Multi-Channel Inventory Sync refers to inventory availability and centralization of inventory and order information for small and mid-sized distributors, manufacturers, and online retailers operating across multiple sales channels.
Centralized inventory management is something all multi-channel retailers need but may not have. According to a 2020 study from Shopify, 28% of multi-channel retailers lack inventory visibility across stores, warehouses and vendors, and 38% lack inventory and order management software.
Risks of multi-channel operations running without centralized inventory include the increased likelihood of customers turning to a competitor due to out-of-stocks and overcommitted items, lost sales from lengthy availability response times, chargebacks from the purchase of unavailable items, and order cancellations from delays in fulfillment.
Acctivate Inventory Software multi-channel inventory sync centralizes inventory availability across operations, per channel, per location all in one place (Acctivate).
Multi-Channel Inventory Sync: How it Works
The first step for multi-channel inventory sync is to determine how a business wants to show availability channel to channel. Does inventory availability show the same amount per channel, or do certain channels have more or less inventory available than others?
For example, a very popular cosmetics company must decide how to show the availability of the same dark red lipstick across several channels. In total, the cosmetics company has 500 of the same dark red lipsticks available. This company operates a web store, sells to Sephora once a month via EDI, and also participates in direct sales. With Acctivate, the user can dictate product availability for each channel, or have the availability show the same across all channels. If the inventory availability is dictated per channel, Acctivate would show (for example): 200 available for the web store, 200 committed to Sephora, 100 for direct sales (as well as the warehouse and bin locations). If the availability is the same across channels, then it would simply show 500 dark red lipsticks available (along with warehouse and bin locations).
Step two is essentially sitting back and watching the multi-channel inventory sync do its work.
As web store customers purchase the red lipstick, the inventory sync between the web store and Acctivate will update at set intervals, updating the web store with the correct quantity still available and pushing orders into Acctivate. For direct sales, the inventory sync works in a similar fashion. If a phone order comes in for 50 of the dark red lipsticks, the user will complete the sales order, and 50 of the dark red lipsticks will be deducted from the overall availability. When an order via EDI is received for Sephora, users can see that 200 of the dark red lipsticks was committed ahead of time, and they can move forward with processing the order.
The goal of inventory synchronization across an organization is the housing and monitoring of inventory availability across all channels and warehouses. Throughout the day, orders come in from different channels, and the inventory availability is reduced and updated accordingly. As inventory is received into the warehouse, out-of-stock and low-stocks will rebound as the replenishments become available.
Multi-Channel Inventory Sync: Why it Matters
When products are purchased from any location, online or physical, Acctivate will update with the correct inventory availability. While it is as straightforward as it sounds, the importance of it could be lost without the proper emphasis. Without an efficient, real-time multi-channel inventory sync, the more likely a business is to oversell and undersell, lose opportunities for lengthy response times on availability or thanks to unforeseen out of stocks, or even from receiving cancellations because fulfillment is backed up (because purchased inventory wasn’t actually available at the time).
Acctivate eliminates lengthy response times for users receiving calls questioning inventory availability – it just takes a quick search to pull up the information needed. Acctivate prevents overselling and underselling by constantly monitoring in real-time what is truly available, what is not, updating channels accordingly, and alerting when it’s time to restock with suggested re-order amounts. Acctivate prevents overly long fulfillment times by preventing the sale of inventory that was never available to begin with. Day in and day out, Acctivate keeps customers happy.
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Learn how Acctivate’s inventory management tools can transform your entire business. Try Acctivate for free or call us at 817-870-1311.