Imagine you’re browsing an ecommerce store and find a product that you’re interested in buying. You decide to visit the brand’s nearby physical location to ask a sales associate whether they would be able to help you with selecting items for your order.
Despite this, there are only a few eCommerce stores that show basic inventory availability on product pages. That’s a lot of unwanted friction in the customer experience. This is just an example of why inventory visibility is important to offer convenience to your customers and create a seamless shopping experience that boosts their satisfaction.
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about inventory visibility and management. Also, why inventory visibility is the key to being a great eCommerce retailer.
What is Inventory Visibility and why does inventory visibility matter in eCommerce?
Business managers want to know how much inventory they have on hand and where different SKUs are located at all times. Inventory visibility refers to the ability to know what inventory they have and where they are stored. SKUs in the process of fulfillment include those residing at the warehouse, at a storefront, and on store shelves.
Merchants can make better decisions about inventory management when they can track inventory movement across multiple locations and stages of fulfillment. This includes:
- The timing and amount of inventory acquisition
- Keeping inventory in the right place
- Order fulfillment: Where to allocate orders
- Cost-saving tips for shipping and fulfillment
Now when you know what inventory visibility is, it’s time to see why inventory visibility matters in eCommerce. Yes, we will tell you how it can help your eCommerce business to grow.
If your business cannot answer where your store stock is, how many items you have in your warehouse, and what inventory is being used to meet customers’ needs, you will lose sales and profit. Moreover, inventory visibility is the key thing that can help you achieve the Omnichannel experience to retail and fulfillment that today’s customers expect.
In short, inventory visibility aims to make sure that internal records of inventory reflect reality. That’s how you will have a good amount of information related to stock, order monitoring, and tracking.
Ultimately, inventory visibility is the key thing you should keep in mind while serving your customers since it can break your business. You must keep inventory visibility in mind to make sure you meet customers’ demands and stay competitive in a world where expectations for product availability and delivery speed continue to grow.
The Benefits of Good Inventory Visibility
There’s no doubt that inventory visibility can benefit a lot when it comes to serving customers or prospect customers. Here, we are going to cover all those benefits to let you know how it can be an important asset to eCommerce business.
1. Avoid Stock out
The first and foremost benefit you can consider of inventory visibility is removing the tension of not having stocks and telling customers that they cannot purchase the product more. Yes, many stores even don’t know whether they have stock or not, and in case, you can get an idea by incorporating inventory visibility to your store.
For example, if one of your customers comes to your store hoping that he will get a product he wants without any tension. But unfortunately, when he comes to your eCommerce store, he finds that product is no longer available in your store. And that’s when inventory management comes into a place as if you know how much stock your store has; you can guide them to purchase anything they want.
You can use the Out of Stock Notification Extension for Magento 2 to notify the availability of the product stock on the front-end itself. With the help of this extension, you can easily manage product inventory and help your users or customers.
2. Prevent dead stock
Yes, there’s no need for deadstock as it can hurt your business. Having more stock than you need is dangerous than not having stock at all. Excessive inventory means you have items that cannot be easily stored in the warehouse or product storage room.
What’s more? When you have more stock in your warehouse, you have to sell them cheaply since old items don’t bring the best value. An excessive amount of inventory means you have more products than demand, which can ruin your business. Better, you have stock that meets your customer’s needs and fulfill their wants.
Ultimately, look at your inventory and see whether you have enough stock or more. You must have stock that can easily be sold out because more than you need is called deadstock. And there’s no value of the dead stock as its name suggests. With inventory visibility, you can easily do that and make sure you have better inventory control.
In this scenario, you will have more stock than you can sell if your extra inventory outstrips customer demand. The excess inventory of a product’s lifecycle will eventually turn into a dead stock that will cost you more in storage fees than it will make in profit.
Making more accurate demand forecasts can be achieved by investing in inventory visibility. Having better visibility over your current levels will also take the pressure off of managing your inventory on a just in case basis, which may result in excess stock.
3. Improve Customer experience
Blending online and offline shopping capabilities, O2O (Online-to-Offline) retail maximizes convenience and flexibility by giving consumers the best of both worlds.
A merchant’s product catalog can be browsed online much quicker and easier than it is to visit a store and go through every aisle. However, many people still prefer to purchase their products in person.
Consequently, hybrid services such as BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick up In-Store) and curbside pickup have gained great popularity as consumers utilize multiple channels to shop. Consumers also prefer to return products in-store to avoid costly return shipping and long refund queues.
For customers who want to pick up their order curbside, please be aware of whether or not that store has the necessary stock – and if not, if it can be shipped from another store within a reasonable timeframe. However, without real-time visibility into inventory, O2O retail services can’t be coordinated.
That being said, if you manage the inventory of your eCommerce business or store, chances are you don’t have to regret the letter. Since if you know how much stock your store has with the help of inventory visibility, you can easily and greatly serve your customers.
Need help in improving inventory management? M-Connect Media can help. We have a range of Magento 2 extensions with you to help your customers with information about the products out of stock and notify them when the product is out of stock. Contact us to get eCommerce consultants for your eCommerce solution needs.