I spent years building software so I always appreciate any effort put forth to improve processes, especially if it can save me time and energy!  I decided to give Shop The Roe a whirl a couple of weeks ago. I had been searching for a better way to do inventory management. I had been using an excel spreadsheet that I had tweaked to manage my inventory quite effectively but there were a few things that it could not do that Shop The Roe can do for me easily!

I had been thinking about taking the STR leap but I did not right away because I was already using a post solution to schedule my posts and I thought it was a decent solution. By choosing to use STR, I would have to modify my current pattern of posting and I was not sure if I was ready to do that.  Upon investigation of STR, I realized getting a new process in place would help me mix things up in my group (which I think is important!) and save me some time. Plus, it was cheaper!

The biggest barrier to entry is adding your inventory into the system. It is quite tedious and requires you to be organized with your pictures and inventory prior to starting.  Luckily, I had just participated in a multi-consultant sale and I was on a tight timeline of getting everything figured out and added in two days! Sometimes I work best under pressure.

Adding inventory is quite simple though tedious.  You select the style, size, add description, associate a picture and enter in quantity, click add and do it again. And again. And again. Until your complete inventory is uploaded.  There absolutely could be a faster way to do this but once you are done with your first huge import, you only have to add the new items that come as they come in. Even since I started writing this article and right now, there has been an improvement to this process by the simple addition of the “Submit & Add Another” button. Which brings me to my main point as to why I suggest you use STR, they listen and they care! Not only do they have a roadmap in place that allows us as customers to request additions and vote on what we want to see sooner rather than later, they are adding things as they are requested if they can do it without huge programming changes and if they make sense. For example, someone made the suggestion via the Facebook group to add another category for our leggings so we can differentiate quickly between solid and print leggings.  Some of the multi-consultant groups are so large that they have separate albums for prints and solids. This suggestion was implemented THE NEXT DAY. It was just a few simple database entries and it could be quickly implemented so it was.  Fantastic improvements and speeds that are unheard of in corporate America.

The best part about STR (besides giving me back some of that precious time) is the fact that I cannot oversell assuming that your data entry is sound. Has it happened to me since using STR, yes. It is because of my bad data entry, YES! However, since my initial upload, I have been MUCH more diligent about adding duplicates in and hopefully that will not be an issue again.

I have even been able to add my inventory to multiple groups at the same time knowing that if something sells in one, it will not sell in another due to the claiming process.

There are some downsides to address, things that people will often bring up when discussing whether to use a third-party software such as this. One argument is that they do not want their customer’s data stored elsewhere. If you are using a Google Form, then that is not an argument you can make. Your customer’s data is being stored by Google.  Does your customer put their email address in your Facebook group (a practice we have actually been asked to stop doing), then Facebook is storing that data.  At least this way you can search through your data, view history with your customer and keep track of your inventory all in one place!

I used STR the whole month of June and I am not looking back! I can easily see how much I sold, what inventory I have and what inventory needs to be purchased. Sure it’s not perfect, but you would be hardpressed to find a solution that is, especially one that is so immature as far as number of life cycles. So bravo Sonnie and Mitch for championing a great piece of software and a great cause! If you are even remotely interested in Shop the Roe, check out their website at http://shopetheroe.com or their Facebook group!