Inventory Breadth - Part 2: How to get great at Inventory Breadth
Wednesday December 9, 2015 | By Dan Hawkins
Volo has been providing technology and expertise in multi channel ecommerce for 9 years now. Over time we’ve accumulated a lot of software functionality and industry best practice in all the key areas, including inventory breadth. When it comes to sourcing, we advise you to deliberately set regular time aside to source new suppliers. When you’re running an ecommerce business, it’s easy to get sucked into the daily operations. Devoting time to find good, innovative products at great prices is crucial for sales growth and profitability.
Verifying suppliers’ information on your products for listings can be frustrating and time-consuming. The more you can automate these processes of inventory breadth, taking feeds from your suppliers and being able to turn them into reliable accurate listing information for your various channels, the better and faster your business will grow. Multi channel ecommerce systems like Volo can allow you to automate your supply chain operations and inventory breadth. That means you can spend less time integrating your suppliers, less time managing your inventory and more time marketing your products and growing your business.
With a broad range of inventory to manage, you have a lot of your money tied up in stock. Therefore you need to be acutely aware of items that are not selling quickly, not selling at all, or haven’t sold for a while and are sitting in the warehouse as dead stock. On the other hand, overselling and having zero stock of your fast-selling items is bad for your seller ratings and your marketplace status. Make sure that your physical products and your virtual products are always in stock. Inventory management systems like Volo can provide you with analytics on how fast your inventory is moving, how much stock you have left, and when you need to re-order bearing in mind the lead time for delivery from suppliers. Volo will also send you automated alerts when your stock levels reach a certain threshold. You can even put rules in place, with manual interventions built in if you like, to automate the re-ordering and purchase order generation tasks.
We've already covered how virtual stock can increase your inventory range without your having to purchase stock. You need to make sure that your supplier feeds – for physical or virtual inventory – are accurate and updated regularly. This helps you avoid overselling and having to back order for in-demand products. We advise you to get automated feeds where possible from your suppliers, rather than having to phone up, send emails or get information by other manual methods. Volo’s multi channel software can automate and integrate your supplier feeds directly. This will give you a more efficient end-to-end process, freeing you up to grow the business.
Creating kits and bundles
When you put products together to create kits and bundles, you are able to create a new product and extend your range. You might sell a sander as one product, for example, and a sanding belt as another. You can then put them together makes a ‘sanding kit’ your new product, using your own barcode. It’s the same with a camera, tripod and case, and so on. As well as broadening your range, you’re also driving more sales and higher profitability. You will be able to deliver better value for your buyers who know that they can come back to you for more items since your range is so broad. Systems like Volo enable you to easily set up kits, bundles and other promotional offers to widen your range and make more sales.
Finally, it’s essential that you know what’s really happening with your inventory and what the status at any time is with stock levels and suppliers. This is especially true when you carry a wide range of items. Great reporting can give you a real insight into what’s happening across your inventory range. The Volo ecommerce reporting tool allows you to see what’s happening with your inventory breadth down to the individual item. You can analyse sales performance and stock levels by supplier, channels, regions and time periods. This means that you’re constantly keeping the well-performing items stocked and discontinuing the poorly-performing ones. Volo reporting gives you the information you need to rotate your inventory, orders and suppliers in accordance with your business growth goals.
If you'd like to learn more about how Volo customers got great at inventory breadth, click here
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