As a retailer, you face the challenges of fulfilling customer demands while staying profitable. One strategy that can help you maintain your competitive edge is by moving to a single stock pool for retail inventory management.
Here are six ways this model impacts the customer experience, operational efficiencies, and inventory costs:
- Real-Time Visibility
A single stock pool controlled by your retail management solution provides you with real-time or near-real-time visibility into inventory across all channels, in all locations, whether warehouse or store. Anyone with access to this information — whether managers, sales associates trying to find out of stock items, or online shoppers ready to place an order — can check item availability.It takes some discipline to make it work. Your staff needs to ensure data reflects all stock received, physical counts, damaged merchandise, and known losses. Sales associates will need to ring each item separately — shortcuts like ringing up the same two items in different colors at the same time x2 will no longer work.The benefit is accurate information for you and your customers, who will be delighted to be able to find the items they want — and to trust that with certainty that they are in stock and will soon be delivered.
- Lower Inventory Costs
Having one inventory stock pool for each channel and brick-and mortar locations can mean, overstocking. Retail inventory management requires you to have safety stock to fill availability gaps due to cycle time, but safety stock can equal 60% or more of your total inventory. With a single stock pool, you can reduce this to close to 40% of total inventory. With lower inventory costs, you may be able to offer your customers more competitive pricing.
Your online customers are accustomed to being able to check availability. With a single stock pool for inventory management, clients in-store and on other channels will also have access to this information. Moreover, all shoppers across all channels have access to all inventory for purchases — if you have it anywhere, they can buy it. Orders are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and your retail inventory management solution can help you manage order fulfillment and shipping quickly and efficiently.
- Fewer Lost Sales
Because you can fulfill orders from any warehouse or store, there will fewer instances in which you have to turn a customer away because you don’t have an item in stock. And if you don’t have it, they are going to look for it from one of your competitors.
- Manageable Returns
With a single stock pool for retail inventory management, customers can return items to any location or channel without cutting into your profits. A single stock pool enables you to enter the item back into inventory and when it is ordered, ship it from the store. This is especially beneficial if you have locations that carry different assortments of items. You retain the ability to sell the item at the regular price, instead of putting it on clearance at the location that accepted the return.
- Last, But Not Least, Happier Customers
Efficiently fulfilling customer demand will build your customers’ trust and loyalty, and keeping loyal customers is an important strategy — research shows it costs 12 times more to win a new customer than to keep a current one.Ensure you keep your customers happy by always helping them find what they want so they return to your channels to shop with you again. A single stock pool for retail inventory management can help you achieve this goal.