To establish a sustainable, lucrative, and scalable eCommerce business this year, you must master inventory management. Unfortunately, poor inventory management may be a difficult obstacle for any eCommerce entrepreneur to tackle, regardless of their skill, the size of their business, the sorts of products they offer, or the audience they serve.
Proper inventory levels are a strong indicator of eCommerce supply chain productivity and effectiveness. By avoiding overstocking or understocking, you can enhance cash flow, maximize storage capacity, and reliably satisfy customer demand, resulting in customer loyalty and confidence.
Too much inventory can cost you money in the form of overspending on holding fees or, worse, sitting on many goods that have lost value or are no more marketable. Therefore, it is critical to examine your business frequently to ensure that you are on the right course. Inventory management is a vital component of any organization.
Aside from maintaining appropriate inventory levels, a greater awareness of your inventory levels can aid supply chain planning by determining the best time to reorder more products and increase inventory accuracy.
We go over some quality standards for inventory management in this article and fundamental inventory management strategies and look for ineffective inventory management software.
What Is Inventory Management?
At its most fundamental, inventory management is the process of acquiring, storing, and selling stock. It knows how much stock you possess, how much it should market for, where you should keep it, and how long you should retain it.
Mastering inventory management is critical for any business, large or small. It reduces waste, reduces expenses, and saves time. Keeping up with supply promotes more customer focus by providing consumers with the things they want. Unfortunately, many organizations are still unaware of effective practices for inventory management. As a result, some of the world's largest corporations have failed due to a lack of proper processes.
Here are a few ideas to keep your eCommerce store on top by implementing an effective inventory management system.
Organization Is Extremely Important
Excellent organizing skills and procedures are required for effective inventory management. There are several items to keep track of; thus, keeping these products structured as strategically as possible is an essential element of your organizational administration.
One method is to keep similar things together. Make lists and categorize comparable components and pieces to make it easier to manage them. When related items are classified in this manner, you no longer need to worry about looking for specific parts because they will already be classified together.
Change To Inventory Management Software
Consider how tough it is to manually maintain track of a large number of inventory items month after month. Loss of track of par levels can result in your store going out of a hot product, resulting in unhappy consumers vowing never to shop with you again. To avoid this situation, monitor par levels every few months so you can move quickly to boost supply before a big sales boom occurs.
Some companies with a high volume of online sales, believe it or not, maintain their inventory using excel spreadsheets or by hand with a pencil and paper.
Because software like Excel is simple to use and readily available on most computers, these solutions may be more economical for smaller organizations.
However, as their inventory management requirements and sales records expand and become more sophisticated, business owners rapidly realize that using Excel is not a viable long-term inventory control choice.
Related article: eCommerce Inventory Management Tips & Tricks
Inventory Issues Should Be Expected
Inventory issues might creep up on you without warning. If you aren't prepared, you may find it difficult to settle these issues before they spiral out of control. Let's imagine you put money into a "guaranteed thing" that ends up being a slow seller. What's the best way to get rid of that stale inventory? What should you do if a supplier runs out of stock during the holiday shopping season? Consider everything that could go wrong with your list and make contingency plans for each eventuality.
Sort Your Inventory Into Categories Based On How Popular It Is
If you have goods that aren't selling, it's only logical to stop stocking them. This emphasizes the importance of tracking things using stock-keeping units (SKUs). It also assists you in determining how to clear your shelves of low-turnover items, such as through a sale. On the other hand, make sure you have enough inventories of your most popular items on hand, especially if you expect a surge in customer demand.
Examine Your Inventory Spending Plan
It's a good idea to compare your inventory statistics to your plan and make adjustments as needed as you go over them. Perhaps the prices of the things you order regularly have changed, affecting your budget. Check to see if your anticipated inventory order is within your budget. When you examine your inventory and sales budget, you may need to reallocate funds for one type of goods.
Be Aware And Audit On A Routine Basis
Auditing your stock and inventory regularly is one of the most effective strategies to ensure that your list and recorded data are in sync. Auditing is a method of "double-checking" your inventory to ensure that what you've recorded accurately. Auditing represents what's going on in your warehouse and your company.
Audits are essential when running an online store since things might get muddled up when handled digitally. This isn't due to software flaws; instead, when you trust a machine to accomplish everything, you're less likely to double- or triple-check. You should double-check even the most precise and reliable systems from time to time.
Without periodic audits, data might be lost or misplaced, resulting in concerns such as having fewer inventories than you initially believed, misplacing particular products, important ones not being reordered in a timely fashion, and so on.
Use Your Storage Space Wisely
It's critical to consider the physical storage of products when amassing stock to sell. Whether you're storing products in a closet or a warehouse, make sure they're easy to find. Keeping them in a location where they can be readily packed and shipped means receiving the item sooner. Based on sales and trends, choose a location. If necessary, rearrange things from time to time. This will allow you to keep track of your inventory and provide excellent customer service.
With these guidelines in place, you will learn how to manage inventory for your online stores and much more successfully. I hope this guide is practical and enables your company to grow and succeed whether it remains only online or intends to increase to include both an online store and physical and mortar sites.
Next article: How to Calculate Inventory Turnover?