I purchased Caleb Roth’s Tracking Spreadsheet and have been running it side by side with InventoryLab. In this post, I’m going to compare the two programs.
List, Label & Ship
InventoryLab: This program lets you list your products, print labels to your DYMO and create your shipping plan in almost one seamless step.
Tracking Spreadsheet: The Tracking Spreadsheet doesn’t have the ability to list, print labels and create a shipping plan. Therefore, you’ll do those tasks in a different program or a combination of other programs. Options are Caleb Roth’s free Listing Spreadsheet, Amazon Seller Central, ScanLister, InventoryLab and AccelerList.
Then after you list your products and finish your shipping plan, you take a few extra steps to get your inventory information into the Tracking Spreadsheet. Fortunately, there are step-by-step videos on how to do that and it’s pretty easy.
When you first sign up for the Tracking Spreadsheet, you might want to transfer over all of your listing data from the past. I chose to transfer over my InventoryLab data and though it was easy, it took me a few hours to do so. But after that, it doesn’t take much time to transfer over your current listings.
A Few Random Side Notes
I’m still using InventoryLab because my annual subscription doesn’t expire until July 18th. However, I purchased ScanLister because I wanted to see how it worked with the Tracking Spreadsheet.
I have not used the Listing Spreadsheet or AccelerList, so I can’t comment if they’re easy to use or not. However, here are a couple of videos to learn more about them and how they work with the Tracking Spreadsheet:
I don’t recommend listing with Amazon Seller Central because it doesn’t give you the fields to enter the buy cost or the store name. This means that you’ll have to manually add in that information into the Tracking Spreadsheet.
If you do choose to use Amazon Seller Central for your listing, then you should code your MISKUs so that you can quickly find the buy costs and store names to input into the spreadsheet.
One feature that I like about InventoryLab is that you’ll see which warehouses that your products are going to when you list your items. I have always used Private Workflow and even though the warehouse destinations can change, it didn’t happen very often.
The other feature that I like with InventoryLab is that you are able to see your potential profit of the contents of each shipping box. This has always helped me in deciding when to ship my products.
With ScanLister, you list your products and then upload them to Amazon. Then you create your shipping plan inside of Amazon Seller Central.
Good News: ScanLister was just updated so you can now print labels to your DYMO 450 printer.
Profit and Loss Statement
Both InventoryLab and the Tracking Spreadsheet will create an Income Statement for you.
InventoryLab automatically syncs with Amazon so you don’t need to manually transfer over your Amazon sales data.
With the Tracking Spreadsheet, you’ll need to manually transfer over your Amazon sales data. But this is a very simple process and takes less than 5 minutes to do. There is a step-by-step video on how to do this.
I like that the Tracking Spreadsheet allows you to choose custom date ranges for your Profit and Loss Statement. Since I do Profit First, I need my COGS amount for each disbursement period and the Tracking Spreadsheet makes it easy to get that.
InventoryLab doesn’t allow you to select a custom date range, so I always had to download a spreadsheet and then delete the rows (products) that were sold either before or after my disbursement period.
Both programs have reports, but rather than listing all of them, I’m going to just mention a few:
Profitability by Individual Sale: This is in InventoryLab and it’s really neat to see how much you made or lost on each individual sale.
Sale Rank Analysis: This is in the Tracking Spreadsheet and I learned that most of the products that I sold are ranked between 10,000 and 100,000.
Monthly Metrics Report: I love the Tracking Spreadsheet’s Monthly Metrics report that gives you graphs where you can quickly see the number of units listed, percent sold, average list price and average sales rank by month.
Scoutify is a scanning app that you use with your retail arbitrage trips and it’s included with your InventoryLab subscription.
The Tracking Spreadsheet doesn’t come with a scanning app. However, there are free or low-cost scanning apps that you can use. They are Amazon’s free app, ScanPower’s free app and Profit Bandit which is $9.99 per month. I used Profit Bandit in the past and prefer it over Scoutify.
InventoryLab is $49 per month or $480 per year with an annual subscription.
The Tracking Spreadsheet has a one-time fee of $99 before July 1, 2016. The price will go up to $120 on July 1, 2016.
Once you purchase the Tracking Spreadsheet, you can use the Listing Spreadsheet and one of the free scanning apps so that there aren’t any additional costs to you. However, even if you decide to use ScanLister and Profit Bandit, you’ll still save money.
- The Tracking Spreadsheet: $120 one time fee ($99 before July 1!)
- ScanLister: $179 one time fee. They also have a $14.95 monthly option.
- Profit Bandit: 12 months (approx $120)
- 1st Year Cost: $419
InventoryLab is $480 (annually) or $588 (monthly) for your first year.
So during the first year, the cost of InventoryLab isn’t too much more than the combined cost of the Tracking Spreadsheet, ScanLister and Profit Bandit. However in the 2nd year, you’ll see a big savings with the Tracking Sheet combination over InventoryLab.
Of course, the prices will differ depending on which programs you use, your subscription plan and also any future price increases.
Which Should You Use?
InventoryLab and the Tracking Spreadsheet are completely different programs, so it’s hard to give an apples to apples comparison. With InventoryLab, you do get more features, but also a higher price tag.
I mainly used InventoryLab for the COGS tracking, Scoutify and for listing my products. With that said, I only used Scoutify because it was included with InventoryLab. Also, before signing up with InventoryLab, I never had any issues with listing and printing labels inside of Amazon Seller Central. My primary reason for switching over to InventoryLab was for the COGS tracking.
Now that I know that the Tracking Spreadsheet calculates COGS accurately, I plan on cancelling my InventoryLab subscription when it expires. Then I’ll start using ScanLister and the Tracking Spreadsheet. At that time, I’ll also go back to Profit Bandit.
Since I’m quick at listing and slow at sourcing, prepping and shipping, I feel that it’s in my best interest to switch to a lower-cost listing and COGS tracking system and spend more on sourcing and prepping tools/services.
There’s nothing wrong with using Amazon Seller Central for listing and using your own spreadsheet for your COGS tracking. I did that for my first 18 months as a Seller. But once your volume increases in both units purchased and units sold, then the time to maintain the COGS tracking spreadsheet does increase. When you’re ready to save time, then I do believe that both the ScanLister/Tracking Sheet Combo and InventoryLab are both great alternatives.
Here are links to each of them:
Tracking Spreadsheet If you’re interested in purchasing it, be sure to do so before the price goes up on July 1.
InventoryLab: They have a 30-day free trial so you can test it out before you commit to the larger price tag.
ScanLister: When I joined, I signed up for the 8-day free trial included with the monthly subscription. Then before my trial period ended, I cancelled the monthly subscription and then later purchased it.
Important Note: Both the Tracking Spreadsheet and ScanLister can be used with any category. On the sales pages, they may look to be more book-oriented.
If you have any questions about any of the programs, please let me know in the comment form below or on my Facebook page.