The more retailers that you sell your products through, the more challenging it is to manage that inventory - and the costs of sub-optimal B2B inventory management can be steep. In 2015, CNBC reported that stockouts accounted for $634.1 billion in lost retail sales for the year. Those losses can easily pass on to you. If retailers are not confident in your product availability, they will find other suppliers.
Preventing stockouts with well-done B2B inventory tracking goes beyond keeping an accurate SKU count. Ideally, your inventory management software and staff should have the following capabilities.
Detailed tracking information
Your inventory feeds should provide your retailers with as much information as possible, such as:
- Available inventory by location – not only can this free your retailers from being bound to a single inventory source, it can also be useful for shipping calculations
- Restock dates – for low or out-of-stock units, provide both the amount and date by which the inventory will be replenished.
- Real-time data
Comprehensive inventory management
Go beyond the management of in-stock inventory with more proactive services, like:
- Stock alerts – actively communicate when products become out-of-stock, low stock, or back-in-stock
- Allocated stock – allocating inventory for individual retailers helps to manage their expectations is very useful for preventing stockout issues
- Internal backorder management – if it doesn’t take long for you to resupply stock, you may have the bandwidth to handle backorders on behalf of your retailers (or adjust their allocated stock accordingly)
- Shipment notifications – automated shipment notifications with delivery timeframe estimates saves retailers the trouble of calling you, and gives them the information they need to reassure their customers.
If these upgrades to your inventory tracking sound too complex, Fulfillment Works can help! Our Client Access Center technology is customizable and lets you manage all aspects of your inventory from any internet connection (including mobile devices).
A continuous flow of inventory is a major goal for ecommerce businesses. But when seasonal, market, or other fluctuations negatively affect your sales, you may find yourself stuck with excess inventory. Consider the following tips to address the excess inventory you have, and keep more of it from building up.
Make a plan ASAP
The longer you wait to do something about your excess inventory, the more problems it causes by taking up space (which is even worse if you are leasing additional space just for excess), increasing taxes (if you wait until that time of year), and potentially devaluing (if the next iteration of a product is around the corner, demand for the previous iteration may drop even lower).
Liquidate in moderation
Perhaps you're willing to deeply discount excess inventory to get rid of it quickly. But, if you find yourself doing that on a consistent basis, it can spell trouble for your profitability. If you liquidate regularly, you’re losing out on profits without addressing the root cause of the excess inventory. Consider a change in marketing strategy to renew consumer interest, or move on to different product lines.
Partner with a charity
Donating your products can do more than just spread goodwill. If your business is eligible for them, the federal tax deductions you receive may even be better than what you’d get from liquidation. A gifts-in-kind organization can help you donate excess inventory to where it’s needed.
Optimize your Inventory Strategy
Because excess inventory can tie up your working capital and warehouse space, it’s best to try and avoid it in the first place. With Fulfillment Works, our state-of-the art inventory control management system is fully automated to help you manage your inventory by sending out real-time movement history reports, current usage analysis reports, and other metrics to maximize the efficiency of your inventory levels.
Many ecommerce amateurs tend to think of back-orders as “sales about to happen.” But when you look at the big picture, the hidden costs behind backorders reveal why it’s important to have top-notch inventory management. More...
On one hand, it’s great if your ecommerce site has out-of-stock items – it means you’ve sold them all! On the other hand, they can cause bouncing website traffic and cart abandonment. If the item will be restocked, the product page should not be removed your site. Rather, you should implement a back-in-stock alert for your customers. More...
Even if your ecommerce sales are through the roof, your success will be short-lived without capable inventory management. This is especially true if, like many of our customers, your wares extend across multiple marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and even brick-and-mortar stores. To avoid stockouts or stagnation, it’s wise to invest in inventory management. More...