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Why Your Inventory Rules Are More Important Than Ever

Fulfillment must get smarter to move your product. Brands have been relying on their 3PL systems for this, but why outsource the oversight and control?

We know the past 18 months have been unstable. Brands went from having no inventory to suddenly sitting on too much. 

According to Forbes, “buying too much of the wrong stuff” and “the shift toward consumers spending more on services” instead of apparel caused even big-box retailers (with bigger supply chain and ops budgets) to suffer. Walmart’s inventory levels grew 33% while comp sales were up just 3%. 

Dead inventory is estimated to cost the US retail industry a staggering $50 billion a year. As much as 20–30% of the average retailer’s inventory is dead stock (it’s worth noting that “healthy” dead stock levels should be below 15%).

You need to sell through your inventory, and you need to sell through it fast. That only happens when inventory and ops teams are in sync with CX and marketing on what needs to be sold, how to sell it, and—most importantly—how to pick, pack, and ship the right product(s) to your customer on time (the first time).

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Brand Loyalty is Different

Why is that last part so important? 86% of consumers will leave a brand they trusted after only two poor customer service experiences. And how is CX defined? Well, the same survey of 2000 consumers found that more than half expect brands to respond to online inquiries within an hour. 

All those markdowns and bundles you offer will mean nothing long-term if you lose loyal customers. Even the most incredible products fail when the fulfillment process doesn't meet customer demand. You can love that dress… but how much will you love that brand after it took three weeks and two emails to the support department asking what the holdup is, only for you to have to go to FedEx to pick it up yourself?

Better Fulfillment Starts Before The Warehouse

Fulfillment has to get smarter to move the great product and brand messaging you’ve poured your hearts into. Brands have been relying on their 3PL systems for this, but why should you outsource the oversight and control of such a precious part of your business?

Actionable Reporting

Rather than ask your warehouse for metrics that live in their systems, wouldn’t it be better to have your important order information (exceptions, alerts, status, etc.) directly available for your teams… and housed in the same place as your real-time inventory level statuses? 

That’s where ChannelApe comes in.

To solve problems, you need to know they exist in the first place. With our fulfillments overview, you’ll know about potential problems so you can act on them before they affect your customers—impossible to do when you’re waiting on your 3PL to look into their WMS and get back to you (only after a customer sent through an order inquiry to your support team). 


Send the Low Inventory report to your head of marketing to avoid disastrous promotions and the subsequent CX fallout of having to cancel orders. Review the Inventory Reorder report with your internal teams and factory partners to achieve balance—do you really need to reorder that item after calculating throughput of open versus closed versus orders still in process?

Your Brand, Your Rules

Your fulfillment partners should be focused on, well, fulfilling. Your brand’s digital business rules should be pre-defined and set by your brand.

Enter automated rules for reserves and on-order into our system and let your 3PL manage on-hand inventory. With our YesWindow, you can even set an order edit rule to automatically withhold orders from processing before they get sent to the warehouse, giving your customer support team time to respond to change requests within a specified window based on your brand’s requirements.

How are you going the extra mile to make someone a repeat customer? Free shipping can help—80% of consumers expect free shipping when ordering a certain dollar amount on online products. In ChannelApe, you can build a custom rule so that when someone places an order of $50 or more, they automatically have their shipping updated on the backend. Then, all your marketing team has to do is send that message.

ChannelApe can help you sell through that excess inventory by giving you the data you need to take action. By complimenting Shopify, NetSuite (and other ERPs you use to handle finance), and your 3PL’s WMS, we enhance your data to sell through dead stock at the right pace—and mitigate the risk of overbuying in the first place.

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