shoe.
That is 560 different variations of shoes to keep track of in your inventory, and that is assuming you sell nothing but Converse All Stars.
In reality, shoe stores do not only carry 1 type of sneaker, so what about shoe stores with inventory of 100 (or even 500) different brands and models of shoes? That store could easily end up with over 50,000 different inventory SKUs to track, and your staff needs to instantly know if you have a size or color available when serving a customer.
Not to worry, this article will provide you with everything you need to choose a shoe store inventory and POS software, so you can properly manage your inventory and set your store up for success.
A shoe store point of sale (POS) system is made up of both the software and hardware you need to manage your shoe store. This includes inventory management and barcoding, payment acceptance and checkout management, customer management and retail CRM, as well as many other tools and equipment needed to run a retail shoe store.
Shoe store inventory management software lets you know how many of a particular item you have in stock, where that item is located (on the sales floor, storeroom, warehouse, etc.), what price you are selling it for, how many you have sold previously, where to order more inventory (if needed), and provides notifications when inventory is low.
Shoe inventory management software can be a standalone product, but is more often included as part of a robust footwear POS system used for shoe store management.
Shoe store POS software.
Without going into too much detail, many decades ago a retail store could only know how much of a particular item was in stock, and at what price, by manually counting stock on the sales floor and store room, and then checking the price list. Then along came the barcode, which allowed for information about price and quantity, to be stored and accessed digitally and updated in real time. This gave birth to the modern day point of sale (POS) system.
In short, POS software was built with tracking inventory in mind, so it should not come as a surprise to anyone that a modern POS is your best solution for retailers looking to manage inventory for their shoe store.
Shoe inventory management software makes managing complex stock easier for both managers and employees. With so many variations and SKUs to track it is almost impossible to accurately and efficiently manage shoe store inventory without a tracking and cataloging system.
With proper stock software however, prices can be changed in bulk, you can apply discounts on certain sizes, colors, or models that you might be having difficulty selling, and you can locate inventory whether it is in the store room or the sales floor.
Management needs to know what is selling, what is out of stock, what they need to reorder, and what they need to discount. Employees need to know how to find the right size and color for a customer quickly. A good shoe store POS with inventory allows both to do so easily.
Using your POS to keep track of your customer buying habits will not only allow you to make better business decisions, it will also mean you can provide your customers with a better customer experience.
Many modern shoe store POS systems are tablet based which means that when a customer asks for a size, gone are the days of the sales representative vanishing into the store room to search out the size while a customer waits. With a tablet based POS your sales rep can check if any item is in stock without ever leaving the customers side.
Better still, if an item is out of stock, the rep can suggest alternatives instantly or even ring up the customer and have their desired out of stock shoe delivered direct to their home.
Further with the right POS system, you can also instantly set up an online store, which gives even more options for your customers who want to shop from the comfort of their own home.
If you connect your online shoe inventory with your in store stock, you can more easily manage selling across both a physical and digital storefront. What this means is that rather than keeping inventory separate (eg: 5 pairs for sale online, 0 pairs for sale in store) and risking being sold out in one location. You can have your physical and digital shoe inventory combine to make sure you never miss out on a sale.
The right shoe store POS makes this process very easy, and better still, if you are out of stock in both locations it will provide you low inventory alerts, and even automatic reordering when a reorder level is hit.
Only around 50% of vendors can properly handle this feature.
Look for vendors who talk about inventory matrices, an ability to handle large inventory, or inventory management as part of their feature set. Also it is important to note that POS vendors who focus mostly on online inventory, might not be able to track both store and online inventory, so you might want to look for omnichannel (selling online and offline) as part of their feature lists.
With the right inventory and POS software, you can set up alerts when stock is low, but also when stock is slow as well. When we say slow stock, we are talking about dusty inventory, which is exactly what it sounds like - inventory that sits on the store shelf for a long period of time collecting dust and not being sold.
Dusty inventory is stock that should be heavily discounted in order to sell it more quickly with the goal of freeing up cash flow for other inventory that has a higher chance at selling.
Now you might wonder where you should invest that freed up cash flow once you clear your dusty inventory from your shelves, well with the right POS system you can find that information quickly by looking at inventory that sells fast, with good margins.
Lastly, with low inventory alerts, you can prepare to replenish your stock (when possible) to prevent sell-outs, by calculating reorder points and preparing purchase orders automatically when they happen. So what are reorder points? Well if you have 14 items in stock, and you sell 1 item per day, you will sell out in 14 days. Also if it takes 2 weeks for new stock to be delivered, your reorder point is today, because if you wait to sell out before ordering more stock, you will stay out of stock for 2 weeks while waiting for the next shipment.
With low inventory alerts and reorder points calculated for you, the inventory system will reduce the chances that you run out of your best selling items.
In the above parts of this article we have discussed how shoe stores and footwear stores have very complex inventory management requirements. In fact, sometimes just one style of shoe can have hundreds of different SKUs based on color and size variations alone.
Proper shoe store inventory management software not only makes this easier, but if your software is equipped with SKU optimization, you can group SKUs by categories, colors, brands, and much more. Why is this useful? Well if you want your sales team to recommend additional items to customers, these custom groupings allow them to recommend other similar products instantly, which can increase both sales and upsells.
Ideally you should have what is called matrix inventory or product image mapping, if you want to fully use these features. So be sure to ask your vendor if they support these.
Shoe stores have some of the highest levels of shoplifting and theft in the entire retail space. This is actually the main reason most shoe stores only have a left foot or right foot (and not both) on the sales floor at the same time - to stop people from literally walking away with inventory.
However it is not always customers who are stealing from your shoe store, in some cases employees might also be a little less than honest when it comes to your inventory. In fact, 42% of all retail store shrinkage (theft) is done by employees.
With levels of theft being so high in the retail shoe store space, you would be doing a disservice to your business by not tracking it. In the event customers are walking out the door in your shoes (without paying first) or in the event your employees are doing the same, the first step is to track it.
With a good retail POS and shoe inventory system, you can detect missing items quickly before it becomes a problem. Or in the event it is, you can report on what shifts theft happens most frequently on, so security can be beefed up at those times.
With most modern POS systems you can have a store up and running and selling your shoe inventory online with the click of a button. Whether this is done with native ecommerce solutions, or through integrations with ecommerce providers, it has never been easier to start selling your products online.
Having an online presence means you can reach your loyal customers and sell to them even when your store is not physically open. On top of that, since every purchase requires the user to provide their contact information, you can put this information in your retail CRM system for marketing and other communications at a later date.
The biggest advantage to this feature is shared inventory across all your sales channels, as well as shared payment processing which might position you for more savings when accepting credit cards or other forms of payment besides cash.
When it comes to ordering new inventory for your shoe store, you are going to want an easy way to submit purchase orders to manufacturers and wholesalers. Once you have a relationship with Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Lacoste, or Hugo Boss, it is usually pretty easy to request and catalog and place orders for new merchandise.
However, sometimes finding those relationships in the first place can prove to be very difficult when starting off. The goods news is, some inventory and POS systems are actually recommended by various manufacturers and they have everything you need from catalogs, to purchase orders, all housed within the POS and inventory software.
In other words, if you want to buy new stock directly from manufacturers (even ones you never bought from before) you have the ability to do so through your POS software.
So before you purchase a POS system, ask if they have supplier catalogs and integrations that you can use for inventory purchasing.
A shoe store POS with robust inventory management starts at around $99 per month. If you want additional stores, checkout counters, or a loyalty program this amount increases based on your needs.