Inventory management isn’t a flashy topic. Most discussions about online businesses tend to focus on creating eye-catching websites and appealing social media platforms. While all those strategies do play a significant role in running a successful online business, there are other factors you must pay attention to. How you manage your online business’s inventory is one of these factors. You might be surprised that about 43% of small businesses do not track their inventory.
Those that use very old-fashioned methods are ineffective in keeping track of inventory. Inventory management should be one of your core tasks when operating an online business. This is because your inventory can make or break your business. And with many competitors, you wouldn’t want to lose out on satisfying customers and growing your business. Fortunately, these inventory management tips will help ensure that your online business remains successful.
Maintain a positive relationship with suppliers
Even though you do not have a physical storefront for your business, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in developing healthy and positive relationships with your suppliers and vendors. With an excellent long-term relationship with your suppliers, your business can enjoy receiving great-quality items, keeping you competitive and lucrative.
When you have a healthy relationship with suppliers, they respect and value your service. This means that you are better positioned to receive various perks. For instance, if there is a shortage of products, your suppliers would prioritize you over other retailers in the same industry. Remember when engaging with your suppliers that a simple and nice gesture can go a long way. You should try as much as possible to be respectful while remaining firm during each interaction.
Rotate your inventory regularly
Thanks to technological advancements, many new products pop up every single day. If your online business fails to keep up with the latest trends and developments, it risks looking old and boring to customers. Because ads have become more ubiquitous, modern customers always search for something new and unique. One way to successfully meet their needs is by rotating your inventory frequently to stay on top. Keep track of trends that are changing in your target audience through inventory management and use all data you collect to help you know what products you will need to stock.
Rotating your inventory can be expensive, but it might be a wise investment with the proper research. Plus, incurring some higher costs is better than losing customers for good.
Adopt a wise storage strategy
Although your business is online, your inventory isn’t. Therefore, it is vital to keep it safe and organized. Where you store your products would depend on the volume of products you sell and stock. For example, you might want to consider warehousing storage if your inventory may take up too much space in your home or needs to be in specific storage conditions. You may also consider creating space in your home or renting a storage unit. However, be sure your items are insured and are adequately protected from theft.
Use proper tracking tools
In the earlier days of your business, it might seem wiser to track your inventory manually. But as your business expands and your products increase, it might not be the most innovative or efficient way to track your stock. It would quickly become a headache for you or your employees. Investing in an inventory management system would be better, which can help you manage your stock more accurately. It also makes other processes like returns much better, which would save you more time and money in the long run. With this type of software, it is easier to handle all your business operations from one place.
Be open about product availability with your customers
Like any other business, you have to be honest with your customers with your online business. Your customer might not find you credible again if you push items out of stock or lead them to believe it is available. You must also be as transparent as possible and disclose the number of items in stock. If you cannot meet their needs at a particular time, inform them when it will be available. Inventory management is the key to better serving your customers. They will appreciate your openness and be more willing to work with you in the future.
Running a successful online business has gotten more complicated in recent times. Because customers are always looking for the best deals, you must ensure that you provide them with the right products to stand out from your competitors. By taking your inventory seriously, you will learn how to consistently meet their needs.