When you have multiple online channels that you sell products through, managing your inventory can be a complex challenge. These channels are any websites or ecommerce tools that you have accounts on and that can accept payments from customers and allow them to perform transactions. Such ecommerce sites and tools include big names like eBay, Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Volusion, WooCommerce, 3dcart, X-Cart, and Zen Cart.
It’s a good idea to integrate all of your ecommerce channels with a single inventory management solution to help you avoid a number of problems, such as:
- Improperly committing products to sales orders
- Double data entry, which can lead to a number of errors
Not only does it prevent problems, but this type of iantegration also offers you many benefits you can expect to enjoy, including:
- Faster and more accurate order fulfillment
- Integrations with multiple business solutions
Now that we have briefly identified some of the benefits of multichannel inventory management from a bird’s eye view, let’s descend into the thicket to thoroughly explore the meaning and consequences of these things. Don’t change that channel. We’re about to click through the topic of multichannel inventory management.
PROBLEMS TO AVOID
Improperly Committing Products to Sales Orders – When you connect your inventory management software to your ecommerce accounts, you will be able to quickly find out about incoming sales orders. This will automatically update the quantities of the items being sold. Then you can go to all of your other accounts and update those available quantities, as well. This process is fast, but it’s not instantaneous, nor is it entirely foolproof. There is still a window of time in which products could be ordered by customers, even if they have sold out. If you do accidentally commit more products than you have on hand to different orders, no sweat. You can ameliorate this problem by using inventory management software to set up drop shipping. You can purchase the appropriate goods from a third party and have them send those goods to your customers directly. This cuts into your profits and is not necessarily the ideal way to do business, but it is a good short-term solution.
Double Data Entry – When it comes to entering data, it is always better to do it just once instead of doing it again and again. When you try to enter the same quantities, sales figures, prices, and other information in two different solutions, you can wind up with typos and other discrepancies. These errors can cause serious problems because you may not know which one is right and which one is wrong. Plus, your accounting solution may record the wrong numbers and issue incorrect invoices or not have accurate revenue, profit, and loss figures for you. Depending on the inventory management solution, you may be able to avoid double, triple, or quadruple data entry entirely by simply entering the correct information into it and having it send that information out to all of the ecommerce channels it is connected to. Plus, if it connects to QuickBooks or another accounting solution, it can accurately record sales and generate invoices when you need them.
BENEFITS TO ENJOY
Faster Order Fulfillment – As mentioned before, a useful feature of integrating your inventory management software with your ecommerce channels is that you are instantly informed whenever a customer purchases something from you online. Each sale gets transmitted to your inventory software in the form of a sales order so that you know when someone ordered certain items and where they need to be shipped to. That way, you can begin the order fulfillment process quickly and get those products sent out to your customers as fast as possible. There is virtually no chance of mistakes creeping in or of something getting forgotten or never heard about. Everything gets sent to the same database where it is recorded and awaits your actions to pick, pack, and ship products out of the warehouse.
Integrations with Multiple Business Solutions – Ecommerce channels are not the only things that a good inventory management solution integrates with. It can also integrate with accounting solutions, electronic data interchanges, merchant services, shippers and shipping solutions, customer relationship management platforms, and more. The point is that all of this interconnection means that when you use multichannel inventory management, you are not just connecting your online sales to your inventory records. You are also connecting both of them with all sorts of other business solutions that can help you to be even more efficient in the way you do business. You can automate many aspects of your operations to make sure everything works together to make your customers happy and avoid problems that used to plague online companies.
Fishbowl offers the #1 manufacturing and warehouse management software for QuickBooks. It integrates with many ecommerce platforms, and it helps you manage your inventory across multiple channels online.
When working with multiple ecommerce channels, it’s helpful to use inventory management software. This allows you to avoid double data entry and accidentally committing the same products to different sales orders, and it also lets you enjoy more accurate order fulfillment and integrate with other business solutions.