Why is Inventory Management Important to Modern Retailers?

Written by Justine Cross on 24 April 2017

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The retail industry is always constantly evolving and as a modern retailer, you need to be consistently adapting your strategies, workflows and processes to ensure you’re keeping up. This includes how you manage your inventory.

With customers finding your store in new and interesting ways, your business should be set to see an influx in sales. And you should expect sales to keep increasing as you grow and improve your own marketing strategies, which is great news for your business.

However, keeping up with this increased demand (and potential increase in returns) is likely to put a strain on your warehouse; unless you’ve adopted a great omnichannel retail system and workflows to keep your inventory management slick, streamlined and efficient.

Let’s discuss this a bit further...

What is inventory management?

Starting from ground zero, inventory management is the process by which you track how many of each product you have on your warehouse shelf, in store or with other retailers and distributors.

When tracking inventory accurately, you know how many of each item you have, you know when you’re running low on stock and whether you should purchase that item again to keep selling it. And as a busy retailer, you should be able to do all of this at a glance ready to make good buying decisions quickly.

You can answer those questions about your stock quickly, can’t you? If not, you could be missing out on all of the benefits associated with accurate inventory tracking.

Why is inventory management important?

If we wanted, we could discuss the benefits of accurate inventory tracking and why it’s important until the sun sets, and then, we could probably continue discussing it over breakfast and through lunch as well. But we know you’re a busy retailer so for now, we’ll try to keep things short and sweet.

1. Increased sales bring challenges

Economies are thriving all over the world due to an average increase in consumer spending year on year. With this comes the fabulous feeling of more sales. But this in itself presents challenges, such as potential increases in returns and strains on your shipping processes. With stock coming in and out of your warehouse faster and faster, you need to ensure your stock levels are accurate so that all of your processes can remain as streamlined and efficient as they can be. Otherwise, you could become tangled up in endless stock takes, customer complaints and stressed out warehouse staff.

2. Multiple sales channels are tough to manage alone

If you’re an ambitious omnichannel retailer, you know that you need to be where your shoppers are. If that includes eBay, Amazon, in-store and your own website, then so be it. But trying to keep track of stock across all of these channels could become tough if you’re using spreadsheets or systems that don’t accurately track your inventory levels. You run the risk of overselling across your channels and no-one wants to disappoint a customer buying a gift or something they really wanted. Instead, you should be able to sit back, trust that your system is updating all of your sales channels in real-time and focus your energies on growing your business.

3. Satisfy demand and avoid overstocking

Tracking your inventory accurately ensures you always know when you’re running low on your best sellers, when is the best time to re-stock and how many items you should purchase to be able to fulfill your back orders. This allows you to satisfy the ever increasing demand for your best products without running the risk of tying up your capital in overstocked inventory. That’s a win-win, right?

4. Keep your stock checks quick and easy

With a system in place tracking your stock everytime something is bought, sold, exchanged and returned (across your multiple sales channels); stock checks instantly become quicker and easier at the end of the week, month or quarter. You should always check your stock regularly, so that you’re on top of it if something has gone missing from your shelf or a mispack has happened somewhere along the line. But knowing and trusting that your inventory levels are correct in the majority, results in faster, easier stock checks. After all, you’re just confirming data that’s already in your system instead of doing a lot of time-consuming data entry. This allows you to handle the exceptions and concentrate your attentions on growth activities instead.

5. Happier customers = more sales!

If overselling and understocking are a thing of the past, you’re sure to make your customers happier, resulting in a better chance of positive reviews and ultimately, even more sales! And when you can also keep your customers updated if new stock is coming in from your vendor, your customers feel encouraged to trust you, which in these competitive times, is a valuable asset. Keep on top of your stock and you keep on top of your customer satisfaction!

Hopefully a glimpse into these points has helped to demonstrate just how important inventory management is to a modern retailer, like you. And with the help of a great omnichannel retail system like Brightpearl, so many benefits could be yours quickly and seamlessly.

Need more persuading? Download a copy of our free guide: 10 Reasons Accurate Inventory Tracking Matters and find out why else inventory management is important to you as a modern retailer.

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Justine Cross
About the author
Justine Cross

Justine Cross is the Content Marketing Executive at Brightpearl where she can be found writing away about all things retail and business related. Passionate about business success for retailers, she also spends her days thinking of new ideas for hot topics she thinks you'll love learning from and reading about.