If managing inventory isn’t your idea of a hot Saturday night, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
But just because you’d rather visit the dentist than tackle inventory management, doesn’t mean the process has to be taxing. Fortunately, adopting a retail store management system can help. Here are a few tips and tricks of the trade that can bring your inventory days from mundane to manageable. Try these 5 inventory management solutions to streamline the way you track and organize stock items.
Optimize Your Space to Keep Stock Well Organized
It turns out that the whole reason your mother made you clean your room as a kid was to prepare you for inventory management. Ok, that might not be true. But keeping your stock tidy and well organized is the first step to inventory management success. This includes optimizing the space you have. Whether you are a one-room retail boutique with little to no storage, or a medium-sized wine shop with a stock room in the back, there are always ways to improve your organization and make the most of your store’s square footage. One of the most underutilized spaces in a retail store is often the sales floor. Though this doesn’t mean you should be adding wall-to-wall shelving, it does mean you should make the most of the space you have. Investing in tables and cabinets with glass front doors, allows you to show off your merchandise not only on top of your display cases, but also inside. If you’re already optimizing your space efficiently, that’s great! But take a look around; is there space in your store to get a little creative with your visual merchandising? Instead of storing a dozen straw hats in your storage closet where they’ll get dusty and might be ruined, hang them on a coatrack in the corner of your store. It will not only free up space to store additional items, but will also add charm and character to your business.
Adopting a cloud-based POS system will not only streamline your business’s checkout process, but will also help you manage your inventory and automate key operations. No longer will you have to spend hours entering inventory and updating spreadsheets. Cloud-based POS software allows you to keep track of inventory received and sold. It also cuts down on human error and frees up countless hours.
Liquidate Slow-Moving Inventory
Even if you followed our first recommendation and optimized the storage of your backstock, keeping items in your store that aren’t selling is never a smart move. Stagnant inventory doesn’t make you money and prevents you from ordering and storing potential customer blockbusters that could fatten your wallet. Though there are as many ways to move slow-moving stock, as there are items in your store, the important thing is to sell that merchandise! A few simple ways to get rid of stubborn stock are flash sales, bundling items at a discount, and if the weather cooperates, a sidewalk sale.
Take Loss Prevention Seriously
We love your customers just as much as you do and would never want to think that any of them are less than upstanding consumers. But the reality is that the retail sector loses $10 billion yearly due to theft. That’s a large chunk of change. If you’re a high-risk business, it can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Items in the retail industry that are traditionally consider at a high risk of theft include grocery store items, men’s and women’s clothing, and children’s clothing. You might ask what this has to do with inventory management — a lot! Keeping track of shrinkage is not only essential for monitoring theft and planning an appropriate loss prevention strategy, but it’s also crucial for knowing how much inventory to order and where that inventory should be stored. Cycle counting, as mentioned above, can help with this. Traditionally, retailers have preferred to keep high-risk items behind their front counters. But displaying items within site of a cashier is also an effective method. It’s also important to keep in mind when it’s time to give up on an item. If half your inventory of a specific article of clothing is regularly being lost to theft, it might be time to cut your losses and no longer carry that item.
Simplify Physical Inventory Counts
Though adopting a cloud-based POS system will streamline your inventory management, there will be times when you’ll still need to conduct physical inventory counts. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of cycle counting, or a partial stock count of a specific area of your store or specific items. Using this inventory method will not only seem less overwhelming, but will also ensure that you never have to close your store early (and lose business) just to count your inventory.
We suggest doing counts based on inventory type. Tuesdays might be dedicated to pants and Wednesdays sweaters. Or do inventory count based on specific store areas. If you find yourself spending a lot of time at the front of your store in the morning, helping browsing customers, allocate time earlier in the day to count merchandise up front and then late afternoons to count stock towards the back. Either way, you’ll never have to close early, stay late or invest off-hours to do inventory. Still looking for more inventory management solutions? Checkout Using Your POS Software to Show Your Inventory Who’s Boss.