SVP of Global Marketing,
Fluent Commerce

Imagine this: You see something you love online, but when you try to buy it, it’s out of stock. Or worse, you order it, but your order gets canceled later because the item is unavailable. This is frustrating for both customers and retailers. In fact, a study found that retailers miss out on nearly $1 trillion in sales per year due to out-of-stock items.

The root cause of this problem is often inaccurate inventory data. A recent survey showed that 58% of retailers have less than 80% inventory accuracy. This means there is a 1 in 5 chance that an item will be out of stock when a customer places an order for it.

Inventory Visibility: Knowing What’s in Stock

Retailers have a massive amount of stock and data they can track from warehouses and stores. With all that inventory moving around, it must be updated in real-time to show what is actually in stock and where it is located.

Retailers with flexible, distributed order management systems can use a data-driven approach to update their inventory levels with speed and accuracy. This reduces the chances of over or underselling products.

A data-driven approach allows retailers to sync their sales channels with inventory levels. This enables retailers to spot trends, manage their stock, and maximize revenue. During busy periods like back-to-school or holidays, this method is even more beneficial, as it helps retailers align their marketing campaigns with their fluctuating inventory.

Clean Data: The Foundation for Accurate Inventory

The first step in maintaining reliable inventory data is to keep your data clean. It can be a challenge to integrate modern inventory systems with outdated systems and workflows, but when done well, it results in consistent data across all platforms. This will ensure that customer interactions are always based on the most recent information.

Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Demand Forecasting: Gather and examine data based on sales or fulfilled orders. This will help identify the sources of demand patterns. Where do products sell quickly, and where don’t they? Do you need to send more stock to one location or fulfill more orders from a location that sells less on the floor? Retailers can also analyze website searches to gauge consumers’ interest and enable the creation of effective fulfillment strategies.
  2. Capacity or Network Planning: Strategically placing products is critical for distribution. This data helps confirm that stores or suppliers are maximizing their performance and ensures that there are necessary resources to efficiently carry out the process.
  3. Distributed Order Management Solution (OMS): If you’re looking for a tool to achieve all this, start with a modern OMS. Look for a solution that has a quick rollout, a flexible platform, and scales easily. Implementing this solution will help you meet the promises to your customers and create more loyalty down the line.

There are many different ways to analyze data to create a better customer experience while also fueling a retailer’s bottom line. Narrowing down what is important depends on the specific problem you are trying to solve.

In today’s competitive market, customer loyalty can be fleeting if they have a negative experience. That’s why accurately advertising your available products and services is a crucial part of retaining customers and building trust in your brand. By ensuring your advertisements align with your actual inventory, you avoid disappointing customers, which can go a long way toward lasting relationships.