Big business owners describe multimarket, or omni-market, inventory management as a “nightmare”. You need the right products in the right marketplaces and channels to get sales, but the system must also de-list properly to avoid out-of-stocks. It sounds simple until grasping the sheer number of products and their variants that even small businesses can carry.
Effortlessly Listing and De-listing
Inventory management through a third party system enables employees to enter minimum input to get maximum results. They can automate the process of listing and de-listing (removing quantities so it cannot sell) across multiple marketplaces. Some older systems still require employees to remove the product from each marketplace, leaving the business wide open to selling items they no longer have. Sharing inventory across these marketplaces is also essential but almost impossible to do manually. Sharing inventory across marketplaces gives employees more time to handle important things rather than notifying angry customers about out-of-stocks. On marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, you're penalized if you get negative feedback from oversells and your products will actually show up farther down in the search results, causing you to lose sales.
Tracking Slow Moving Products and Seasonal Stock
The ability to identify what items aren't selling is important because that product sitting in your facility is costing you money. You've invested in this product by fielding carrying costs - not to mention the capital that's tied up in the products that are not moving is wasteful, themselves. It's wasteful, and a part of the goal of inventory management is to weed out those poorly moving products, to focus on the products that are moving and actually making you money. In this case, we want to identify those products and figure out what needs to happen to move it. Discounts, different marketplace or target audience, better product photo, or making it part of a lot are some options to help move that product. For example, it's summer in Western Australia when it's winter in the United States - see how that could help you move those out of season swim trunks?
Minimizing Theft and Losses
Accurate inventory management discourages theft by employees and leads to quick discovery of excessive loss due to damage or misplacement. When expanding into international marketplaces, businesses need to bring their A-game. You need trustworthy and competent employees. Having a system where people know that everything they do is being tracked and understanding they are held accountable for their transactions also helps with productivity.
In addition, once firmly entrenched in international marketplaces, you can quickly identify problems with specific countries; for example, Russia and Mexico are believed to have the worst postal services in the world. Despite postal services being out of your control, you may still develop a poor reputation, making certain locations troublesome for business.
Reducing Carrying Costs
Warehouse storage and insurance are two crucial costs to holding inventory. More products generally mean higher expenses. With a good inventory management system, businesses can more accurately predict what products they'll need, allowing reduction in the number of unnecessary items they hold. Tracking your inventory and having a goal for how many times you want to turn your inventory in a year is a key metric every retailer should know. This knowledge can increase gross profits, allowing you to spend more money on learning the best way to expand into international marketplaces, which increases sales and brand awareness worldwide.
There are many avenues to explore when making a plan for growing new markets, but inventory management is such an integral part of retail that it needs to be at the core of your plan. Find a good system, learn it, and stick to it. A good system will allow you to scale and grow with it, since you'll increase sales as you expand to new marketplaces. If you enjoyed this article, check out SkuVault Inventory and Warehouse Management System, designed to help you lock down your inventory!