Gaining Efficiency in Your Ecommerce Inventory Management

Within the retail industry, inventory is accurate just 63% of the time on average, which is seemingly due to businesses lacking automation and reliable back office software.

Ecommerce businesses within that percentage are likely trying to stitch together a multitude of systems, or worse still, they’re trying to manage their inventory via the back-end of their websites.

You’ll know your business has reached a level where your ecommerce inventory management needs to step up a gear when you’re:

  • Manually allocating and fulfilling orders
  • Manually updating inventory levels (across multiple sales channels)
  • Selling items you no longer have available in the warehouse

What are your options for efficient ecommerce inventory management?

There are often two common approaches to take: ‘Build your own’ or ERP.

If we look to the age old ‘Build your own’ approach, you’ll be trying to stitch a myriad of different systems, modules and add-ons together, such as order management software, shipping carriers, accounting software, reporting tools, customer data and warehouse management.

But you’ll probably find this gets almost impossible to manage as you grow. Data is stored in too many places, and where different software is joined together, processes stumble and fall.

Or you could choose an ERP.

But ERP systems are often large and complex, and are usually not focused on retail and wholesale, or financially aware of how merchants operate. You’ll need to invest large amounts of time and money on implementation, ongoing maintenance, support, development, customization and administration.

These systems are slow to respond to changes in your business, often require custom scripting and middleware, and sap you of significant time, resource and money. The time to value you see is simply too long.

But there is another option.

The other option is to adopt a complete cloud-based business management system, which will do the heavy lifting of ecommerce inventory management and more for you.

It’s an added bonus if that same system can also automate workflows and processes that will be all too familiar within your own ecommerce business.

We feel our latest animation video sums up this argument rather well:

How to succeed at automated ecommerce inventory management

There are many ecommerce workflows that can be automated with the right software in place.

Automatically routing orders to the appropriate warehouse based on a set of rules, automatic and real-time inventory updates across all your channels, even automatically invoicing orders so your sales team don’t have to spend one more step completing an order.

Implementing an automated ecommerce inventory management system is going to reap big rewards for you, your team and the growth of your business.

With modern technology advancing every day, automating your ecommerce inventory management doesn’t need to be a complicated task, but there are a couple of considerations to bear in mind when doing so.

Before automating your ecommerce workflows, check that they are in the best shape possible. Map them out using a system like Lucidchart, which will then allow you to fine-tune your processes before automation takes over.

Once you’ve then setup rules to match these optimized workflows in your automation software, keep a close eye on how everything is working together.

You may find you’ve missed out a part of your workflow in your original mapping. Or perhaps a part of it needs optimizing further in order for automation to really do the heavy lifting?

Whatever it is that you need to change, do so and then test your workflows again until everything is working efficiently for you and your customers.


Are you curious to find out more about how we can help you to automate your ecommerce business? Browse our website now, or simply give us a call!

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About the Author

Justine Cross is the Content Marketing Executive at Brightpearl where she can be found writing away about all things retail and wholesale related. Previously to joining the Marketing team, Justine enjoyed helping customers with the Brightpearl system within both the Customer Support and Customer Success teams. After over 6 years with Brightpearl, she has become incredibly passionate about business success for retailers, and spends a large part of her days thinking of ideas for hot topics she thinks you'll love learning from and reading about.