Inventory Visibility - Who Needs It?
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Inventory Visibility – Who Needs It?

We are a retailer with 25 stores in addition to a great online ecommerce site. Things are working well. Over 15% of our business is omni-channel retail. Things are good. Why would I need to also add inventory visibility to my growing list of needs?

What is Inventory Visibility?

As the topic describes, inventory visibility is about showing your clients and company associates what you have in stock. As well as where, and how to get it if your client wants it. The first step on this journey is to have the systems that know where your stock of goods are located. But it goes beyond simple inventory management at your distribution center (DC). Your systems need to know about the DC inventory, as well as where products are in each store location, on display, in stock rooms, available through a third party logistics provider (3PL), and the drop ship capabilities of your manufacturers.

If the Customer Doesn’t See it … Does it Really Exist?Inventory Visibility means showing customers what you have, where, at any time.

As such, to run an effective omni-channel businesses you need to show your clients what you have, and where it is. The whole point of omni-channel retail is to give your customers choice. Inventory visibility means, showing clients where you have stock of any given item, in any or all of your locations. That way, if a customer wants to order online, and have it shipped to them, great. Alternatively, if they don’t want to pay the shipping fees, or don’t want to wait for the delivery, they may opt to pick it up directly from one of your stores. That’s where inventory visibility comes into play. If the customer sees that the store location near them has stock of their product, they may choose to drop in to purchase, or pick it up.

Why is the Pick-up Important?

Recent ICSC research on consumer behavior found that 69% of customers coming in to a store to pick up an order, actually purchased more goods. This is the holy grail of omni-channel retail. Most of all, it is the means by which many retailers have fought online pure-play companies like Amazon (before they started to open their own bricks and mortar stores). Giving customers the option to pick up their goods, gives them a sense of control, instant gratification, the ability to save on shipping and handling, and the opportunity to interact and ask questions of your associates.


Get the Brief: Inventory Visibility
Learn More:  Global Inventory Visibility
Blog Post:  Let’s get Phygital!


It All Starts With…Only 55% of retailers show their customers where their product inventory is located.

Remember, that this entire journey starts with Inventory Visibility.
If your current system does not have the ability to aggregate your entire inventory, as well as provide a feed to show where all the inventory resides – you have a problem. Only 55% of retailers show their customers where their product inventory is located, while also being able to transfer inventory across those channels. (Gartner). Therefore, if you want a leg up over the competition – act now and show your stock positions across your stores.

Even if you only 10% of your clients chose to buy online and pick up in-store, that means you have the potential of bumping sales in 6.9% of your transactions (69% of 10%). Ask yourself what that might look like if 20% or 30% of your customers chose to pickup in-store?

A Key Delivery of Your OMSA solid OMS system provides Inventory Visibility as a key system function.

A solid order management system (OMS) provides inventory visibility as a key system function. Start leveraging it, to bump up your competitive game. If inventory visibility is not part of your system’s capabilities, start looking for a point solution that can fix this problem. Still not sure if this is something you should look at? Check out our Inventory Visibility Brief for more info. As omni-channel grows across retail markets world-wide – customer inventory visibility will be the first part of competing effectively. The bus is pulling out of the station. Make sure you are in the drivers seat, rather than left behind standing in the rain.



Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamicsCharles Dimov is Director of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.




Inventory Visibility Brief - Download It Now!