Inventory control is vital for any business. Offices need to keep tabs on the amount of stationery and equipment they use, for example. And, manufacturers need to keep a close eye on their raw materials and the amount of stockpile they are building.
But, of all businesses, it’s the retail industry that receives the most damage from poor stock control. In the following guide, we’re going to look specifically at online retail stores. Let’s get cracking with our top tips on stock control for ecommerce.
Sort out your storage
When you are selling online, your reputation depends on quick service and delivery. Whenever those orders come in, the quicker you get them out, the more professional you look like as a business. It is essential, then, to make sure that you know where everything is. It’s a simple premise, but there are many challenging aspects of sound stock storage. And, with many people starting ecommerce businesses from home, it’s a big issue. Your house is not an ideal warehouse, and it’s easy to make mistakes. Ensure that you have locations for all your products so that you can be accurate with your picking, as fast as possible.
The ins and outs
Make sure you are matching what comes in with your invoices from suppliers. There are a lot of stages in the delivery process where mistakes happen, and if you aren’t checking, you won’t have accurate figures to work with. It’s the same for outgoing stock. Combine the two together, and you have the potential for a lot of inventory issues. There will be items of stock not on hand, and phantom products on your shelves – neither is a good look for your customer service or balance sheet.
The good news for online retailers is that there are plenty of technology options to make your life a whole lot easier. Find a suitable stock control softwarec solution, and you will be able to automate a lot of your processes. You will still need to do the physical checks, of course. But, there will be no more manual entering of goods, and your system will take care of all the inventory levels. Choose the right system, and you might even be able to reorder your supplies automatically, too.
Organise your minimum order levels
You will have a range of products on sale, and some sell better than others. It is vital you have a minimum stock level for these popular products so that you never run out. You will need to consider a variety of issues, including how long it takes to get a product from a supplier, and how many you sell on average. There is a sweet spot somewhere in between that will keep your stock levels as low as possible while still having enough to supply your customers.
There is a lot more to efficient stock control, of course. But, these simple ideas will get you pointed in the right direction. The smallest changes can often have a significant impact on your productivity and your efficiency. And, the tighter your inventory management, the better it will look on your balance sheet.