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Running a business

Multichannel Selling and the Impact on Inventory Management

Last week, we wrote about business intelligence and how it’s the key to your business’s future. One recurring theme was how it plays a part in growing your business, especially when you’re looking at selling on multiple channels.

In the early stages of your business you’re likely to have only one retail store but that’s just the beginning. A multichannel approach can help your business grow faster, and even take your brand global.

To make the most of multichannel sales, you need to know all about the different sales channels available and the markets they cater to.

1. Shopping Cart Solutions

If you’re looking to build an online store that’s all yours, shopping cart solutions like Shopify are perfect for you. This lets you focus on brand recognition, as you’ll be able to customize your store to match your brand. Shopping cart platforms offer a range of pricing plans to suit your business and they’re easy to use while providing you with secure payment gateways.

However, shopping cart solutions come with a catch. It’s difficult for customers to simply stumble upon your online store. In order to drive customer traffic to your online store, you have to embark on other marketing campaigns.

2. Marketplaces

If you have a unique product that’ll differentiate you from the masses, e-commerce marketplaces such as Etsy can help you to increase your sales. After all, millions of customers turn to marketplaces for their shopping needs every day. With such high levels of human traffic, there’s a higher chance of customers discovering your products.

But selling on marketplaces reduces your opportunities for brand building. Your customers will see the branding of the marketplace first, and you’ll also be subjected to its listing policies.

3. Wholesale

If you’re looking for the opportunity to take your brand to new heights, why not try wholesale if you can cope with an increase in orders? By selling wholesale, you’ll have the chance to take your products to new people and new places.

Contrary to popular belief, you can do wholesale and retail at the same time. After all, your products are still sitting in the same storage facility. So even though the order quantity increases, the processes for approving sales orders and starting on the fulfilment process remains the same.

Managing Inventory

Once you’ve decided to start multichannel selling, you’ll face the challenge of having to separate your inventory for different channels. That means if you sell out on one channel, you can’t just top up your inventory with stock reserved for a different channel without leaving your inventory levels in a tangled mess.

So when you’re selling on multiple channels, you want to have inventory management software to help you manage your inventory. All you have to do is to enter your products into the system and it’ll be pushed to all your e-commerce channels through integrations. You’ll be able to enjoy real-time updates on stock levels across the board.

While that’s great, as you start selling on multiple channels you’ll need to purchase more stock. With more items on hand, you’ll find yourself having to pay more for storage facilities and other inventory related costs.

So to prevent these costs from putting a strain on your business, we’ll be back next week to look at how to reduce inventory costs.

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