Monday, 6 August 2012

Stock control issues and how to stop them occuring

When managing a small ecommerce business, stock level management is of vital importance. This is because every item you have signifies profit for your business. If you are a recently formed business, or your profit margins are currently rather tight, the profit from just one product can determine whether your figures are in the black or the red for that month.

The high value placed on your items underlines the importance in having good stock management. If you have a business that sells items in a high street store and online across various ecommerce platforms, you may find it difficult to actually keep track of much stock you have left. This is one of the main stock control issues for any business as, if you don't keep track of exactly how much stock you have left, you may find yourself overselling a product.

Overselling means essentially what you are doing is still selling a product to customers despite already running out of stock. This will cause two rather large issues for your business. Firstly, overselling a product is going to mean not only will you miss out on being able to fulfil that particular order, you will also be unable to complete all future orders for that product until you have received more stock. Secondly, if a customer purchases an item only to be then told that they actually can't have it because there is no stock left, despite receiving no notification when they originally purchased the item, that customer is going to grow annoyed with the business and is likely to leave your store to purchase the item from somewhere else.

Poor stock control seriously tarnishes the reputation of a business.  Particularly with online ecommerce stores, the key to success relies on creating a reliable and trustworthy image with your customers. If your store is unable to fulfil basic orders due to poor stock management, it's going to damage this image right from the start and will most likely result in you losing future customers. 

How to solve stock control issues

If you find that you are struggling to keep track of which items are selling where and how much stock you have left, the best option for you would be to purchase some stock synchronisation software for your business. What this essentially does is monitor your current stock levels across all of your sales platforms, so  when one product is sold on a particular platform, your remaining stock levels are then updated across the rest of the platforms. This instant update in stock levels will mean that once an items stock does run out, all of your platforms will notify customers that this item is currently unavailable. However, as a business owner you should never let your stock levels get to that stage. As the stock synchronisation software will allow you to instantly see how much stock you have remaining, you now need to be looking ahead to see when your business will run out of stock. This will allow you to order more stock before you do run out so that once the stock levels do get low, more stock will arrive to replenish your numbers. This way you allow your business to keep selling products, keeping your customers happy with your store. Everyone wins!

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