Accurate Inventory Visibility is Key to eCommerce Success

Posted by Fred Lizza, CEO, Dydacomp

Help! I’ve just sold the same item on Amazon and through my eCommerce store.  I didn’t have enough in inventory, so I sold the same item twice to two separate buyers. How can I avoid this?

Does this sound familiar?

Inventory accuracy is a serious concern for multichannel SMB retailers.  It’s a problem either way to be overstocked or understocked.  Overstocked inventory leads to reduced margins, tying up cash that could have been invested in new equipment or products, enhancing an eCommerce store, or beefing up marketing efforts to drive additional sales. On the other hand, not having enough inventory results in backorders, cancellations, lost sales and possibly lost customers.

So, how do you strike the right balance?

Inventory visibility helps retailers determine what products are selling, when additional inventory is needed, and when it’s time to consider moving inventory on a third party business channel. This ability to plan and forecast is critical to a successful retail operation. Selling across multiple channels adds to the complexity of inventory management. Multichannel retailers need to track inventory across eCommerce operations such as Amazon, eBay, Google Checkout, eCommerce platforms, offsite fulfillment centers and/or phone/catalog fulfillment.

According to RFID Arena, inventory accuracy is currently trending at only 63% here in the U.S.[1]. They report that inaccurate inventory is often attributed to:

  • Improperly registering inbound goods
  • Poor record keeping
  • Lack of integration between order and inventory management
  • Items incorrectly marked
  • Shrinkage

So what’s a retailer to do?

Retailers can take the guess work out of inventory management by using technology to oversee inventory levels across all sales channels.  Use an automated order and inventory management solution to keep close tabs on every item in inventory, to track bin levels to know when to reorder and restock the best-selling products.  Alerts and reports help retailers determine when to discount or drop slow moving items and when to expand product offerings.  This way, they can quickly respond to changing market and consumer demands to keep inventory levels where they need to be.  This provides greater inventory control and helps avoid out of stock situations.  

Whether shipping direct or drop shipping from a warehouse or fulfillment center, cross channel inventory and purchasing control are essential across all platforms including third party eCommerce options. With an automated and integrated inventory system retailers will be better equipped to flexibly source inventory and handle complex supplier and multi-supplier fulfillment requirements to better meet customers’ demands.

Read more, access our latest whitepaper; Is Your Back Office Keeping Up With Your Online Store?  The Top 5 1/2 Reasons You Need an Order Management Solution.



[1] Why RFID impact on inventory inaccuracy is the key in most ROI calculations – http://www.rfidarena.com/2013/5/23/why-rfid-impact-on-inventory-inaccuracy-is-the-key-in-most-roi-calculations.aspx

 

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