Inventory management has always been a complex business. If you don’t stock enough of a product, shoppers will go elsewhere for the item. However, carrying too much inventory is just as troublesome when you must deal with the losses associated with the excess stock. Modern inventory management systems are helping warehouses and retail stores manage their stock better to keep costs low and customers happy.
Reduced In-Store Inventory
Many stores are cutting back on their in-store inventories to minimize necessary storage and warehouse space. More than half of consumers now prefer to look at products in-store before purchasing them online. This reduces the total inventory that’s required in the store, as shoppers are sampling rather than purchasing.
Some apparel stores are offering innovative solutions in this area. Bonobos, for instance, operates stock-free, relying entirely on online orders for actual purchases while customers only try items on in the store. Sears offers a service that allows customers to reserve items online and try them in-store before purchasing. Relying on enhanced purchase tracking, retailers can operate efficiently with less stock.
Fulfilling warehouse orders is a monotonous process that requires the utmost efficiency. Employees need to locate items quickly and efficiently to keep the process moving along at a steady clip. Pick-to-light systems serve to guide warehouse workers to the proper location with a light that illuminates the product’s spot. When the worker picks up the item, he or she presses an acknowledgment button so interaction with each item is carefully recorded. These systems make it faster and easier for warehouses to fulfill orders both for individual shoppers and retail stores.
Enhanced Data Analytics
As more shoppers complete their purchases online, it’s become increasingly important for warehouses to deliver a wide selection of items quickly and efficiently. Powerful warehouse tracking systems make it possible for facilities to maintain accurate stock for thousands of products. With the right technology in place, facilities can improve the picking process, avoid mis-shipments, and increase the accuracy of inventory counts.
Centralized management of inventory tracking, order processing, and accounting is critical for the modern warehouse to offer online shoppers the next-day delivery and free shipping options that they’re after in today’s marketplace.
Smarter Shipping Structures
Consumers are growing more demanding about their shipping needs. They want items as quickly as possible with minimal shipping costs. To deliver this, warehouses are relying on smarter systems that can help uncover the best possible strategy for each shipment. Machine-learning systems can help streamline carrier selection, while artificial intelligence takes massive amounts of data and delivers suggestions for avoiding delays, such as those related to the weather before they actually occur. These systems can help you bundle shipments, locate more efficient routes, and improve the ever-important last mile of delivery.
Smarter inventory management systems can help businesses serve a broad product selection while keeping costs low for everyone involved. From analyzing in-store stock more accurately to better organizing the warehouse, these solutions are providing consumers with the experiences they want while streamlining activities for the retailers who serve them.
- What is Warehouse Management? A Primer for Small Businesses
- Outsourcing Your Ecommerce Order Fulfillment
- What Works on the Web? 12 Lessons From Successful Home-based Online Entrepreneurs
- Accepting Credit Cards Online: 10 Red Flags For e-Fraud
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Drop Shipping