Inventory Source Review 2018

By jjarapa | Last Updated: September 9, 2018
Inventory Source

Table of Contents:

Inventory Source Overview

Founded in 2002, Inventory Source claims to be the “world’s largest and longest-running dropship data solution provider.” They provide automation tools that make working with over 150+ suppliers a breeze. And thanks to worry-free dropship feed and order management tools, suppliers have it easy, too.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Read on to learn why Inventory Source is one of the dropshipping industry’s best!

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Inventory Source?

Pros

  • Free to Start: Inventory Source is 100% free to start. You can create an account and start browsing their supplier directory immediately. This way you can assess which supplier is best to partner with before even paying a single dime.
  • Connect with Suppliers Directly: Inventory Source lets you deal with suppliers directly. It’s easier to get access to exclusive brands, volume discounts, specials, and more.
  • Large Product Selection: Inventory Source houses 150+ suppliers and over a million products. Plus, they can also integrate with any supplier outside of their current network.
  • Full Automation: Inventory Source automatically uploads products and syncs with your supplier’s inventory. Even better, the platform can also automate tracking and order updates.
  • No Price Markup: At Inventory Source, middlemen markups are a thing of the past. You get products at a supplier’s prices.

Cons

  • Integration Fees Can Add Up Fast: Some of Inventory Source’s plans only allow you to link one supplier feed to one sales channel. You’ll need to pay an additional fee though. And that’s each time you want to add another integration or sell on various marketplaces!
  • Order Limitations: For Full Automation subscribers, orders are capped monthly. If you exceed your monthly allotment, you’d have to pay an extra fee.
  • Lacks Market Research Tools: Unlike many of its competitors, Inventory Source does not offer market research features. This means you won’t be able to gauge how popular a product is or how your competition is doing.

How Much is Inventory Source? What Service Does It Provide?

For Retailers

Inventory Source offers retailers two services with three subscription tiers each. The Inventory Automation service offers automatic product uploads and supplier inventory syncing. This means that you’d still have to process orders and take care of tracking manually. But of the two services Inventory Source provides, this is the cheaper option.

Here’s a quick overview of features:

A quick overview of features for retailers

And here’s what you get with each subscription tier:

Inventory Automation

Standard Plan

Inventory Automation

Professional Plan

Inventory Automation

Enterprise Plan

Price$50/mo.$125/mo.$249/mo.
# of Integrations116
Cost of Additional Integrations$50/mo.$25/mo.$25/mo.
SKU Limit100,000250,0001,000,000
Daily Syncs2x/dayAs soon as suppliers update feedAs soon as suppliers update feed
On-Demand Syncs1x/day4x/dayUnlimited
Pre-Integrated Suppliers180+180+
Custom/Private Suppliers
Platform IntegrationsStore & MarketplaceAll E-commerce PlatformsAll Platforms + API Access
Inventory Management Tools
SupportStandardDedicated Account ManagerDedicated Account Manager

 

If you have more cash to spare, the Full Automation service allows automation on a much wider scale. Inventory syncing, order processing and shipment tracking are all fully automated. It also provides the following perks:

  • Complete Product Data Uploads: All product uploads come with important data such as titles, images, descriptions, categories, weights, and more.
  • Easily Import New Products: You can set alerts to notify you whenever new products pop up in your supplier’s feed. You can also set it up so that new products are automatically priced and categorized upon import.
  • Build and Customize Automation Rules: Inventory Source allows you to create automated rules that let you list products more efficiently. Add rules to pricing, filters, categories, and more.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what you’ll get with each Full Automation subscription tier:

Full Automation

Standard Plan

Full Automation

Professional Plan

Full Automation

Enterprise Plan

Price$175/mo.$225/mo.$399/mo.
Dropship Orders500/mo.1,500/mo.3,000/mo.
# of Integrations116
Cost of Additional Integrations$50/mo.$50/mo.$50/mo.
SKU Limit100,000250,0001,000,000
Daily Syncs2x/dayAs soon as suppliers update feedAs soon as suppliers update feed
On-Demand Syncs1x/day4x/dayUnlimited
Pre-Integrated Suppliers180+180+
Custom/Private Suppliers
Platform IntegrationsStore & MarketplaceAll E-commerce PlatformsAll Platforms + API Access
Inventory Automation Features
Automatic Ordering Processing/Routing/Verifying
Auto-Sync Shipment Tracking
SupportDedicated Account ManagerDedicated Account ManagerDedicated Account Manager

 

Which Service is Better?

It depends on your needs. While Inventory Automation may not be as feature-packed as Full Automation, it is much cheaper in comparison. And it’s not like you’re not getting automation features at all. Automatic product uploads and inventory syncing are both part of the package. Yes—that’s a bit limited compared to the Full Automation service, but it should be enough for most retailers.

Of course, Full Automation will give you a much better experience across the board. If you have the dough, being able to automate large chunks of the process is a godsend. Not only does it make running an online store ten times easier, it leaves you free to focus on other aspects of your online business.

But what if you haven’t really bought into Inventory Source’s proposition? Not a problem! Creating an Inventory Source account is 100% free so you can browse their entire supplier network before anything else. Plus, you can also request a demo if you want to see the platform in action. These should help you decide if Inventory Source is worth it or not.

What’s the Catch?

Inventory Source’s large supplier network is one of its greatest strengths. It allows retailers to really dig in and find the best partners for their business. But there’s one problem: you can only integrate with a limited number of suppliers.

For example, Standard plans only allow you to partner with one supplier and upload their products to one sales channel. If you plan on partnering with more than one supplier, or if you want to sell on more than one sales channel, you’d have to pay additional fees. Under their most basic subscription plan, you’re looking at an extra $50/month for every supplier you add!

But let’s be honest. Not every retailer that signs up for Inventory Source is looking to partner with multiple suppliers. One supplier should be enough, especially for those just starting out. What most retailers should have unrestricted access to is market research tools. Something that Inventory Source does not offer, unfortunately.

And then there’s the fact that monthly dropship orders are capped. It only affects Full Automation subscribers though. The Standard plan starts you off with 500 orders (plus a 100-order buffer). If you exceed the limit, you need to pay $50 for an extra 500-order allotment. The good news? Inventory Source can give you custom quotes if you need to accommodate more orders.

For Suppliers

Being part of Inventory Source’s supplier network means you get to enjoy the following perks:

  • Large Retailer Network: Easily connect with thousands of retailers.
  • Easy Integration: Inventory Source lets you integrate with your current processes easily. You can sync your inventory, pull orders, post shipment tracking, and more without changing your entire workflow.
  • Automation: Inventory Source’s automation tools does a lot of the work for you. No need to manually upload and sync your product feed—these are automatically taken care of! Even better, orders and shipment tracking are all done automatically as well.
  • Connect with Dealer Stores: With Inventory Source, it’s easy to get your products into more than 25 ecommerce platforms and marketplaces.

A quick description of features for suppliers

What Products Can I Sell Using Inventory Source?

Inventory Source offers over 2 million products across 25 different categories. You can sell home decors, gardening tools, soaps, costumes, office & school supplies, groceries and many more!

Some of their most popular niches include:

  • Adult Products & Lingerie
  • Baby, Kids & Toys
  • Bath, Body & Fragrances
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Fashion Apparel & Jewelry
  • Fishing & Hunting
  • Pet Products & Supplies
  • Survival, Tactical & Camping
  • Vitamins & Supplements

How Do I Sell Products Using Inventory Source?

Getting Started

  1. Login to your Inventory Source account
  2. Browse the supplier directory
  3. Carefully choose the best supplier for your business
  4. Once you’ve decided which supplier to go with, click on the “Integrate this Supplier” button
  5. Select your sales channel of choice
  6. Choose your automation plan (if you haven’t already)
  7. Review order details
  8. Complete the purchase!

Sales Channel Integrations

Currently, Inventory Source works with 33 sales channels. These include some of the most popular e-commerce sites and marketplaces, such as:

  • 3DCart
  • Amazon
  • Bigcommerce
  • eBay
  • Magento
  • Rakuten
  • Shopify
  • Volusion
  • Walmart

WooCommerce. But if you’re using less popular sales channels like Channel Advisor, CS Cart, Ecomdash, Ecwid and the like, they have that as well.

Okay, but what if Inventory Source doesn’t integrate with your sales channel of choice? No problem! They also accept requests for custom supplier integrations.

The catch is you must be subscribed to either one of their two Enterprise plans. Not everyone will need those extra integrations, but it’s good to know the option is there if you do.

Order Tracking and Fulfillment

Under the Inventory Automation service, order processing is all done manually. So, when you receive an order, you will have to verify it and send the order details to your supplier.

If you’re subscribed to the Full Automation service, things become much easier. Inventory Source handles nearly everything automatically—from verifying to processing and even tracking. But, if you want, you can also manually review each order that comes in and have the system take care of the rest. Your call!

Does Inventory Source Ship Internationally?

It depends on the supplier. Some ship to the US only, while some ship internationally. Each supplier has their own set of rules, so make sure you review their profiles before partnering up!

How Do I Contact Inventory Source?

Customer Support

With email and live chat support, Inventory Source is just a few clicks and keyboard strokes away. And if you want to talk to a person, you can also schedule a phone call. Also, for most plans, a dedicated account manager is assigned to each retailer.

Self-Help Sections

If you’d rather sort things out yourself, Inventory Source also provides several self-help options. Guides, informational articles, and a comprehensive FAQ section.

Conclusion

Regardless of what you’re paying monthly, Inventory Source ensures a smooth dropshipping experience. From easy inventory management to custom integrations, they provide the tools that can take your online store to new heights.

It goes without saying, however, that those who can afford the Full Automation plans will reap the most rewards. Those with small budgets may find extra integrations and order allotments expensive. sBut if you can work with the limitations, cheaper plans are still worth looking into.

The Bottom Line: Inventory Source is not without its faults, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons!