A review of desktop inventory management software Fishbowl Warehouse.
Last updated 12o July 2020
4.2 Stackupp rating
Price on application
Best forsmall and medium-sized retailers that are looking for a cost-effective desktop solution with a large feature-set.
Fishbowl Warehouse is a popular inventory management solution. A few things set it apart from the majority of its competitors and, depending on what you need, it could be exactly the solution you’re looking for.
It should be stated at the outset that Fishbowl Warehouse is a desktop application. If you prefer cloud-based platforms, then it’s not for you. Equally, Fishbowl offers a separate product for manufacturers called “Fishbowl Manufacturing”, with tools that aren’t included in its inventory-management-focused counterpart.
Fishbowl is also one of the few software developers to offer lifetime licences, instead of working on a subscription model. If you’re looking to minimize costs, you will likely find this appealing. But remember that you will have to pay for support and updates after the first year.
you’re a small or medium-sized retailer looking for a relatively inexpensive solution with a brilliant set of features. You also need to be happy to run Fishbowl on your own servers.
Fishbowl Warehouse is built with a “traditional” desktop design. The interface has a menu at the top which links to separate dashboards for “Materials”, “Purchases”, “Reports”, and so on.
The interface isn’t as minimal and intuitive as some of its cloud-based alternatives, and there’s definitely a learning curve. That said, it’s not overly complex, and Fishbowl provides ample support, through both onboarding assistants and documentation.
“The implementer that worked with me did a great job and we got a very personalized experience and a lot of up front training and support.”
“It works. As advertised and better. Some companies embellish the quality and quantity of their features. Not Fishbowl. They do everything they say and more.”
“It’s a little clunky to use, could definitely be a bit more user friendly. There is a bit of a learning curve and does take time to train new employees.”
Fishbowl Warehouse is one of the most feature-rich solutions we’ve reviewed on Stackupp. It has all the functionality you would expect, including order and delivery management, analytics, automation, an extensive library of integrations, barcode scanning, POS, payment processing, on-site warehouse tracking, and more.
Fishbowl Warehouse was problematic in just a handful of areas. The analytics tools could be improved with more advanced reports. Currently, only limited sales and inventory tracking are possible. And very few integrations with third-party marketplaces, like Etsy, Wish, Walmart, and so on, are included. If any of these things is a make-or-break issue for you, then you’ll probably have to look elsewhere. Finally, keep in mind that Fishbowl offers a separate platform aimed exclusively at manufacturers. The “Warehouse” version alone isn’t suitable for tasks like tracking raw materials, managing parts, organizing stages of production, and so on.
The excellent multi-device compatibility is also worth noting. Fishbowl has built dedicated integrations to enable mobile use on Android, iPhone, and Microsoft Surface. And while it is a desktop app, users can access the platform from any device with the “Fishbowl Anywhere” tool. There’s also the option of “Fishbowl Hosting”, which allows users to store all their files on fully-secure servers. If you opt for this, you’ll still have to install software on your own hard drive but all your data will be looked after.
Fishbowl doesn’t disappoint on the integrations front. Its library is one of the most comprehensive that we’ve seen, and includes connectors for a range of third-party apps from sales automation to accounting. If we had to find one fault, it would be that there’s only limited support for third-party marketplaces like Etsy and Wish.
Let’s kick off with accounting. Fishbowl is incredibly popular among QuickBooks users, and provides dedicated integrations for both the desktop and online versions. Fishbowl Warehouse is designed to work seamlessly with Quickbooks, filling in many of the functionality gaps that retailers require. Integrations are also available for Xero, Avalara, and Reckon users.
Fishbowl syncs with numerous ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, 3dcart, Zen Cart, and others. Retailers can also take advantage of marketplace integrations for Amazon and eBay.
So what about shipping? Fishbowl has clearly dedicated a lot of time to building out its shipping tools and provides an extensive array of integrations, with the likes of FedEx, DHL, ShipStation, and UPS covered.
A number of in-house integrations which extend the functionality of the app’s core feature-set are also provided. Even though Fishbowl is a desktop app, “Fishbowl Anywhere” enables users to access the interface using an internet connection from most devices, including Apple and Android phones.
Finally, Fishbowl offers its own POS system, employee time tracking tools, EDI (electronic data interchange), and link-ups for Zoho and Salesforce.
Evaluating the pricing of Fishbowl Warehouse is a little tricky. It’s one of the few apps that doesn’t operate a subscription or software-as-a-service model, making comparisons with competitors pretty much redundant.
Although Fishbowl does have a high up-front cost - plans start at $4,395 with additional fees for extra users/licenses - once you’ve purchased the software, you own it outright. In the longer-term, this can be significantly more cost-effective than paying a monthly fee.
Just remember that you only get support, training, and updates for one year. You’ll have to pay for a one, two, or three-year package after that.
The help and support package provided by Fishbowl is fairly comprehensive. When you purchase a license, you’ll have access to customer support for one year, after which you’ll need to pay extra, including for software updates.
Support is available via email (6am - 6pm MST), phone (6am - 6pm MST), and online chat (8am - 5pm). It’s possible to make an unlimited amount of phone calls under ten minutes but there is an allowance for calls over ten minutes. Additional support options are also available, such as access to a training assistant for help getting set up.
The documentation and training videos are extensive and straightforward.
Fishbowl Warehouse fills a unique gap in the market. It’s a desktop solution for small and medium-sized retailers that need access to a powerful array of features. Functionality covers everything you would expect and more. Standout features include the extensive library of integrations, multi-device access, and superb customer support.
If you prefer to own your software outright, then Fishbowl Warehouse is a great option. Over time, you will likely save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Just be prepared to handle the backend side of things yourself. Or you can, of course, always opt to store your data on Fishbowl servers instead for an extra cost.
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