8 Common eCommerce Inventory Management Mistakes to Avoid

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Keeping up with your stocktake across one channel is hard. In today’s marketplace, business owners aren’t operating with one channel to sell their inventory. Rather, they are selling across multiple platforms. This means they need an inventory management system to keep up with them.

However, there are a few common mistakes that happen when you’re trying to manage eCommerce inventory. Let’s check to see if you’re making any of these common mistakes in your business.

eCommerce inventory mistakes

eCommerce businesses differ from traditional stores in terms of logistics and the scale of operations. Not having the right inventory control system in place is the biggest mistake an eCommerce business can make. Good inventory control software can benefit your business and help you avoid many common eCommerce inventory mistakes.


Overselling can be problematic in one channel, let alone multiple channels, as orders move quickly. If your inventory management tools and stocktaking processes can’t keep up with the pace of purchases, then overselling can easily happen.

Let’s say your business is selling a product through a few different online channels and in a brick-and-mortar store. This means you’ve listed the same inventory item on multiple channels.

Having one inventory and multiple sales platforms is standard these days. However, problems arise when you sell the last piece of inventory stock to two different customers through two separate channels.

Customers can become dissatisfied if you tell them that their item is out of stock after they’ve purchased it. You might lose this sale and you might also lose this customer. If they become frustrated, they might also share this negative news with other people they know.

Consumers who have bad experiences like this and rate their interaction with the company as very poor are 60% more likely to decrease their spending.

The wrong location

Distribution channels are key to making an eCommerce platform viable.

If shipping takes too long, then customers might look elsewhere. Geography plays a large role in supply chain management and product delivery. If your eCommerce platform is selling items in multiple countries, you need to know the rules and regulations of their import laws. Business owners can encounter problems when their products get stopped at border customs or delivery takes too long.

Business owners will also miss out on opportunities if they don’t put distribution hubs in strategic locations overseas. If you don’t house inventory in multiple locations, you can experience lag times. Moreover, if you don’t keep your stocktake up to date in each location, the benefits of having multiple distribution centres will decrease.

One way to manage your inventory in different locations is to use cloud-based inventory management software. This will allow you to manage stock in multiple warehouses across the globe.

Poor inventory forecasting

If you want to be proactive rather than reactive to eCommerce orders, you need to be prepared. Many business owners dismiss the importance of inventory forecasting.

Of course, there are defined busy seasons around the holidays, such as Christmas and New Years, and businesses know they need more inventory stock.

However, what about planning better for the lulls so you don’t have so much dead stock sitting on your shelves taking up space. Use an inventory management system to find patterns in eCommerce purchases. This will help guide the forecasting process and prepare you better for eCommerce buying habits.

Improper inventory tracking

A common pain point for eCommerce sellers is tracking and managing their inventory stock. Improper tracking and a lack of supply chain management results in mistakes occurring if you only track a small portion of your supply channel. Proper supply chain management requires ongoing scrutiny of customer demands, changes in customer purchasing habits and understanding how these factors affect your inventory needs and supply.

No inventory transparency

Not providing customers with inventory transparency is another mistake. Customers on your site should have the ability to view the inventory status online when searching for products to buy, enabling them to see if an item is in stock and when it can be shipped.


When selling across multiple online channels, it is standard practice to list the same products on different channels. This can result in overselling, which is a huge problem for eCommerce sellers who must then tell a customer they are unable to ship an item they purchased. Even in single channels, it is possible to oversell when inventory levels aren’t updated fast enough. This type of customer experience will lose you sales and potentially lose you that customer to your competitor for good.

Lack of consistency across platforms

Inconsistencies across multiple platforms can result in either overstocking or in a shortage of core products. Mistakes that result from inconsistencies in your eCommerce business may show an item in stock that in reality, you do not have. With multiple locations, inventory data must sync across all your sales channels and storage locations.

Hoarding excess stock

Excess stock is a sure sign that you are not managing your inventory well, resulting in cash tied up in the excess stock as well as the costs of carrying it. Good inventory management software tracks all the costs of carrying your stock, allowing you to then reduce these inventory costs to improve your cashflow.

Improving eCommerce inventory control

There are many important aspects of inventory control and effective inventory management software provides the best defence against eCommerce inventory mistakes.

Keep a watchful eye on stock

Constant monitoring of inventory stock is vital for eCommerce businesses. Software provides access to real-time stock availability, reducing the risks of stockouts or of overstocking that increases warehouse storage costs. Tracking solutions can include barcode scanners and RFID tagging.

Use inventory management software

With the need for inventory transparency across eCommerce channels, inventory management software provides the necessary solution to meet these demands. Inventory stock movements update in real-time providing customers with the information they require with regards to stock availability, shipping and tracking of their eCommerce purchases.

Integrate your software

Inventory management software can integrate seamlessly with other systems to complement and optimise resource management, providing accurate and current information to all areas of your business. One software can provide a centralised platform for you to keep an eye on your online store and any other retail outlets so you can more effectively respond to high demand and reduce the risk of overselling.

Forecast inventory demand

An effective eCommerce inventory control system improves forecast accuracy of supply and demand. It helps distributors and business owners to know what stock they need, the quantities needed and when, so they can order inventory as necessary, eliminating the need for overstocking.

By using eCommerce inventory control systems online retailers can ensure that their sales outlets are well-stocked with the right products and at the right time. With the proper inventory control system for your eCommerce operations, you can improve your business processes and increase profitability.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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