Stock Control Tips For Small E-Commerce Stores


One of the biggest issues that small e-commerce businesses face is their ability to effectively manage their stock control and inventory. That’s a problem that only gets worse as the company gets bigger if it isn’t sorted out as soon as possible, and when stock control is poor, customers will be dissatisfied, the bottom line will be hot, and many companies will even go out of business. 

So, if you own a small online store and you want to avoid disaster, check out these quick tips for better inventory and stock control: 

Increase Your Storage 

If you’re still working out of your home or garage, it might be time to invest in more storage space. The steel buildings at armstrongsteel are a very affordable choice for doing this, and they will give you more space to store with and keep an eye on the stock, as will renting a storage unit if your budget it’s on the tighter side. 

Check Deliveries 

You should always, and I mean always, check the stock that is delivered to you against the order you made with the supplier. It’s so common for suppliers to send out too much or too little stock, and if you’re working with the correct number in mind, you’ll eventually run into troubles at some stage. 

Store Stock Intelligently 

When you’re a small business with few staff, it can be tempting to just store your stock any old place, but you really need to store things intelligently. For example, if you sell two kinds of socks that look pretty similar, you should store them apart, lest the wrong pair be picked and sent to the customer. 

Color Code Your Packing Slips 

If you sell lots of similar, or the same products, in different sizes, it’s never a bad idea to put an inventory color coding system into place, so that your packers can quickly identify the correct size and ensure that the customer gets the right product the first time. 

Set Reminders For Expiration Dates 

If you sell perishables, the last thing you want to do is send customers stock that has passed its expiry date. That really would be a PR disaster! That’s why it’s so important that you practice stock rotation (where relevant) and that you set up a reminder to let you know when old stock should be removed from your website and your stock room. 

Create Minimum Stock Levels 

Suppliers all have different lead times, which means, when you start out, one of your first tasks should be to determine how long each supplier takes to restock. Once you have this information, you can work out exactly how much inventory you will need to order to cover that period and avoid running out. 

Take Care With Returns 

Something that many e-commerce businesses do that can cause major stock headaches is to upwardly adjust their stock levels when something is returned because it is damaged. This makes it look like they have more stock than they really do, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction. So, make sure you have a system in place that doesn’t upwardly adjust for defective stock. 

Do you run an e-commerce business? What are your top tips for keeping your stock under control? Tweet @MikeSchiemer to let me know!

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