Live Inventory Management For eCommerce

Inventory management

Stock coming in, deliveries going out, returns making their way back and products gathering dust in the corner. If you’re planning on kick-starting the new year by getting on top of (and staying on top of) your eCommerce business’ inventory management system, then let eCommerce inventory management expert, Expandly, take you on a journey of discovery and simplicity.

Content

  • warehouse space changingWhat is inventory management?
  • How to use inventory management to maximize your profits
    • Avoiding selling out
    • Avoiding overselling
    • Improving cash flow
    • Fueling business decisions
    • Managing multiple sales channels
  • How to manage your inventory
    • Manual inventory management
    • Inventory management software
  • How to use inventory management to maximize your profits in 2019

What Is Inventory Management?

Inventory management is having visibility of your stock and where it is in the buying journey. This includes:

  • The quantity of available stock (including kits and bundles)
  • The quantity of stock ordered but not yet shipped
  • The cost price of stock
  • The listed price of stock
  • How long stock takes to sell
  • Returns

As an eCommerce business, you want to increase your customer numbers, grow your sales and maximize your profits. Proper inventory management helps achieve this through:

Avoiding selling out

A sure-fire way to send customers running to your competitors is by selling out of products. 72% of online shoppers will visit your competitors if you run out stock and 67% will visit that competitor over you in the future. Good inventory management means that you’re aware of your stock levels and you know at what point you need to order more stock to avoid selling out.

Never overselling

If you thought selling out was bad, wait until you oversell. Overselling is when you list more products that you actually hold, and someone places an order that you can’t fulfill. It’s bad for your brand image, disappointing for your customer sand is likely to result in negative reviews. Maintaining visibility of your inventory ensures that your stock levels are accurate and that you never list products that you cannot supply.

Improving your cash flow

Your inventory is your biggest asset. How you view, manage and maintain it, directly affects your eCommerce business’ cash flow. Inventory management provides a real-time picture of your cash flow, gives you the insight to plan for sales trends, enables you to deliver quicker, and saves you time.

Fuelling your business decisions

Seeing how quickly your stock is moving and where it’s being bought from enables you to make better business decisions in the future. You know what to stock more and less of during different points in the year – maximizing your available warehouse space while minimizing stock that goes into sales.

Selling on multiple sales channels

This is where live inventory management is essential. Multi-channel selling brings customers, sales and profits – meaning that stock is coming in and going out all over the place. Live inventory management enables you to easily handle multiple sales channels by ensuring that they are accurate and up-to-date – keeping you selling, stopping you overselling and giving you more confidence.

Staying ahead of your competition

And finally, always being in stock, having the cash to splash out on marketing and being on multiple sales channels, keeps you always one step ahead of your competition.

How to manage your eCommerce inventory

So, you know the importance of inventory management, but how do you manage your inventory management?

Manual inventory management

Many businesses starting out on their eCommerce journey prefer to manage their inventory themselves – using a mixture of spreadsheets, tables, and post-it notes.

Manual inventory management is a great way to understand the fundamentals of your business and be close to your sales, but it does run the risk of errors, unfulfilled customers, and time consumption. To stay on top of manual inventory management, you’ll need to:

Keep data

Use spreadsheets to keep up-to-date information on your sales, pricing and orders, so that you can strategically plan your stock requirements.

Set up manual re-order alerts

Using your sales data, set a minimum re-order stock level and be acutely aware of when your stock levels reach it.

Efficiently manage your orders

You’ll need to respond quickly to orders, updating your stock levels on all of your sales channels to avoid overselling when you sell out.

Use additional staff during busy periods

Manual inventory management becomes difficult during busy periods, such as the holidays or summer sales. Use temporary resource to ensure that your busy periods do not impact on your inventory management processes.

Inventory management software

eCommerce businesses looking to grow their business onto multiple sales channels often turn to inventory management software. This sits between your sales channels, shipping carriers, and accounting software, allowing sales data to flow between and update each automatically.

The advantages of inventory management software include less time spent on manual tasks, more time to invest in growing your business, less operational costs, more money to spend on marketing, accurate stock levels, and happy customers. It achieves this through:

Live and automatic syncing

Stock is automatically synced across your sales channels, removing the need to update sales channel individually.

Inventory overview

The central platform provides a quick and easy overview of your stock figures. You get a clearer understanding of your business and what is selling well, where and when – allowing you to make better business decisions.

Kits and bundles

E-retailers selling kits and bundles find inventory management software particularly useful because it automatically updates and calculates individual and bundle stock levels, pushing this information to each sales channels.

Stock levels

Managing and updating your inventory automatically means that you can be automatically alerted when you need to re-order stock. You’ll never oversell products again – preventing the need to ring-fence.

Returns

The software also allows you to update your sales channels when additional stock arrives, either new stock or returns – giving all of your customers access to everything.

How To Use Inventory Management To Maximize Your Profits In 2019

Ultimately, good inventory management is good business sense. It helps you to grow your business, satisfy your customers and maximize your profits – and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Inventory management software is one of the top eCommerce tools, software and technologies helping online retailers to grow and you to save time.

About Expandly

Expandly is the multi-channel management platform saving eCommerce businesses time and money while growing their customers and sales.

From the moment you login in the morning, to the moment you ship your orders, Expandly allows you to manage it all from one user-friendly and intuitive platform.

Expandly have kindly offered an exclusive offer to eSellerCafe readers where you can get 3 months for 50% off until Jan 31st using code: S50Piug3m

Avatar
For almost 10 years Dave has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant it was the opportunity to start UnderstandingE with Matt Ogborne showing the world how to utilize Magento as the Third Generation of Multi-Channel software. Dave also recently started a YouTube channel called the Manc Entrepreneur (click YouTube icon link below to watch Dave's videos) where he discusses all things eCommerce and entrepreneurship aimed to help young entrepreneurs get started on their own journey. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include, Technology, Cars and throwing himself off high things into water.

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