Running an online store is not easy, and keeping track of the online inventory can be a major concern. Read on to know how to manage this efficiently.
There is no denying that the popularity of online stores is now at an all-time high. What sets them apart from a traditional brick and mortar store is that most of the business for the online stores is conducted, well, online! The recent pandemic and the continuous lockdowns across different countries have made online stores a more convenient and easily navigated platform for both business owners and customers alike.
One thing, however, hasn't changed much for business owners. You still have to manage the physical inventory, either in a stockroom or a warehouse. This task might be tricky or simple depending on the size of your business. You need to be on top of which products currently have high demand and determine which will require to be replenished constantly and which can afford to wait in the rotation. You will need to manage your inventory effectively to constantly turn a profit.
How Can You Effectively Manage Your Online Store’s Inventory
For the most part, the way you handle the inventory for your online store will be pretty similar to what you would have done for your physical store. However, you will have to fine-tune some of the techniques so that they better suit an online method. Here are a few tips that will help you make the change.
Use Proper Organization Techniques
The secret to managing your inventory effectively lies in having efficient organizational techniques. You need to keep track of a wide variety of products, so it is crucial that you keep these products organized strategically. The best way to do this is by grouping specific parts and pieces that belong to a similar group and organize them in lists to be able to track them better.
You can eliminate the need for searching through a broad area for a specific part as they will be grouped, making it easier to locate. This is why many companies organize their warehouses and make searching easier by categorizing them by product. The trick is to keep the items that are likely to sell together next to each other in the aisles of the warehouse. Many companies also make a list of their highest selling items and keep them closest to the packing station. This way, they increase efficiency by getting the distance between the products and the pacing stations reduced.
Use Inventory Management Software
Surprisingly, there still are quite a few large businesses that still use spreadsheet software to manage their inventory and are still making large online sales. This method might be more suited to smaller businesses, but as their online sales begin to grow and they need more control to manage their inventory, business owners realize that Excel is no longer viable as an option for long-term inventory management.
You are more likely to involve more people to keep a count of your inventory as your orders grow. This means multiple employees will make entries to the spreadsheet, easily creating chaos in the tables. The spreadsheet also does not allow you to keep track of real-time data of the inventory, resulting in numbers getting confused, lost, or misplaced fairly easily. Many companies count their inventory physically over a certain periodical interval. Most of the time, spreadsheets do not reflect the actual number that comes up from the count.
Inventory management software, such as Track a Haul, effectively makes managing your inventory easier as they are cloud-based. This means not having to install any software, and multiple users can access and make changes to the records from anywhere. Using these systems allows you to maintain and promote accurate record updates and simplify record-keeping and documentation. You get to streamline your inventory tracking process by using these systems, saving time, and cutting down on paper in the process.
Use Barcode Scanning to Automate Warehouse Operations
It’s normal to process hundreds of thousands of orders per day when you operate an online store. The best part about this is that things can get done very quickly in a short amount of time. It also means that there is a big possibility of human error, creating quite a bit of chaos. An innovative and time-saving technique to manage the costs and increase efficiency in the event of incorrect packaging and shipment can be the use of barcode systems to keep track of your inventory.
If a customer receives an incorrect shipment, a customer care representative can assuage the disgruntled customer by paying the customer back the money for postage. The warehouse will then receive the product, return it back to the inventory, and make sure that the customer has received a refund or store credit. Barcodes make the whole process simpler to track the position of the product and automate the process to make it faster and more efficient.
It’s crucial that your recorded data matches your inventory, and performing regular audits of your stock is one of the most effective ways to ensure that. Auditing is the best way to double-check your inventory; this way you won’t miss any records that have not been updated regarding your inventory inside the warehouse. Having regular audits also ensures that you don't lose or misplace certain data, the popular products will be ordered at the right time, and you will not have less inventory than what you require.
In online stores, there is the specific risk of mixing up products digitally. because you might trust a computer-generated program explicitly, foregoing the need to double or triple-check. This is why it is particularly important to carry out audits because even the most trusted computer systems will need to be checked regularly.
Following the above-mentioned tips will ultimately enable you to manage your inventory more effectively for your online store, which causes you to be better able to run your store, leading to better sales and growth of the business. Best of luck with your online store sales.