I don’t know if you have heard of Inventory Lab yet, but if not, this is some exciting stuff.
Make sure to read to the end for a special offer.
When I do my “books” I do what is known as the cash method. To keep it simple, at the end of the month we compare money that came in versus money that went out and we come up with our “profit” for the month. The problem we have been having is there are months where we spend more than what comes in. In theory then, we wen’t negative for the month. But, the reality is, we actually made a lot of money on the items that we sold. There is just a bunch more inventory in our possession now than when we started.
The only way to have an accurate number of profit per month based on what actually sold, is to keep track per item. Well, that is a great concept, but there is no way I would have the time or willingness to input over 700 sales a month into a spreadsheet in order to get those numbers. That left us with the cash method. It’s worked “fine”, and we weren’t really looking for another way to do things. Until now!
I was browsing on facebook and saw a group for Inventory Lab. It is the group where the beta testers were in and giving input on the program. I looked into it further and to my delight was very intrigued.
Inventory Lab is a listing service for Amazon, that also keeps track of your books! How cool is that?!? When you are listing your items for sale, you can input your cost, where you purchased it from and the date purchased. Then when the item sells, you are given the exact profit for the order. BRILLIANT! You can also print labels out one at a time while listing if you have a dymo or zebra printer, this is great for us because there are often 2 or 3 of us working on a shipment every time.
I asked Ryan (the creator of Inventory Lab) a few questions, just so we could get to know him a little better as the face behind the company.
We loved the overall automation that Amazon provided us after we transitioned over as far as the fulfillment… and we also liked a lot of the powerful listing features that some of the third party software brought to the table… But the slight speed advantage never really justified the cost. What we were spending so much time on is tracking our COGS and expenses. Like many sellers we used the accrual method where each inventory item had to be accounted for. Some months we would spend 10-20 hours a WEEK just managing our excel spreadsheet….
A good friend of mine, Gerry Bethel (whom I helped get started with FBA) had a great idea for software that allowed you to save your cost per each msku while you listed…. His concept was to create something that you not only would you have all of the speed features of other listing software, but would automatically account for you as well. This is the day the InventoryLab concept was born (Thanks to Gerry!) :)
Automation, automation, automation…. That’s what we all want, right? Of course once you find good income streams online, you realize that it DOES require work.. But to us, we envision software that focuses on taking automation a step further, rather than just some cool features (that’s a given). Our biggest need was software that could work for us while we were sleeping… or on vacation. Something that you can sit and forget, without having to worry about catching up on that complicated spreadsheet!
My personal favorite feature (and many of our users) is being able to see your projected net profit while you list… It’s so great to see your numbers, to know your total net profit per batch (if sold at your original list price)… as well as how that compares to your total sales value and total buy cost…. But my overall favorite page is Bookkeep…. It’s SO nice not having to worry about ANY spreadsheets and letting IL do all the work for me. I know my numbers each and every day, and i’m not having to work harder just to possess that knowledge… Not to mention there is much less stress come tax time.
To finally get out Beta Everyone has been ready for that… It’s taken longer than we thought to perfect everything, what we are trying to pull off has not been done before (which is a sign that it is not easy to snap together). But we’ve worked tirelessly and are very, very close to having everything 100% perfected and looking great/user friendly.
We also plan to build some really cool reports to go along with the accounting/listing features. A quick peek into our plans for the next 6 months:
MSKU Profitability reports (this will allow you REALLY narrow down your performance and where you should be focusing your time when sourcing)
Inventory Stock Level reports
A reprice feature that protects your net profit and lets you directly update from the inventory page…
Of course this isn’t all we have planned for the future, or even the next 6 months… This is just what we can share… There are several confidential ideas that we feel will take us even further to the next level of where no amazon third party software has even dreamed of going before. We’re headed in the right direction,and the users that are with us now will define what our software looks like at this 6 month mark. We take suggestions and ideas directly to our road-map and try to fit 95% of them in.
If you are already using Inventory Lab, I would love to hear your feedback below in the comments.