Friday, 24 August 2012

Stock control issues and how to overcome them

When running an online store, the more places you sell your products, the more money you are going to generate for your business. However, managing your business across a number of different platforms can bring about a number of different issues which will affect the ability for your store to run efficiently. The major problem that people find when running a bricks and mortar business, as well as an online store across multiple channels, comes in the ability to effectively manage your stock levels.

As you are selling products in many places simultaneously, you can often find it difficult to keep track of where each product is being sold and how much of each product you have left. If you lose track of how many items you have left in stock, you may end up selling a product online when you don't actually have it is stock to be able to deliver to the customer. This is known as overselling and is one of the major problems in stock management. 

Problems of overselling

While you don't actually lose any products from overselling, you are not making any money either as you are unable to complete an order. Taking someone's money and being unable to then provide them with a product is could possibly give the impression that you are trying to scam the customer out of their money. This will seriously damage your brand image and gain a public perception as being untrustworthy. 

Not only that, if you are unable to fulfil an order, it will force the the customer to visit a rival competitor in order to purchase the product. In future when comparing the quality of service between you and your rival, that customer will then decide to make all future purchases from that competitor.

Solutions to overselling

If you do have a business that is selling across multiple channels and sometimes find managing stock levels difficult, there two solutions you can look to carry out in order to fix this. The first option is to simply hire more people whose sole job is to monitor stock levels. This will mean that they keep track of how much stock is left for each product and order more stock before you run out. This will mean that overselling will never be a problem as your inventory levels will never get low enough for this to be an issue. However, employing someone full time to carry out this task can cost you more than you may be willing to pay to solve this issue. 

The other option would be to purchase some ecommerce software that has a built in stock synchronisation feature. What this feature does is monitor your stock across all of your online platforms and when one product is sold on a particular platform, it updates the total remaining inventory across all of the other platforms. If you run a bricks and mortar store in addition to online platforms, you can also include the inventory in your shop into the software but you may have to enter these numbers manually if you do not have an automated system in your store. 

As we at eSellution have worked with many clients in helping them set up an ecommerce store, we have found that if you are a small business, using ecommerce software to solve this issue going to be the best way to go. It is easy to implement and requires no effort on your part. What's more, it costs substantially less than it would do if you were to employ someone to carry out this task on your behalf.  

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