One of the biggest nightmares in e-commerce is making a sale only to realize that the product is out of stock. There are myriad reasons it could happen—outdated spreadsheets, stock wasn’t updated when it was sold from a different marketplace or store, or maybe just human error and no one realized the stock was that low. Regardless of how it happens, it’s crucial in e-commerce to avoid overselling inventory. Here, we’ll explain a few of the best ways to do it!
Ditch Spreadsheets and Sync Inventory
When you first started out, spreadsheets may have seemed like an easy way to manage a handful of SKUs. Maybe you have a shared doc that you and other employees update. This approach, however, leaves plenty of room for human error. People may forget to update. Someone might overwrite someone else’s edits. The sheet may get deleted. The list goes on.
This becomes even more convoluted when you’re dealing with inventory being sold on different sales channels. When you can have all of your inventory levels sync up in a single platform, you can manage everything with ease. Timely and accurate inventory levels mean you never have to end up having the awkward conversation with a customer that they’ll have to wait while you reorder the product they ordered. Spreadsheets simply don’t scale. What does scale is a platform that incorporates robust automation and talks to your sales channels.
Use Low-Stock Alerts
The easiest way to mitigate an issue is to be aware of it. Implementing low-stock alerts will help you avoid overselling inventory by letting you set a specific threshold in your stock that initiates an alert. This can and should be based on your reordering turnaround times. We’ll talk about that more in a minute. A good inventory management solution should allow you to set up low-stock alerts that make sense for your business processes. In the below video, we show how easy it is to set them up in ShippingEasy’s Inventory Management solution.
Build Velocity and Forecasting Reports
It’s important to know the turnaround times for your products when reordering them from your suppliers. But that’s not the only element that can help you avoid overselling inventory. Velocity and Forecasting reports can help you predict the future in a way. We dive deeper into these two reports in this article, but basically, they are defined as:
Velocity reporting: the rate at which you sell products through your various sales channels. This key report gives you a full breakdown of how fast each product is selling over a period of time. This metric also helps identify your fastest or slowest selling products in order to make business decisions beyond reorder quantities.
Forecasting reporting: demand forecasting uses velocity data to project future sales and help you make smart decisions. Once you have an idea of how many of which products you sell, you have a better idea how many units to replenish.
Velocity and Forecasting reports are like an inventory cheat code. Trends tell you the right amount of product to order and when, so you don’t end up with stagnant products on the shelf or running out of products your customers will want. These are easy to set up and filter by store in ShippingEasy’s Inventory Management solution.
See These Tips in Practice
eRockets is a leading seller of high-quality model rocket kits and accessories. There are a lot of SKUs to deal with in that industry and owner Randy Boadway needed a solution that kept up with the needs of his thriving business.
ShippingEasy’s Inventory Management solution allowed him to have full visibility from purchase order to customer receipt. Randy makes full use of low-stock alerts to let him know which items he needs to prioritize reordering, syncs his inventory levels across sales channels, and even creates bundles to make it easier to track items that sell together.
“The addition of low-stock alerts, 2-way inventory sync, product bundling, and velocity and forecast reporting have saved us tons of time each month. That’s time we can dedicate elsewhere.”
Mason Bottle owner Laura Belmar sells her products on Amazon and across two Shopify stores, one for retail and one for wholesale. She needed a robust inventory system that worked with Shopify and would let her take her business to a new level. She found that in ShippingEasy.
Due to the speed at which ShippingEasy’s Inventory Management solution let her make decisions, Laura was able to set up a PO system with a U.S. manufacturer and order just the right amount of product she needed. This meant she was able to sell products before she had to pay for them 30 days later, leaving no cash tied up in goods she couldn’t sell.
“This PO system, made possible by ShippingEasy, has freed up cash for us to invest in Facebook and Instagram ads, Pinterest ads, Google Adwords and Amazon Sponsored product ads. And the ROI from our digital marketing efforts is what drives our growth as an e-commerce company.”
A major benefit of using ShippingEasy’s platform for your shipping and inventory is that you don’t have to do everything alone. We have inventory management specialists that help you set your low-stock alerts, streamline your inventory across selling channels, and automate as many of your processes as possible. Learn more about one of our inventory management experts, Shea, by clicking below!