The digitization of processes has made business more efficient, cheaper and more secure and this is no less true in the world of accounting and inventory management.
There is no longer any need for copious documents, paper trails and human resources to keep track of finances and stocks - it can all be done digitally through inventory management software.
Inventory management software can be used to monitor orders, deliveries, and inventory levels. Benefits of using these programs include a reduced chance of stock outages, improved efficiency, better warehouse organisation and reduced expenses.
But not all inventory management software programs are made equal - they can differ greatly in the features they provide. Some will only provide product identification, asset tracking, and order management. Others will include additional features such as basic accounting.
Some of the best inventory management software programs available on the market are:
- EMERGE App
These programs are all comparable in design and fulfil similar needs, but they differ in useability, integration, functionality and pricing. They also cater to slightly different markets.
EMERGE App markets itself as an order, purchase and inventory management software that includes simple accounting functions. They claim to be able to boost the productivity of small businesses and increase profits.
TradeGecko sells itself as a general software tool that can be used to automate time-consuming processes for businesses. They also claim to be able to free up time for businesses to invest into other tasks.
Brightpearl describes itself specifically as a retail management system. They claim to help businesses to manage orders, consumer data and inventory.
After trying all of these, we were able to compare the features they offer and evaluate them. Each had their own strengths and weaknesses, which will be discussed in more detail later, but one in particular stood out to us as offering particularly great value for money: EMERGE App. After trying it out for a few months, here’s what we found:
One of EMERGE App’s strength is the built-in simple accounting functions. The accounting features of EMERGE App allow it to:
- Manage accounts receivables
- Create debit and credit notes
- Generate account statements for customers
- Track payments
- Generate account payable invoices for suppliers
- Create invoices
- Generate reports in multiple currencies
These are just a few of the basic accounting features that EMERGE App provides. The ability to generate reports in different currencies, in particular, was one of the things we liked most.
In fact, this isn’t the only way that EMERGE App is suitable for international transactions. The platform contains international currency and multi-tier tax support and can produce documents like invoices and quotations in any international language of your choice.
If the built-in accounting features isn’t enough for you, EMERGE App nicely integrates with two of the biggest names in web accounting software: QuickBooks Online and Xero. You save time by exporting invoices and credit notes directly from EMERGE App and avoid having to re-enter them again.
Besides the above, there’s a whole lot more it can do to help with your inventory management.
Other Features We Liked
A lot of inventory management systems choose substance over style, but EMERGE App manages both. It’s easy to navigate and well-designed to optimise your workflow. The main menu bar is clearly laid out on the left side and there are module-dependent submenus on the right. Rather than having to switch between modules, they’ve added shortcuts that allow you to complete certain functions quickly even if you’re not in the right module when it makes sense to do so. For example, you can create a shipment directly from a sales order.
B2B E-commerce Platform
In addition to customer and order management features, businesses also get free access to EMERGE Cart – a B2B e-commerce platform. You can use this as a way to provide your customers with a personalised product catalogue and a hassle-free checkout process. It also integrates with EMERGE App so that any purchases are automatically listed in your sales orders.
This is a time-saving feature that wholesalers and distributors can benefit from. The app supports barcode scanning so that you can quickly dispatch your sales orders before you ship them out, for example.
What We Didn’t Like
There’s little not to like about EMERGE App as it’s a solid example of how to do web-based inventory software management right. However, if we had to select some areas for improvement, they would be:
EMERGE App has a rather limited e-commerce integration list as its focus is on achieving operational efficiency. So, if you’re an online retailer looking for software that has broad integration with lots of online marketplaces and e-commerce stores, then it may not be the right choice for you.
EMERGE App’s support is delivered by email and chat. This means that you’ll have to send an email or message to describe your issue and then wait for a reply. However, their friendly chat support is very responsive when they’re online, but some people might prefer to have a direct toll-free phone number to call and describe their issues.
How It Compares to Other Software
As mentioned earlier, two other inventory management software options are TradeGecko and BrightPearl. To see why these missed out on the top spot, let’s start by looking at the things that differentiate them.
EMERGE App is designed squarely with the end-user in mind. It’s obvious that much thought has been put into the user experience and workflow. It’s packed with clever time-saving tips and tricks. Quickly create a shipment or drop shipping purchase directly from a sales order, for example. Importers will love automatic calculation of landed costs for purchases while exporter will appreciate automatic CBM calculation from packing dimensions.
After interacting with the EMERGE App support team, they’re known not to turn down any reasonable customization requests. In fact, they don’t charge extra for custom development work so long as it is feasible to implement in their web-based software, and if you’re willing to commit to an annual subscription in exchange for it. We appreciate their customer-focused attitude and willingness to please customers here.
TradeGecko and BrightPearl both offer web-based software and a mobile app, but EMERGE App doesn’t. At present, EMERGE App only offer web-based software but they’re rolling out mobile apps in the future. We feel this is not a major disadvantage as something complex like inventory management should rightfully belong to a mobile tablet, laptop or desktop in your workflow.
Large Businesses/Enterprise Customers
EMERGE App is more suitable for micro to small and medium-sized businesses, whereas TradeGecko and BrightPearl may appeal to larger businesses and enterprise customers. Nonetheless, EMERGE App is squarely focused on its core customer base and it understands their needs.
TradeGecko and BrightPearl have a broader catalogue of features integrated in their software than EMERGE App, which offers more focused features. Some features which EMERGE App lacks include availability management, CRM integration and cataloging. But, ultimately, all this depends on your business needs as one size does not fit all.
Despite some disadvantages, EMERGE App remains our app of choice due to the features which we mentioned earlier in the article, such as its user interface, time-saving workflow, customer service and its price.
TradeGecko costs a minimum of $79 for a lite version, and the premium version costs $799 when billed annually. BrightPearl doesn’t give set prices, but only offers quotes on request. As EMERGE App starts at just $24/month and offers prices up front, we feel that they offer the best value for money and most transparency in pricing.
In conclusion, whilst TradeGecko and BrightPearl are still good options and have certain advantages over EMERGE App, on balance, they just didn’t provide the same value for money that EMERGE App did. The huge difference in price ultimately swayed our judgment.
Pricing aside, EMERGE App is user-friendly and easy enough to pick it up and use with minimal training and onboarding. It also bundles a lot of features for the money, including a B2B e-commerce platform and deep features for distributors, importers and exporters.
EMERGE App looks like it’s shaping up to be one of the best inventory management systems out there for small and medium businesses around the world. Their pricing is affordable, they offer lots of features, and there’s even a free trial for those that want to test out the platform.