Updated: Oct 22
Omnichannel e-commerce solution inventory management is the management of all inventories across all channels that you sell. This includes your physical store, online store, social media channels, etc.
It seems simple to provide inventory wherever your customers are, but most of the work is done on the backend. So when you are thinking about implementing an omnichannel strategy, here are some things to think about:
Do you have software that can handle enough sales channels?
Do you have a good idea of what your customers want, when and where?
Do you have the reports or forecast information to request the proper amount of stock for each channel without risking running out of stock or out of stock?
Are you at the right level of business growth to embrace the next step?
For example, Target tested a model that stores less inventory in the backroom to make room for more online orders. This new model required more upfront capital investment, but it reduced the cost of digital deployment in the long run. As a result, its stores have become the fastest and most efficient order fulfilment model.
This type of change requires omnichannel e-commerce solution for inventory management to allocate inventory to a new purchase lane and maintain inventory visibility to your users. Let us dive into omnichannel inventory barriers and how you can overcome them to gain big on factors like inventory visibility. As consumer behaviour changes, retailers also need to change. But one thing remains the same over time: inventory is at the centre of everything.
We live in a world driven by the omnichannel e-commerce solution business model. Online shoppers who do not want to wait for a shipment can pick up their orders in-store. Millennials who prefer to buy from their favourite retailer directly from an Instagram image can do just that. The curious shopper can feel a blanket in the store before buying it online. Unfortunately, some retailers still have not figured out how to perfectly balance multiple sales channels. You can say it is due to poor technology implementation or poor profit management. 55% of companies do not have a cross-channel strategy. Investing in the right software to manage an omnichannel approach is essential. Take this time to implement the right system. See how you can do this.
Obstacles towards Implementing an omnichannel e-commerce solution for inventory management
When splitting, an omnichannel inventory management strategy is complex because there are so many moving parts. And those parts grow as your business grows. Users need to think about how inventory data and activities will be synchronized, from the fulfilment phase to the return phase.
Here are some common barriers we see.
1. Segmented processes of the supply chain
The key to a functional omnichannel e-commerce solution approach is connectivity. Your physical storefront and online store must be hosted on a single omnichannel inventory management software. Otherwise, users will have gaps, such as a lack of inventory visibility.
A loophole in the supply chain can lead to many service issues, such as customers seeing an incorrect out of stock status due to late delivery. And because customers drive instant satisfaction trends, they too can quickly close their business.
Your supply chain cannot function without a unified software solution.
2. Lack of inventory visibility
The story remains the same: As your business grows, your inventory omnichannel e-commerce solution grow, and as your inventory channels grow, the risk of inaccurate data also increases.
Aka, you are losing inventory visibility and fast.
Inventory visibility is probably the biggest obstacle to proper omnichannel e-commerce solution inventory management. Without it, there is no way to access data for an accurate report or promise customers that items will be available again on all platforms.
And when you expand into new channels, inventory visibility is the common denominator. It is the one piece you need to have in a centralized system, so you never miss a beat between sales platforms.
3. Order accuracy
First, order accuracy is absolute only with automated inventory software installed. Manual spreadsheets or manual counts will take you anywhere but with precision.
Order accuracy is the difference between a repeat customer and a lost customer. An increase in inventory accuracy of just 1% is significant. This brings increased on-time delivery of supplier orders, a faster "dock-to-stock" cycle, and better customer delivery times. It can also reduce property costs such as rent or excess inventory insurance.
Without accurate ordering, your omnichannel e-commerce solution business is doomed.
4. Order tracking
With inventory, visibility comes order tracking. You cannot have one without the other.
Good tracking of a streamlined process, when a purchase is created until it is shipped (and requested and the order, if requested, returned). Then again, inventory visibility comes into play. Without it, every step of the picking, packing, and shipping process is subject to error and lack of responsibility.
Users of the omnichannel e-commerce solution inventory management solution improve order tracking to study standing inventory and then make improvements. By doing this, you can make changes that affect the customer's shopping experience for the better and improve the efficiency of the order fulfilment process.
5. High inventory storage costs
Before creating an omnichannel strategy, you need a plan to accommodate more storage space and costs. And most importantly, different storage for different channels and the demand behind them.
Without intelligent demand forecasting, you will end up running out of potential in that space and linking money to other areas of business. If you plan, you can prepare for peaks and valleys in traffic, negating the need for quick sales to hurry up and sell that will cost more than they're worth. This possibility increases as warehouses or distribution centres are added. Inventory data across all your locations can be shared and viewed in an omnichannel e-commerce solution inventory management system.
The real backbone of an omnichannel approach is an inventory or warehouse management system. An Omnichannel e-commerce solution cannot be done manually. With an automated technological solution, every process is simplified. Order fulfilment is synchronized across channels simultaneously. Inventory data is made available in a robust set of reports so you can make better purchasing decisions. With inventory management software in place, users can reap the benefits of the solution itself and the software integrations that it connects to other areas of their business. Imagine hosting inventory data, shipping labels, and market channel information in one place, with complete visibility.