By Greg Henry, vice president of client solutions, Barcoding, Inc.
Today’s consumers not only want more sizes, colors and styles of each product, but they also want to choose how and when they purchase them. With the massive impact of ecommerce on consumer purchasing habits, multichannel operations enable retailers to increase reach, boost sales and meet customers’ high expectations.
Customers expect their orders to be in stock, accurate and delivered on time. A cloud-based automated inventory management process with a high rate of accuracy is essential to keep up with sales volumes and rapid fulfillment. Without knowing what product they have at what location, retailers face the issues of overselling out-of-stock products and overstocking slow-moving items.
Better inventory control results in fewer shortages and surpluses. Automating inventory management by receiving real-time sales updates from across all channels means retailers’ inventory counts are never out of date. With added insight into sales trends, retailers can easily forecast product quantities for both peak and off-peak seasons so items are optimally stocked.
Knowing where your products are at any given time, you can reach a wider range of customers with more fulfillment options. Multichannel retailers that use the inventory from physical store locations to fulfill both in store and online orders see multiple benefits from the visibility gained with a cloud-based automated inventory management solution. Delivery times and associated costs can be reduced by shipping orders from the closest location to the customer. Buyers no longer have to wait for an item from a warehouse across the country; they can now receive orders same day, or pick it up from the store down the street—increasing customer service while decreasing shipment costs.
Implementing tracking technology with inventory management software can offer retailers real-time visibility over products within single warehouses or stores and across the entire chain. Barcode scanning and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology can help companies track inventory from the time they receive and store an item to when it’s sold and shipped. Retailers can eliminate time consuming manual data entry and counts, while also significantly reducing human error.
This technology can also provide valuable insights into purchasing trends, inventory counts, product locations and more, so that retailers can identify opportunities for greater costs savings, faster fulfillment and more sales. With improved accuracy, retailers can ensure that if a customer sees that an item is in stock online, the item is in stock in the warehouse or store. Better control and insight into inventory means multichannel retailers improve customer service, increase efficiency and maximize profits.