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For companies that sell products both online and in a physical store, there are two main benefits to keeping as much stock on the shop floor as possible:
However, selling products through multiple channels (ie online and in-store) does add a layer of complexity to stock management. This is where ecommerce integration can make all the difference.
Online businesses are constantly exploring ways to streamline operations and enhance customer experiences. One such debate centres around the strategic stock management. Traditionally, warehousing has been the go-to solution for businesses to store inventory due to its scalability and organisation capabilities. However, as ecommerce continues to flourish, retailers are reevaluating this norm and finding that keeping stock on the shop floor can offer distinct advantages.
First and foremost, having inventory readily available on the shop floor allows for increased responsiveness to customer demands. In a world where consumers expect swift delivery and immediate access to products, keeping stock in-store enables quicker order fulfillment. This proximity drastically reduces delivery times, enhancing the overall customer experience and increasing the likelihood of repeat business.
Moreover, having ecommerce stock on the shop floor facilitates a seamless integration between online and offline channels. With the rise of omnichannel retailing, customers often browse products online before making their purchase in-store or vice versa. By having stock available in the shop, businesses can fulfill online orders from the closest location, minimising shipping costs and transit times.
Furthermore, the visibility of inventory on the shop floor can stimulate impulse purchases. When customers physically interact with products, they are more likely to make spontaneous buying decisions. By strategically placing ecommerce stock amidst the retail environment, businesses can capitalise on this consumer behaviour.
Another crucial aspect is the reduction in fulfillment costs associated with storing inventory in a shop floor environment. While warehousing incurs expenses related to storage, maintenance, and logistics, keeping ecommerce stock on the shop floor minimises these overheads. Additionally, having inventory on-site reduces the need for excessive safety stock, optimising inventory management and reducing the risk of overstocking.
However, it’s important to note that this approach requires efficient inventory tracking and management systems. Implementing robust technology solutions is essential to accurately monitor stock levels and prevent discrepancies between online and in-store inventory. Stock2Shop can sync your inventory and pricing data from a central database (such as an ERP) to your ecommerce sales channels to ensure your online store reflects what is available in your shop.
There are, however, scenarios where maintaining a warehouse remains indispensable. Businesses dealing with large volumes of stock or specialised goods may still find warehouses necessary to manage inventory effectively. Moreover, certain logistical challenges in terms of space constraints or geographical reach might make warehousing a more viable option for some enterprises. When your stock is segmented into multiple locations (eg your shop and your warehouse), you can decide which warehouse (or combination of warehouses) controls your online stock availability.
The value of keeping ecommerce stock on the shop floor cannot be underestimated. The convergence of online and offline retail experiences, expedited order fulfillment, increased sales potential, and cost-efficiency make it a compelling strategy for many businesses. However, the optimal approach may vary based on the specific needs and scale of the enterprise. Striking a balance between shop floor stock and warehouse storage, while leveraging technology such as Stock2Shop for effective inventory management, is key to staying competitive in the dynamic world of ecommerce.
If you would like to make your in-store products available for sale online but are unsure of how to manage your stock effectively, give Stock2Shop a call to chat to our friendly sales team.
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