How to prevent overselling online

For any company looking to extend its reach to online customers, it is important to ensure that they do not oversell their products. Overselling occurs when sellers advertise a product that they cannot deliver (or cannot deliver on the promised quantity), leading to disappointed customers and a tarnished reputation. In short, it is a big no-no.

Below are a few tips on what you can do to avoid damaging your brand by overselling online:

Keep accurate inventory

One of the main reasons for overselling is inaccurate inventory management. It is essential to keep an updated record of the products available and sold, especially when you from a physical store, as well as multiple online channels. This can be done manually, but it’s way more efficient (and reliable) to implement automated systems that track inventory levels in real-time.

The first step is to designate a place where you manage all of your inventory data - your accounting system. Using Stock2Shop, you can then sync your stock availability to your website, online marketplaces and B2B Trade Store, ensuring that they are all accurate and up to date.

Set realistic delivery times

Overselling can also occur when sellers promise delivery times that are impossible to meet. To avoid this, sellers should set realistic delivery times based on their inventory and shipping capabilities. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver than to advertise unrealistic delivery times and disappoint customers. Sellers should communicate clearly with customers about delivery times and provide regular updates on the status of their orders.

It is important to monitor sales trends by tracking the popularity of products and anticipating demand. By analysing sales data, sellers can identify which products are popular and ensure that they have enough inventory to meet demand. This can help prevent overselling and ensure that customers receive their orders on time.

Use back orders sparingly

Back orders can be a useful tool to prevent overselling, but they should be used sparingly. Back orders occur when a product is out of stock, but the seller allows customers to place an order and promises to deliver the product when it becomes available.

While back orders can help prevent overselling, they can also lead to disappointed customers if the product is not delivered within a reasonable timeframe. Sellers should use back orders judiciously and communicate clearly with customers about delivery times.

Provide excellent customer service

Providing excellent customer service is essential to selling online. By communicating clearly with customers, providing regular updates on the status of their orders, and resolving any issues promptly, you can build a reputation for reliability and customer satisfaction. While this doesn’t prevent overselling itself, it will greatly soften the blow when the inevitable accidental oversell slips through.

Overselling can be devastating to an ecommerce business, especially when customer expectations are not managed. It’s imperative to guard against it at all costs, and the best way to do this is by centralising your inventory data.

Once all of your online sales channels are reading stock levels from a central database, overselling will become a thing of the past. Contact us to find out how you can put your ERP (or accounting system) in control of your online business.

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