Archive for the ‘Inventory Management’ Category

What is the Best Way to Manage Complex Inventory?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

managing complex inventory

The last thing you want to do is disappoint a customer by posting an item for sale, when you don’t have the inventory to fulfill it. You need a clear and straightforward way to monitor your inventory levels across all sales channels.

First things first. Having a centralized system to manage complex inventory will ensure you are publishing accurate available to sell levels to your sales channels.

“93% of retailers rated system-wide inventory visibility as the most significant capability in executing their omni-channel fulfillment strategy, yet only 45% can enable it.”
-Retail Times

With up-to-the minute status reports, you should be able to easily select and review orders by status, and that means all orders. These include:

• Orders that have not been picked, packed, shipped or backordered

• Orders awaiting credit card approval

• Orders with a particular stock item

Avoiding overselling an item is key, and you are on the right track to making sure that never happens again.

One area this will come in handy for is kitting (aka bundling products). Whether you sell an item on its own or in multiples, your inventory levels will remain visible. One aspect to fully assist with this in is on-demand assembly. So, if you sell products that are assembled, packaged or personalized on demand, this module is a must-have.

Visibility is step one, but what else encompasses managing complex inventory? Discover what your order management system can provide to increase sales in the free eBook below. 

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How to Simplify Purchasing throughout the Inventory Process

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

how to simplify purchasing throught the inventory processs

How can retailers toss their inventory spreadsheets aside and finally streamline purchasing?

It’s as simple as implementing automated and effective purchase order (PO) management throughout the inventory process.

Let’s start with the basics. Like what’s a purchase order and why is it so important? A PO is a sales contract between the buyer and seller specifying the exact merchandise received from a vendor.

Within that, there are details related to the payment terms, delivery dates, item specifications, quantities, shipping terms and other relevant terms and conditions.

When you’re managing a retail business, purchasing and online inventory management go hand in hand.

Why PO Management is the Answer to Budgeting & Forecasting

Every time you purchase stock items from a vendor, a purchase order is the document of record that allows you to keep track of purchase requests, outstanding orders and to manage your accounts payable and accounts receivable. This process is crucial to the financial health of the business.

Inventory control and planning with PO’s is the key to maintaining available-to-sell product levels and replenishing orders in the fastest time possible. To prevent any errors from occurring, it is best to manage both your inventory levels and purchase orders in the same solution.

When these are managed separately, there is more room for discrepancies in inventory numbers, lack of visibility and overall inefficiencies.

Multichannel selling adds another level of complexity, with orders coming in from multiple sales channels. Managing available inventory across multiple sales channels can be prone to errors in the purchasing process, but with the right order and inventory management (OMS) software, this can all be avoided.

How Can an Order Management System Help?

With an order management system, you can easily see all of your purchase orders on all of your sales channels. But that’s not all.

You have the ability to create your own dashboards, which lets you keep an eye on product level alerts, from warnings to alert low level product inventory to visibility into your top selling products. You can also see those that historically sell well at peak seasons or with specific promotions.

With easy access to keep track of product returns and
where your most popular sales are coming from across all sales channels, the benefits keep coming.

Throw away the inventory spreadsheets and check out how an OMS can streamline the purchasing process.

inventory process order management

  • Easily See When To Re-Order Products:

-Alerts will be sent when reorder points [thresholds you set] are reached

-Create & send a PO to the correct supplier(s) with a few clicks

-Store supplier contact information & order history for reconciliation & forecasting

  • Quickly Update Inventory:

-Reconcile & update order levels & your sales channel inventory levels automatically

-Sync back to the channels on which you sell the items

-Any back orders for received items would automatically be updated and queued up for processing.

  • Know Your Costs:

-Automatically include the correct ‘buying level’ pricing on each PO, for special terms, discount levels, etc.

-Gain an accurate understanding of how much the product is actually costing you

  • Avoid Stock Outs:

-One solution=complete visibility over your operations

-Real-time solutions help to avoid stock outs and improve the customer experience

Check out the free eBook below on Multichannel Order Management for eCommerce to learn about back office strategies, optimizing the order process and more.

Multichannel Order Management for eCommerce

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5 Ways to Get Rid of Excess Inventory Once and For All

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

how to get rid of excess inventory

Is excess inventory weighing you down lately? Maybe a customer cancelled a huge order or your demand forecast is far from clear. Maybe your inventory just isn’t moving as quickly as you’d hoped. Not to worry, these 5 strategies can help you get surplus items out the door faster, allowing you to keep your inventory flowing smoothly, and free up as much space as possible in your back office or warehouse.

5) Retarget Like No Tomorrow

An estimated $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, according to Business Insider. Keep your customers engaged by using more mediums to promote your products, and keep them clicking by using apps like Bigcommerce’s shopping cart closer. It is vital to always look for more and more ways to retarget your products, especially if you only have an online store. Google has some helpful retargeting programs, but Facebook and YouTube are two of the most overlooked retargeting strategies for retailers. Facebook Custom Audience is just one example of how you can reach customers you may already know with ads right on the platform.

4) The Power of Sales

Everyone loves a sale, and there is no better way to get your stock on its way. But, some businesses would rather not go down that road of deep discounts, as they think it will only make them lose money. That is an understandable concern, but there is a way to avoid this from happening. Many are aware of the 4 p’s of marketing: product, place, price and promotion, but it is worth taking a second look at before powering your sale. When all 4 p’s are in place, then you can go ahead and drive in the sales. Promotions will get your surplus items moving, even if you don’t get back the full profit, your business will gain some capital.

Once you are ready to start some marketing incentives, you must make sure your offers are powerful enough. A great example is on Audible.com, where they promote the oh-so-adored word in retail, FREE. Whether you are offering free product returns or a buy one get one sale (BOGO), free is always a popular sales advantage. That brings me to my next point…

5 ways to get rid of excess inventory once and for all

3) Free Shipping for the Win

Rewarding your customers is never going out of style, and the reasons for offering free shipping will always prevail. Keeping up with the changes, like free shipping and customer rewards are some ideas you can try out to get rid of excess inventory in a pinch. There’s a reason Amazon prime’s free shipping model has taken the world by storm after all. You can even turn your surplus into gifts, by using products as an incentive for customers to attract their friends and family. Try an offer like, “Get a free item when you refer a friend.”

2) Bundle Away 

Grouping and selling items together (kitting and bundling) in set is one of the most effective strategies for retailers. It’s not only a way to boost sales but it also allows you to get rid of excess inventory, as well as differentiate yourself from the competition. The holidays will be here before you know it, and bundling is a great way to get your products out, giving you the ability to get creative with grouping multiple items also. In the spirit of the holiday season, you can even give your customers a discount if they choose to buy in bulk. This can be a cost-effective way to draw in more consumers.

1) When in Doubt, Sell to a Liquidator 

Whether you are drowning in customer returns, or any type of overstocked items, liquidation is another approach to free up some unwanted space. However, make sure you do your research and stick to the prices you have in mind. Inventory liquidators take the products out of your hands and sell them in bulk. Some even auction off your items, ranging from electronics, apparel and more, like B Stock Supply. With auctions, you have the chance to gain some revenue back as well.

Final Thoughts

By implementing order management software for your business, you can have the power to keep track of all of your orders, and ultimately avoid the chances of the dealing with excess products, dreaded stock outs and much more.

Find out if your order management software is up to par in the free eBook below.

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