#ecommerce #inventory #management
eCommerce Inventory Management
Selling products online has become a wildly successful new option for many businesses. But the ecommerce sales channel also brings along with it new challenges. Because brick and mortar stores have the inventory on-site along with point of sale/checkout equipment, the selling process is rather seamless. Everything is connected and self-contained at a single location.
On the other hand, once an order is placed online, having a fulfillment system is the only way to properly manage and account for the sale. The buyer is separated from the seller by a great distance, and a third party (a shipper) must be brought into play to bridge this gap. Not only that, but sellers could have their inventory in multiple warehouses, adding further to the complexity of the situation. Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers all have unique challenges and must figure out the best ways to fulfill online orders.
Having a Web presence isn’t a priority for most manufacturers, as they mainly rely on traditional distribution channels to sell their products. However, more organizations are utilizing the Internet, such as by listing their wholesale catalogs on a website and selling directly to consumers. Allowing wholesalers to place bulk orders via website streamlines the purchasing process and makes it much easier. For manufacturers that sell direct, they can invest in their own Internet marketing to reach customers. Manufacturers will often not have the personnel or the expertise to sell online, but there are new resources to assist them if they’re willing to take that step and make the investment in this potentially lucrative endeavor. Manufacturers selling directly to end users has become a rising trend.
More wholesalers are starting to open their own retail fronts online and offer bulk discounts. Because of how accessible the Internet is, wholesalers no longer rely on retailers to reach customers. This makes it extremely important to have an integrated ecommerce (e.g. payment processing, checkout, etc.) and inventory system. Wholesalers are basically becoming bulk sale retailers, needing to have the same functionality and buying process as retailers. In addition to bulk inventory, drop shipping (single orders) has become more popular. This increases the frequency of reorder points. Many wholesalers still opt to use retailers, letting them do what they do best, so that wholesalers can focus on what they do best.
Ideally, a retailer is able to synchronize with the manufacturer’s or wholesaler’s inventory system, but this isn’t always the case. You need to have your own inventory software and have a POS system that integrates with it. Managing stock levels and reorder points is one of the most difficult parts of inventory management, and you need a robust system to handle all of it. By integrating various solutions together, you can automate many business processes so they all work in harmony with each other. Then you wind up with a lean system in which your inventory, ecommerce, shipping, and order management systems are all communicating and working together to build a stronger company.
Taking lots of orders through your website and then manually updating your inventory quantities is enough to make anyone go crazy. Wouldn’t it be great if the information you received from your website was automatically read by your inventory system and transferred into corresponding Sales Orders? If you’re like most eCommerce companies, you don’t house your inventory, but prefer to drop-ship directly to customers. To run such processes, someone in the data entry department must manually transcribe all the orders. Why not automate the process to increase speed as well as eliminate man hours and human errors?
Fishbowl has an efficient solution for eCommerce companies. Fishbowl can import all the crucial information that you export from your online shopping cart directly into Fishbowl, then create corresponding Sales Orders and update your inventory. This in turn will allow Fishbowl to create needed Purchase Orders. Eliminate the middle man and begin streamlining your business processes with Fishbowl.
With Fishbowl’s SDK (software development kit), you can set up your shopping cart to integrate seamlessly with Fishbowl. If you prefer another option, you can use Fishbowl’s current imports and exports to exchange large amounts of data between Fishbowl and your shopping cart or website. See our shopping cart integration page for a list of shopping cart software programs Fishbowl integrates with.