Inventory Management: Everything You Need to Know 2024

what is online store inventory

Let’s take a look at some inventory control techniques you may choose to utilize in your own warehouse. For example, to operate your online furniture business, you may need to store adequate quantities of wood, nuts, bolts, and other materials purchased from suppliers. In the process of auditing physical inventory, you’ll have to count the actual amount of inventory in your warehouse, then compare it with the inventory level listed in your records. Reorder point (ROP) is an e-commerce inventory management term that refers to the level of stock falling below which inventory should be replenished. It helps you determine when to place an order with your supplier, hence minimizing the occurrence of stockouts. In theory, the JIT technique has the benefits of cost reduction and efficiency boost.

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  • Katana provides 24/7 phone support via chat and email with a one- to two-hour average response time, plus complete online knowledge base.
  • This inventory management technique splits products into three categories to help better organize your stock, and identify those items that cost the most to store.
  • Multichannel online sellers looking to automate dropshipping tasks and track stock in multiple warehouses, outsourced fulfillment centers, FBA and WFS worldwide are a fit for Extensiv.
  • Knowing your inventory is important not just for your financial statements but it gives you insight into how much profit potential you have sitting in unsold inventory.

To better visualize these eight steps, try creating an inventory process map like the one below. Track and review each step of the process in order to minimize out-of-stock and overstocked inventory. Finally, adjust your product customization to reduce the need for specific components, enabling your supplier to reduce the MOQ.

what is online store inventory

Inventory Management Techniques

DEAR Inventory is a one-stop inventory solution that can work on a small or large scale. The app can track inventory levels in multiple locations, generate invoices, and create purchase orders when stock is low. DEAR can handle multiple price levels, expiration dates, and customer discounts.

What is a POS (Point of Sale) System and How Does it Work? [2024 UPDATE]

To speed up how long full counts take, have multiple employees counting at once using an app like Lightspeed Scanner, which automatically updates quantities in your POS to reduce errors. A full physical inventory count means counting every single unit you have on hand. While this gives you the most accurate possible picture of your inventory levels, full counts take a prohibitive online store inventory amount of time to complete to do that often. Like raw materials, you might have work in progress inventory on hand if you’re involved in the production of the goods you sell. If you do deal with work in progress inventory, your goal should be to ensure items don’t stay at this stage for long. We suggest Square as a free option that is perfect for small companies.

what is online store inventory

Set Up Payment Options

  • This lets you target specific goods, saving you time and helping you assess focused areas of your inventory.
  • Keeping cycle stock as low as possible saves money on shipping and storage, which can be useful for smaller businesses.
  • Residual inventory is inventory that remains at the end of one season.
  • Tools like barcode scanners and SKUs can track the physical flow of goods, but that’s only part of the picture.
  • Retail inventory management is the process of overseeing and controlling the ordering, storing and use of products that a retail business sells.

Researching different ecommerce platforms and shopping around to find the right suppliers can help you minimize your out-of-pocket costs. While can fit small business inventory needs, it’s not a turnkey advanced inventory management software system such as others featured here. Features such as item barcodes, automated purchase orders, sales-based forecasting and multi-warehouse automations require customization or widget add-ons that increase your costs. Also, there’s quite a learning curve to, but it works well for startups and small businesses willing to connect the dots. And, while you can do all your accounts by hand, using a POS system like Lightspeed or Square will simplify every aspect of the retail inventory management process.

For example, at my boutique, when we first introduced loungewear to our brand, we ordered in minimal quantities to avoid having excess if the launch was unsuccessful. However, we soon learned that loungewear was extremely popular, and we would constantly face low stock alerts and stockouts if we continued to order in such conservative quantities. Our loungewear orders soon grew in size, allowing us to stay in stock consistently and meet our customers’ needs. Many businesses already rely on some form of automation, but expect automated forecasting based on bespoke data to become more commonplace very quickly. In the stockroom, allocate specific zones for different kinds of products.

what is online store inventory

Best for Small Retailers and Asset Tracking

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  • Proper inventory management allows companies to keep track of all their products as they’re received, stocked, ordered, and shipped.
  • Using smart inventory management software is a good step toward minimizing the carrying costs involved with your inventory, but you can also take other steps to keep costs under control.
  • If you need something more sophisticated, consider signing up for a POS system like Lightspeed to track stock automatically.
  • You can also set up your storefront to allow for full or partial payments.
  • You will also want to be sure that this includes all your sales channels, including online and additional locations.
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