Keeping track of e-commerce inventory: Best practices
As e-commerce evolves, technology is becoming essential to managing inventory. E-commerce businesses, irrespective of size, need to keep a track of inventory in real time, automate processes and use data analytics to make informed decisions. In this blog, we will explore the best practices around using technology to improve e-commerce inventory management. We will examine some of the latest tools and platforms available, such as inventory management software, automated reordering systems, and data analytics tools.
We will also discuss the benefits of using technology for inventory management, including an increase in efficiency, improvement in accuracy, and greater control over stock levels. Whether you’re just getting started with e-commerce or you’re looking to improve your existing inventory management system, this blog will provide you with valuable insights and advice on how technology can help you achieve success.
How do e-commerce stores manage inventory?
E-commerce inventory management, as the name suggests, is the process by which e-commerce stores catalogue and record the stock of available products. This may sound simple, but it is not so, especially when you scale up operations.
That’s when you require an end-to-end, automated inventory management system. It helps you run your inventory lifecycle processes more seamlessly and scale more easily than run-of-the-mill software. Logistics is one of the trickiest things to perfect and optimise. Things keep going wrong, and new brands often forget that this is their base offering. First, you need to process and deliver orders smoothly, with no delays. The quality of products and the stock of products come after that.
What are the benefits of e-commerce inventory management?
Often, when e-commerce stores maintain their inventory manually, they make mistakes in the logging and updating of products. There are a lot of avoidable delays.
For instance, the new stock might have arrived in the warehouse, but it did not get sold because the products never got updated on the website. This results in significant wastage of stock and exceptionally longer order processing time.
An inventory management system automates the entire process. Products are recorded and updated in real-time with each order. This way, you are aware of the different categories of products that are in stock. This minimises wastage, besides reducing the order processing time.
Efficient management of stock
Automated reordering of inventory allows effective management of stock levels across warehouses and fulfilment hubs by eliminating the need for manual monitoring and reordering. These systems also help in the automatic replenishment of stock as soon as existing levels reach a certain threshold. This can prevent stock-outs and overstocking, as the system can continuously monitor stock levels and reorder products as needed.
Furthermore, automated reordering systems can be configured to consider lead times and other factors, such as shipping costs, while determining when to reorder. This can help businesses optimise inventory levels, minimising costs and saving time. It could also enable them to make more accurate predictions about demand.
Enhanced focus on product development
Often, e-commerce sellers are not able to focus on product development. Managing order processing and fulfilment consumes a bulk of the time. When you manage orders manually, a lot can go wrong. You have to devote more time to fix the issues.
An end-to-end inventory management system like Ordazzle will take care of all logistics issues. This means you have more bandwidth to do what you do best — build new products for customers!
E-commerce Inventory Management — Best Practices
Record and analyse customer data
The most authentic source of information on customer requirements is the customers themselves. By tracking demand patterns, we can gain an incisive understanding of product preferences and visibility on ebbs and flows.
Today, data rules the world. Leveraging it smartly, brands can gain the edge they need to go viral.
Efficient recording and storage of user data are one of the cornerstones of e-commerce inventory management. This includes everything from the most viewed products to user preferences.
If you were running a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store, you would interact with the customers. You would note which products they liked and which ones they ignored. You’d introduce special offers during festive seasons to attract bigger crowds.
Why should your e-commerce store operate any differently? The method of processing information is the only difference between online and offline formats. Everything else remains the same.
Set up clear parameters to record and analyse your customer data. Use the information while devising improvements/upgrades to the platform to address the problems.
Optimise inventory turnover
This is one of the most common issues faced by e-commerce stores. Either they end up producing too less and are unable to meet demand, or they overproduce, resulting in a stock pile-up.
Knowing exactly how much to produce is an art. Rarely do brands get it right in the beginning. It is only over time that the pattern of demand becomes discernible.
A full-service inventory management system will give you visibility about stock and sales. You will be able to predict the shortfall easily and with greater accuracy. This will free up working capital and reduce warehouse charges. In other words, your system will run a lot more efficiently.
You can use the following methods to increase your inventory turnover rate.
- Just-in-time inventory management
This is based on the principle that you only produce what you need. There is no extra production and no wastage.
Now, to do this manually would be next to impossible. But with an inventory management system, you can keep a track of how many people are interested. You can set up a notification system or even take advance orders!
In other words, you can use data to increase your inventory turnover.
- Marketplace integrations
When you’re processing orders manually, it can be a challenge to register on multiple platforms and run multiple stores. But with the use of an inventory management system, you can do all this and more.
Registering your products on marketplaces and other websites will increase visibility and widen your network of potential customers.
- Offers and discounts
You can use a sales campaign to clear old stock and make room for new products. This is especially useful if you’ve got a lot of old inventory that is running up quite a storage bill.
Running a discount campaign will boost sales and increase inventory turnover.
Keeping a track of e-commerce inventory is crucial for the success of any online business. By implementing best practices, such as using inventory management software, regularly conducting physical inventory counts, and setting up automated reordering systems, e-commerce businesses can maintain the optimum level of stock required to meet customer demand. Additionally, by monitoring stock levels and sales data, businesses can make informed decisions about which products to stock and when to reorder, ultimately leading to increased sales and customer satisfaction. By following these best practices, e-commerce businesses can optimise their inventory management processes and take their online sales to the next level.
Ordazzle’s Inventory Management solution is an end-to-end, integrated system that connects with all your internal and third-party systems to help you view, modify, and analyse your inventory data and movements and data in real time across geographies and fulfilment hubs. Speak to our experts today for a consultation to learn more!