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The inventory management process is how a business's inventory is bought, stored and finally sold on. The process relates to the entire flow of a business's good, from the initial purchase right through to the final sale.
Effective eBay inventory management ensures that a business will always have a supply of products while also keeping operational costs as low as possible. To maintain a top-quality supply chain, a sound inventory management process is needed.
Adhering to eBay inventory management best practices is vital for business growth. It can help businesses monitor sales channels in a more effective manner and reap the countless rewards that come with that. Bottom line: It makes growing your business easier and puts more money in your pocket.
There are five main steps in the eBay inventory management process. Each is as important as the rest, and even a minor disruption to one of these factors can cause a ripple effect that impacts the entire management flow. By treating each of these steps as having the same importance as the others, sellers can ensure the operational efficiency of their business.
The initial stage of the eBay inventory management process is the sourcing and procurement of stock. Identifying a potential supply of quality products that allow you to make a profit on each unit sold is the first step. Once a source has been identified, it's essential to liaise with them and establish if they're able to satisfy your requirements. If the company is able to provide what's needed, it’s worth ensuring there is a signed contract to guarantee this. If guarantees can’t be provided, it's worth sourcing another supplier who can give you the assurances that you need.
The procurement aspect of this refers to actually receiving the products from the supplier and sending payment. In simple terms, the procurement stage is the execution of the contract.
Optimal eBay inventory management is directly related to safety, security, and accessibility. Storing and organizing inventory in the most practical way possible can be difficult without investing in some form of equipment. Appropriate storage, whether shelving or boxes for smaller items, is an essential first step. Without adequate storage, organizing an inventory is virtually impossible.
A fundamental part of eBay inventory management is adopting various forms of technology. Utilizing bar codes and other technology solutions can help sellers fill orders faster and dramatically improve operational efficiencies.
The way you deal with orders is extremely important. A single negative experience and you risk missing out on customers returning to you. Payment errors and delivery issues are two of the most common errors that prevent customers returning, or discourage other customers based on bad reviews.
Order management is pretty simple at first. But as more and more sales start coming in from different sources, it can be a lot trickier. Having a payment processor in place that you can rely on is an important part of this stage. Maintaining a quality eCommerce experience will, in turn, ensure that your eBay inventory management process goes to plan.
Getting your orders out to customers on time is critical. Having an easily accessible inventory can help you to achieve this. Knowing exactly where goods are, how many units you've got in stock, and how long it will take you to get it sent out to a customer is vital for clarity. Messing up at this stage could mean you lose a customer forever.
By implementing a barcode scanning system you can stay on top of stock levels, know exactly where products are located, and ensure that you minimize the risk of running out of stock — from your biggest sellers to the more niche goods in your inventory. Fulfilling orders on time helps to keep a seller's workload under control and customers flocking back to you.
The after-sales service refers to all the steps you take to care for your customers after they've purchased an item from you. Any business should focus on customer aftercare, but it's especially important for small businesses where every customer makes a difference.
There are countless ways for sellers to add a personal touch to wow their customers. Unique packaging can be time-consuming but is a good way to stick in the mind of your customers — especially if it's something that can be reused around the home.
Some businesses decide that automating this process is best and send a follow-up email or a coupon. This can be great for business, as there's really nothing better than closing one sale by starting off another.
For an in-depth look at the more intricate side of eBay inventory management including tools that you can implement to ensure your business flourishes, check out this guide that we compiled that should help answer a variety of further questions about successful inventory management processes.
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