Your inventory is the lifeblood of your ecommerce business. Without a steady flow of products in and out of your inventory, your business won’t survive! These are the top four ecommerce inventory issues you may face, and some tips to help you overcome them.
1. Stock Visibility
Do you have a clear vision of how much inventory you have in stock? Do you know which of your products are out of stock? How many of your most popular items are back-ordered?
Once you know how much stock you have, it’s crucial to make sure those numbers are accurately represented on your website. If your customer falls in love with a product and doesn’t find out until after they’ve purchased or during the purchasing process that you’re out of it, you could lose their favor and their business.
It’s hard enough to get customers to choose your company over your competition, so why make it more difficult by having inaccurate stock visibility? Implement the necessary level of stock management to ensure you always have visibility of your inventory.
2. False “Out of Stock” Flags Caused By Inaccurate Inventory
Accurate information is crucial to your inventory. A missed zero, other typos, or messed up content could mean stock not being listed on your website. Inventory not listed on your site means lost sales and frustrated customers!
You can manage these issues by:
- Avoid “stock outs” and maintain accurate stock levels within your inventory.
- Automate tasks using ERP software.
- Use accurate demand forecasting to plan for what your customers want most.
- Integrate your website with your warehouse management system or fulfillment company.
3. Overselling Due to Cross Channel Inventory
It’s a great idea to sell your products on multiple channels like eBay or Amazon to increase the likelihood of conversions. If you aren’t accurately managing your inventory or allocating specific quantities of your stock to each of the channels you sell. If you’re using fulfillment services like Amazon FBA, make sure to remove the inventory that is sent to their warehouse even if it hasn’t been sold yet.
The longer an item you no longer have is listed as available, the more likely it is to have frustrated customers, damaging reviews of your company, and negative product ratings. Consider automating your inventory management across all of your active channels so you can make sure your customers have accurate information and quantities wherever they decide to shop.
4. Not Reserving Stock During the “Add to Cart” Phase
When customers are shopping around, it’s common for them to add products to carts from multiple companies while they decide which one to buy from. The worst-case scenario would be running out of stock before the customer finishes their transaction!
To avoid this issue, consider locking inventory in shopping carts for a set time and letting the customer know that they are guaranteed that product if they complete their transactions before the time runs out. You can add a little interest to this process by creating a pop-up or other notification that tells them you’re excited that they chose you and that the product is theirs… but only for a limited time.
Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO and co-founder of 3dcart, an ecommerce software to build SEO-friendly online stores. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.