Ask most ecommerce brands what they need to do to elevate their net promoter score (NPS), and inventory management isn't on their list. That's a...
Mid-Year Reset: Do These 3 Things to Improve Your Inventory Management Right Now
Active and focused real-time inventory management is worth every ounce of effort you put into it. Here are three considerations to exceed in the second half of the year.
With a summer slowdown on the near horizon for many DTC brands, there’s no better time to shore up your inventory management before the busy season rolls on in. Your product is only as good as your inventory management: No matter how great or innovative your product may be, if you can’t deliver it, you won’t succeed.
Try these 3 easy things to improve your processes right now:
1) Talk to your team, and make sure they talk to each other
Inventory and operations folks can live in a bit of a silo. They are constantly in the weeds, looking at spreadsheets and different software platforms, talking about specific SKUs within a product and analyzing how size small is selling at a noticeably slower rate than size large or how the yellow colorway is selling way faster than the blue colorway.
Summer is a great time to let these people out of their silo for some air. They are an essential part of your bigger team, your bigger initiative, and they need to talk to other team members.
Say your inventory/ops team knows one color is selling much slower than other colors. If they talk to their marketing and customer-success counterparts about it, they can get additional information to help better drive future decisions.
“Hey CX, have you gotten any feedback on this color? Do people really not like it, or is it not represented well in the photos?” “Hey marketing, do you have room to promote this slower-selling color to make up for the lag?” Encourage interdepartmental sharing that can supplement the hard data on which you run your company.
2) Give your 3PL some love
Your most important partners may be the 3PL people who are actually touching and moving your product. Once your customer presses “buy now” and completes their order, it’s out of your hands. You need to be able to trust and count on your 3PL to deliver your full, positive brand experience.
If your 3PL is nearby, visit them. Get an idea of what it’s like in the warehouse. Ask them what they’re seeing on their end and whether they have suggestions or recommendations that will make your fulfillment process flow more smoothly.
If you are slower this time of year, this may also be the right time to ask for a cycle count. DTCs tend to move at a really fast pace, so these physical inventory counts don’t happen as often as they should. It’s a good way to start readying for the end-of-year busy season, and it also gives you a chance to look at what seasonal items remain in stock that you may need to move in preparation.
3) Consider a solution built for intraday inventory accuracy
Consumers move fast, too. As a DTC brand, you have millions of people potentially placing an order for the same product at the same time. If you’re relying on a system that only updates every 10, 20, 30 minutes, you’re likely to oversell, disappoint your customers, and put your brand reputation at risk.
There’s no reason for your inventory to be so 5 minutes ago. Now’s the time to consider an intraday real-time inventory management system, such as ChannelApe. You’ll know instantly how many units you have on hand at any given moment, so you can properly and efficiently fill orders, avoid the company-wide damage of overselling, and optimize your customer’s brand experience.
Active and focused inventory management is worth every ounce of effort you put into it. Inventory management is where great brands succeed… or fail. Make sure you’re in the succeed category.