salon inventory management software

Industry • Best Practice

Salon Inventory Management Software: A Features Checklist

Make sure your inventory management solution offers these key features and you’ll be on your way to salon tech success.

Inventory management may not be the most thrilling aspect of running a salon, but getting it right is absolutely essential for ensuring profitability. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains is just one example of how important inventory management is; 85% of retail industry leaders have reported inventory shortages due to supply chain issues. In addition to helping your brand weather any storm, salon inventory management software can help your business become more efficient and successful in the long run.

The right inventory management software can help lighten the load by eliminating manual processes and replacing habitual, instinctive decision-making with a robust real-time understanding of the data underlying your current operations. There are many different tech solutions on the market, so use this article as a checklist of all the key features you should look for salon inventory management software.

Essential salon inventory management software features

Basic stock management

The core feature of salon inventory management is the ability to understand and handle the status of your stock. You need to be able to know what’s in your inventory at any given time, what’s incoming and what’s outgoing, the kind of revenue each product you stock is bringing in, etc. The system should constantly update item pricing and reflect sales orders immediately. There are three fundamental components to effective inventory management: 

  • Know what products you have in stock and where they are physically located;

  • Understand how many units you need to sell to meet your sales goals, and

  • Anticipate what products you need to reorder, how many, and how often.

With software supporting your inventory management efforts, you won’t accidentally sell the same item twice or for the wrong price or be surprised to discover you’ve run out of items you thought you had in stock. Automated inventory alerts are helpful, too, so that you don’t have to check manually to find out that your best-selling products are either out of stock or out of date.

Optimize based on data

Optimization is another important feature since it takes the guesswork out of the amount of inventory you should have for each product. Many salons still place product orders by eye, meaning managers will look at what’s in stock on the shelves and re-order anything that’s running low. This practice makes it difficult to adhere to a budget and can lead to a costly and inconvenient traffic jam of products when there’s too much of one item arriving and not enough of another. 

Inventory optimization leverages a detailed understanding of both the items in stock and their cumulative value to enable a data-based approach to ordering. Optimization also makes a big difference for salons managing minimal backstock storage space or frequent turnover with a seasonal product line.

Inbound & outbound processes

Make sure your salon inventory management software offers tools that streamline the process of receiving stock, completing purchase orders, and issuing returns. The last thing salon owners and managers want to do is run out of something a customer is counting on, or neglect clients to rummage around for recently shipped products. Those are just some of the ways inefficient inbound and outbound inventory processes can trickle down to every aspect of the salon experience.

The inbound and outbound inventory processes should also allow you to process purchase orders and complete returns seamlessly, cutting down on the time and financial resources required to complete each transaction. 

Effective systems for receiving, processing, and adjusting your inventory will help ensure that your system is consistently up-to-date and readily available to all your staff and managers. They will also reduce the time and cost resources required to complete each transaction. The right system will help keep your retail products well-stocked and beautifully displayed and technicians equipped with all the tools, tinctures, gadgets, and gizmos they need to provide extraordinary client experiences.

Multi-location visibility

Salon inventory control shouldn’t exist in a silo. Depending on how you run your business and how many locations are part of your brand, it’s likely you’ll need to toggle between store-specific and company-wide inventory information. Each location and point of sale should be integrated into the same system so that you don’t need to be on-site to check stock information, make changes, or place orders.

Run reports

Reporting is a critical part of effective salon inventory management. The software you select should make it simple to get a handle on the numbers, including sharing reports with your team. Real-time reports should be customizable, so you can create unique reporting templates and filter for only the information you need. Inventory-specific reports should include a log of historical changes in the system, like Boulevard’s Product Quantity Adjustments Report.

Boulevard also recently launched a first-in-first-out reporting model to help salon owners accurately track the actual cost of goods sold, even when suppliers offer order discounts. With first-in-first-out logic, the default unit price of each product is editable each time a new purchase order is processed, updating the Unit Cost of any items affected by the pricing change.

The Boulevard platform includes inventory management capabilities, data-based optimization, and tools for processing orders, stock intake, and adjustments. You’ll be able to track and manage inventory across all your brand’s locations and run custom reports that measure your progress and provide real-time benchmarks for your business. Inventory management is just one of the many components of the Boulevard platform. These features also integrate seamlessly with every other aspect of your business, from scheduling to marketing to payments.

Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.


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