Today, there are a lot of new technologies that are bringing about a paradigm shift in the way retailers are able to sell their products. To catch more eyeballs, retailers are trying to tap their customers on every available sales channel. The increased demand has resulted in the rise of many start-up brands moving their business from just selling on marketplaces to a mix of marketplaces and D2C websites.
But managing a vast inventory and several SKUs across multiple sales channels makes it challenging for retailers to thrive in this cut-throat competitive market. The answer is to embrace advanced technologies to get ahead in the market, here is when a robust inventory management system comes in handy.
Top Multichannel Inventory Management Challenges and Solutions in 2023
Let’s look at some challenges and how you can address them to have a top-notch inventory at all times!
Challenge #1: Limited or Poor Inventory Visibility
Many retailers struggle with the problem of limited or poor inventory visibility across multiple sales channels. Therefore, it becomes increasingly challenging for them to manage, control, and optimize business operations, leading to delayed shipments and lost sales.
You can simplify multichannel selling with a real-time inventory management system. The features offered by these systems not only enhance stock visibility but also reduce inventory loss. For example, with the Item-level traceability feature, businesses have the ability to track each item of every product throughout the life cycle.
Challenge #2: Inefficient Expiry Management
As more retailers try to bring their business across multiple sales channels, the challenge is maintaining operational efficiency across these different channels. With changing demand, it is important to efficiently manage products that get close to expiry. Industries dealing with low-shelf life products like FMCG, Pharma, Beauty & Personal care, etc., need efficient expiry management and rotation methods to minimize the number of expired products piling up on their shelves.
Using FIFO (First In, First Out) and FEFO (First Expire, First Out) based picking and batching helps businesses reduce obsolete inventory by selling items based on the current status of their shelf life. This helps ensure high-quality products to customers, thus increasing their satisfaction.
Challenge #3: Manual Inventory Update
To stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to keep their inventory updated across multiple sales channels. Managing huge inventory with manual procedures is prone to more errors and leads to slower order processing. If a brand sells on three sales channels, it needs to track inventory across all three sales channels, manually inputting product information into each platform. This is a time-intensive process.
Updating inventory becomes much easier and more efficient with software. Using inventory management software makes it easy for businesses to monitor huge stocks, therefore, improving order fulfillment and accuracy across multiple channels.
Challenge #4: Frequent Stockouts
The last thing any e-commerce business wants is to run out of stock when the demand for its product is high. Managing optimum inventory across multiple channels can be a real challenge for your business. To avoid stockouts, it is important to calculate the right amount of product units (SKUs) needed in stock at any given time.
With an automated inventory management system, you can easily eliminate imbalances and errors in stocks. These highly-advanced systems allow retailers to set a minimum limit. If the stock goes below the limit, it automatically adds products to respective vendor panels for processing. The comprehensive reports by inventory management software also provide businesses with data that allow them to know the highest and lowest-selling SKUs and analyze trends over time.
This data can also be leveraged during sales and the festive season to make well-informed strategic decisions. These self-regulating operations prevent unnecessary stockouts and manage seamless sales across multiple channels.
Challenge #5: Inventory Discrepancies
Tracking inventory across multiple channels may seem a straightforward task, but since the inventory process is always on the go, it’s not uncommon for inventory to get misplaced, lost, or stolen. This leads to a loss in revenue and harms your business’s bottom line.
With the cycle counting feature, retailers can accurately analyze the physically recorded data and map inventories correctly. Not only does this help identify inventory issues, but it also provides reasons and suitable corrective actions to overcome these challenges.
Businesses with multi-channel inventory management are better equipped to meet the changing demands of customers. Unicommerce’s robust Inventory Management System can help overcome these inventory challenges and streamline the order fulfillment process for your business!