How to safe-proof your inventory management.
Managing stock is fraught with challenges in today's retail landscape. While surplus stock ties up capital and can keep you from re-investing in your business, waiting times on products will deter the modern customer who Wants It Right Now.
Experts insist that retailers should use digital sales data to inform inventory management, but in today's landscape it is hard to even define e-commerce, let alone measure to educate stock!
For all the talk of providing a seamless omni-channel customer experience at the front end, operationally, most retailers are still working in a silo fashion. this means that they are using multiple systems for managing stock in each channel, and as a result they don't have a single, 360 degree overview of exactly what's happening across their entire business. So what is to happen if the customer is shopping in one store, uses his/her smartphone to find a lower price at another, and then orders it electronically for in-store pick-up? How about gifts that are ordered from a website but exchanged at a local store for another product? Inventory runs out in one location, but they can't see that surplus stock is available at another, therefore losing the sale.
Secondly, more channels = greater overstocking. For example, take the building and renovation industry which rabidly becomes flooded with new 'quick fix' trends, retailers in the space have to predict and prepare for new 'what if'? scenarios,. Within inventory management, this means building in an element of safety stock should sales forecasts prove reasons why inventory management must work harder in retail inaccurate, to ensure shoppers aren't left empty handed.
Returns aren't pulling their weight if a retailer lacks full visibility of new stock, chances are they are some distance away from being able to reduce lost margin on products coming back into the system. In today's multi-channel environment, it's highly likely that items being sent back arrive in a different channel or location from which they originated. Without a single stock view, retailers cannot track either that journey, or the most profitable place to reallocate an unwanted purchase.
If you are looking at a surplus, obsolete or out-of-date or out-of-fashion of merchandise in your store, there is a business-proof way to liquidate them. Active offers a way to transform excess stock into sales opportunities across the 14 countries we operate in (including the booming Chinese market). Our lucrative clearance and liquidation models appeal to a variety of retailers, who are faced with such challenges.
Cameron Swan, Managing Director at Active International explains: "naturally, many retailers err on the side of caution when it comes to inventory management, but under stocking in demand product can lead to many disappointed customers in stores. This not only deflates customer satisfaction at that moment in time; but also permanently impacts shoppers' relationship with the retail brand. We offer a means for businesses to safe-proof their inventory management. Our clients are able to build a new sales cycle that responds to their current seasonal demands without being held back by excess inventory challenges".