28 March 2018
Supply and demand is the lifeblood of successful businesses.
A lack of stock can severely disrupt the operations of even the most established and loved brands, causing potentially irreversible damage to their brand power.
International fried chicken giant, KFC, caused a media storm in recent weeks when it ran out of stock causing them to close branches up and down the country. While online memes and consumers trying out their own recipes at home quickly popped up, ensuring stock levels reflect demand and can be consistently maintained is crucial to a business's operations and image.
And it today’s diverse business landscape, it is not only suppliers letting large corporations down that is the only instance of businesses struggling with stock levels. This has become a widespread problem affecting both multinationals and independent names, as many smaller businesses rely on their finance software and e-commerce stores to manage stock levels.
As the buying environment has evolved digitally, a large number companies are now opting for e-commerce stores. This sales and marketing approach has been adopted by both large Business to Business (B2B) organisations trying new routes to market and startups looking for a cost-effective and efficient way to sell their products online.
Initially, low sales numbers will be easy to manage, but what happens when the ideal happens and your business is inundated by orders? Will you be able to manage the orders, ensure you have sufficient stock on the website and communicate these numbers with consumers in real-time?
The key to getting this right is to look at who is achieving this, who is your inspiration and then find out the accurate and correct tools to help you get there. Business owners who are happy to keep things small can run on simple low cost solutions, however, those focused on continued growth need to consider what they are growing into.
It should be noted that the workload involved should not put businesses off selling online. With 77% of Britons purchasing goods online in 2017 , the e-Commerce market is one that cannot be ignored.
Even large high street retailers such as Debenhams are having to rethink their strategies to improve their online offerings. To remain stable and sustainable online, companies need to consider selling online as well as having the right systems in place to manage these online operations.
Web shops and back office systems are typically run simultaneously but completely independently. As a result, companies that focus on their website operations have a significant number of administrative tasks such as adding the orders to their finance package and managing invoicing.
A good web store platform such as nopCommerce enables you to manage stock in real time, simply and efficiently.
However, if you are distributing the same stock to your web store and through other sales channels, there is the potential of selling more stock than you have. Furthermore, it may be difficult to keep account of the stock levels to ensure you can adequately reorder it in time to keep up with consumer demands.
So, what’s the answer?
By implementing an integrated system, stock levels are automatically updated in the web store from the back office system, enabling you to manage purchasing. Furthermore, e-Commerce integration with the finance package will allow automated processing of orders and invoices which will save you time and reduce human errors resulting from inputting the same data multiple times.
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