Benefits of Inventory Visibility to Sales
Inventory Visibility. Showing your customer what stock you have, how much you have and where you have it. This is a concept that is coming up more and more within the retail industry. But is it really that important? Will it make any difference to my bottom line? Absolutely! Forrester actually found that 41% of the retailers reported to have seen a significant positive impact on in-store revenues since enabling inventory visibility. Lets look at some of the benefits of inventory visibility to sales.
These days customers want certainty and reliability when they shop online. One big pet peeve that consumers have is their disappointment when ordering an item only to find out after-the-fact that it is out of stock. Retailers lose sales when consumers are disappointed. Mostly likely, these customers will purchase from a competitor showing the inventory that is available online and in-store. In fact, a recent stat shows that 73% of customers visit stores that provides online stock availability (Forrester, 2014).
Another one of the main benefits of inventory visibility is that retailers can show when items are close to being sold out. It creates a sense of urgency with teh consumer. It encourages them to purchase immediately rather than waiting. Inventory visibility can be a powerful tool for retailers. Informing customers where they can pickup items immediately caters to the consumers’ nature desire for instant gratification, and saves them time while they are at it (not having to go from store to store).
Order Routing and Inventory Visibility
Inventory visibility also provides advantages for order routing. Retailers can optimize order routing by knowing exact inventory counts at all fulfillment locations including DC’s, stores and channels. The inventory visibility / order routing combination helps retailers by reducing their shipping costs and times – for example. It also encourages customers to pick up their orders in-store. That is a particularly sweet bonus, as a pick up eliminates the shipping costs for the retailer. Rather than relying on inventory from warehouses or distribution centers, retailers can route orders from stores that can be delivered locally to customers.
At the moment, a nice differentiator for retailers is that only 18% of retailers provide both inventory visibility, and optimize their routing with a powerful order routing engine.
Using the Benefits of Inventory Visibility in 2017
In the coming year, inventory visibility will become more and more important to omnichannel retail strategies. The importance of having this information in real time will be an integral factor as the complexities of stock allocation and quickly changing inventory levels affects the ability to fulfill from various stores.
There is a growing trend that customers prefers in-store pick up rather than home deliveries. This provides a higher level of convenience and eliminates the risk of orders getting lost or stolen.
Even with this reality only 46% of retailers plan to make inventory visibility a priority within the next 12 months. Make sure you realize the benefits of inventory visibility and be one of them! Differentiate and be one fo the few that provide your customers with a good clear view to what inventory you have on hand, and in which store.
Joseph Martin is the Inside Sales Rep at OrderDynamics. Joseph has 20+ years’ experience in Sales and Management across various IT and SaaS Technology businesses. Previous roles include Account Rep, Social Media Advertising Advisor, and SMB Solutions Architect. Joseph has held roles in brand name firms like Twitter, Dell and OrderDynamics.