You need an ERP system for your business if you have a large stock, whether you are now online distributors or retailers. The optimal merchandise management system supports you from incoming goods through warehouse management to the sale of your product. Your product data is available to you in all business processes. Please note, EPR can handle several corporate management systems, such as human resources management system and information management system.

A good merchandise management system offers you interfaces to other programs and is mostly open-source. For example, you can integrate your online shop system or your accounting program. In addition, your inventory control system creates extensive statistics and gives you an overview of your storage at the push of a button. Due to various key figures, you are always able to see whether your inventory management is working efficiently.

What types of inventory management systems are there?

Merchandise management systems are differentiated between open and closed systems, although there are further subdivisions in inventory management systems .

Open merchandise management systemsIn an open merchandise management system, only incoming and outgoing goods are recorded.
Closed merchandise management systemsWith closed systems, the entire flow of goods in all areas is recorded in terms of value and quantity. As a result, a closed system is associated with increased personnel and organizational effort, but also offers numerous advantages and simplifications.
Integrated merchandise management systemsAn integrated merchandise management system is a closed system with extended functions and a link with different operational units. The units recorded in the merchandise management system are linked to the operative business, such as sales outlets.
Multi-level merchandise management systemsIn a multi-level merchandise management system, the retail and wholesale levels are mapped with their interactions, which means that larger trading companies have the opportunity to map the merchandise management system in relation to the head office, the branches, and regional offices.

There are some other differentiating features in which merchandise management systems differ; these features depend on the standardization of the software. The reason behind this dependency is standard solutions based on the modular principle and individual solutions that are precisely tailored to one’s company. An individual solution costs significantly more than standard software.

However, the specific solution is tailored to your company and your corporate structures. On the other hand, the standard software can be implemented more cheaply and faster, but then your company processes must be adapted to the software and not the other way around.

Which ERP system is suitable for you?

Virtually every company that sells products comes to the point where an inventory management system is inevitable. But the offer is confusing and large. To make matters worse, there are overlaps with ERP systems, which makes the selection even more complicated. A wrong decision and the choice of the wrong merchandise management system can also have serious economic consequences.

As soon as you have made a selection, you have to introduce the system into your company and align your work processes accordingly. It is also necessary that you train your employees accordingly.

Before you start researching software providers and carry out a provider comparison, you should first consider whether individual software or standard software is better for you. You should also think about where the inventory control system should be saved: on your own server or in the cloud?

It is best to use the following step-by-step guide with which you can strategically choose a suitable inventory management system:

  1. Define your requirements in a specification sheet
  2. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your processes
  3. Define measurable and clear goals for the introduction of the inventory control system
  4. Think about which requirements from the specification sheet are indispensable and which requirements you can do without because they are not that important
  5. Also pay attention to recommendations and, for example, the reputation of the software provider.

Free inventory control systems

Some merchandise management systems are offered free of charge as open source solutions or as freeware. Sometimes there is also a free basic version and only extended modules are chargeable. There are often restrictions on the functions or the number of users. The following free inventory control system providers are known:

JTL Wawi,JTL Wawi is a free inventory control system optimized for the e-commerce sector. It contains some useful functions, such as article management, warehouse management, and a connection to various online marketplaces. The structure is modular and you can purchase modules for a fee and thus optimize your merchandise management system.
Zoho Inventory,Zoho Inventory is a software application for your warehouse management and for your order management. With this inventory control system, you can monitor your stock levels and thus have an overview, from the order to the delivery of the goods. Some interfaces to well-known online shops are included and you can also use various functions for order processing. The basic version is free.
Vario,Vario is a merchandise management system that is ideal for small to medium-sized companies. The focus of this merchandise management software is on e-commerce, but other companies with a multi-channel approach can also use the software. The distribution of the products can be done online and offline and the structure of the software is modular. This allows you to expand the free basic version with some chargeable functions, for example, modules for operational processes such as controlling or financial accounting are possible.
OpenZ,OpenZ is open-source software that contains various modules for the areas of inventory management, production, financial accounting, project management, and customer relationship management. A free basic version and a free test phase are offered.

Supplier of inventory management systems

The range of fee-based merchandise management systems is huge, so the choice is not easy. The following software providers are among the best known:


The sevDesk software is accounting software for startups, self-employed and freelancers. A merchandise management system is also included. Further features are, for example, that you can use it to do your bookkeeping in compliance with GoBD, you can scan receipts via the app, and manage your bookkeeping automatically. Intuitive billing and online banking are also integrated.

Lexware inventory management

Lexware ERP is an ERP system that has been developed for small and medium-sized companies. The software also includes professional warehouse management with which you can optimize all warehouse management processes. For example, the movements of goods can be recorded and you always have an overview of your current inventory. There is also customer management, goods procurement, and order processing.

Sage 50 eCommerce

With Sage 50 eCommerce you can set up your shop and the areas of financial accounting and inventory management are also integrated. The program can be used without special software knowledge and you can create a professional online shop with this software. The merchandise management system is linked directly to the shop.

D & G mail-order system VS4

The software D&G mail-order system VS4 is a merchandise management system that is suitable for e-commerce and traditional shops or mail orders. The software contains many helpful functions: article management, data management, accounting, shipping management, and purchasing. The software can be connected to various shop systems and integration is quick and easy.