Selling on Amazon is hard enough without that one person always holding you back — yourself! Of all the obstacles Amazon sellers face, the biggest threats are themselves. Even the most well-intentioned merchants tend to make some common mistakes with Amazon inventory management. With all you have going on, it’s only natural for some things to fall between the cracks.
To help you catch them before they slip by, we’ve listed 5 inventory mistakes to avoid when selling on Amazon. Although these mistakes are common, they’re still quite harmful so make sure you’re not guilty of them as well.
1. Not Checking Your Competitors
Sometimes your greatest allies are your worst enemies. Even though they try to undercut your prices and steal your customers, you can still learn a lot from your competitors… at least, from a distance.
Take a look at your rival Amazon sellers and check both (1.) what products they sell and (2.) what prices they sell at.
If you and your competitors have the same target customer groups, you can get a glimpse into some other products that your customers enjoy. Maybe your competitor has caught on to a trend that you haven’t yet — check their products for some inventory inspiration.
For prices, checking your competitors is more of a necessity. In a market like Amazon, shoppers usually make decisions based on value more than brand loyalty, so you need to keep your prices competitive.
2. Ignoring Analytics
The numbers don’t lie. The only way to know for sure if a certain product or certain price is working is to check the sales data. Most inventory decisions are not black and white, but you can remove much of the guesswork just by reviewing your sales analytics.
You can make better and more-informed choices if you base them on statistical data. See which products sell (and how fast) to reveal what kinds of products to offer, the optimal price for each and how far in advance to restock them.
3. Being Unprepared
Even if you manage to sell the perfect products at the perfect price, there’s still one threat always looming overhead: time. The more sales you make, the faster your stock levels decline. And if you don’t reorder them in time, a consistent “out-of-stock” message can undo all previous goodwill.
The key for forecasting — or ordering more inventory before it runs out — lies in the analytics explained above. If you can track sales trends accurately, you can predict when your inventory stock will hit dangerously low levels. All you have to do is reorder at the right time and you’ll never again have to worry about missed sales.
Of course, some products’ sales trends change throughout the year. For these products, you must pay attention to the seasons. The demand for seasonal products fluctuates, so you need to be prepared; i.e., order inventory for summer products in the spring so it’s ready.
Moreover, even products popular all-year-round have inconsistent sales patterns. Just look at the November-December shopping holidays. It’s best to draw on the previous year’s analytics to know how much to stock up on, and when.
4. Wrong Stock Levels
Listing the wrong stock levels is as harmful as it is common — especially for multichannel sellers. Inaccurate stock levels do not merely cost you a sale. The customer’s disappointment is so great it also damages your reputation and you might lose that customer forever.
It can be tedious and draining to constantly monitor the inventory count for each of your products. And if you’re selling in different places, you have to be vigilant about updating all your listings every time you make a sale. No wonder errors in stock levels happen so often.
Fortunately, multichannel inventory management software can consolidate your stock listings across all channels and automatically update them. If you make a sale on your Shopify site, then your Amazon product page is changed without you lifting a finger. Technology has always been an ally of ecommerce, so take advantage of the latest automation software.
5. Fulfillment Errors
Last but not least, one of the most common inventory errors is just your classic, old-fashioned human error. Nobody’s perfect and we all make mistakes. That includes sending the wrong product to the wrong address, sending it late, or forgetting to send the tracking information to Amazon.
The good news is there are software solutions that solve this problem. In most cases, you can even use the same ecommerce software to solve both problems at the same time.
By using an automated ecommerce software, all your orders can be managed from the same place, on the same OMS dashboard. You can oversee all outgoing orders in real time and make sure everything is as it should be (or at least put out fires as soon as they start).
Retail is about marketing, sales, customer relations, and opportunity. When done well, managing a store, online or off, can be as exhilarating as it is rewarding. It’s a shame when small, avoidable hiccups like bad math or a missed message can completely undo all your hard work. However, if you know what to look for, you can clear the path ahead of you to ensure a smooth and successful ride.
About: Ecomdash is an order and inventory management software for multichannel online retailers. When they aren’t developing the best ecommerce software, they focus on providing small businesses with actionable tips and strategies for building a lucrative ecommerce business.