Inventory problems are the enemy of all store owners. With the rise of online shopping, this issue becomes more and more complicated.
This problem attacks the development of a business in both ways: They may own too much or too little goods. However, two scenarios share the same consequences: Costing the brand a huge amount of money and workload to resolve the situation.
Reality: What challenges retailers?
When it comes to inventory, merchants have mixed feelings about it.
They have a love-hate relationship with the warehouse: Stores want it to have various products to serve more customers and at the same time, don’t want it to be full of unsellable stocks.
43% of retailers list inventory management as their biggest challenge to face in successfully running an eCommerce store.
However, some merchants have to admit that they haven’t done much for the status of their stock; what they focus more on is the revenue.
This situation is more severe in small and medium brands as they don’t have many resources to take care of the inventory. 43% of small businesses have absolutely lost track of their storage.
This situation can lead to two scenarios: They face an abundance of goods that stay in the warehouse forever, or they don’t have enough products to serve the eager buyers.
According to research in 2018, not having the products that customers need on time causes a loss of $22 billion a year for online stores. And this is only in the consumer goods segment, which you can imagine a bigger number for the entire industry.
With the advance of technology, eCommerce is becoming a new route for consumers to find and buy what they want. Online shopping can claim the new throne thanks to its flexibility and rapid speed: Customers have a wide range of choices from different stores.
Consumers' behaviors towards inventory problem
To keep the customers on your site, store owners must ensure the availability of the products. Overall, 70% of digital buyers do not have the patience to delay their buying session for a restock; they’d rather search for an alternative store.
According to a study, in real life, buyers are unlikely to stay at a store that runs out of stock:
- 31% purchase at the competitors’ site
- 26% substitute with a similar item of another brand
- 19% choose a similar product of the same brand
- 15% wait for the restock
- 9% don’t have the intention to buy any more
As a result, inventory is one of the most severe pain points of businesses since it slows down the development by reducing the profit as well as minimizing your influence.
Why online stores suffer from inventory problems
The poor performance of many businesses in inventory management can be the consequences of:
Spoilage is when you cannot sell a product due to its expiration date.
Food or cosmetics is the main victim of this situation. These items require great care and if you cannot give them proper treatments, they will quickly be unsellable.
For example, if you store meat in a hot and unpasteurized environment today, there’s a high chance you cannot sell them tomorrow.
Dead stocks are another type of spoilage as they’re referred to the products that are out of style, out of season.
Simply, they just don’t fit in the demands and interest of consumers.
These items will be considered ‘dead’ after 12 months sitting on the shelf, which causes lots of trouble of wasting brand new products.
Different from those two reasons, overselling means you are in the dilemma of out-of-stock.
Usually, this is the result of flash sales and hot deals on special occasions like Christmas or Black Friday without comprehensive inventory management.
The orders are much more than what stores can offer.
This is the worst nightmare as you have the opportunity to sell more but your resources don’t allow you to.
Poor inventory management
Failure in management comes in many forms:
- You don’t research the market thoroughly. For example, you can import too many unpopular products.
- Your technology is outdated and cannot scale with your development, which leads to the lack of connection between online and offline platforms
- You don’t have efficient customer services to answer the question about inventory problems, such as the estimated time for the restock.
- Your departments lose track of each other that slows down the process of controlling inventory.
- Your cost in storage is too high that it affects other fields.
Simple ways to say ‘Goodbye’ to inventory problems
Everyone agrees that inventory problems need to be solved as soon as possible. Let us show you amazing steps to enhance your inventory management.
This is the first principle store owners have to learn when they desire to build an effective inventory plan. FIFO, which is short for First In First Out, means that the item you get in first should be sold first.
Many retailers consider that the newest should immediately be on the shelf. This misunderstanding has led to enormous failures in management.
2. Par level
Par level or minimum stock threshold is the least amount of products that you always store in the warehouse. This level helps you to regulate your inventory plan and avoid running out of products.
You can pick your par level based on how fast you can sell the item and how long it takes for a new delivery.
Remember, the threshold will change according to the demand of the market, so keep an eye for the numbers to make the adjustment in time.
3. Better management system
Technology plays an important role in increasing your inventory management. Currently, there are various services for brands to choose from. After a full analysis, retailers can pick a suitable platform for the size of their business.
Besides, to solve the roots of inventory problems, brands should always improve services so they can evaluate customers' needs and satisfaction with particular products. This will help them know what to be restocked and what should be out of the store.
For a better management system, different parts of the business should cooperate smoothly. The connection will also help managers to decide on the products they should invest in.
Store owners should maintain the communication of different departments, especially between online and offline platforms.
For an eCommerce store, products shipping from the storage to the store, then to the customers should be seamless; any obstruction may cause the collapse of the whole system.
The new trend of Click-and-Collect when customers buy online and pick up in-store has also helped businesses big times in keeping the products effectively.
4. Sync inventory online
Online shopping should take advantage of the Internet. Besides a system for store owners catching up with the situation of the stocks, the catalog should also be synced online so customers can access it easily.
Customers can take the initial move and search for the exact wanted items. They can track which location store the products and place the orders in the right place.
This will bring customers closer to your brand since it makes them a part of the system as well as reducing the rate of customer loss.
With helpful features, Store Locator by Magenest is the best choice for Magento-based eCommerce websites.
Directly linking to Google Maps, Store Locator can show the available product lists at each store along with the direction to the locations.
Customers will be satisfied as they can get the products anytime and retailers can follow the flow of the goods efficiently.
How to handle effectively inventory is the question that exists for a long time in the mind of every store owner. This issue is equally important as the productivity of the business since it determines success in the long term.
Useful and clear inventory plans help brands avoid unwanted failures in both the selling system and customer services. For a prosperous future ahead, it’s best to pay attention and invest in flawless inventory management!