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You go out to buy a pair of black heels the night before you need them because your old pair is in unwearable conditions. But none of the stores has what you want, until, the absolute last store that you get to. But… they are not in your size. The store has failed you as a customer.
To the business owners that are reading this, I would say, please step up and manage your inventory better so that you never fail your customer like this. Whether you are a store that sells their products offline or online, the products are physical products that your customers want. So, whether you display it online or offline is irrelevant to the fact that you need to have the products in stock.
This is where Magento inventory management comes in.
The primary goal of it is to have all the products that you sell, in stock. But of course, that isn’t all. Since there are plenty of people buying everything online, let’s focus on web stores for this article. When you are an e-commerce store, everything is on a computer, except for the actual products that you sell.
So, let’s talk about that one thing that is not all about buttons and clicks. Inventory. How should you handle it?
First in, first out signifies exactly what those words say. You should sell older products before the newer ones. This applies to obvious perishable goods like food or medicines, but it also applies to hygiene products, cleaning products, cosmetics, as well as electronics. All of these items fall under the umbrella term of ‘depreciating value’.
Certain products are in constant demand like soaps, headache medicine, butter, basic earphones, etc. You should always have these in stock. An easy way to make sure that you always have these is to automate the ordering process. Set a baseline, so that if the stock falls below it, the system will order more units.
Keep track of market trends. People take a fancy to new products very often. One day a product could be doing so great that they can’t make enough of it, and the other, it will have no demand in the market! So yes, you should always have the products that are doing well in the market, but you should be aware of how they could become irrelevant at any time and therefore not have too many of them. In such scenarios, predictive ordering comes in the play. By studying market trends, you get to understand the market demands and hence keep the inventory accordingly.
Sounds daunting, I know. But since it’s the 21st century, there are apps for that! If your e-commerce store uses the Magento platform, then there are extensions and apps for inventory management. An Inventory Management Magento extension can take care of a lot of things for you, after the initial setup. What are the features you should look for when investing in an Inventory Management Magento extension? Let’s talk a look:
You should be able to see all your stocks, warehouse details, supplier details, in one place. Apart from this, you should also be able to track your inventory from within the extension.
The best way to take care of everything is, of course, to have real-time updates. As soon as your warehouse ships something to a retail store, you should get a notification. This should also show you how many units of the product are available now. This way, you will never run out of stock and it will not affect your supply chain.
A large e-commerce store that delivers across the country or across the world should have more than one warehouse. You should be able to access and manage all of your warehouses with this extension. A detailed overview of all of your warehouses makes it easier for you to order more supplies when needed.
The Magento inventory management extension should also be able to manage your suppliers. After all, they are the ones who fulfill your inventory demand, so it makes sense to have one tool that takes care of inventory and gives the required access to suppliers as well. The suppliers should have their own access area where they can see the purchase orders, add new products, edit their own details, etc.
An Magento Inventory Management should be able to give you a detailed log of the entire inventory across all of your warehouses. You should be able to see the activity logs for sales orders, warehouses/suppliers added, inventory updates, etc.
Inventory management of a Magneto store can be simple if you choose the right extension. Make sure to look for the features that assist you and make the task simpler. Be sure to manage your inventory in a way that you never fail your customer!
Summary: Managing a large store is difficult but managing the inventory should not be. Read this article about inventory management practices to make your task simpler, and yes, technology can definitely help!