What comes to mind when you think of stocktaking? The traditional view may be one of sprawling warehouses or perhaps on a smaller scale, rooms filled from floor to ceiling with boxes. For traditional retailers, this is often the case with the contents of those boxes ending up on the storefront and then hopefully into the homes of paying customers.
But how does that translate into ecommerce, where the storefront is now online and clicking customers expect constant availability and super speedy postage?
There’s plenty for online businesses to think about
The UK has one of the most advanced eCommerce markets in the world, with UK consumers projected to spend £106.46 billion online this year according to eMarketer.com.
Whilst online traders face completely different challenges to their high street rivals, effective stocktaking is needed by both in order to improve product availability, minimise stock losses, optimise cash flow and boost all-important profits.
Here are some of the ways stocktaking can help your online business thrive:
Increasing product availability
The internet comes with high expectations; visitors to websites expect products to be available all of the time; if they’re out of stock then you might not just be losing a potential sale, you could be losing that customer for a longer period. Effective stocktaking ensures that you know what’s in stock and what’s not – this couldn’t be more important and integral to your website’s success.
Improving cash flow
One of the biggest advantages for online retailers is the lack of overhead invested into a physical store, business rates and a whole host of other costs associated with operating from high street premises. That said, you still don’t want to have masses of cash flow invested into SKUs that just aren’t selling.
When combined with other sources of information, stocktaking can allow you carry the right levels of stock at all times, meaning that your products and items are available, but not kept in vast quantities waiting to be sold for long periods. This means that budget can be freed up and better used in driving visitors to your site.
One of the most common pitfalls for online businesses is how their website talks to their stock management system. Because more often than not these two systems are separate, there is the obvious potential for errors to be passed between the two. Stocktaking will ensure that your website is always in line with your actual stock levels, meaning that the two points already mentioned (ensuring product availability and maximising cash flow) are easily fulfilled.
Sales returns for online retailers (particularly in industries such as fashion) can be incredibly high. Keeping on top of returns and ensuring that stock levels are accordingly readjusted is a difficult task and one in which errors can be made, through a lack of process, staff training or just human error. Effective stocktaking makes sure that these errors are quickly identified and adjusted before they have an opportunity to grow into larger problems.
When it comes to stocktaking, we really know our stuff. We’ve been working with some of the UK’s leading brands for more than 30 years, so if you’re looking for a stocktaking solution that is accurate and adds value to your business, call us on 01637 874609 or email firstname.lastname@example.org