New sales channels can vary from business to business. Common channels may include selling from a retail storefront, company website, an e-commerce store, or participation in online marketplaces, to name a few. Selling products through multiple sales channels (multi-channel) requires the seller to communicate with one or multiple warehouses to fulfill orders in a timely manner. Therefore, it is crucial for distribution companies to have the proper inventory management tools for real-time inventory visibility, error-free order management, and up-to-date shipment tracking.
A goal of every third-party logistics (3PL) and warehouse manager should be to increase efficiency and optimize inventory management. One way to achieve a more organized warehouse is by utilizing a multichannel inventory management system. This inventory management solution can help streamline distribution operations, thus reducing errors and saving time and money.
In this blog post, we'll discuss how inventory management for multiple channels works, the benefits of implementing multichannel inventory management, and how implementing inventory control for several sales channels can help you increase efficiency in all of your warehouses or 3PL locations.
What is Multi-Channel Inventory Management?
Multichannel inventory management is a great way to ensure that purchase orders are fulfilled quickly and hassle-free. By syncing your customer's sales channels with a centralized inventory management database, you can easily track inventory for multiple locations and make sure that you don't face any out-of-stock situations. Your customers will also have access to accurate inventory data on availability and shipping options.
Having visibility to this kind of inventory management information within the supply chain allows businesses to have better control over their inventory and sales data, as well as increase opportunities for future sales.
What are the Benefits of an Inventory Management System for Multiple Sales Channels?
Managing your warehouse inventory from different sales channels doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can realize better stock control with the help of multichannel inventory management software than you can by tracking the same inventory manually through spreadsheets. Your warehouse or 3PL can effectively track, allocate, and distribute goods quickly and efficiently across multiple stores, an eCommerce platform, and even retail sites by utilizing inventory management tools offered by an integrated warehouse management system (WMS) software.
Integrated WMS software aids in better inventory management so that you won't risk under or over-stocking items based on demand or daily fluctuations, significantly reducing time spent managing inventory manually. SphereWMS integrates seamlessly with all the major sales channels and can save you resources by streamlining warehouse operations, optimizing warehouse space, and increasing overall accuracy. It's never been easier for warehouses and 3PLs to properly manage inventory and ship orders from any sales channel making the customer experience a better one!
Getting Started With Multichannel Inventory Management Software
Implementing multichannel inventory management software is an important step in ensuring that your businesses can provide the best fulfillment process and customer experience.
- The first and foremost step to getting started is gathering all the necessary sales data, such as how often products are selling across each customer sales channel. Your warehouse or 3PL will need to work directly with each customer and your WMS provider (if you have one) to pull inventory turnover rates, stock levels, delivery costs, and other pertinent multi-channel order management data. ERP and API integrations and other inventory management tools will help you during the implementation process.
- Once the required data is gathered, businesses need to choose how they want to manage their inventory moving forward. An automated WMS system will ensure updates can be put into place quickly and that multiple points of information are updated simultaneously. Doing so helps make sure sales trends and inventory forecasting accuracy is at their best.
- Next, do your research on WMS software companies that can support multi-channel sales including those from traditional outlets, online marketplaces, retail stores with multiple locations, and each major eCommerce platform. Remember, you are looking for an innovative company that can provide advanced features and the best inventory management solution for your company and customer experience.
Challenges That May Arise With Multichannel Inventory Management
While multichannel inventory management can be beneficial for businesses, it may present some challenges.
- For example, suppose your warehouse or customer's business relies on manual entry systems or outdated inventory management software for inventory control or to organize its data. In that case, this can cause delays in implementing multi-channel inventory software and filling customer orders, which may result in lost sales.
- The size of the integration process for multichannel inventory control can be intimidating for warehouse managers, customers, and employees. It's important to have a well-formed plan in place and provide continual communication to keep from missing crucial deadlines.
- Finally, 3PLs and warehouses must also consider the costs associated with implementing multichannel inventory management software, such as subscriptions and any additional training staff may need.
Considering these challenges, it is important to make sure that businesses are prepared and have an understanding of how their operations work before having proper multichannel inventory management applications in place. With careful planning, however, multichannel inventory management can be a huge asset to any business.
What Are Some Tips for Multichannel Inventory Management Success?
- Establish clear objectives: Before implementing multichannel inventory management software and processes, it is important to have clear goals to know what success looks like. Consider factors such as customer satisfaction levels, inventory management efficiency, service delivery times, order accuracy, and cost savings when setting your targets. This will help you make sure that your inventory management software is providing the benefits you expect and is the best inventory management solution for multiple sales channels and your warehouse or 3PL.
- Automate processes: Automating routine tasks such as printing shipping labels or even having the ability to pull inventory directly helps to reduce manual labor and errors. This will result in streamlined operations and improved efficiency that basic inventory management software cannot provide. Automation also provides warehouse management visibility into the entire inventory process to avoid any shipping delays, stock-outs, or angry customer phone calls.
- Utilize predictive analytics: Having an understanding of customer purchase patterns is key for any successful multichannel inventory management system. Predictive analytics can be used to analyze historical data and provide your customers with valuable insights into future trends, helping them make accurate forecasting decisions for all your warehouses.
- Monitor performance: Multichannel inventory management systems should be monitored regularly to identify areas that need improvement or optimization through adjustments or adding advanced features. This will help ensure that all inventory and order management processes are running smoothly over multiple channels - even an eCommerce store - and give your 3PL or warehouse a clearer picture of how its WMS inventory management software is performing overall.
How Can SphereWMS Help With Inventory Management for Multiple Sales Channels?
SphereWMS is an all-in-one warehouse inventory management software system that provides distribution centers with complete control and visibility into their stock levels and inventory turnover to support multiple sales channels. It integrates seamlessly with major eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, as well as accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero.
SphereWMS allows your warehouse or 3PL to manage product costs and stock levels while gaining insights into customer behavior through advanced analytics. This helps businesses make informed decisions regarding pricing strategies and marketing campaigns, while also providing real-time data on customer demand, order fulfillment, and more.
By taking advantage of the powerful features offered by SphereWMS, businesses can easily optimize their multichannel inventory management process for maximum efficiency and cost savings. Furthermore, SphereWMS is customizable and scalable, making it suitable for businesses of any size. With the help of Sphere's comprehensive inventory management system, companies can ensure seamless cross-channel operations and ultimate productivity.
In conclusion, multichannel inventory management is essential for success in the modern supply chain. Taking the time to consider these tips and ensure that inventory management across all channels is done properly makes a huge difference. With the right system in place, your warehouse or 3PL can be organized and efficient — leading to better customer experience, improved communication between departments, and increased sales.
We understand how overwhelming it can be to manage multiple channels correctly, which is why SphereWMS has your back. Our software helps you streamline inventory processes so that you can focus on other tasks and keep customers happy. To learn more about how SphereWMS could help you manage your inventory across multiple channels today, contact us today!