Top Considerations When Looking for an eCommerce Inventory Management System
When looking for an eCommerce Inventory Management system there are a number of considerations a retailer has to think about. The more places your inventory is located and the more channels you sell on, the more complex inventory management becomes. Integration, automation, and synchronization will be key aspects of managing your eCommerce inventory.
To simplify and streamline your inventory management, look for the following functionality when selecting an eCommerce management system or stand-alone inventory management system:
Inventory Synchronization Across Channels
A retailer selling on more than one online channel, such as their own online store plus Amazon and eBay, will need to have an inventory management system that synchronizes inventory levels across every channel. Many retailers sell the same inventory on multiple channels to increase their probability of selling their products. When a product sells out on Amazon reserving the last unit of inventory at the warehouse, the last thing you want as a retailer is to be unaware that the product is still available for sale on your other channels, like your website or eBay. Having a system that synchronizes inventory with your order management is crucial. With the right eCommerce inventory management system, inventory levels on each channel will adjust in real-time as orders are received, removing products that are out-of-stock automatically from all online stores.
Automated Real-time Updates
Real-time updates are critical to inventory management. This requires your inventory management system to have a connection to everywhere inventory is stocked and fulfilled from your warehouses, suppliers, dropshippers, 3PLs and Amazon FBA. As inventory is received and orders are fulfilled by your system, inventory feeds with updated stock levels are automatically imported into your inventory management system. This real-time functionality allows you to automatically update inventory so that out-of-stock items are removed from all of your online channels to avoid over-selling, while at the same time, automatically republishing these products as soon as new inventory is received.
Store Integration: Consolidated view of inventory sold on each store
Every retailer selling on more than one online channel – B2C, B2B, mobile, POS – needs to have a consolidated view of their inventory. An eCommerce inventory management system that is able to connect to your eCommerce platform, marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, and even your POS system, is essential for maintaining this consolidated inventory dataset. From one screen, a retailer will be able to view the quantity of inventory published or unpublished of every product on every store, and be in the know of where all of your inventory is being allocated.
Warehouse Integration: Tracking inventory at each location
Many retailers have inventory in multiple locations. This may include internal warehouses, external warehouses, drop shippers, and fulfillment centers like Amazon FBA. Retailers will also want to make sure that their eCommerce inventory management system that is able to integrate with each of these locations. This will give retailers the ability to select a primary warehouse for fulfillment and from one screen, view the quantity of inventory in stock or expected to be received at every inventory location.
Warehouse integration also involves receiving inventory, usually using barcode scanners. One of the fastest and easiest ways to count and identify inventory is using barcode scanners or RFID guns. An eCommerce inventory management system that is compatible with these scanners a retailer uses at their warehouse will reduce the time it takes to count inventory while streamlining the order pick process for every order.
Often, an eCommerce inventory management system that includes all of the above and works together with your warehouse management, order management, and product management system, is most beneficial to an eCommerce retailer. Read more on how SalesWarp helps retailers streamline inventory management, or for more information, check out other recent articles.