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Ecommerce Essentials: Inventory Control
Let’s talk about yet another issue with ecommerce websites: Inventory control. If you sell inventory on your website, and you hold inventory in a brick and mortar store, you have to keep it coordinated. What are your options?
Almost every ecommerce platform allows for inventory control. But they assume that your website is the only place you’re selling that option. When looking at how to coordinate with your brick and mortar store, there are a few different options.
Invest in an integrated POS system
You can, of course, invest in a new POS system. Talk to your current POS provider (or a new one) and see if they have options for integrating with a website. They may have a proprietary ecommerce system they’ve developed, or they may have add-ons and plugins for popular ecommerce packages that will automate the process for you.
Set aside stock for the website
You can, of course, just set aside items specifically for the website. This functionally treats your inventory for your website as totally different from your inventory for your physical store.
You’ll still be able to move items from the ecommerce site to the physical store when needed. You would just need to go in and update the stock on both systems when doing so.
Only list items when you have over X in stock
You might only list items on your website’s store if you have more than so many in stock. The biggest downside to this is that it is possible to sell out in the physical store, then sell some online, and not have enough stock to fill the order.
Clearly the integrated POS system is the best option overall, but there are frequently costs involved in the switching process. See which of these methods will be the best option in your specific case.
August 2nd, 2011
Tim Priebe is a public speaker, the author of the book Webifiable and the upcoming book Blogify Your Business and the owner of T&S Web Design. You can reach him on Twitter and Facebook with the username timjpriebe.