Multi-channel selling is an absolute necessity for online merchants today. For companies just looking to start up their own website, it can be difficult to reach potential customers. This is due to the amount of competition and the very competitive prices that ecommerce heavyweights can justify.
Therefore, selling on multiple platforms has distinct advantages. You can reach more people and you can increase revenue, which gives you a much greater opportunity to grow your business.
You may be reading this now and think, “Great, let’s start selling on as many platforms as possible!” But, doing so is not an easy process, especially if you are a business of say, half a dozen people. These varying platforms may differ in regards to competitiveness, so you would need to adjust your selling prices. Listing and seller fees will also be different, so you will then find yourself asking, “How do I know how much profit I’m making?”
Problems begin to mount and your inventory starts to spiral out of control. You had ten items of a particular product in stock. You’ve sold nine, but then in quick succession you sell one on Amazon and one on eBay, and you haven’t placed an order with your supplier for more. Managing your inventory across all your channels becomes a real headache, and you find yourself spending half a day logging in to each system and printing labels. Doesn’t sound too great now does it?
Overselling can become a massive problem, and you don’t want to disappoint your customers and receive poor feedback. So this is where inventory management software can help take care of the running of your business, allowing you to concentrate on turning your company into the national brand that you always envisaged.
A bigger problem than overselling however, is underselling. According to Software Suggest, around 46% of SMBs either track their inventory manually or don’t track it at all. This has had an impact on the fact that last year, U.S retailers recorded losses of $224 billion due to overstocked inventory. Worldwide, that figure stands at a staggering $1.75 trillion, which amounts to $158 dollars for every single person on the planet. Take a deep breath there.
Inventory issues all round can be a pain, and this couldn’t be truer for Jura Watches. They are the UK’s largest online luxury watch retailer and their highest price watch can cost as much as £250,000, so losing a sale for an out of stock item is unthinkable. Director Kashmira Patel said, “Inventory management software has played a huge part in our development in the online retailing world. It has saved us time and money by combining everything into one system. And avoids stock issues between our Shopify & Amazon stores.”
How inventory management avoids stocking issues is impressive as it can make you aware of what you currently have, what is in transit, and what needs to be ordered. You can also set re-order values against items, which will trigger a purchase order to your supplier to ensure your best selling items are always available.
We can’t bear it!
Most inventory management software systems are cloud based, which ensures you can access and update your inventory while on the go. A good system will also allow you to update your stock via a mobile app. As soon as you receive an order from a supplier, you can simply scan the barcode with your app and the system will update automatically. The fact that it’s computerized eliminates the room for human error. Megan Teagle, who works for Bear Strength Clothing, an aspiring fitness brand said, “Before we used inventory management software, we had to manually count the stock every week.”
The stock-take process can take up a massive amount of time, but this pales in comparison in regards to shipping. Gareth Shears, director of Bear Strength, said inventory management also allows them to save four hours a day with shipping as they no longer have to “manually type every address in to a label machine, print it out, stick it on the package, then frank every parcel.” It’s now a process that takes minutes, as all your orders from your channels can be pulled in and bulk printed from one centralized place, as many systems have integrations with couriers.
Sell in store & online
So, apart from automating the process of your inventory and shipping, how else can an inventory management system benefit a small to medium business? If you also have a physical store, you can use your inventory provider’s point of sale system. This will sync with your online inventory to ensure that your offline stock isn’t affected. Most of these POS systems are very flexible as well, so there’s no need to change your credit card terminal or barcode scanner, as most hardware is compatible. Very minimal training is required because of the touch screen nature, which eases the burden on your employees. Additionally you can customize receipts and register layouts to improve the quality and efficiency of your employees’ interactions.
Am I making any money?
As I touched on earlier, adapting your selling prices according to a selling platform while taking in to account listing fees and supplier costs can be a tricky business. You may be selling plenty of goods, but being unaware of your gross profit can cause a lot of problems in the long run. Therefore, a good system will allow you to compare your purchase costs with your selling value and will break this down by channel so you can identify anything that needs to be rectified.
If you dig a little deeper you can also view reports on bestselling brands or product. This will directly impact your decision in regards to ordering with your supplier. It can also help prevent any product issues, as you can review the amount of returns by channel, whilst also having a real time overview of items shipped, awaiting fulfillment and cancelled orders.
What about my accounts?
Whether you have an accountant or you handle the accounts yourself, you can sync all completed orders in your inventory management software to your accounts on a daily basis with one click. Saving an abundance of time when it comes to balancing the books at the end of the month. Which means burying your head in mountains of receipts and trying to manage sales with purchase orders is a thing of the past.
Consumers are readily demanding lower prices, quicker stock turnarounds and faster delivery, which we are seeing increasingly with UberRUSH. So inventory management is paramount when it comes to effectively managing the running of your business, whilst allowing you to concentrate and what really matters. Which is improving your revenue and promoting your brand.
Header by Rachel Wille
Looking for Inventory Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Inventory Management software solutions.