Posted by: Megan Castillo
Apparel retailers selling across multiple sales channels realize that managing inventory in one place helps to avoid stock-outs [or double-selling] and lends to better analysis of products in terms of performance, peak selling periods, etc. More importantly, centralizing the management of sales channels allows for more accurate inventory calculations.
When you run a product based business selling apparel and accessories, it’s critical to know when you need to re-order, and you don’t want that to be when you have nothing left to sell! Establishing low level points will give you enough time to re-order before you reach an empty bin and, worse, start disappointing prospective customers with a back order or ‘out of stock’ order status.
If you’re selling your products across multiple sales channels such as your website, Amazon, eBay and more, you need visibility across all channels. Generally speaking, your website analytics will give you statistics regarding products sold directly through your web store. If you also sell through Amazon, for example, your web store won’t have visibility into your Amazon inventory levels from your web store.
By managing inventory across all channels in one solution with a ‘best of breed’ order and inventory management solution, you can rest assured that the ‘available to sell’ levels that are sync’d to each channel are accurate.
According to Software Advice, 95% of the prospective inventory software buyers they spoke with were also first-time buyers. Of that, 36% were using accounting software to manage their inventory, while 35% were using Excel or another spreadsheet method. Another 11% were using what they called “manual methods”, which often referred to the good old pen and paper method. Those buyers using any of the above methods are the kinds of people we speak to daily who love the fact that their business is growing, but hate the headaches this growth brings if they don’t have the proper systems in place. They are looking to ease these pains so they can enjoy their success!
The last thing an online apparel retailer needs is to have too much inventory on hand and too few orders coming in, leading to reduced margins. Excessive inventory ties up cash that could have been invested in enhancing your eCommerce store, or boosting your marketing efforts to drive additional revenue. At the same time, not having enough inventory on hand results in stock-outs, backorders, cancellations, and lost customers. It’s a balancing act and it is a major issue for all companies.
Streamlining essential back-office inventory and order management processes supports current and future growth. With manual processes in place, there tend to be bottlenecks that occur as business starts to take off, hindering growth potential.
Read about more Best Practices in Apparel and Specialty Retailing in this eBook: “Dressing for Success.”