Inventory management software is pivotal for maximizing inventory usage
The concept of a fluid, dynamic flow of inventory has quickly become an attractive concept to many retailers in recent years. The economic recession challenged retailers to become more efficient – they had smaller budgets to work with, so they had to find an inventory management software that allowed them to make the most of their resources.
Inventory can be a significant cost. Although it’s an expense that can lead to revenue if retailers sell goods, it may also remain frozen capital. Frozen capital can result in merchants selling slow-moving inventory at a loss by either aggressively selling stock at lower prices or giving it away for free as promotional goods. Using inventory management technology, a retailer can centralize all sources of inventory to gain complete visibility of all fast and slow-moving inventory and make knowledgable decisions on how to allocate inventory.
Allocating inventory across channels will depend on sales, demographics of the market, marketplace fees, and other variables. In years past, inventory stocked at a physical brick-and-mortar location would be unavailable to online stores or other sales avenues because merchants lacked the tools to move and distribute inventory across channels. This resulted in a number of problems, such as lost sales in some locations due to out-of-stock inventory or excess product levels because items didn’t move as quickly.
Although there is inventory management technology available to merchants that enables them to consolidate the management of their inventory across channels and leverage their products in a dynamic way, several retailers either don’t use it or have yet to develop a way to use these tools effectively. As eCommerce Bytes recently noted, managing inventory continues to be a major challenge. Here are some of the situations that retailers may run into without an effective inventory management software:
- Merchants may only have one or two items left, but that item is available in multiple locations (for example, Amazon, eBay, an online store and a brick-and-mortar store). This results in an item being sold several times, despite not having enough stock to fill the orders.
- Selling an item in one place may result in it not being pulled from others which can lead to tracking and accounting issues.
- Knowing multiple items are being sold rapidly but not having the manpower to pull items at the warehouse.
Leveraging inventory management technology to maximize stock usage
The ideal inventory management software will allow retailers to to use their stock to the maximum value by granting them more transparency and control of the use of their stock. This is pivotal when it comes to improving the efficiency of inventory management.
In the current retail setting, flexibility and convenience is key. Customers are shopping through a number of channels and they want to be able to make purchases how they want, when they want and have options for receiving those purchases, whether they want to pick up from store or have it shipped from store. By leveraging inventory management technology, retailers can gain the flexibility that customers demand. They can quickly sell inventory through a variety of different channels, using their inventory as a single pool of SKUs instead of treating each different channel as a closed-off sales avenue.
Considering how many retailers are trying to operate leaner than in the past, an inventory management software can be a great asset to many merchants. Not only does it improve their efficiency and the speed of their eCommerce operations, it also helps them deliver purchases to customers more quickly – when they can pick and choose where to sell items from, they don’t have to worry about being forced to sell products to customers from remote warehouses or running out of stock. Upgrading inventory management technology is a win-win solution for both retailers and customers alike.