To start using Inventory Planner and to get the most out of inventory forecasting, we recommend the following steps:
- Ensure your first sync of data is underway
- Adjust account settings
- Set up vendors (Optional)
- Enter cost prices (Optional)
- Provide additional product information such as seasonality (Optional)
- Set lead times and days of stock (Required - most important step for producing an accurate forecast)
First Sync of Data
Once your sales and product information is connected, the first sync will start.
The first sync can take up to few hours depending on the e-commerce platform. When it happens you pull 2 years of sales history, so that you can start using the system right after it's completed.
After the first sync all others updates are incremental (when it's possible) and should be much faster.
Learn how to connect a second store in our Help Center.
Go to Account > Settings to customize your Inventory Planner account.
You can confirm your current platform connections and add additional connections as needed (see prior section for detail).
Enable or disable warehouses to view for replenishment and reporting purposes. If you would like to set up combined warehouses, click here for step-by-step instructions and considerations.
You can add users and customize permissions in Settings > Users. Add additional user emails in this section.
To customize permissions, click on Edit and then click Full Access. Then you can select which sections of Inventory Planner that user can view.
Click on the Forecast tab in Settings to customize account-wide settings affecting the sales forecast and related analytics.
By default, Inventory Planner accounts take out of stock information into consideration. This means that if a product is out of stock, the forecast will exclude that time so that the sales velocity is not understated. If your store allows overselling (continued selling even when an item is out of stock), then you should uncheck the box for "Adjust forecast using out-of-stock information".
If you sell seasonal products, you can set variants for a seasonal forecast by default. Seasonal product may be sold only at certain times of the year or may sell all year but perform differently at particular times of the year (ie spring and fall sales spikes). If most or all of your products are seasonal, select this box. You can also adjust seasonality on a variant level.
Trends months indicates an effect on the forecast. The default forecast in Inventory Planner uses sales velocity and considers recent trends. Adjust the number of months to create a trend in settings.
Default replenishment can be set for products that may not have a sales history. For example, if an item is recommended to replenish 0 units because it does not have any sales so far, the default replenishment set at 5 will create a recommendation of 5 units for the purchase order.
ABC Class or “A” Class, “B” Class, “C” Class Classes are categories of your inventory. By default, “A” Class includes SKUs comprising the top 80% of revenue, “B” Class is the next 15%, and “C” Class is the final 5%.
Customize settings for low-stock alerts including who receives these alerts, how often they are send and if you only want to be alerted when an item is newly low-stock (called the Delta Alert).
Connect to Xero or Quickbooks Online to push purchase orders to your accounting software. (Note this settings is for Quickbooks Online only, not Quickbooks Desktop or Quickbooks Enterprise.)
Set the starting number in your purchase order sequence in this section. If you would like to remove images or cost prices from your purchase order, you can also do that here.
Maintaining accurate and up-to-date vendor information for products is important for accurate purchase orders and metrics. Inventory Planner downloads vendor information and variant vendor details when possible (from inventory management system like Tradegecko or Ordoro). For e-commerce system that does not have cost prices defined, there are several options:
- Upload vendor catalog for single vendor or for multiple vendors
- Create and edit vendors directly in Vendors
- When you create or edit a purchase order, you have an option to update cost price, vendor reference and other vendor data for variants and use it in subsequent purchase orders.
To learn more, read our article about uploading vendor catalogs.
Vendor list shows currently available vendors with some basic information. You can access vendor details by clicking on vendor title.
Use this screen to create new vendor.
Edit cost prices and other information to be presented in purchase orders.
If you have more than one warehouse enabled, set lead time and days of stock for the vendor to each location.
Add or remove variants associated to the vendor, edit variant information for this vendor: cost price, vendor reference (supplier SKU) and more.
Here you can add/remove brands for the vendor. Adding a brand automatically adds current and future products for this brand.
Maintaining accurate cost prices will help you get the most out of Inventory Planner by viewing accurate analytics and easily creating Purchase Orders for your vendors.
Inventory Planner will automatically pull this information from your integration when it is available. If you do not have costs loaded in your connected platform, you will need to enter this information into Inventory Planner.
Learn how to load cost prices into Inventory Planner.
You can upload a file with SKU (or other unique identifier like barcode or ID) and cost prices. This will quickly update cost prices for all vendors and variants. If you have different cost prices for a single item from different vendors, you can specify which costs are tied to which vendors in the import.
You can also enter this information manually in the Replenishment report.
Additional product information can help increase the accuracy of the inventory forecast.
To remove discontinued items from your forecast, go to the Replenishment report and select items you wish to remove.
Then click Bulk Actions > Set As Non-Replenishable.
The default view of your Replenishment report shows replenishable items. If you wish to view items that are non-replenishable, remove the Replenishable filter.
For products that are seasonal (summer apparel or holiday items), calculating the forecast for these items will be different than products that sell all year long. The forecast will be based on the same months in the prior year rather than the most recent months.
Read more about different approaches to sales forecasting.
To set all products in your account as seasonal, go to Account > Settings.
> Forecast to select Set Products as Seasonal by Default.
If a subset of your products are seasonal, it would be better to leave the default forecast (non-seasonal) in place. Use filters in Replenishment to select seasonal variants (for example variants with a certain tag or vendor). To start, select the items in your Replenishment report.
Then 'Enable Seasonality' from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu.
Lead Time and Days of Stock
Before using replenishment recommendations product lead times and days of stock should be configured.
The lead time is the amount of time that elapses between placing a purchase order and receiving products. This can include manufacturing and shipping time.
Days of stock is a period of time for which you would like to have enough stock, or in other words, the stock cover. The days of stock is also your purchasing frequency.
For this example Inventory Planner recommends that you purchase 55 units of the Mango dress that will arrive in 14 days if you place your purchase order today. After arrival, this order will cover the following 30 days.
The lead time usually depends on suppliers and it's easy to estimate. When in doubt add additional days in the lead time period.
To learn more about how to set your lead time and days of stock, read our full article.