Inventory management is a vital part of a retail business. When you’re selling products via eCommerce platforms, it is even more important to make sure your inventory is under control. There are still a significant amount of retailers who run a stock take manually to manage their inventory, which leads to many problems on how the whole warehouse runs, shipments and accounting as well.
eCommerce retailers face a substantial amount of challenges when it comes to managing their inventory and in turn keeping customers satisfied. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common mistakes that eCommerce retailers stumble across with inventory management in such a fast-paced business.
Warehouses are a critical part of how an eCommerce business runs. Since the store front is online, it’s up to the warehouse to get the purchased product to the customer as quick as possible. However, there are a lot of obstacles that can get in the way of shipments leaving the warehouse on time.
If a warehouse is cluttered and disorganised, it makes accessing products safely and efficiently very difficult for staff. The warehouse needs to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and organisation to make sure staff can locate products easily.
Layout is another problem that eCommerce retailers often face. They have a lot of products moving off the shelves and quickly. However, the warehouse layout doesn’t often reflect what products are moving the fastest. The shelves and aisles need to be aligned with what products are in highest demand. The closer those products are to the shipping deck, the sooner they can leave the warehouse and reach the hands of the customer. A lot of eCommerce companies have delayed shipping times because their warehouse layout slows them down.
Improve warehouse management and layout so as to enhance efficiency in the warehouse.
Dead stock is a liability for eCommerce retailers. If they have seasonal products or ones with expiration dates, it becomes a big problem if they don’t sell them. Dead stock takes up precious real estate on inventory shelves — a company could be bringing in new, in-demand products, but they are limited to how much they can ship in due to storage restrictions.
When your products are in demand, life is good, right? Well, it’s good as long as your company has enough stock around to match the numbers of orders. Overselling occurs frequently during specific high-buying seasons, such as the holidays, back-to-school and Black Friday. eCommerce retailers need to ensure their stock levels are healthy, but that their online platform reflects what they actually have available.
Retailers should aim to set minimum and maximum levels of stock for each product. They also need to have a healthy relationship with their supplier so you cab maintain good customer service and cope with your overselling dilemma.
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.