- Posted by daige
- On 2017-04-04
- 0 Comments
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Today I’ll tell you about an imaginary problem that stores who would like to sell online encounter. This is an obsession (and possibly an excuse for merchants who have a store and are thinking about selling online): how to ensure to withdraw products in time from the website in order not to risk selling online a product that ” We do not have anymore in stock”. I’ll answer that question and find solutions!
Seriously, I would say that in the last year one in two customers who called me asked this question. How do I ensure that I do not sell products that I do not have in stock?
In store, it’s easy! When a product is no longer on my shelf, then I do not risk selling it!
But online, it’s a lot of management!
I’ll start by telling an anecdote of an online purchase I did a few years ago. I was looking for a juice extractor. The one I found no longer seemed to be available anywhere.
Lucky, I found it on eBay and I bought it. A few days later the salesman contacted me and told me that he had displayed it by mistake and that he no longer had the product. So I bought it on Amazon. Again, 2 days later my order was canceled.
What I do not understand is that these two merchants had before them a customer with his credit card that was actively looking to buy a juicer. Why didn’t they take the opportunity to sell me another? They could have showed me a similar product but they did not and lost the sale.
Do not make this mistake!
If you have trouble managing your inventory on your website, that does not matter. At least take advantage to contact customers and sell them another similar product!
If, by chance, it is still possible for you to order these products again, do not remove them from your ecommerce site! Take advantage of this opportunity to have a wider range of products available and tell the customer that the product might take longer to ship.
You could also take advantage of the opportunity to negotiate with some suppliers for drop-shipping. Meaning that they would ship the products you sell directly to your customers!
Synchronized cash management software
The easiest method on the long term is to have a cash register software connected to your transactional site.
But this method has several restraints.
First, if you do not currently have a cash register software that allows this, you will need to migrate to a new cash register software. Migration means time, money, training and short-term risks.
Then you are somehow obliged to use the same company for your cash register software as for your e-commerce platform. The two giants in this area are Lightspeed and Shopify.
It’s a great checkout software made in Canada and they released their e-commerce solution last year. So it’s a good alternative if you have a store and you are thinking about selling on the internet. Their features are really focused towards traditional stores.
On the other hand, Lightspeed got a lot of funding and I know they are working very hard to improve their eCommerce software to compete with Shopify and the competition.
Shopify is clearly the leader in e-commerce platform. Easy and affordable, it is also a Canadian company that is now on the stock market and has a very large community of developers who make applications.
They launched a few years ago the Shopify POS platform, the cash register software that synchronizes with the e-commerce platform.
As Shopify is primarily an e-commerce platform, everything is oriented towards e-commerce. It’s a good option, if you first started selling online and then decided to open a point of sale with street gates, or if you sell at fairs.
If you have inventory management software, or other cash register software, or any inventory management software at all, or an inventory management on Excel or paper; You still have a solution.
I always recommend to merchants who ask me which application allows easy and direct management of the inventory.
As everyone has at least a basic knowledge of Excel, it is only natural to use this format. Do you know Google Spreadsheet? This is a kind of Excel, made by Google and it’s free.
First, try to find an application or a plugin that allows you to link a Spreadsheet file to your e-commerce platform. For Shopify, for example, there is StockSync.
How does it works ? It is ultra simple. You install the app that will feed the Google Spreadsheet sheet all your products with the SKU, price and inventory. The changes you make on the sheet will be synchronized to your online trading platform in real time, or almost.
At the end of each day, or every Friday, for example, you will only have to report your sales and adjust the inventory on the sheet. You could even make automated Excel formulas!
See ? It’s not so difficult to manage inventory online. Good sales !