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Customer is king, and in ecommerce, this is more true today than ever before. As retailers jostle for ascendency in the increasingly competitive online space, shoppers are spoilt for choice. As such, any experience that falls short of their expectations is likely to make them go elsewhere, never to return. Or worse, write a nasty Google review!
So how do you meet - or preferrably exceed - your customers' expectations? There are many factors that need attention such as a user-friendly website, attractive pricing, responsive aftercare and reliable delivery services, but arguably the most important one is accurate stock availability.
The repercussions of flawed inventory management permeate into customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and ultimately, the bottom line. At the heart of the matter lies the importancy of real-time inventory visibility. Inaccurate inventory data leads to a litany of problems that can significantly impair an ecommerce business. From overselling items that are out of stock to underselling due to mistakenly marked items, the impact is substantial and multifaceted.
One of the most immediate and palpable effects is the erosion of customer trust. By publishing a product on your website as “in stock”, you are making a commitment that you had better be able to keep. A customer that places an order and pays up front, only to be informed later that the product is unavailable, will feel betrayed and frustrated. Furthermore, they will not come back. A significant percentage of customers are unlikely to return to an online retailer after a negative experience related to inventory inaccuracies, leading to loss of customer loyalty and potential revenue streams.
The financial implications of inventory discrepancies can be dire. Overselling can lead to costly refunds, compensations, and even additional shipping fees to procure the product from elsewhere to fulfill the order. Conversely, underselling due to erroneously labeled items can result in missed sales opportunities and stagnant inventory, tying up capital that could be invested elsewhere.
Operational inefficiencies also rear their head in the wake of inventory inaccuracies. Time and resources are wasted rectifying errors, manually adjusting stock counts, and dealing with customer complaints and returns. This diverts attention away from strategic initiatives and growth-focused activities, hampering the scalability and competitiveness.
The root causes of inventory inaccuracies often stem from various sources. Human error, system glitches and inadequate quality control in handling physical inventory are among the common culprits, but a lack of integration between sales channels (websites) and inventory databases is often to blame.
Thankfully, several measures can be taken to mitigate the risks associated with inventory inaccuracies in ecommerce. Implementing robust inventory management systems that offer real-time updates and integrating these systems across all sales channels is pivotal, especially when it comes to omni channel selling. Regular audits, cycle counting, and employing barcode technology for accurate tracking can also significantly reduce discrepancies.
The dangers posed by inventory inaccuracies in ecommerce are not to be underestimated. They threaten not only customer satisfaction and brand reputation but also the financial health and operational efficiency of your business. Implementing robust systems, leveraging technology to integrate them, and fostering a culture of meticulous inventory management are crucial steps to mitigate these risks and prevent from chasing your customers into the arms of the competition.
Contact us to find out how to more accurately manage your ecommerce inventory with Stock2Shop integration.
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