To start using Inventory Planner and to get the most out of inventory forecasting, we recommend following these steps:
Create your account and trigger your initial sync from your connected platform(s)
Configure your account settings
Set your lead times and days of stock (Required - most important step for producing an accurate forecast)
(Optional) Set up vendors
(Optional) Enter cost prices
(Optional) Provide additional product information such as seasonality
Creating an Inventory Planner account and performing the first sync
After you've signed up to Inventory Planner, you'll be asked to select a platform to connect to. Once you've connected to the relevant platform, you will be prompted to start the first sync using the option to "Finish configuration and start initial sync":
The first sync can take up to several hours depending on the eCommerce platform. The sync pulls two years of sales history, allowing you to start using the system as soon as it's complete.
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 this article.
Go to Account > Settings to customize your Inventory Planner account.
Connections and warehouses
Here you can view your current platform connections and add additional connections as needed.
Each connection is related to a warehouse. Enable or disable warehouses for replenishment and reporting purposes. If you would like to set up combined warehouses, click here for step-by-step instructions.
Under the "General" tab, you can set basic information about your account:
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 uncheck Full Access. Then you can select which sections of Inventory Planner that user can view.
To delete a user, click on the trash can icon next to the user's name. They will no longer be able to log into Inventory Planner, but their name and email address will be maintained on historic records.
Click on the Forecast tab in Settings to customize account-wide settings affecting the sales forecast and related analytics.
Forecast settings can set based on multiple forecast methodologies:
Recent Sales and Trends
Click here to learn more about each forecasting method.
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 "Use Stockouts History". Click here to learn more about stockouts and how they affect the forecast.
(A note about sales velocity: If the first sale of the variant occurs during the reporting period, then the sales velocity calculation starts with the first sale date by default. Contact the Inventory Planner team if you would like to use the "created at" date instead of the "first sold at" date.)
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 Inventory Planner recommends a replenishment of 0 for an item 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.
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.
Lead Time and Days of Stock
Before using replenishment recommendations, product lead times and days of stock should be configured.
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 253 units of the Insight tee 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.
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 systems like Skubana or QuickBooks Commerce). For an ecommerce system that does not have defined cost prices, there are several options:
Importing vendor information to add new vendors to your account
Creating and editing vendors directly in Catalog > Vendors
When you create or edit a purchase order, you have an option to update the 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 information.
The catalog is found on the left-hand menu.
- Catalog > Vendors
The Vendor list shows all current vendors with some basic information. You can access vendor details by clicking on the vendor’s name.
Click "+ New vendor" on the bottom left-hand side of the page to add a new vendor.
When you click into a vendor, you can edit their details, including names, addresses and other information that populates purchase orders.
If you have more than one warehouse enabled, you can set the vendor’s lead time and days of stock for each location.
At the bottom of the Settings page, you can add or remove brands for the vendor. Adding a brand automatically assigns its current and future variants to the vendor.
In the “Variants” tab, you can add or remove individual variants associated with the vendor as well as edit variant information for this vendor, including their cost prices, vendor references (supplier SKU) and more. Learn more about setting cost prices.
Catalog > Forecast Settings
The Forecast Settings section is used for viewing and editing forecast settings for all variants/SKUs.
Read more about how to set custom forecast settings here: Forecast Methods & Settings
Catalog > Vendor Attributes
The Vendor Attributes section is used for viewing and applying specific supplier details to individual variants/SKUs. Read more about that process here: Update Vendor Catalog
Catalog > Listings
The Listings section shows all variants and their connection information from the relevant connected integrations.
You can look at automatically linked items and also perform manual linking of items, as mentioned here: Listings
Catalog > Warehouses
The warehouses section allows you to view and edit details of each variant/SKU that relate to specific locations, such as lead times and days of stock.
You can make use of the "Import" option to upload a CSV file with these specific details.
Catalog > Bundles
The Bundles section lists all bundles you may have in your account, along with the components and quantities which make up each bundle.
More can be read about bundles here: Bundles and Assemblies
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 here.
From the replenishment report, you can upload a file with your products' SKUs (or other unique identifiers like barcodes or IDs) and cost prices to 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.
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 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: Yes" filter.
Using Inventory Planner
To learn more about navigating Inventory Planner, selecting the view and data needed, and saving default views to save time, read Inventory Planner 101.