If you own or operate a business that relies on e-commerce sales, you’re bound to run into inventory issues and mishaps at some point. While mistakes are honestly a part of running any small business, you can take simple steps to help prevent inventory blunders before they impact your bottom line. There are many tools and resources available to help entrepreneurs and business owners enhance their inventory processes, and here are a few that may help you.
Effective Inventory Labeling and Storage
Are you using the right barcode labels for your small business? If you’re currently utilizing a bar code system to manage and track your inventory, you may think that is an odd question. But using the appropriate labels can also be extremely helpful for managing assets for your small business. Some things to keep in mind when looking for the right bar code labels for your inventory and assets include chemicals used on a regular basis, cleaning processes carried out regularly, and the average temperatures in your office or inventory storage areas.
How you store your inventory affects the life of the inventory as well as the labels. While we commonly think of spoilage as only affecting food products, temperature and climate changes may limit your products lifespan. Certain types of products do better with more airflow, for instance, and your building should reflect those requirements. A building that not only houses your product but maintains it well, while still allowing sufficient space for your functions, is a must.
Efficient Solutions for Your Supply Chain Processes
Business.com explains one of the most critical elements of inventory management is developing solid solutions to keep in-demand products moving through your preferred supply chains. To keep things simple, many e-commerce business owners prefer to mix specialty products with drop shipped items, but it’s still a good idea to have inventory for unexpected or rush orders.
Dropshipping can be a perfect inventory solution for less-established entrepreneurs who want to gain some experience in e-commerce sales and operations; with dropshipping, there is little need for warehouse space or product sourcing.
If you prefer not to use dropshipping, Entrepreneur notes you may need to rely on relationships with vendors to keep your supply chain flowing and efficient. Forging lasting, personal connections with vendors is often your best bet for accomplishing this.
Cost-Effective Tools for Your Shipping and Order Needs
Shipping costs and processes are another e-commerce element that can trip up small business owners and cause problems with their inventory. With so many small businesses and large corporations offering free shipping, online shoppers have come to expect this perk from other startups and businesses.
Still, not all small businesses can afford to offer free shipping on all orders, and even those that can tend to run into issues behind the scenes as they attempt to keep up with this pressing demand from consumers. Rushing through the order fulfillment process and failing to price items to allot for shipping costs can lead to product and profit losses, so make sure that your own shipping offers are in-line with your abilities and needs.
You can always stay competitive with shipping by comparing shipping rates, offering more varied electronic payment options, or adjusting product pricing. As long as you offer quality goods and services, customers shouldn’t mind paying a little extra.
Personal Responses to Your Customer Service Issues
Dealing with inventory issues is never easy, but inventory mixups can be even more excruciating when they are customer-facing issues. Sending the wrong item in an order or sending an order to the wrong customers can be pretty embarrassing for business owners, and these mistakes can end up in shrinkage or profit losses for small businesses.
If you can create trust with customers, dealing with inventory mistakes and issues will be less painful. After all, when customers trust you, they are more likely to forgive these mishaps. So long as you own up to mistakes and attempt to learn from them, you should be able to retain your loyal customers, and that can be a huge success for any small business or entrepreneur.
Managing your inventory and assets is a vital part of successfully managing your small business as a whole. By taking charge of your processes and operations now, you can prevent many inventory mishaps from happening. With exceptional customer relationships, you can also manage mistakes when they do arise.
Photo Credit: Unsplash