When you first launch your eCommerce website, it may seem simple enough to use something like Excel or Google Sheets to manage inventory. "After all," you may think to yourself, "I'm a very organized person!"
But after a year or two, your inventory grows. Maybe you even have a few shipment mishaps. Perhaps your website experiences a few glitches in terms of showing customers what you have, versus what you truly have in the warehouse.
It's times like these that make you realize you may need to learn how to better manage your stock inventory. But before you rush out thinking you need to hire someone to help inventory product or keep track of all your stock––consider these alternatives.
Manage Your Physical Space
The best digital inventory system in the world won't matter if you can't find the items it references. Stock should be laid out in a manner that makes sense, and you should make use of things like scannable barcodes, aisle or shelf markers, unique item numbers, and staff that can handle all of the above. If you're currently running a business that looks at stock like a junk drawer in your kitchen, it's time to re-evaluate how you're organizing things, and move from there.
Invest in Organizational Software
A good piece of inventory software will do so many things for you––it will make it easier to track what you have, offer insight into inventory activity, allow for multiple user access, and keep a detailed record of what's going on with your stock. It should also help on the purchase side of things, by providing you with labels, shipping and processing, and even price updating for inventory that needs adjusting. Your inventory software will become not just a tool on your computer, but a vital part of your sales team––one that will have you wondering how you ever went without.
You may find that one of your largest problems isn't just keeping track of what you have, but that you have too much to keep track of. Items get lost in the shuffle, you have more stock than you know what to do with, or you find yourself stuck in a place of trying to figure out how to best store and organize the stock you do have (warehousing isn't cheap, after all). If you are looking at so much inventory that organizing and managing it is becoming too big of a headache, it's time to consider some logistics methods of scaling down––mark down prices, resell to discounters, or even ship overseas to liquidators.
We look forward to hearing about how you control your own inventory! Let us know in the comments what tools and successes you've found for your own business.