Acquiring and maintaining accurate inventory quantities is a problem common to most all eCommerce retailers – from overselling (aka out of stocks, aka stockouts), mis-picks, and mis-ships, to forgotten stock sitting on a shelf, not even listed for sale. An inventory and warehouse management system helps to greatly reduce those inventory issues, and many other problems online retailers face.
Effortlessly Listing and De-listing
An inventory management system enables automation of the process of listing and de-listing (removing quantities so it can’t sell) across multiple marketplaces. Without an inventory management system, employees have to remove the product from each marketplace, leaving the business wide open to selling items they no longer have. Sharing inventory across these marketplaces is essential, but almost impossible to do manually – that’s where an inventory management system picks up the slack. Some of the immediate benefits of reducing out of stocks are fewer angry customers, lower customer service costs, and various marketplace benefits. On marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, for example, you’re penalized for negative feedback from oversells and your products actually will show up farther down in the search results, causing you to lose sales.
Tracking Slow Moving Products and Seasonal Stock
The ability to identify what items aren’t selling is vital, because that product sitting in your facility is costing you money. You’ve invested in it, carry (holding) costs, and the capital tied up in products that aren’t moving is wasteful. A warehouse management system helps to identify those products and figure out what needs to happen to move it. Discounts, different marketplace or target audience, better picture, or making it part of a lot (AKA kit, AKA product grouping) are some options to help move that product. For example: Having trouble moving those surf boards? It may be winter in the US, but it’s summer in Western Australia.
Minimizing Theft and Losses
Accurate inventory management discourages theft by employees and leads to quick discovery of excessive loss due to damage or misplacement. Having a system where people know that everything they do is being tracked and understanding they are held accountable for their transactions also helps with productivity.
Reducing Carrying Costs
Warehouse storage and insurance are two crucial costs to holding inventory. More products generally mean higher expenses. With a good inventory management system, businesses can more accurately predict what products they’ll need, allowing reduction in the number of unnecessary items they hold. Tracking your inventory and having a goal for how many times you want to turn your inventory in a year is a key metric every retailer should know. This can increase gross profits, allowing you to spend more money on learning the best way to expand into international marketplaces to increase sales and brand awareness worldwide.
Eliminating Mis-Picks and Mis-Ships
Like out of stocks, mis-picks (when a damaged or incorrect item / item quantity is picked) and mis-ships (when a damaged or incorrect item / item quantity is shipped out to the customer) are a strain on your business. A good inventory management system will come with built in quality control features to reduce such inventory errors. Inventory management systems achieve this through a variety of ways – from utilizing barcode scanners, to displaying a picture of the product to the pickers upon pick – which will ultimately ensure that your company fulfills your customers’ expectations.
Unlock the potential of your inventory
Wondering why I know so much about inventory and warehouse management? That’s kind of SkuVault’s, my company’s, whole shtick. SkuVault is a cloud-based inventory and warehouse management system that integrates with eBay, Bigcommerce, ChannelAdvisor, Amazon, ShipWorks, ShipStation, Shopify, and more, and is complete with barcoding and jam packed with other cool features to help eCommerce retailers prevent out of stocks, improve warehouse efficiency, and reduce human error.
SkuVault operates on a global scale, and makes sure that the inventory in your warehouse is accurately reflected on your various marketplaces. SkuVault is a great addition to Frooition’s eBay & Bigcommerce integration – where Frooition bridges eBay & Bigcommerce to exchange product data, SkuVault meshes with Frooition to also provide real time quantity updates between eBay & Bigcommerce.
The benefits of an inventory and warehouse management system like SkuVault are far-reaching, and its effects can be seen in lower out of stock percentage, increased rankings and therefore greater visibility on your online channels, more positive customer feedback, lower customer service costs, increased warehouse efficiency and saved man hours, and fewer mis-ships and undersells. Whether you decide to utilize SkuVault, or some other inventory and warehouse management system, do your eCommerce business a favor – get one.
Andy Eastes is the CEO of SkuVault. He has been active in the eCommerce community for 10 years, and has a passion for increasing efficiency for eCommerce and wholesale businesses. SkuVault is an inventory and warehouse management system for eCommerce retailers, that helps you take control of your inventory.