How To: Gain Tighter Control of Retail Inventory

Starting a retail business is not easy; running it is downright challenging! Those that succeed rely heavily on technology that integrates every aspect of their business to ensure consistency; track sales and customers; and manage their most important asset, aside from staff- their inventory.

You may ask... 'What retail software can manage all this?' Whether you choose a single solution from a single vendor, or integrate software from multiple vendors- you'll need software to manage the sale of goods and services, taxes, customers, inventory, order fulfillment and more. Celerant Technology's retail commerce software is particularly suited for businesses that require a point of sale (POS) system with advanced inventory management. Click here to learn about advantages of running a single system!

How to control retail inventory

Why inventory management is essential

Surprisingly, many small businesses do not completely comprehend the significance of inventory management. As a result, it becomes difficult to forecast inventory to meet customer demand. These businesses typically overstock inventory, loose customers to competitors and, ultimately, struggle earning profit.

Imagine knowing which items sell the most, and which items are your best upsellers. What if you knew which items sell faster online vs. in store, during promotions and seasonally? And you also knew which vendors sell it for the lowest price. It doesn't take a rocket scientist; it requires the right technology!

A robust inventory management system should provide high visibility of everything in stock, across all locations, including items on the shelf, in transit and in storage. It should be tied to your sales and customer database so you can forecast inventory and plan promotions with accuracy (as opposed to guessing), prevent overstocks and stock-outs, and know the value of your current stock.

Whether you have an inventory management system, or evaluating a new one- here are a few questions to help you determine if the system is right for your business:

  1. Does the system allow you to define processes and procedures?
  2. Can you automate these processes from start to finish?
  3. Is inventory data linked to in store/online sales and customer data?
  4. Can you quickly look up inventory, regardless of where it is?
  5. Can you set min/max levels to prevent stock-outs and overstocks?
  6. Can you automatically reorder inventory?
  7. Does the system manage incoming orders and order fulfillment?
  8. Does the system provide analytics? Are they detailed and easy to understand?

Looking to advance your retail?

Let us help! Celerant is a full service retail software provider. We offer point of sale, eCommerce and digital marketing solutions to small and mid size retailers across the country.

Organizing and counting your current stock

Statistics have shown that 39% of the consumers in the U.S. left stores 'empty-handed' due to out-of-stock items- indicating the significance of physical inventory and cycle counts. Counting inventory on a regularly basis helps ensure the accuracy of your inventory- and, in turn, help determine the quantity, assortment and allocation of stock you need to purchase (and sell).

A detailed count of your inventory requires you track certain attributes about your products. That includes the product name, description and SKU, along with variants such as brands, color, styles, material, and size. The more detailed your inventory data is, the easier it will be to manage, sell and order later on.

Steps to organize inventory: (1) ID each item; (2) Physically count items; (3) Enter or upload the data to your inventory management system; (4) Set an alert to warn when there's a shortage; (5) Schedule automated reorders for items with high-turnover.

Tracking the best and worst sellers

Tracking the sale of all the items sold in store and/or online is vital to the expansion of your business. Knowing which products perform well (or not) is essential for optimizing stock and reducing costs. Based on your findings, you may choose to buy more of one product and less of another. You may decided to run promotions to quickly move inventory in store or on your eCommerce site; or change where you display certain products. Tracking also allows you to experiment with in store and online sales, and measure the performance of any changes.

Reordering the smart way

Before reordering inventory, it's important to know the demand for your products. If the product comes in various styles, you should also know the demand for each variant. This will help you know what to order, when to order it, and how much to order. Not knowing usually results in overspending on unneeded inventory.

Assuming your system offers it, you can set reorder points per product. The reorder point is the stock threshold that you should not fall below. Set an alert to warn you when you reach your minimum threshold so you can reorder stock from your vendors before it's depleted.

Celerant's inventory management system

Celerant offers a complete retail commerce solution that allows you to manage every aspect of your business in one system. The platform offers point of sale, customer relationship management (CRM), eCommerce, inventory management and more. With Celerant, you can import products from vendor catalogs and CSV files; automate inventory replenishment based on min/max levels; complete physical inventory and cycle counts; streamline customer returns and return authorizations; and run reports showing a detailed analysis of gross margin ROI, sell though, sales and more.

Learn how Celerant can help you optimize your retail inventory

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