Omnichannel inventory management is one of the trickiest aspects of an eCommerce manager’s job. Often, retailers must manage large amounts of inventory across a variety of online marketplaces, including Amazon. Changes in inventory must be constantly monitored and updated across all of these channels, to ensure that customers have accurate information regarding product availability.
Manual inventory processes are inefficient, using employee resources that could instead be devoted to reaching strategic objectives. Manual processes tend to be needlessly complicated and repetitive. Errors are more likely as well, which can cause issues with sales, planning and forecasting, and have a negative effect on the customer experience.
Accurate information on available products and stock levels impacts primary eCommerce functions such as order management and fulfillment, planning and forecasting, and customer satisfaction.One study foundthat 77% of retailers consider inventory planning and visibility to be a top omnichannel need, while 75% are working with inaccurate inventory information.
There are some warning signs that your current omnichannel inventory processes should be revised. These include:
Customers placing orders for out-of-stock items
Increasing unsold stock write-offs
Overpaying suppliers for rush-order replenishment
If this list of warning signs sounds at all familiar, considerbooking a demoof ChannelGrabber's leading inventory management software for eCommerce Managers.
On the other hand, an effective inventory management system will provide exceptional transparency, real-time updates, centralized inventory management, and integrations.
Accurate inventory information, distributed across several platforms, enables omnichannel success by ensuring that customers have the correct information, eliminating frustrating out-of-stock orders. Retailers have accurate information as well, improving communication, customer service, and planning and forecasting activities.
A ‘near real-time’ system means that inventory updates are performed periodically, but does not specify how often information is amended. Near real-time updates could happen every hour or sometimes only once per day. An actual real-time inventory update occurs within minutes for every order placed: as orders affect stock levels, inventory is updated throughout all channels in the omnichannel system. This means when a customer purchases your product on Amazon, inventory levels for that product are automatically updated on all marketplaces or webstores it's being sold on like eBay, Etsy, and your proprietary eCommerce store.
Centralized inventory management
Centralized inventory lends itself to improved channel management, making it easier to fulfill orders, manage stock levels, supply, orders and shipping from a single location rather than a distributed network. Centralized inventory provides efficiencies that are not possible when inventory is stored in multiple locations, including cost savings, economies of scale, and the potential for automation.
An effective inventory management system integrates easily with other functions throughout the organization. Not only does inventory accuracy affect fulfillment – it also influences supply chain optimization, invoicing and accounting, and customer service.
Accurate, real-time inventory management is essential for retailers managing omnichannel eCommerce activities. Amazon is only one piece of the complex puzzle. Inaccurate inventory can have negative consequences throughout the organization, leading to overstocks, lost sales, and unhappy customers. On the other hand, an effective Amazon retail inventory management system can provide greater visibility, streamlined processes, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction and retention.
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