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How does FoxyCart deal with inventory?

 

THE PHILOSOPHY

Rather than attempt to be a “jack of all trades,” we’d rather be a “master of one.” That “one” for us is the heart of e-commerce: the cart and checkout flow. Many systems try to be all things to all people, and end up doing everything poorly. This happens with CMSfunctionality, email marketing, order management, accounting, and inventory control. So, rather than attempting to create the best inventory control system available (which would be impossible so long as we’re continuing to focus on our core competency), we built FoxyCart to integrate with other systems.

THE POSSIBILITIES

Many of our users have integrated with a variety of warehouse inventory management systems, as well as creating basic inventory control systems using their own CMS’s built in functionality. For example, there is basic inventory functionality built for the MODCMS on our wiki at http://wiki.foxycart.com/integration.

If you’d like to discuss options for your own CMS, or if you’re not using a CMS, feel free to start a discussion in our forum and we would be happy to explore options there.

WHY NOT A “BASIC” SOLUTION?

Often it seems like a “basic” inventory system would be useful for FoxyCart to provide, and while we don’t disagree in the utility of inventory controls, we do disagree with a “basic” solution. If you consider how FoxyCart actually works, a basic system simply wouldn’t suffice.

Since FoxyCart keeps no record of a store’s products or options, there’s no way to add inventory without adding a catalog portion to FoxyCart. Once a product catalog is created, options must then be taken into account. Let’s take a simple T-Shirt product with two options: size and color. Let’s assume 4 sizes and 3 colors. Now our simple inventory system needs to track 12 different sub-items within that product.

When you want to add that product’s “add to cart” form on your site, now you’d need two select boxes with javascript querying inventory levels for each combination and modifying the “add to cart” button. It’s not impossible, but it is limiting, and it isn’t “basic” once you consider the possibilities.

We hope this helps clarify our position on inventory controls. We generally find that if a merchant really needs inventory they already have a system (Quickbooks, a fulfillment company, etc.). If they don’t have existing inventory controls but there is a real need, we recommend exploring the possibilities to ensure a robust solution that can grow with the company. Basic systems integrated with e-commerce systems are very rarely that solution.