Keeping your online retail business’s inventory levels at optimal levels is frequently easier said than done. At the best of times, customer demand can be erratic and unpredictable. If you stock too much, you risk increasing your costs, but if you stock too little, you risk completely running out of a product. It’s no easy task to achieve the proper balance.
We’ll show you how to cut stock levels and avoid stockouts so you can keep your inventory under control and develop your business.
What are stockouts
When a customer is ready to buy, stockouts are defined as the unavailability of specified items or products at the point of purchase. This frequently manifests itself in the form of noticeable gaps in a store’s shelves in brick-and-mortar establishments. Consumers can be even more frustrated by stockouts in online retail because there is frequently little to indicate whether the out-of-stock is due to a brief technical issue or a big disruption in the retailer’s supply chain.
Retailers, on the other hand, are continually on the defensive when they react. Retailers can avoid out-of-stocks and keep their consumers satisfied with a little forethought and the correct tools.
Here are 5 ways to prevent out-of-stock problems to improve your retail business:
Pen and paper ledgers, as well as Excel spreadsheets, are no longer in use. The best inventory tracking is incorporated into a store operation system and aids in the ordering and inventory management processes. You can manage and edit inventory remotely using a cloud-based solution, and operations can continue even if internet connectivity is disrupted.
When inventory levels drop below a specific level, the best retail point of sale allows you to create order recommendations. These levels, as well as following orders, can be simply modified at any time, removing some of the elements of human error from the equation.
You may also sort your items by how much of an impact they have on your overall revenue, emphasizing your money makers and money wasters. It’s just as crucial to figure out which products aren’t selling as it is to avoid stockouts of the ones that are.
Keep your product organized and observant
Theft by employees and customers is a sad reality. In reality, the figures are staggering. Employee theft is estimated to have cost U.S. merchants $50 billion in 2016. While theft prevention is a separate problem, it does play a role in stockouts. Misordering and empty shelves are caused by missing and unaccounted merchandise. Again, a contemporary inventory system can assist in bringing such issues to light and allowing you to more precisely target the problem.
While demand and supply economics is (and should always be) an important factor in determining inventory levels, many organizations make the mistake of assigning it undue weight, or worse, making it the only factor.
Optimal inventory levels are determined by a variety of factors, including demand predictability, seasonal supply fluctuations, any planned advertising blitzes or promotional campaigns, the possibility of any external factor affecting the supply chain, the supply chain partners’ reliability, and more.
It’s also important to consider the quantity, nature, and profitability of the inventory, as well as best practices for effective and uninterrupted production and the use of efficient strategies to balance the demand-supply loop. Effective inventory management necessitates the ability to adapt to different approaches, or even mix them, depending on the situation.
To maintain optimal stock levels, effective forecasting and adequate buffers are essential. Big data analytics can help with not only projecting demand but also anticipating the time it would take to replenish new orders.
Forecast accurate demand
The use of accurate demand forecasting is another technique to reduce stock levels and avoid stockouts. Demand forecasting based on reports and previous sales data helps you to order just enough products to meet demand throughout the year, lowering inventory costs by avoiding overstocking or understocking your warehouse. In this manner, you don’t order too much product and don’t run the risk of running out of stock.
Keeping a close eye on your sales trends will assist your company to avoid carrying excess inventory that it can’t sell. Furthermore, predictive data analysis helps you make better business decisions based on prior months, such as estimating the optimal inventory amount. In this manner, you don’t order too much product and don’t run the risk of running out of stock. Keeping a close eye on your sales trends will assist your company to avoid carrying excess inventory that it can’t sell.
You should keep in touch with your vendors on a regular basis, and always pay your bills on schedule. They have the same inventory problems as you have. The more you can communicate, the more you’ll be able to predict changes in product availability. There are times when you can afford to place huge orders and others when you can afford to place smaller, more frequent ones.
This goes hand in hand with working capital management. Overordering one week may leave you with empty pockets (and stock) the next. Additionally, on the floor, utilize marketing and price strategies to adapt. If you have a large surplus that isn’t moving, consider offering discounts or shifting it to a different location in your business.
The inventory game can be laborious, but it doesn’t have to be as aggravating as it frequently is. Using the correct point of sale system to streamline the supply chain process can assist prevent stockouts and, in the end, keep customers happy.