With the quickening pace of business and consumer expectations for immediate gratification, it’s not enough to conduct inventory controls every month, week or even day. While they’re indispensable, they’re not going to help your company reduce costs and increase revenue, but real-time inventory management just might!
What is Real-Time Inventory Management?
Real-time inventory management is a way of keeping a constant up to date record of your inventory. It’s especially useful if you have an online store or e-commerce, and can also be referred to as perpetual inventory.
Why Is it So Important?
First, let’s take a look at what lack of stock does to your company’s sales:
- 52% of online consumers will abandon their cart if they see one product isn’t available
- In the US, 15% of products offered online are out of stock
- The online lost sales opportunity is $17 billion
The results may be disturbing, but the root cause is very simple: Lack of real-time inventory tracking and coordination.
If you could see all of your inventory’s movements in real time, and set up the right automation processes so that when a product’s purchase patterns change, new stock is ordered instantly, you wouldn’t be facing these losses.
For a long time, the industry has struggled with this problem. It was impossible to see what was happening until the reports came in for the day (or the week).
And this is where real-time inventory management comes in.
As a method of tracking, automating and analyzing inventory movement, real-time inventory can help with:
- Smarter replenishment
- Better vendor & customer communication
- Understanding trends, patterns and cycles
- Decision making
To put it simply: real-time inventory management helps you understand how your products are being sold and when they’re close to being out of stock.
The technology monitors all of your sales channels so don’t worry if you’re selling online and in brick & mortar stores. Omnichannel inventory management isn’t a problem.
And what’s even better: you can get insights from the field without manually going through thousands of reports.
Inventory forecasting is made easy as the tools for real-time inventory management keep track of everything.
They can even predict spikes in sales with access to your previous data, helping you reduce spoilage that adds additional $0.43 cost to every $1 you earn.
And since most of the real-time inventory management tools are stored in the cloud, they’re easily accessible organization-wide. You can cooperate with the sales and marketing departments to predict an increased demand for a certain product.
Finally, you can focus on optimizing your process to make sure that no shopper abandons their $100 cart just because they can’t get the $5 product they want.