Inventory needs to be managed and managed well, or you are going to get in recurring trouble, and lose your credibility and hard-earned conversions, whether you are a wholesaler or a retailer in the real world, or one in the digital version, that’s just a hard fact.
But when you are running an e-commerce store, using an inventory management tool makes even more sense because the whole thing is happening on eCommerce tools, orders come in and get sent faster, and the sheer speed alone can throw you off and make you lose track.
And keep in mind you tell your customer you don’t have something in stock, they happen to need it then and there, they order it with someone else, and bam, you have lost a conversion to the competition, probably for good. So get yourself one after reading what key features an inventory management tool needs to have, below.
Key Features On An Inventory Management Tool
An inventory management tool can be only that, designed to solely manage inventory, and it can be a multi-faceted tool, presenting features to supply chain management, and courier management along with manufacturer inventory management features thrown in as well. In this piece, we will name only the ones that are bare-bone essential to keeping your inventory in check. You can read more about the extra features of multi-purpose inventory management on authoritative sources like Forbes.
1. Inventory Catalog
Cataloging is just smart, it keeps things neat, organized, and transparent. Having a multi- criterion catalog based on practically every standard customers choose a particular item, like size, color, material, and price range helps you spot shortages, stock-outs, and excessive stocks, and prevent chaos.
2. Inventory Tracking
Your product does quite a bit of moving through the supply chain, it is ordered and still in the warehouse of the wholesaler, it is in shipment, it is in your warehouse, and it is packaged ready to be shipped to your customer. Stats and studies show that when you try to keep track of that on a spreadsheet and rely on the human presence of mind and real-time simultaneous multi-tasking, human error is bound to descend upon you and doom you into disorganization and ultimate conversion and profit loss. So knowing where your product is at any given time, shown to you on a digital screen, tracked by ultra-rigorous robots is what you would want, no question.
3. Automated Reordering
Putting software-created robots in charge of doing the reorderings is also a pretty neat practice, as it takes keeping tabs on number-based criteria to do a good job of it. Knowing what the expiration dates are, and how many of them are usually sold in a given period of time determines how many of them should be reordered.
How popular an item has been in the last month, season, or year, or compared to similar time spans last year, can let the robot decide whether it will sit on the shelf for the foreseeable future or more of it will be needed shortly enough. That’s how and why avoiding dead stock is something that an inventory management tool can reduce as much as possible
4. Accounting Integration
Working with large amounts of numerical data is a recipe for human error disaster, and we really don’t need to learn that the hard way. Now imagine that you have two sets of huge numbers to enter, the mix-ups and chaotic confusion is just overwhelming to even think about. So not having built-in accounting features is going to render the point of having an inventory management tool pretty moot.
5. Point Of Sale
Helping you keep track of when, where, and how many sales are being made in real time is what having an integrated POS system does for you. This is how it works: when a shopping cart is checked out and the POS is activated to receive the payment, an automated alert is sent to the retailer that a sale is happening, and registers it at a column of sales specifics.
6. Reporting Features
Segmenting and analyzing raw data of how many sales are made by popularity metrics and giving you meaningful, actionable reports help optimize stocking and reordering and prevent extra warehousing costs and dead investment.
7. Mobile App
Being in charge of inventory management usually keeps you on your feet during the day, and you can’t be tied to a desk and a PC or laptop. So having access to your inventory management tool interface on your mobile screen when you are on the go can be a pretty key feature and way beyond just a convenience factor. So, make sure the one you choose comes with a mobile app.
Benefits Of An Inventory Management System
Using an inventory management eCommerce tool with the core features listed above can help you in some departments that are the very metrics of how prosperous a retail business is going to be. Here is a list of them you can check out, not that any extra convincing is needed at this point.
Increased Productivity By Streamlining Labor
The point of technology is to separate what can be done by machines and take it off of the to-do list of human labor, and have non-robot workers do what only humans can. That leads to remarkable leaps in productivity rates.
Cutting Down Labor Costs
Hiring many more workers to keep track of numbers and supply chain movement just doesn’t make financial sense when you can get AI-powered robots to do a better job for practically free.
Better Customer Experience
You need to keep your customers happy to sustain an accomplished retail business, and a big part of that happiness is giving them what they want when they want it, every single time. Customer loyalty is directly dependent on consistency in both quality of the merchandise and the quality of the delivery.
Curbing Wear And Tear
Having a mechanized system of controlling where things go and how they are handled reduces human error in all departments, one of the most otherwise costly ones being wear and tear. Chaos in management usually means expired, damaged, misplaced, and lost parcels, mishandled somewhere in the supply chain.
When you decide to start an eCommerce business, you build a website using WordPress, employ a variety of marketing tools like an influencer marketing platform, get it analyzed and optimized using features and tools like a website heatmap and a CRO, and get yourself a satisfying stream of customers. Now, you have to supply what they order in a timely and orderly manner. To do it, you need a mechanized system or you will be amiss, hence your need for a feature-rich inventory management system.