In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, eCommerce has offered businesses and customers alike a form of retail respite. The continuing humanitarian and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have upended daily lives, but conducting business online has provided an avenue to maintaining core needs and finding ways to endure the confines of social distancing.
Expanding business online opens the opportunity to serve potentially hundreds of customers at once. The trouble is that many transactions at pace can become unwieldy to deal with. It’s a good problem to have in these compromised days, it’s true, but once your eCommerce connection hits its peak it becomes hard to keep track of your inventory across multiple channels, especially if you’re geared toward an in-store market.
As with every other aspect of life in the 2020s, there is a digital solution to this online conversion challenge. Inventory management software can now be bundled into your everyday business toolkit to give you enough control over your online sales to keep revenue ticking over during uncertain times.
Thankfully, the next generation of eCommerce inventory management solutions can be incorporated into your existing point of sale system, which means you can manage your online revenue in much the same way you’ve always taken care of your in-store business.
An eCommerce Boom
There was already a strong trend toward eCommerce underway before COVID-19 destroyed the 2019-20 financial year. Over the five years from 2014 to 2018, the value of worldwide sales that originated online more than doubled from $1.3 billion to $2.9 billion. By the start of 2019, the percentage of total retail spend that occurred online was approaching 10 percent. That may seem a small fraction, but considering the online market didn’t really exist until the early years of the past decade and the advent of personal tech such as smartphones, it is a rapid rise.
The global pandemic has multiplied that impact dramatically. While the overall US retail spend is expected to decline by more than 10% this year—and experts were tipping a steady 2.8% increase for 2020 prior to COVID—eCommerce’s share of total revenue is now expected to reach an all-time high of 14.5% of total sales. That increased market share is expected across all manner of industries, from food and beverage, to health care and beauty.
There was already a clear advantage to adding an eCommerce element to an in-store experience before disaster struck. Now that the average consumer is compromised in their movements going online may be a necessity.
To ensure a secure and successful expansion, you should investigate eCommerce inventory management.
What is eCommerce Inventory Management?
When you move into digital sales you need to equip yourself with the right digital tools to maximize the vast opportunities. Many small to medium businesses have already shifted to digital point of sale systems that make it easier to combine all the tasks it takes to run an outlet in 2020. An eCommerce inventory management system is a piece of that all-in-one retail platform.
As the name suggests, the software is an evolution of the software and processes you probably already use to monitor your brick-and-mortar balance between stock and sales. Now, however, you can match current stock levels against purchases from a range of in-store and online channels to get a live count of your holdings.
More than this, the system integrates with all the other elements of your business so you can get a more efficient flow of stock from purchase order to final sale. You can even automate parts of the process to better equate supply with demand and give yourself one less thing to worry about during your daily workflow.
Your emerging eCommerce revenue should become a natural extension of your established business; after all, you’re selling the same products and ideas. With an eCommerce inventory management system you follow that logic into the physical execution by installing the system into your existing setup.
Getting eCommerce Inventory Management Support
The leading POS systems now include advanced inventory management solutions as standard. That means you should be able to manage your new online opportunities from the same platform you use for your core in-store business. So, when you login to your POS device in the morning to check the staff roster or review the previous day’s sales, you should also be able to monitor your continuing eCommerce sales.
The same POS system should also be the hub of your online presence. Again, the leading providers will deliver website capacity and support as standard in their subscription packages so you can tailor your online offerings to the same high impact as your in-store shelves, without having to be an IT wizard.
Finally, your POS provider should be able to help you streamline the online ordering and delivery process to maximize the value of your eCommerce channel. A living inventory management system will ensure stock levels are accurately reflected online, and a logical interface should help customers pursue their interests through ever greater levels of modification and customization.
COVID may be discouraging shoppers from walking through your in-store wares, but you can still allow them the gift of searching for that perfect product if you get your eCommerce design right.
Making the Move Online
It may be difficult to see any silver linings to the current COVID-19 crisis, but a serious consideration of eCommerce potential may be one of them. The current uncertainty will, eventually, pass but the financial and market impacts will be long-lasting. It could be that the surge in online retail interest remains once people begin to venture back in stores with more regularity. If so, equipping yourself with the additional revenue stream of an online outlet could become a valuable add-on in the future
Learning to maximize the advantages of an eCommerce inventory management system now could prove worthwhile in bridging the current crisis and prospering on the other side.
We at talech want to assist customers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19, in light of restricted movements in cities and towns across the country. We have launched a number of initiatives to help customers during this time. Click here to find out more or reach out to our Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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