In today’s digitally connected world, e-commerce activities are growing at an astounding rate. It is estimated that worldwide e-commerce sales will jump to US$4.5 trillion in 2021, up from US$1.3 trillion in 2014. In America US$340 billion worth of online sales were transacted last year, with e-commerce growing to account for 7.5% of the total amount of retail sales.
American e-commerce giant, Amazon, has been a prime driver of e-commerce growth, responsible for 43% of all US e-commerce sales in 2016. To further their efforts, Amazon introduced Fulfillment by Amazon to store, pick, pack and ship on behalf of third-party sellers, with the number of active sellers using the fulfillment service rising by more than 70 percent over that year.
Get the most from your e-commerce platform
What opportunities and challenges does this boom in online sales channels bring? With e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay, competition is undoubtedly more difficult for offline retailers. However, there are growth opportunities for those who adapt effectively to accommodate new consumption and delivery trends in multi-channel environments.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.
E-commerce growth also presents opportunities for traditional manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers to test new channels-to-market and sell their products directly to consumers. One of the key Unleashed customer trends is with manufacturers opening up one or more e-commerce platforms so that consumers can purchase a range of products directly from them. While this can complement other traditional sales channels for manufacturers, it places even greater importance on managing production and stock to ensure orders across multiple channels and customers are met.
Here are our top three reasons why your business will benefit from implementing a comprehensive inventory management system to work with your e-commerce platform.
Balance your inventory
Having the correct inventory levels are crucial for businesses with e-commerce platforms. Online customers expect a streamlined shopping experience so they can buy what they want, whenever they want. Having too little stock might drive your customers to competitors and too much stock risks holding up capital and takes up space on shelves. Inventory control is a delicate balancing act that can be made easier with effective inventory management software which can accurately show your stock on hand in real-time.
Cloud-based inventory management systems are more effective than traditional pen-and-paper systems or managing multiple spreadsheets. These processes are arduous and can result in compounded mistakes that lead to errors in inventory count and impact your bottom line. With an inventory management software, you can be sure all inventory data is kept accurate and accounted for.
Inventory management software provides businesses with up-to-date information, helping you determine the right balance of stock in your, or e-commerce fulfillment partners’, warehouses. With real-time information, businesses can be across any changes in stock information instantly, see what items are selling fast, and which products are idling on the shelves.
Monitor stock across multiple e-commerce platforms
If you’re selling through multiple e-commerce platforms, you want to be confident in your inventory levels for each channel and reallocate stock based on demand. Inventory management software can give business owners visibility of stock levels across each sales channel to prevent cross-platform overselling.
Coordinate stock movements
If your business is running on a lean model, you’ll have parts or ingredients on hand only when you need it. But without effective inventory management, it’s a challenge to coordinate these to arrive when you need it.
Running out of stock and having to wait for the new shipment to come in is a costly situation that results in missed sales and unsatisfied customers. This situation can be avoided if the business has a better understanding of their reordering point. Inventory management software can set safety stock levels for each product, ensuring that there’s a minimum level of stock available. The system can trigger a notification when stock levels reach the minimum levels so the business can place an order and have it arrive in a timely manner.
E-commerce Made Easy
Unleashed now has a native integration with Amazon, Shopify, and Magento e-commerce platforms allowing businesses to effectively manage inventory across multiple stores. This also enables businesses to get a good understanding of performance of each e-commerce platform and inventory requirements in real-time. Integrating your inventory management platform with an accounting software keeps track of your e-commerce sales.
To find out what integrations we offer, check out our Integrations page.Topics: e-commerce, inventory management software, manufacturers, retail