Retail Stock Management – How to work smarter in 2022

Unbelievably many retail businesses are still managing their stock through outdated software or spreadsheets. While you may be tempted to stick with ‘tried and tested’ methods, these old fashioned stock management methods are time consuming and rely heavily on attention to detail and manual recording of data which inevitably leads to costly errors. So if you’re still managing your stock the old fashioned way, it’s time to take a look at the alternative – a modern, fit-for-purpose solution designed specifically for retail.

You may have invested heavily in your current system, and perhaps at the time of implementation it was the best the market had to offer, but if it doesn’t address your current pain points and save you time and money then it’s not a viable long-term solution.  Perhaps your business has grown significantly or you have upgraded other business systems such as your accounts software but you still haven’t addressed the stock management side of things because you don’t know which way to turn. Whatever the reason for putting off one of the most impactful improvements you can make to your business, if you are not moving forwards with a modern, fit-for-purpose retail stock management system, you are effectively moving backwards in comparison to your competitors.

Let’s take a look at the business benefits which can be gained by properly managing your retail stock with a sophisticated solution:  

Cash Flow

In any retail business, up to 80% of cash is tied up in stock. That’s a lot of money sitting on your shelves! And, if your money is invested in products which are slow-movers or simply don’t sell, then you’re seriously damaging your profitability as it is going to take a long time to realise their value – or even worse – you’ll have to sell below value or even write them off.

A modern retail stock management system can identify your best-sellers so that you can invest in your most popular products, and recognise which items are not worth holding in large volumes, or even at all. This level of business intelligence ensures that your money is spent on items which you know will sell and the resulting product throughput will significantly improve your cash flow and profitability. 

If you sell variants of items such as different colours or sizes, you can make informed decisions on which items to hold in stock and which stock to run down. And, if your products can be purchased in kits or bundles, you’ll know which combinations are the most popular so you can be better prepared and invest less in the unpopular products.

Innovative stock management solutions also help you to accurately predict and forecast which stock you need to order and when, removing the guesswork and opportunity for error. This type of analysis is invaluable to a retailer who needs to keep a keen eye on cashflow and only order stock when it’s really needed.

With OpSuite, you can be sure your decision making is based upon accurate real-time data, directly improving on your cashflow and profitability.

Dead Stock

Dead stock is a serious financial drain on any retailer. Not only did it cost money to purchase it in the first place, but it also prevents you from purchasing the stock you should have on your shelves, and subsequently has a doubly negative impact on your profits. 

Dead stock is often the result of poor stock management and failing to sell an item while it still has a saleable value, for example by adding a slow moving product to a promotion or slashing the sale price in order to realise some value from it. A large build-up of dead stock is effectively money down the drain and you can actually end up paying to rid yourself of it as you offload it to anyone who is willing to take it.

A robust stock management system will enable you to identify products which are at risk of becoming dead stock before they present a problem. Whether you discount the items, include them in a promotion or even rotate them with your supplier (if you’re lucky enough to have stock rotation rights), you can still achieve some value from them before they become worthless and unnecessarily take up valuable storage space.

OpSuite’s reporting features can identify your slow moving stock before they become a burden on your business, so you can realise as much value from them as possible.

Out of Stock Disappointment

Discovering that a desired item is out of stock in your store is one of the key reasons a customer will make the purchase elsewhere and, unless there is a widespread supplier issue, it’s completely avoidable with proper stock management. Every time a customer experiences this disappointment their confidence in your brand is eroded until they reach a point where they simply won’t shop with you anymore. As we know, it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one, so avoiding out of stock disappointment should be high on your priority list. And, if a new prospective customer finds an item out of stock then it’s likely they’ll never revisit your shop or online store again!

In today’s omnichannel world there’s an even more frustrating scenario – a customer believes they have made a purchase only to discover that you never had the item in stock in the first place, also known as ‘overselling’. If you sell in more than one location or a combination of online and in-store and don’t have a robust stock management solution, this is a real possibility and is hugely damaging to your reputation.

The only way to avoid overselling is by integrating your stock management solution with your selling solution i.e. your inventory management system and your EPoS software. If you’re still using manual methods or spreadsheets for managing stock, good luck because overselling is a very real problem unless you invest unnecessary cash in holding excess stock.

OpSuite offers an all-in-one inventory management and EPoS solution for both in-store, online and omnichannel retailers.

Storage

Warehousing and storage is expensive and shelves taken up by slow moving or overstocked items waste valuable space which could be used for your best sellers or to add new products to your range. Avoid unnecessary warehousing costs by ensuring your stockholding is lean and you only hold the types, variants and quantities of products which you know you will sell. The reporting and analytics provided by sophisticated stock management solutions will enable you to identify how much stock you should be holding for your predicted sales volumes, ensuring you don’t waste space by holding unpopular products or too many of a particular item.

OpSuite’s reporting features help you to manage your warehouse space better by informing your purchasing decisions.

Spoilage

If your products have an inherent shelf life beyond which they cannot be sold, it’s crucial that your chosen solution monitors the saleability of your stock. If you are reliant upon manual checks then there will inevitably be errors which result in wastage or spoilage – and you’ll effectively be throwing your money down the drain.

When you employ a stock management solution which can monitor product shelf life, then you can sell through items before they become a problem and have to be disposed of.

OpSuite can help you to monitor the lifecycle of your stock, so you can plan ahead and deal with products approaching their end of life before they become worthless.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing any of the issues raised in this blog, you are almost certainly making avoidable errors in your stock management processes which could be solved with the right solution. OpSuite Retail Operations Software provides retailers with a competitive advantage by controlling products, pricing, customers, suppliers, shops and eCommerce stores from a desktop or laptop, anywhere in the world, 24/7. OpSuite also integrates with popular accounts packages, online marketplaces and eCommerce websites through OpSuite Fusion, offering retailers a truly unified retail solution.

So if you are ready to take your business to the next level by overcoming your stock management issues, and are looking for a complete end-to-end retail solution, book a demo today or call our team on 0800 138 0050 to discuss your specific requirements.

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