Forward-thinking manufacturers understand the importance of keeping a synergetic online and offline presence, allowing shoppers to socialize and buy through multiple touchpoints and channels. That is all great for developing retailers. You may increase your presence, drive more sales, and reach more clients.
But multichannel inventory management is among the best challenges in retail / ecommerce. So once you add physical stores and new store openings to the combination, those logistical challenges become even more complicated.
And pricy. Overstocks and stockouts can cost you about 12 percent of sales each year.
Thus, we’ve rounded up a list of seven best practices that will assist you to get a handle on multi-channel stock management.
First things first: the more stock and channels you have, the more important it’s to maintain organization. That is likely why 28 percent of organizations don’t have stock visibility across shops, warehouses, and ConnectPOSors.
It is important to use consistent naming conventions, classes, variations, SKUs, and other pertinent identifying information. This makes reporting more accurate and easier, and it may also have a positive effect on customer-facing touchpoints like receipts.
Organization includes your stockroom, also. “This is vital to infrastructural continuity. Disorganization can lead to stock to become backed up or even dropped, which hinders the replenishing procedure for the shelves and puts extra strain on workers,” says Francis Matthew Auriemma, President in Far-Aum Quest, Business Consulting Enterprises.
“If everything is in its proper location, you will understand when something is missing, thereby minimizing loss and theft in the head and not the tail. Employees will have the ability to induce stock to flow fluidly, and resources will be freed up for additional tasks.”
Establish and document protocols
Piggybacking off the concept of business, those systems only work if the men and women using them stick by them. Just because you understand what goes into successful multichannel inventory management does not mean that your group is on the same page.
Standardize processes and set them down on paper so that you can share it with the bigger team. This creates consistency and enables staff. Here are some ideas on what to record:
- Ordering and receiving inventory at the warehouse
- Obtaining products for fulfillment or store deliveries
- Counting products
- Record reconciliation
- Handling returns
- Warehouse security and loss prevention
- Health and safety procedures
- POS functions
Upgrade your tech stack
It’s important to get the perfect tools and technologies in place to support your processes’. In regards to multi-channel stock management, it is absolutely crucial to have real time visibility and synchronization in your stock.
But linking and integrating different systems is a top challenge for 3PLs, and 34 percent of organizations do not have the software integrations they need. In actuality, over half of ecommerce brands still use manual pen-and-paper processes to handle logistics.
Surprisingly, as many as 38 percent of organizations do not even have order management, inventory management, POS, or 3PL program. When picking your POS system, inventory management software, and associated tools, consider the integration choices as well as their built-in attribute set.
London-based menswear retailer Number Six relies heavily on both their brick-and-mortar and online sales channels. Implementing ConnectPOS POS and its innovative multi-channel inventory management features helped the newest reach 40% YOY growth, maintaining seamless operations on the way.
Head to the cloud
Speaking of technology, you will want to head into the cloud when managing inventory across multiple channels. This makes it possible to maintain real-time visibility across places — be it brick-and-mortar shops, warehouses, ConnectPOSors, and anything in between.
When you use a cloud-based POS, by way of instance, you can make sales from the retail shop and it is going to instantly upgrade your master inventory information. This may help you avoid mistakes like creating a sold-out thing available to online shoppers.
Papersmith takes advantage of the benefits with the ConnectPOS POS and Shopify integration which they use to handle in-store and online sales and inventory levels. “ConnectPOS has enhanced our efficiency hugely,” states co-founder Sidonie Warren. “It saves us time as it links to Shopify and upgrades our stock automatically.”
Going cloud-based also provides you richer insight into your business and your inventory. You may see real-time reports and data analyses to make more informed buying, pricing, and inventory-related decisions. This means less time crunching numbers yourself and more time making informed and strategic decisions.
Sync online and offline
Irrespective of your technician stack, it is important that offline and online information inputs are synced so you’ve got a precise, holistic view of your inventory. Set your sights on a retail management system that can join your offline and online data.
Doing this will provide greater visibility has help fuel your growth.
This also makes it much easier to analyze online vs. offline sales. There might be particular products that perform better internet vs. in-store, and vice versa. Note trends that are equally consistent and distinct for each station.
Automate what you can
With so many moving parts and pieces, it is helpful to take the human element out as much as possible. This can relieve human error and supply more advanced information analysis. This is where automation comes into play.
Automation saves you time by allowing your staff to focus on more important business tasks, as opposed to tedious and repetitive tasks that could easily be managed by technology. When Viscata started automating inventory management with Stitch Labs, by way of instance, they stored 5-8 hours each week and earned a 10% increase in earnings.
Conduct regular counts
While machines can certainly do a lot, it is still important to run”quality checks” by hand, particularly when dealing with multiple channels. In stock management, we call these points or audits. A physical count is when you tally up the amount of products you have in your possession in person. This means a person or a number of individuals physically move around and count how much product you have.
Sounds tedious, and it’s. But it’s crucial. And that is also why you do not need to perform a count daily. Generally, speaking, you will want to do a complete count each year. This requires shutting down the shop and halting operations so that you can solely concentrate on the job at hand. Try to select a slow period to perform these. Throughout the year, you are able to run tight counts. Essentially, you opt for a sample group of stock to count and apply those findings to the rest of your stock. This is less precise but also less wieldy.
You may also do more routine inventory counts with your POS system. In ConnectPOS, you are able to conduct a complete count at year-end or a partial count for spot checks during the year.
Move forward with multi-channel on your retail business
Adding new channels to your conventional brick-and-mortar company is a terrific way to reach more customers, increase sales, and enhance the customer experience. To successfully execute multi-channel selling and stock management on your retail business, get a retail management system which can keep your inventory in power and check your own growth.
More useful sources
►►► ConnectPOS is a cloud-based POS software compatible with multiple platforms including Magento, Shopify & Shopify Plus, and BigCommerce.
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