Getting Started With Multi-Channel Inventory Management
A lot of consumers are selling products across multiple platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon. On top of that, they might have their own Shopify store that requires managing inventory. Multi-channel inventory management is critical to the success of an eCommerce business. Why? Because overstock or out-of-stock items can cost a company a lot of money. How much money, you ask?
Well, if you have an overstocked item that never sells, this can become “dead stock.” The cost of dead stock depends on how much a company has. To determine the specific losses for an overstocked product, calculate how much of the product you have multiplied by how much it costs to stock each item. You’ll also want to calculate any excess insurance or debts against the products, the cost of employees, and storage space for the items. As you can see, overstocking inventory can come at a considerable loss.
But what about out-of-stock items?
“Stockout” items, i.e., this product is unavailable at this time, can have quite an impact on a business. It means a customer order can’t be fulfilled. It means a customer shops somewhere else because they don’t want to wait. There are times when a customer will backorder an item because, perhaps, this item is out of stock everywhere. In this scenario, customer satisfaction will likely start declining as they have to wait. We live in an instant gratification world, especially with a wide array of products at our fingertips at all times.
Matters get even trickier when your inventory isn’t up-to-date, and a customer orders a supposedly “in stock” item. What now? That order will either need to be canceled or back-ordered. Mismanagement of inventory costs nearly 2 trillion dollars for businesses every year. Never fear, though. There are ways to bypass this problem and achieve your business goals in a more efficient way.
So how do you develop an effective multi-channel inventory management solution?
Say goodbye to manual, pen-and-paper style inventory and logistical tracking. Your time is worth more than the errors and slowness that arise from these outdated business strategies. And say hello to multi-channel inventory management solutions through the use of automation and innovative technology.
Fulfilling orders across multiple channels requires the knowledge of what you have in stock, where those items are located, and automatically shipping inventory to the consumer from the warehouse that is closest to them.
Solution 1: Synchronization and real-time updates
Without real-time updates of what inventory you have available and where, you’re still living in the age of dinosaurs who manually track all of their products. You want your solutions to sync available inventory and its location automatically across channels. If someone purchases your last item through Etsy, you want that information to update in your Shopify store as well, so you don’t end up with costly returns and unhappy patrons. Utilizing smart integrations means that you’ll be able to see all of your inventory at a glance in a single place. Synchronization and real-time updates can alert you when a product is low or out-of-stock, when a purchase is made, which warehouse that order should be shipped from, and so much more.
Solution 2: Automatically locate the closest inventory to the customer
Shipping costs add up when you’re trying to send goods across the country (or world). If you have multiple shipping locations, you want your inventory management solution to intelligently route products to customers in the shortest distance and span of time. Fast shipping makes a happy customer. Closer shipping makes a happier bottom line for your business. Effective inventory management means that your integrations can automatically locate the closest inventory to the customer so that you can focus on growing your business.
Solution 3: Automate the entire fulfillment process if you can
While inventory management involves keeping track of your inventory in real-time, this isn’t where the process ends. Automate the fulfillment process to streamline orders that come in, fulfill orders, and send out tracking numbers in a more efficient way. In the eCommerce world, the saying is true: Time is money. Lost time is less money, and gained time is more money. It’s that simple. Automate the entire fulfillment process if you can and watch your numbers soar. Automated and smart solutions free up precious minutes that could be used on other ventures within your business to help you grow.
Managing Inventory Just Got Easier
Streamlining inventory management and order fulfillment requires automating the entire fulfillment process. While that might seem daunting, it’s really not. When you automate the fulfillment process, you can free up your time to focus on growth opportunities. Smart multi-channel inventory management solutions aren’t the way of the future. They’re the way of now. By automating the fulfillment process, you are “closing the loop” through automated tracking, syncing, and ultimately, improving customer satisfaction. Take your business to the next level with the right integrations for your business needs. You won’t regret it.
Tags: fulfillment, inventory, ecommerce, ecommerce tips