Keeping track of the sales and inventory

Gnomo online shop 2012 abajo
Gnomo online shop 2012 abajo (Photo credit: álvarozarzuela)


There are so many different venues that you can sell hand craft products from. Many people take advantage of this and sell on multiple store fronts. This is really great as it increases your exposure and The amount of sales that you achieve. However, it can easily become confusing and overwhelming trying to keep track of what product is in what store, and trying to manage the different sales. Ultimately your method of keeping track of inventory and sales for each store front is going to boil down to your products and your method for creating, but here are a few tips to get you started.


Use spreadsheets. Apple products have “numbers”, windows products are typically called “excel”, but a basic search for “spreadsheet” can find the program on your computer. There are several ways that you can manage things from here. You can have a separate page for each store front, or a different column or section for each store front. These are all different stores and must be treated as so. I suppose you can look at it as a franchise. There are thousands of Targets (c), but each store carries their own stock of products. These stocks can and usually do vary from store to store.


Write it down. When you get an order, whether it is for a product that has already been made, or one that needs to be created, record it somewhere. You might want to note from which store front it sold, any site fees, how much the customer paid,who the customer is, shipping costs, and maybe any other information or special directions from the customer. Written records (either on paper with pen, or digitally on a computer), is going to be your best bet for keeping track of envy thing.


Have an organized system. Storing your inventory needs to be easy and understandable. DO NOT put a product “away” without marking it in some way first. Don’t trust your memory when it concerns sizes. There are a ton of different ways that you can organize and manage your inventory and it is going to depend on how much extra funding you have, what your product is, and your personal preferences. I use plastic grocery and garbage bags labeling what’s in each bag with a sharpie. That is a VERY low budget option. Making sure that your product is safe from weather, insects, rodents, or any other type of damage that it may come into contact with during storage, as long as you can easily find and get to it when a customer purchases it, it doesn’t much matter. Boxes, bins, totes, tags, stickers, shelves, cubbys, bags, bowls, jars…


Wardrobe Inventory
Wardrobe Inventory (Photo credit: Ran Yaniv Hartstein)


I like to do “made to order” products for online shops, because then I don’t have to create this huge inventory and keep up with it. I make it after the customer has ordered it. This is a great way to keep all of your online shops unified as well. You can offer the same products in each store (like a magazine or catalogue).
For people who don’t like this method, or for crafts where this method just can’t work (ooak comes to mind), different inventories for each shop will need to be created. Or, you can put forth a little extra work (and cost), and be ready to immediately remove a product from one store if it sales in another.
As far as craft and indie shows are concerned…have a written list of what is in your inventory. As it is purchased, mark it off your list. If the products are also part of your online inventory, consider putting your shop on vacation, or making it invisible during the show until you get a chance to evaluate what’s left of your stock, and what listings need to be taken down.


The variations on how you can keep track of everything is as vast and varied as the different crafts are. Figuring out what is going to work for you, and how much of a budget you can spend on it all, will greatly increase the efficiency with which you can create. And efficient creations make for increased profits 🙂





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