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Zoho Inventory Review

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Date Established
2015
Location
Chennai, India

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Reasonable monthly cost
  • Extensive integrations list

Cons

  • Confusing pricing scheme
  • Somewhat limited reporting

Overview

The Zoho family of products aims to meet every digital business need, from customer relations to project management, presentations, meetings, and more. In 2015, they released Zoho Inventory, a tool designed to help manage your product inventory from the moment you order from your suppliers to the instant it arrives at the homes and workplaces of your eager customers. In the years since then, the Zoho family of products has grown to over 30 million subscribers, but all of their products, including Zoho Inventory, are designed to remain eminently usable and small-business friendly.

In the years since its creation, Zoho Inventory has been steadily improved until it has become a well-loved product with a number of dedicated users around the world. Subscribers praise its simplicity, its integrations, and the reasonable price, not to mention a good mobile app, and so much more. Let’s take a closer look at Zoho Inventory and see just how well it could work for you.

Pricing

Zoho Inventory offers four pricing plans to their users. If you buy a year at a time, you get two months free on each plan. Here are some of the details:

Free Plan:

  • 20 orders/month
  • 20 shipping Labels
  • 20 shipment tracking/month
  • 1 warehouse
  • 2 users
  • Composite items
  • E-commerce Integrations
  • 5 automated workflows/module

Basic Plan

  • $49/month
  • 1,500 orders/month
  • 150 shipping labels
  • 150 shipment tracking/month
  • 2 warehouses
  • 10 users
  • 10 automated workflows/module

Standard Plan

  • $99/month
  • 10,000 orders/month
  • 1,000 shipping labels
  • 1,000 shipment tracking/month
  • 5 warehouses
  • 15 users
  • Serial Number Tracking
  • Batch Tracking

Professional Plan

  • $249/month
  • 30,000 orders/month
  • 3,000 shipping labels
  • 3,000 shipment tracking/month
  • 10 warehouse
  • Unlimited users

If you want to tailor your plan more specifically to your own needs, you can choose from the following add-ons:

  • $5/month for 50 orders and shipping labels
  • $9/month for an additional warehouse

Web-Based Or Locally Installed

Zoho Inventory is web-based and does not need to be downloaded.

Ease Of Use

Signing up for Zoho projects is a breeze. Enter your name, email, and some business information, and you are in. From there, the app is pretty intuitive to use. The interface is not what I would call beautiful, but it is functional, and everything is easy to find. I tried out the various features (sales orders, adding items), and found that Zoho’s fillable forms were simple and easy to fill out. I especially appreciated Zoho’s addition of an “easy-add” button in the upper left corner of the UI that makes creating new items, orders, and other elements of the app simple and straightforward.

Customer Service & Technical Support

Zoho offers a good array of support options for people needing help. These include:

  • User Guide:  This comprehensive guide is a good place to go when trying to understand the nuts and bolts of Zoho Projects. This isn’t the first place I would go to look, but it is extremely thorough.
  • Feature Requests: I always like it when I see companies demonstrating a clear desire to listen to their customers. Once you make your requests, other users can vote for it if they agree that it would improve the overall platform.
  • Webinars: Zoho Inventory runs a webinar every Tuesday, walking new and prospective users through the intricacies of the app.
  • Forums: Sometimes it can be helpful to ask and answer questions in a public sphere. By leveraging their entire community, Zoho projects brings a wide variety of expertise and experience into the fold, increasing the likelihood that your questions will be answered.

Zoho also offers these other customer service options:

  • 24/5 phone support
  • Blogs
  • Beginner Guides
  • Email Support

Negative Reviews & Complaints

For the most part, users seem to find their time with Zoho Inventory a positive experience. Having said that, there are a few areas that users would like to see improved. Here are a few of the most commonly identified trouble spots:

  • Doesn’t Work With All Shipping Companies: This was among the most common complaints I saw; if Zoho doesn’t integrate with your preferred shipping company, you won’t be able to ship products through the app. Having said that, the app plays nicely with most major shipping companies; if you are in the US or Europe, you should be just fine.
  • Frustrating Invoices: I saw several complaints that the invoices generated in Zoho Inventory leave a little to be desired. There are a number of different specific elements that users found frustrating, so it may be that the best fix would be to ask the developers to make the invoice forms customizable.
  • Limited Reports: As I note below, the reporting features in the app are somewhat limited. There is nothing wrong with the reports as they are, but the overall scope and scale of what can be reported is somewhat less than other apps I have seen.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

As I mentioned, most Zoho Inventory users are pleased with their experience. I saw several users who claimed to be so satisfied with their subscription that they have absolutely no complaints, along with some who felt that despite a few deficiencies in the app, swift action from the customer support team assured them they were in good hands. Here are a few excerpts from satisfied customers:

From softwareadvice.com:

“This software is extremely easy to use, flows well, loads quickly, and provides great flexibility for a number of business needs.”

“Tightly integrated with Zoho Books and other Zoho tools for automation and data sharing. Ease of use. Good mobile app. Very good integration with shipping vendors.”

“This is a great product for managing inventory. You can set different kinds of levels and get alerts. Recommended product.”

From capterra.com:

“Very complete! I like the overall feel and UI for this software. I like how it was thought about and implemented. I like that it offers many integrations and generally can do nearly everything I need it to do. I like how it is like lego’s, I can select one module and then when ready set up another Zoho module and they will work together. Overall I like the product.”

“Zoho Inventory is a powerful tool that allows us an adequate and standardized classification of our chemical samples, converting them into information that can be inventoried, leaving as a result the organization that every company or corporation in charge of the chemical area wants, that is, a sample coherently organized. For this reason we strongly recommend this software.”

“Overall it is a great software that will help you to grow your business and have control of it in a very easy way. From the beginning it is easy to setup and configure all the needed settings.”

Features

Zoho Inventory is a feature-rich environment; even its features have features. With that in mind, I want to share these features in groups:

  • Inventory Control features: Obviously, a product called Zoho Inventory is going to need to have some control over inventory. Zoho allows you to create item listings, kit items together, and even set products to automatically re-order from your suppliers. I especially appreciate things like the feature that automatically notifies you when stocks get low. Attention to detail like that really makes products come alive for me.

  • Warehouse Management Features: These features are mostly of interest to subscribers with multiple warehouses. Zoho Inventory automatically sorts orders so they route to the warehouse closest to the destination of that order. With streamlined communication, transferring products between warehouses is also a breeze. Handy!
  • Order Management Features: Once you get orders, you are going to need to be able to pack, send, and track those orders. Zoho has you backed up all the way, from accepting orders from multiple channels, to creating shipping labels and interfacing with 30 different shipping agents. I will say that one frustrating thing about Zoho is that while shipping labels are included in your subscription, the number of labels per month included in your price is literally one-tenth of the number of orders. If you want more labels (and, of course, you will), you will need to pay extra.

  • Reporting Features: Zoho Inventory includes a couple of good reporting capabilities: you can track your overall sales, check in on specific items or item variants, and FIFO tracking. You can access your reports from a single dashboard and get the basics in a single glance, or go deeper into the nitty-gritty if need-be. They are not the most comprehensive reports I have seen, but they work pretty well.

Integrations & Add-Ons

Zoho Inventory integrates with the following websites and apps:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Etsy
  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • PrestaShop
  • Zoey
  • Mercado Libre
  • XCart
  • Shopify
  • Crossfire Cloud
  • Aftership
  • Asendia
  • DPD
  • Interlink Express
  • Parcel Force
  • Austrailia Post
  • DHL
  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • Paypal
  • Stripe
  • WePay
  • Slack
  • Google Apps
  • Office 365

Security

Zoho Inventory takes privacy seriously and allows you to designate information as Personally Identifiable, thereby securing it against fraud. On the technical side, Zoho Inventory keeps their server sites secure, even with bullet-proof walls. Their network is encrypted using TLS 1.2 protocols using certificates issued by SHA 256 based CA. As a cloud-based software, the whole app is designed with redundancies to ward against failure.

Final Verdict

So when all is said and done, is Zoho Inventory worth your time and money? If you want my hot take (and let’s face it, you are reading this review for a reason, right?), then Zoho Inventory is best suited for smaller businesses. With relatively simple reporting and a pricing plan that seems to favor smaller locations, as well as a minimal invoice system, many of Zoho’s biggest shortcomings only fail to measure up for companies with many warehouses, or lots of employees. Perhaps this is one of those scenarios where a product should be judged based on what it was designed for, not what people try to force it to do.

But don’t just take my word for it; give it a whirl yourself by signing up for the free trial and discovering just how good a fit Zoho Inventory will be for your business.

Wesley Kriz

Writing from the Pacific Northwest (read: the Best Coast), Wesley graduated from George Fox University in 2014 with a degree in History, then again from George Fox in 2016 with a Masters of Arts in Teaching. He has been writing about project management for 2 years, and keeps a running list of wacky software brand names; seriously, it's wild out there
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