With mobile usage growing phenomenally (3.7 billion unique users globally), and with people preferring to purchase online instead of visiting brick and mortar stores, E-commerce is booming like never before (projected to grow to USD 4.88 trillion). The e-commerce industry is also boosted by better inventory management, ERP, and automation solutions often offered by third party vendors. If you run an e-commerce business, you can optimize your inventory management to manage your online store better.
Managing your online store is as easy as just starting with doing a revamp of your existing inventory management strategy. If you haven’t already thought about enhancing your inventory management strategy to manage your online store better, this article will help you do just that.
In this article, let us take a look at how you can manage your e-store by optimizing your inventory management strategy.
1. Automate stock replenishment
To make sure that your e-commerce business is successful, you need to keep track of stock levels and replenish your inventory depending on the demand trends. You can manage your stock easily if you have the right ERP and connect it with the right e-commerce tool. Integrating ERP with CRM is crucial to managing inventory and automating much of the tasks. Whenever your stocks need to be replenished depending on the number of orders or demand, your ERP will help you do that automatically, without having to consult various departments.
Close to 7% US GDP, $1.1 trillion in cash, is tied up because of inventory related accounts payable and receivables.
Take a look at this checklist to understand how to manage your inventory better.
2. Manage your catalogue to move your stock
The crux of managing inventory successfully lies in a business’ online catalogue. If the catalogue does not have accurate product descriptions or if it is not optimized for search engines, then, people are not going to find what they need when they visit your website. This means, your stock will remain on the inventory without ever being sold. Make sure that all your product descriptions are written well, and that the meta-tags are updated. Catalogues should also reflect updated price and discounts, and should be integrated with your inventory management app.
Days inventory outstanding, which is a metric that tells you the quantity of inventory on hand based on average sales per day, is currently at 8.3%, which is much more than before, though shipping and manufacturing is considerably faster now. What is missing is an efficient inventory management strategy.
Take a look at 7 of the common challenges that e-commerce businesses face when it comes to catalog management.
3. Optimize images
Images have an extraordinary position on e-commerce websites. If you do not have original and well-shot images for products that you sell, your customers will not feel inclined to purchase the products. In addition, make sure that all images are of proper resolution and sizes, and that they all have correct ALT tags. Of course, all this takes a lot of time to fix, and this is why you need an image optimization service. Accurately described images that are of high quality are responsible to keep your inventory clear and replenished often.
Take a look at these 10 image optimization tips.
4. Do a technology audit
Make sure that you conduct a thorough audit of all the software tools you use such as ERP, CRM, accounting software, etc. In addition, your e-commerce website should be designed attractively, and all the keywords and key-phrases should be used correctly. To make sure that your inventory management is automated for the most part, seek help with your ERP and try to integrate your ERP with your CRM. Integration is very important for making sure that your ERP is in sync with your CRM, both of which aid in moving your products quickly through the sales cycle.
Here is a checklist of things to do for an e-commerce website audit.
5. Outsource inventory management
To manage your online store better, it is always a good idea to seek external help. A good vendor can help you with not only integration of your ERP and CRM, but also managing it on an ongoing basis. While you can automate a number of tasks, there are still some key tasks that need human intervention. Automation plus a partnership with the right vendor can help you manage your inventory like a pro, and ensure that all your products move through the sales cycle quickly and efficiently.
This article describes how small businesses can excel at inventory management by outsourcing some of the functions.
It’s not easy, but it’s OK.
As you can see, managing an e-commerce store isn’t all that easy. Most businesses have much to worry about, including marketing, sales, providing excellent customer care and giving competitors a run for their money. What this really tells you is that you should make sure that you outsource your non-core activities so that you are able to scale and serve more customers.
Inventory management is often ignored, and integration only goes so far. While automation can certainly help in inventory management, seeking the help of an external vendor to fill the gaps will help you further. A strategy that involves integration of ERP and CRM, automating repetitive tasks, and seeking vendor help to move stock through sales cycle quickly will help you manage your inventory and online store better.