You undoubtedly enjoy the benefits of selling your products through multiple channels, such as marketplaces, web stores, and physical locations. But managing your inventory between different channels is no small feat. The challenges of keeping track of item quantities and staying on top of order fulfillment are enough to make the most experienced eCommerce managers shudder.
You are constantly on the clock, ensuring the accuracy of your inventory so you don’t oversell or undersell. But instead of struggling with managing multiple sources for sales, there’s a better way. Sync your multi-channel inventory with software solutions that automatically update stock levels from everywhere you sell.
This blog post will discuss why multi-channel inventory management can be challenging and explore how inventory management software can help.
What is multi-channel inventory management?
Before we dive in, let’s define what multi-channel inventory management means. Multi-channel inventory management is the process of keeping track of your product’s stock levels across multiple sales platforms and physical locations.
This includes monitoring products sold through online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, your website, social media, and physical locations. The goal of multi-channel inventory management is to get better insight into your stock levels to determine reorder points, forecast inventory needs, and ensure accurate inventory tracking.
Why is multi-channel inventory management complicated?
You’ve probably struggled with inventory management when selling your product on a single eCommerce platform or from a single location. Now imagine having to keep track of different inventory levels across multiple channels. You’ll encounter several challenges, including the following:
Stockouts and overselling
When you’re selling across different channels, it can be difficult to track inventory manually. It’s also easy to overlook a change in your sales volume and delay replenishing your stock. The impact is missed sales opportunities.
You’re probably familiar with this situation if you’ve ever bought something online only to learn later it’s unavailable. That’s a case of overselling, which negatively impacts the customer experience.
The opposite of overselling is overstocking, which can cause you to spend money on inventory that’s not moving. Data shows that overstocking costs retailers worldwide approximately $362.1 billion per year. Your business has to bear the cost of storing and managing unsold stock.
When selling on multiple channels, it’s possible to overstock due to difficulty forecasting demand, inaccurate stock counts, and manual errors. All these add up to an increased cost of carrying inventory and put a dent in your profits.
Lack of visibility
When operating on multiple sales channels, staying on top of product availability and fulfilling orders on time can be challenging. It can also be hard to compare performance across multiple channels, accurately predict your sales performance, or forecast future demand.
Without access to this kind of data, you won’t be able to make informed decisions about inventory replenishment and maximize the efficiency of your operations.
Inconsistent shipping logistics
Selling across multiple channels also means having to deal with different shipping logistics. You may need to source and use separate couriers, fulfill orders from multiple locations, or find ways to optimize your shipping process.
This process can become tricky when dealing with different carriers, especially if they don’t integrate. You’ll also need to ensure that you include the right shipping cost and ensure that it’s reflected in the price customers pay.
Having to deal with different sales channels can mean using multiple software solutions for different tasks. This makes it difficult to get a clear picture of your inventory and operations, as each application may use a different system for recording data.
So, even if you can access the same data from various systems, the language and format used by each may be different. You have to manually transfer, interpret, and adjust data before you can use it.
How the right software can help
The good news is that there’s a way to overcome these challenges and streamline multi-channel inventory management. The secret lies in using inventory management software with multi-channel syncing capabilities.
This kind of software can help you track and manage stock levels easily. With the software, tracking your inventory is easy as you get real-time counts for all your items across various sales channels.
You can search for a particular item to see the count and even set low stock alerts. The visibility helps you avoid stockouts or overselling and make informed decisions about stocking levels.
The right software can also help you overcome the logistics challenges of multi-channel inventory by helping you pick, pack, and ship more accurately. Some solutions, like SKULabs, allow you to use barcode scanning to verify picked items and choose from live rates.
You can pick and ship a single item or in batches for more efficiency. The catch is that you see these shipping rates and print the shipping labels from different carriers without switching between software. This is possible because of the software’s integration with major carriers like FedEx and USPS.
The right solution also facilitates warehouse management by making it easy to manage all your stocking centers in one place. You can see how stock changes across these locations and get a clear picture of all your orders, inventory, and operations.
Benefits of using multi-channel sync software
Leveraging an inventory management solution that syncs across multiple channels has various benefits. For example, it helps you build better relationships with your customers by providing accurate product information. Customers can see the available inventory in real-time, eliminating disappointments related to stockouts and overselling.
Customers are also more satisfied because they can return their purchased items both in-store and online, regardless of the channel they used to make the purchase. Additionally, it helps you save time and money as data is seamlessly transferred between platforms. You don’t need to transfer information or update product availability manually.
Manage your multi-channel inventory easily with SKULabs
While selling your products on multiple channels has benefits like increased sales and customer satisfaction, managing inventory across these platforms is complex. Fortunately, the right software can help you overcome these challenges and streamline your multi-channel inventory management process.
SKULabs is one of the multi-channel inventory management solutions that can help you stay on top of the challenges of managing stock across different platforms. This Shopify app has real-time inventory control and sync features to give you an accurate count of available items.
SKULabs will also streamline your order fulfillment process by helping you pick, pack, and ship more accurately. Learn more about SKULabs and how it can help you manage your multi-channel inventory.