Comcash Blog » Latest Articles

5 Hardware Store Inventory Management Tips To Boost Business

Managing inventory at a hardware store is a big job. With such a wide variety of products on sale, tracking your inventory while keeping customers happy can feel impossible.

Inventory management solutions for hardware stores help small and independent businesses stay on top of their inventory. Many owners simply don’t know where to start. 

Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

By following these hardware store inventory management tips, you can boost productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce your costs. 

Why Inventory Management Matters for Hardware Stores

Inventory management refers to the tools and systems retailers use to track and optimize stock levels to meet customer needs. 

Retailers in all industries are increasingly moving away from manual inventory tracking to keep up with modern customer expectations and improve the shopping experience. Some hardware retailers are hesitant to adopt inventory management software because they worry such a big change will disrupt their business.

However, implementing hardware store inventory management software provides various benefits for store owners, including:

  • Reducing warehouse and storage costs
  • Improving profit margins
  • Increasing customer satisfaction
  • Smoothing out online sales
  • Minimizing shrinkage and losses

Comcash Mastering Retail Inventory Management Guide

Hardware Store Inventory Management: 5 Tips to Drive Sales

Inventory management tools help hardware retail stores by boosting their efficiency so they can spend less time on data entry and more time focusing on customers. Here are five of our top tips to get the most out of your inventory management solution.

1. Set Restock Alerts

When faced with an out-of-stock item, many customers won’t just buy a similar item, they’ll go to a different store instead. In other words, stockouts can quickly turn into walkouts — and finding ways to maintain consistent stock levels is key to keeping customers happy.

One of the most effective ways inventory management software can help is through automatic restock alerts. To do this, set a low stock threshold in your point of sale (POS) system. You should set this based on the popularity of the item and how long it typically takes to get replacements from your supplier.

Then, your system will track stock levels in real time and alert you when that low stock threshold is met so you can reorder it at just the right time. Some POS systems also include vendor management tools, which can help streamline your restocking process, too.

Restock alerts are not only useful because they lessen the need to manually check in on your stock, but they also prevent you from over-ordering stock that isn’t needed. 

2. Track Serialized Inventory for Accurate Warranty Status

In addition to common hand tools and building supplies, most hardware stores carry a selection of high-value items, such as power tools. 

Instead of a general SKU, these items come with serial numbers or barcodes from the manufacturer to track the status of each item. This is used to see if customers are qualified for in-warranty repairs or to handle any recalls in the case of a manufacturing defect.

When serialized inventory is tracked manually or through a separate system, it exposes you to risks, such as shrinkage from theft or honest data entry mistakes. That’s why it’s important to leverage an inventory management system that can handle both general SKUs and serialized inventory.

Related Read: 4 Best Point of Sale Systems for Hardware Stores (+ Features & Pricing) 

With serialized inventory management software, you’ll have a unified view of all transactions in your hardware shop. You can also see product and purchase histories for each item with a serial number, giving you a better way to handle product returns, warranty claims, and more. 

If you rent equipment to contractors, serialized inventory management also makes it easy to keep track of the condition of each piece of equipment.

3. Use Mobile Scanners To Streamline Stocking

When receiving new orders from vendors, many stores opt to update their stock manually. However, as anyone who’s unloaded into a warehouse can attest, manual data entry is extremely time-consuming and error-prone. 

Use a mobile inventory scanner to quickly scan new arrivals and accurately update inventory. This will help reduce your labor costs and minimize your shrinkage risks. Modern POS systems also support printing your own barcodes, allowing you to scan and keep track of any type of item.

With an accurate view of inventory, you can react quicker to changing demands and make smarter decisions.

Related Read: How Does a Barcode Scanner Work? 5 Things To Know

4. Lean on Historical Data for Demand Forecasting and Staffing

The data from your inventory management software can be invaluable for improving the shopping experience and reducing costs

Using your POS system, you can see your top sellers, peak hours, seasonal trends, and more. This can help you optimize your operations in two ways:

  • Demand forecasting: Knowing which inventory performs well and when it sells allows you to make smarter ordering decisions. It can also inform you what categories of products sell well to drive more business. In other words, you can enhance the areas you’re already strong in.
  • Staffing: Historical inventory data can help you understand when restocks happen, what times are busiest, and how much time it takes to get items ready to sell. This can help you make strategic staffing decisions so you have more help when you need it.

5. Connect In-Store and Online Inventory

Big and small businesses alike benefit from offering online sales to customers. However, without a centralized inventory management system, customers may find items out of stock unexpectedly or face slower fulfillment than they’re used to. 

Using a POS system with built-in inventory management helps eliminate this by linking your in-store and online inventory. Customers always get an accurate view of what’s in stock. It also gives you a bird’s eye view of all of your sales. 

You might also find that certain items consistently sell more online, and you can use that information to better organize your storage for faster fulfillment. 

Choose the Right Inventory Management System for Your Business

While it can feel intimidating, implementing hardware store inventory management software offers small business owners massive benefits. When you consider what system to use, take your time. After all, this is a system you’ll be using every day.

Schedule demos with a few different providers and have a list of questions ready. If you’re not sure what to ask, here are a few starting points:

  • What are the initial costs of your system?
  • What kind of training and support do you offer?
  • Does your system support online sales?
  • Can your system track both serialized and general inventory? 
  • Does your system support mobile inventory scanning? 

Ideally, use a POS system with built-in inventory management capabilities. That way you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of everything happening in your store — from sales to restocks to employee management — all in one place. 

Comcash is trusted by businesses around the country to modernize their business thanks to best-in-class hardware store inventory management, customer loyalty, flexible payments, and more.

To learn more, schedule a demo today.

Ready to Get Started?