Managing inventory and order fulfillment isn’t the most exciting part of becoming an eCommerce merchant, but it can make or break a web store’s operations. If you’re not managing inventory efficiently, you risk tying up funds in excess inventory or worse -losing out on a sale due to a stock out situation and ultimately letting your customers down. When done well, efficient inventory and order management can help streamline your business processes, optimizing your cash flow and improving your bottom line.
Efficient & Intelligent Inventory Management
Managing inventory is a delicate balancing act for businesses of all sizes, small and large. If you have too much invested in inventory in stock, you’ll have less money to run the rest of your business. If you have too little on-hand, you could lose out on sales and risk losing potential customers. The tips below offer some advice on how to find that happy balance.
- Determining Inventory Amounts – To help you determine the right amount of inventory to keep on-hand it’s important to carefully track sales, monitor trends and analyze your performance over the past few years to help you more accurately forecast inventory needs relative to sales cycles. Other things to consider include what sells and what doesn’t, what items are more seasonal than others, and what the inventory turn is on your most important products (the time it takes to sell that product and restock it).
- Get Your (Ware)house In Order – You have to get your house in order, or in this case your warehouse, in order to run a smooth operation. Making sure your products are stocked efficiently and that you have clear guidelines on how to pick/pack/ship items will ensure items get shipped quickly and tracked accurately.
- Make Sure Marketing & Operations Are Aligned – When determining your stock levels it’s also important to make sure your purchasing and operations teams are aware of the promotional calendar marketing has in place. For example, if marketing is running a promotion next week or next month, you may need to order and stock more of a particular item(s) to meet the anticipated demand.
- Have Backup Vendors – As a customer, there’s nothing more disappointing than to place an order and then later find out it’s been put on backorder because the item isn’t in stock! As the merchant you can take preventive steps to avoid this situation by having a backup vendor as your ‘go-to’ if your primary vendor runs out of stock. You may not have a backup for every product you sell, but for those you consider to be the ‘hot sellers’, whether all the time or during peak seasons, it would be beneficial to have a backup vendor.
- Get Help! – The best way to ensure you manage your inventory and order fulfillment processes efficiently is to automate the process using an inventory and order management software solution. With our inventory and order management solutions for small to mid-sized businesses you can manage your inventory, orders, and returns across multiple sales channels, send purchase orders to suppliers, process shipments including drop ship items, produce management level reporting, and more. Our solutions provide you with the tools to streamline your operations by automating your processes. In addition, our solutions seamlessly integrate with QuickBooks, the preferred accounting solution choice of small to mid-sized retailers.
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