In general terms, inventorying allows to avoid excesses or shortages of goods to serve customers or, well, of raw materials to manufacture a certain product. With this, organizations can set optimal levels, customizing their inventory according to their needs and those of their customers. Jose Duarte, an entrepreneur and eCommerce expert from Costa Rica, discusses how to properly manage inventory in an eCommerce business and how to improve its oversight.
Both the excess (having too much retained in the warehouse) and the defect (not having available stock when a customer requests it) are two situations that can negatively affect the business, something that is solved with a good inventory control solution. Generally, inventory control is associated with commercial management solutions because purchases, sales, logistics, production, finance, are closely related to their efficient management. Explains Duarte, “Checking that the outputs from the warehouse are really those that have been authorized, ensuring that the movements in the inventory are recorded correctly or implementing the inventory policy defined by the organization, are some of the issues that can be expedited simply by having the appropriate technological solutions.”
Also, the advantages of using an ERP to manage a company’s inventory are multiple. For example, it helps to neutralize the effects of seasonality, ensures the efficient replacement of goods and obtain discounts on large purchases, and allows to identify and minimize losses due to theft, losses or waste.
On the other hand, companies that support the management of their inventories in an ERP application improve their relationship with the customer, something that in the digital era, in which organizations bet on the development of customer-centric strategies, is ideal. Thus, these applications allow to have a security stock, which allows to respond to the demands of customers without delay and therefore avoid discontents, reputational discredits and customer leaks. At the same time, efficient stock control facilitates the offer of a wide variety of products to the customer, with the additional advantages for sales that all this entails.
In short, the companies that manage their inventories optimally are rewarded for their efforts in terms of greater efficiency since they minimize costs and guarantee greater savings in their investments. But, above all, they provide a better service to their customers and, with it, expand their possibilities of loyalty and commitment to the brand, something highly valued in these digital times.
Today’s consumer is used to technology and turns to eCommerce more naturally. It does so for convenience, to save time and because this medium allows you to compare various options before making a decision. And, in the face of crises such as the one generated by COVID-19, eCommerce was also turned to for safety. Although it was estimated that online shopping would increase this year, perhaps no one expected it to be so abrupt. However, the online consumption habit exceeded expectations and, if the experience is positive, it will continue even after overcoming the pandemic.
“Nowadays,” explains Duarte, “marketplaces have already implemented artificial intelligence (AI) in their processes. But this set of technologies isn’t just applicable to big business. If you have a small online store, you can also use it to benefit yourself and consumers.” AI mimics human behavior. It is able to understand, learn, respond to particular situations and interact. Among its greatest utilities is the ability to process large amounts of data in a short time, which helps make better decisions.
The use of AI can be applied in various processes, such as the production and distribution of products. Likewise, AI applied to marketing helps to know customers better and accompany them during the shopping cycle. With a personalized experience and automated processes, purchases will be easier and adjusted to the needs of customers.