The scope of eCommerce is vast. Shopping on the internet moves fast. It’s a relatively boundary-free marketplace. As long as you can provide products to keep up with demand, the opportunities are endless. However, 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.
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.
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.