In the ever-growing world of online retail, effective and efficient inventory management can mean the difference between growing sales in combination with increased customer satisfaction, or distribution disruption and supply chain snarl-ups.
Appreciating the most frequent mistakes made by eCommerce vendors with regards to inventory is the best way to work out how to avoid them yourself, so this exploration of common complications will serve aspiring online retail entrepreneurs well.
Overselling and Overstocking
Managing stock levels is difficult, because if you sell more products than you have available in the warehouse, you will invariably leave some customers disappointed, while if you order more of a given item than demand dictates, your storage costs will spiral.
This is where cutting edge headless inventory management solutions can be useful, with the idea being that you can drill down into the data and make changes to the back end without having to compromise or alter the customer-facing elements of your eCommerce operations. Effective use of data, and the automation of certain aspects of inventory orchestration, will limit the likelihood of overselling and overstocking.
Most eCommerce brands begin life as a single website serving customers from a single storage facility. Over time they will grow and expand to encompass other channels and also to operate in more locations by diversifying their distribution and fulfilment resources.
This increased complexity can create hiccups in inventory availability if you are attempting to meet customers’ needs across several platforms at once. Stock may be visible as available on your mobile app, but not on your desktop site. Items may be available in one region, but not in another. You may also be intertwined with other, better known online marketplaces, each of which needs to be carefully managed and monitored.
Once again, the right software is at the heart of sidestepping this pitfall. Likewise, it is also important to be able to recognize when existing systems are no longer fit for your purposes. If you do not do this, the growth of your business could be stifled artificially.
Reliance on Manual Management Techniques
Although eCommerce is an innately digital form of retail, it is still a market in which a surprising number of businesses are overly reliant on older, almost entirely manual techniques for tracking things like sales and customer interactions.
When it comes to inventory management, this is another aspect of eCommerce that you simply cannot afford to leave languishing in the 20th century, when there are so many impactful, automated solutions available to catalyze the way you collect, collate, and assess data points of all kinds.
This is not just about meeting customer expectations and keeping a watchful eye on stock levels at all times, but also about making significant savings and freeing up resources to be refocused on matters that only human employees can do effectively.
The good news is that all of these eCommerce inventory problems are solvable; you just have to invest in the right services.