Top 5 methods to enhance multi-channel eCommerce inventory management

by Bizom

August 01 | 05 min read


Top 5 methods to enhance multi-channel ecommerce inventory management

We live in a world that’s dominated by an endless slew of businesses with innumerable sales channels, both online and offline, striving to conquer the market. Thanks to this enormous growth and boom in the retail and eCommerce space, even the average customer expects nothing less than top-notch experiences, no matter which buyer channel they choose. Since the days of settling for mediocrity as something of the past, business leaders and product marketers find themselves at a crossroads, faced with the pressing need to revamp their multi-channel inventory management processes.

Multi-channel inventory management is no mystery to eCommerce companies, but before we delve into the best ways to improve multi-channel eCommerce inventory management, let’s take a look at what this process or practice means.

Simply understanding: What is Multi-Channel eCommerce Inventory Management?

Multi-Channel eCommerce inventory management encompasses the comprehensive management of inventory across multiple sales channels, both online and offline. It entails maintaining a cohesive and real-time view of stock orders and items at every stage of the supply chain, ensuring their smooth progression from the manufacturer to the final customer. This includes monitoring stock levels, tracking shipments, coordinating fulfilment processes, and optimizing inventory allocation to meet customer demand effectively.

Today, several retailers seamlessly integrate their inventory across various channels, including their brick-and-mortar stores, online platform, and third-party marketplaces. By implementing robust inventory management systems, they can effortlessly synchronize their stock levels and efficiently fulfil orders regardless of the sales channel. Their customers experience a consistent and hassle-free shopping experience, whether they choose to visit a physical store, browse their website, or purchase through a marketplace partner. Through their strategic approach to multi-channel eCommerce inventory management, retail companies can certainly establish a reputation for reliability and customer satisfaction.

This brings us to how deploying multi-channel inventory management solutions aid in strategizing and streamlining eCommerce operations for retail businesses.

What are the perks of multi-channel inventory management?

Setting aside the process of inventory management itself, multi-channel inventory management equips companies with tools to improve, elevate, and expand their business.

Multi-channel inventory management solutions are driven by the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, making them vitally instrumental in the realm of business operations. They have the ability to seamlessly monitor, handle, and arrange inventory sales, purchases, and production across a wide array of channels. It’s akin to having a dedicated team of diligent assistants diligently working behind the scenes to ensure your inventory is in perfect order.

Here’s how multi-channel inventory management can benefit your eCommerce business:

1. Transparency and seamless integration

Effortlessly fulfil orders across channels with a clear view of inventory quantities and locations. Fast-growing brands rely on multichannel inventory management tools to sync inventory across channels and offer real-time visibility from a centralised hub.

2. Accurate prediction of future demand

Implementing inventory management systems enables precise demand forecasting and strategic stock management. By considering factors such as marketing spend and past seasonal patterns, these systems empower businesses to position themselves optimally and effectively replenish their inventory.

3. Local fulfilment for customer experience

Multi-channel inventory management systems allow businesses to strategically position and situate local fulfilment centers closer to their customers. Subsequently, this cuts down delivery expenses and makes room for customer-centric incentives such as free shipping or free delivery.

Now that we’ve discussed what multi-channel eCommerce inventory management involves and its advantages in the retail business, let’s dive into the methods one can adopt to enhance multi-channel eCommerce inventory management to propel sustainable and steady business growth.

Top 5 methods to enhance multi-channel ecommerce inventory management you must implement, pronto!

1. Fine-tune inventory management systems with demand forecasting

Efficient inventory management processes are crucial for ecommerce businesses to ensure product availability and customer satisfaction. To maximize fulfilment rates, it is vital to maintain the appropriate stock levels of the right items, aligning with customer demand. Achieving this becomes more complex when operating across multiple sales channels, including eCommerce. In this scenario, tracking demand for each product across various channels and consolidating the data becomes essential for cost-effective reordering from suppliers.

Additionally, price sensitivity poses another challenge. Any changes in your prices or those of your competitors can impact demand. Failing to promptly adjust forecasting and reordering rules may lead to inventory imbalances. Given the extensive product portfolios comprising hundreds or even thousands of items, manual management becomes impractical.

Bottom line, savvy inventory management teams turn to technology for assistance. Demand forecasting software dynamically adjusts the forecasts based on demand patterns, seasonality, trends, and promotions. It automatically updates reordering parameters to match demand, ensuring optimal inventory control.

2. Leverage inventory management tools to monitor the supply chain

In order to stay competitive, omni-channel businesses must establish highly efficient supply chain operations. The increased disruption has highlighted the delicate balance between maintaining a lean supply chain and building resilience against demand and supply fluctuations. Many businesses are actively reassessing their supplier networks and diversifying their sources to mitigate the risks associated with relying on a single supplier. Others are opting to engage suppliers closer to their operations to reduce transportation costs.

Industries facing challenges in raw material availability or stock availability are increasing inventory levels to prevent stockouts. While adopting a “contingency” stocking approach may tie up more capital in goods sitting on shelves, it can yield long-term benefits by ensuring superior product availability compared to competitors. Investing in inventory management tools such as the auto-replenishment system and distribution management system by Bizom can help businesses optimize inventory administration and have seamless supply chain systems.

3. Refurbish and optimize your shopping website

Not only are B2C ecommerce retailers focusing on developing user-friendly interfaces and designing exceptional online shopping websites, but B2B companies are also recognizing the importance of ecommerce. In fact, 80% of B2B companies are prioritizing the enhancement of their online channels to match or exceed the quality of their offline channels. However, despite these efforts, there is still significant room for improvement, as 52% of businesses that make online purchases frequently experience frustration.

This presents a valuable opportunity to optimize your multi-channel inventory management system in eCommerce. In order to attract and retain customers, it is crucial to have a website that is intuitive to navigate, facilitates easy product discovery, and provides secure payment options. Failure to do so may result in abandoned shopping carts and missed sales.

4. Prioritize multi-channel logistics for orders

The primary goal of multi-channel eCommerce inventory management is to efficiently and accurately process orders in a timely manner. Today’s customers have high expectations for fast and free delivery services. In several cases, carts get abandoned due to additional costs, such as shipping fees, while some customers leave because of slow delivery times. Hence, it is crucial to have a real-time understanding of your stock situation.

Real-time updates are necessary to account for cancelled customer orders, returns, or reservations, which directly impact inventory levels. Achieving such accuracy requires the implementation of automation. eCommerce software can effectively manage online orders, and some solutions are specifically designed to handle omni-channel sales.

To maintain accurate and transparent inventory control, including inventory tracking, purchase order generation, and dispatch management, utilizing a Distribution Management System (DMS) or an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is essential. Furthermore, an inventory optimization tool will ensure that you maintain the right levels of stock to meet demand without excessive overstocking.

5. Streamline the supply system

Efficiently optimizing your supplier ordering processes is of utmost importance, especially when dealing with a global supplier network that involves long lead times. When orders have extended lead times or when stock items are scarce in the market, it becomes impractical to expedite orders.

Moreover, considering the high shipping and freight costs, it is essential to align your orders precisely with demand forecasts. No one wants to incur expenses for shipping partially filled containers or unnecessary items, as it is simply not cost-effective. Additionally, suppliers appreciate having well-planned manufacturing and fulfillment schedules. By providing accurate mid to long-term order schedules, you increase the likelihood of receiving precise and punctual deliveries while gaining leverage for negotiating the best possible deals.

Upgrade toBizom’s multi-channel eCommerce inventory management

By adhering to these valuable principles from the beginning, you lay the foundation for achieving success. However, to effectively implement these practices, it is crucial to rely on contemporary software solutions for assistance. At Bizom, our primary focus revolves around delivering cutting-edge inventory optimization software. Reach out to us today to engage in a conversation with our team about the ways in which we can assist you.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into inventory optimization for ecommerce businesses, we invite you to check out the Bizom Smart Basket.

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