why inventory should be digital

Why should all retail stores’ inventory be digital?

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Digital is the new normal and is soon going to be the only normal in existence. As each day passes, business owners are working on how to move their business an inch closer to becoming digitalized. In addition, one important area that should be looked into is inventory keeping.

Only very few retail stores have been won over to digitization. The majority of them are still using archaic methods to take inventory. For the majority, the setback is awareness. You should keep reading this to know what digital inventory systems are really about.

Brief Introduction to Digital Inventory

Keeping inventory from time past has been a major financial decision taken by businesses. An inventory is a list of cash going in and out of a business.  From the early men who used tally, market women who keep their records in tiny notebooks to owners of big companies that have it all digitized, everyone is keeping inventory.

However, by comparing results, we can gauge the efficiency of the traditional and digital systems. How much cash flow does Dangote want to account for in cash books and ledgers? Not to mention the shift of businesses grossly into the online space. There was a need for a better system. 

The invention of the internet and the introduction of E-commerce had exponentially increased business for brick & mortar and Mom and Pop shops. 

There is absolutely no doubt E-commerce only holds a small percentage of the retail system. According to stats, it surprisingly accrues worldwide sales of 4.9 trillion USD (as of 2020) and is predicted to reach as high as 24.5% global total retail sales by 2025.

As a result, retail businesses have focused primarily on digital inventory management than it has ever done in the past to fulfill customer satisfaction and to improve all-around efficiency. 

Keep reading as we shed more light on the purpose of inventory management systems and why you need one. 

What is digital inventory?

For simplicity and a more profound understanding of the subject, you must be enlightened on the origin of the term “digital inventory”.

Inventory (or stock) refers to the goods and materials a business holds for the ultimate goal of resale, production, or utilization. Inventory management is a discipline primarily about specifying the shape and placement of stocked goods. 

The purpose of the inventory is to proffer operations with an active supply of materials. To be able to achieve this without fail, your business should toil to find a safe spot between too much and too little, without having to ever run out of stock. In summary, the inventory is a tool for effectiveness. 

But as earlier mentioned, the introduction of E-commerce changed the game entirely. Now, a mighty influx of customer requests makes physical inventory almost impossible to maintain without flaw. A solid workflow automation system is required.

This is why smart business owners opted for digital transformation solutions that solve digitally caused problems.

Customers expect instant gratification. The experience you get purchasing products in-store. It is the same feeling you get when making an online purchase. Customers expect to receive things purchased as scheduled. So the slightest shift from planned delivery, pickup, or shipping could translate into dire consequences, including the loss of a customer.

How can digital systems help improve inventory-related decisions?

The adoption of a digital inventory management system puts the store owner in an advantaged position. This simply means better decisions, better management, and happier customers.

Now, decision-makers know how their inventory is performing as it progresses further down the supply chain owing to inventory management technology. From this, important steps that would scale the business and cause exponential growth can be taken.

As opposed to the traditional system of inventory keeping, the digital system uses software equipped with the capacity to track shipments, identify patterns and fulfill orders efficiently. It’s pretty similar to Salesforce automation; which is to automate some of the most crucial but repetitive business processes.

Now, companies can potentially scale, reduce risk, and enable new efficiencies that satisfy every stakeholder, from the factory floor to the customer’s door.

Real-time digital inventory management

Real-time digital inventory management is an automated way of keeping records of sales and expenses, as they occur. It is an instantaneous, virtual, record-keeping space that helps to keep track of cash flow as it goes on in a business.

With Real-time digital inventory management, a business owner can never be caught off-guard. Expenses can be tracked, goods in stock or out of stock can be checked, helps with proper scheduling of deliveries, to mention but a few benefits.

Examples of real-time digital inventory management include the use of barcode scanners and digital inventory management software to keep track of cash flow in a business at any instant.

Digital Inventory management software list

This is a form of real-time digital inventory management. Digital Inventory Management Software provides an automated, well-organized, and quicker method to inventory keeping amongst other things.

There are several excellent digital inventory management software. Some of the commonly used ones include: 

  • Zoho inventory
  • ShipBob
  • Kechie
  • Clear Spider
  • Order hive
  • Shortly
  • Cin 7
  • Stitch labs
  • Katana
  • Ordoro
  • Megaventory
  • Square for Retail
  • Upkeep
  • Netsuite ERP
  • Active Inventory Management 

The best digital inventory management software for you will be the one that fits the purpose and all your business stands for.

Among some of the qualities to look out for in a good inventory management software are:

  • Real-time inventory tracking
  • Unlimited stock-keeping units (SKU)
  • Proper inventory reports
  • Purchase and supplier management
  • Real-time inventory value
  • Reorder points and low stock alerts

Why Retailers Should Use Digital Inventory Management Software

The use of a digital inventory management system can help shippers gain control and visibility into existing inventory and plan for future inventory needs. To guarantee success, Warehouse Managers should follow these tips:

  • Track the movement of inventory through multiple channels
  • Monitor inventory in all stages of the supply chain from manufacturing to returns, explains Andy Henderson via General Electric
  • Use big data for simulations and modeling to understand inventory flow in brick-and-mortar
  • Gain real-time visibility into inventory, especially perishable inventory, automated technologies, such as Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) and the Internet of Things.

Conclusion

Traditional methodologies for managing inventory are inefficient in e-commerce. The reason being that they are controlled by humans and are extremely time-consuming. In the same vein, they’re bound to be inaccurate, and with inconsistencies.

Although fears over the “Retail Apocalypse” continue to exist, retailers can leverage the power of the e-commerce revolution. Likewise, they can leverage the power of digital inventory management styles to ensure brick-and-mortar success.

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