The optional Enhanced Inventory module (premium option, fees apply) is a powerful extension of the included Inventory control feature.
Without Enhanced Inventory, you do get several basic and some advanced inventory management features. For example, when an order is placed, inventory is decremented, and if a line item is removed or an order is canceled, the line items are returned to inventory automatically. The Nexternal platform also effortlessly manages inventory for products made of multiple inventoried items, like gift baskets, or products sold with separate items as “add-ons”. When these items are ordered, the inventory kit or bundle decrements each of the inventoried contents separately, so that when one included item is sold out, the entire bundled item becomes sold out – again, all automatically.
With additional power in the Nexternal Enhanced Inventory module, managing inventory is even easier. The Enhance Inventory module solves four major problems shared by many merchants who are struggling to track and reconcile their inventory:
1. Transactional Records. It allows the merchant to record every single inventory addition and depletion, by type and with notations, and it keeps a complete transaction history for easy reference and reconciling, of who made the inventory change, what the change was, and the reason for the change. No matter what discrepancy may be found on a physical count, the transactional record will help the merchant track it down. All changes to inventory are logged, and are available for review in a dedicated Inventory Transaction Report (Products / Report), or via an Inventory Transaction Export (Products / Export).
2. Units On Hand vs. Available for Sale. It helps the merchant clearly see how many units they have available for sale, as opposed to what is sitting on the shelf “on-hand”– which may already be sold but not shipped, or may be reserved, for example, for a club shipment, event, or any other reason.
Inventory at each location for each product/SKU is further divided into three "buckets", each with a different purpose: the "available" bucket, the "pending" bucket, and the "reserved" bucket (see #4 below). For those products that have been converted to use Enhanced Inventory, orders placed for a given product/SKU will cause inventory counts for that product/SKU to go into the "pending" bucket, awaiting shipment or pickup. Inventory is not decremented until shipment or pickup takes place. Inventory may be transferred between these buckets if required.
3. Multiple Inventory Locations. It allows the merchant to maintain separate inventory amounts at separate storefront and other pickup locations, which is critical for proper inventory management. Each product may have multiple Ship-From and Pickup Locations, each of which may define its own inventory. In the Online Store, customers are presented with the correct inventory-related prompts, according to the location of the product(s) selected.
4. Temporary Inventory “Reservations”. It allows for countdown inventory reservations when orders are placed. Not all merchants will need the reservations feature – but those who do will instantly recognize its enormous value to them. Consider a craft brewery, for example, that offers limited releases periodically during the year that are in high demand and sell out in a matter of minutes. Businesses selling event tickets for popular events also have the same needs for seat reservations, for example. When placed in the cart, the seats (or the beer) are “reserved” for that purchaser out of inventory for the set time period – if a purchase is not completed in that time period the beer or the seat falls back into inventory and becomes available for a different purchaser. All automatically.
If you wish to enable Enhanced Inventory, you must first demo this module with a Nexternal Account Representative (see the top of the Settings section in your Order Management System). Once you have done so, you may agree to the terms provided, then enable the feature by checking the Enable Enhanced Inventory checkbox.
In order to use Enhanced Inventory, a given product must be converted from the single-inventory to Enhanced Inventory. Conversion of products to use Enhanced Inventory is typically done one at a time, on a product-by-product basis, by checking the "Use Enhanced Inventory" checkbox on the New / Edit Product screen (Inventory section). However, through a separate inventory configuration screen (Products / Inventory Config), You may convert all products to use the Enhanced Inventory module. A mix of some products using single-inventory, and others using Enhanced Inventory, is permitted; and once enabled, the Enhanced Inventory feature logs transactions for both types of products.
Basic inventory operations (add, remove, transfer) are accessible from the Product Detail screen. Also accessible on that screen, in the Inventory By Location section, are an Advanced Edit button, and Inventory Count button. The Advanced Edit button invokes a screen that allows synchronization of existing inventory to orders; the Inventory Count button invokes a screen that allows entry of physical inventory counts.
Conversion of products to use the Enhanced Inventory module is reversible, i.e., they may be converted back to using single-inventory.
Inventory on-hand quantities are distributed to the default inventory location when a product is converted to Enhanced Inventory usage, and summarized for the reverse conversion. This may or may not be what is desired, so inventory quantities should always be checked for accuracy after any conversion.
A Pickup Location may share inventory with a Ship-From Location at Settings / Pickup Locations.
Once enabled, the Enhanced Inventory module may not be disabled while it is in use at the product level, or while Directed Fulfillment is in use. Likewise, you may not deactivate Inventory Control while Enhanced Inventory is in use.