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Organizing and Monitoring the Stock for Your e-Commerce

9 min read

Leading a business entirely online is the choice for many small businesses because of evident reasons – lower costs. For big companies that also have brick and mortar shops, offering their customers online shopping is also a common practice since it was noted that in 2017, 87% of Americans shopped online and even 40% of shoppers made multiple online purchases each month. It is expected that by 2021, e-commerce will hold 17.5% of the global retail sales.

Still, while the costs for e-commerce are lower from the start, managing the stock should be taken very seriously since mistakes can be costly. Imagine what would happen if your stock count isn’t correct. You will either think that you have more items than you actually have or have less than you expected. In the first scenario, you will only realize that after someone places an order. You won’t be able to deliver the item to the customer, opening a possibility for them to go to your competitors. If it’s the second scenario, you might forget that you have a certain amount of a specific product and it will sit in the warehouse unnoticed until the next general stock take. If it’s a clothing item, it might go out of fashion, and if it’s food or medicine it might go out of date, causing you a direct loss.

Organizing the stock refers to two aspects that need to come together – organizing the actual items in a warehouse and having that reflected on a computer system for stock management.

Organizing The Warehouse

The way you need to arrange the items in your warehouse depends on the nature of your business, however, some things apply for all e-commerce warehouses.

Start with your best-selling items. Normally, they are the items that are highly sought-after and are most likely to be dispatched frequently. These items should be placed close to the dispatch area for easy access.

Next, the big items should go further back, yet you need to make sure that there will be enough room to take them out of the shelves and dispatch them. If the items are heavy, be sure to allow enough room for forklift access.

Creating your own labeling system is also highly recommended. You wouldn’t want to be opening a countless number of boxes until you find the product you are looking for!

Watch Out for Expiry Dates

A common mistake that people make when they store products that have an expiry date is that they will just fill in the empty space on the shelves, leaving the older products in the back. To minimize losses from one such mistake, when you receive a new batch of a product that has an expiry date, make sure you take the older batches out and position them first in line for despatch.

Organizing the Stock Management System

Stock management systems should be directly implemented into your e-commerce so your customers can always see if a product is available or not. For the system to be able to do its job properly, you need to ensure you count the quantity of each item you have in your warehouse. Inputting the right amounts is the most important thing to start with.

Each item that enters and leaves the warehouse should be registered on the stock management system. If this isn’t done, then what’s the point of having one such system, anyway? Your stock count won’t be correct and you are back to square one.

Setting Reorder Points

If you are using suppliers, the easiest thing you can do is set automatic reorder points when your stock is running low. You will not be able to oversee the quantity you have in stock of each product, but working smart and using an automated e-procurement system can cut the risk of running out of an item that takes weeks to receive from a supplier.

E-procurement systems can facilitate your inventory management problems and take care of maintaining the stock at the desired levels at all times. One such system can automatically do reorders when the stock reaches the reorder point you have set. For example, you might not even be aware that you are running low on something, but the fact that you have set a safety stock to reorder point will trigger action and the system will automatically place an order with your supplier.

A smart e-procurement system can also show you the best deals for the product you are after and even help you find an alternative supplier quickly if the one you normally get the items from had run out.

E-commerce has proven to be an efficient and profitable way of running a business. Don’t work hard – work smart. Employ automated systems to take care of your inventory and spare yourself the trouble of making an error that can disappoint your customers. Instead of spending hours counting items in the warehouse, use your time to improve your business and reach out to new customers.

About The Author

Melissa Stanley is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies so far. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is Client Service Manager of PCGT – PunchOut Catalogs.

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