Why You Need a Smart Inventory Management Solution in the Age of Omnichannel

Why You Need a Smart Inventory Management Solution in the Age of Omnichannel

The fulfillment journey starts when the customer clicks ‘purchase’ on their shopping cart. But businesses need to have their ducks in a row long before this if they’re going to coordinate a smooth fulfillment process.

This is because successful fulfillment starts from the moment that goods begin coming into your warehouse; unless you have an inventory management strategy that gives you full visibility over your stock levels, outstanding orders, and storage locations, you’re going to have a hard time keeping track of SKUs in today’s dynamic omnichannel environment.

“Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have more choice and flexibility than ever before over how they shop”

Online shopper satisfaction has traditionally hinged on two key metrics; delivery speed and order accuracy. But in 2021, the potential for cross-channel shopping journeys has become a major consideration for consumers.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have more choice and flexibility than ever before over how they shop. Restrictions on customer-facing retail and the resulting explosion in online sales have led to a wholesale shift in online-to-offline (O2O) shopping journeys, beginning online and ending with in-person activities. Methods including buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS), buy online, return in-store (BORIS), and reserve online, pick-up in-store (ROPIS) have expanded into mainstream offerings, with 90 percent of retailers now planning on offering a click and collect service by the end of 2021.

But when SKUs can be sold from one channel and be returned or exchanged at another, your inventory levels can be thrown into disarray within days unless you have an advanced technological solution for inventory management. To get it grips with unified inventory, look for a software offering that does the following:

Seamless Integration for Real-Time Insights

Powerful two-way integration between your inventory management system and selling platform ensures that your inventory levels are updated every time an order is placed to avoid overselling and disappointing customers. Instead of looking for a system that syncs automatically every hour, seek out an action-based solution that updates whenever an order is placed or a return is processed. This ensures that your numbers are always up-to-date for the latest insights.

An Intuitive, Easy-to-Use Interface

Implementing a system that takes weeks of onboarding to bring your staff up to speed is a big hit to your productivity. It also increases the odds of mistakes taking place that could affect the accuracy of your SKU counts. Moreover, if you don’t have the functionality to get a comprehensive overview of your inventory, you’re going to waste a lot of time navigating to different tools. Look for an interface that allows you to filter your SKUs easily so that you can always find what you’re looking for.

Advanced Reporting

The best inventory management comes from being proactive in identifying potential issues before they affect things like your storage capacity or ability to fulfill orders. For example, knowing how a particular SKU has been in your inventory allows you to monitor the risk of it becoming dead stock. Likewise, having a system that flags when an item is low in stock allows you to take action to prevent stock-outs. You should also look for reporting capabilities such as:

Inventory turnover

Backorder rate

Average days to sell

Fill rate

With the right inventory management system onside, coordinating seamless inventory management becomes a much time-intensive task and gives you access to important insights about the overall health of your inventory. In the age of omnichannel, there’s little room for error.

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