Unless you run a business selling goods of some kind, it is likely that you can’t imagine how hard it is for a merchant to actually keep track of their inventory. You figure – hey, they started with this much, they sold that much, and the difference is how much they should have left on the shelf – right? Well in theory, that’s right – but unfortunately in practice, that’s almost never right. It seems simple conceptually, but managing inventory is actually a daunting task.
Take a winery, for example, that (i) runs two tasting rooms in which they pour samples and also sell for carry out and sell for shipping, (ii) has inventory stored at a direct-to-consumer fulfillment house, and (iii) keeps several pallets of wine at a third-party warehouse for pickups by wholesalers. Plus, the winery may need to hold several cases back from sale altogether to satisfy a future upcoming club shipment.
Let’s say further that the winery has a 2-4 day lag time between when an order is placed and when it ships out. When that is the case, there is always more left on the shelf than is actually available for sale, because there are placed orders waiting to be fulfilled in addition to the wine held back for the club.
Yikes! Beginning to see how complicated this can be? But have no fear – whether the product is wine, beer, nutritional supplements, clothing, sporting gear, dental supplies, car parts, gourmet food, or whatnot, Nexternal makes managing and tracking inventory a breeze for all merchants!
For many years Nexternal’s platform has provided several basic and advanced inventory management features. When an order is placed, inventory is decremented, and if a line item is removed or an order is cancelled, the line items are returned to inventory automatically. Nexternal also effortlessly manages inventory for products made of multiple inventoried items, like gift baskets, or products sold with separate items as “add-ons”. When these items are ordered, the inventory kit or bundle decrements each of the inventoried contents separately, so that when one included item is sold out, the entire bundled item becomes sold out – again, all automatically.
And now Nexternal’s new Enhanced Inventory System makes it even better – it solves four major problems shared by many merchants who are struggling to track and reconcile their inventory:
1. Transactional Records. It allows the merchant to record every single inventory addition and depletion, by type and with notations, and it keeps a complete transaction history for easy reference and reconciling, of who made the inventory change, what the change was, and the reason for the change. No matter what discrepancy may be found on a physical count, the transactional record will help the merchant track it down;
2. Units on Hand vs. Available for Sale. It helps the merchant clearly see how many units they have available for sale, as opposed to what is sitting on the shelf “on-hand”– which may already be sold but not shipped, or may be reserved, for example, for the club;
3. Multiple Inventory Locations. It allows the merchant to maintain separate inventory amounts at separate storefront and other pickup locations (like the two tasting rooms and the third-party wholesale warehouse in my example above), which is critical for proper inventory management; and
4. Temporary Inventory “Reservations”. It allows for countdown inventory reservations when orders are placed. This doesn’t apply to all merchants – but those who need it will instantly recognize its enormous value to them. Consider a craft brewery, for example, that offers limited releases periodically during the year that are in high demand and sell out in a matter of minutes. Businesses selling event tickets for popular events also have the same needs for seat reservations, for example. When placed in the cart, the seats (or the beer) are “reserved” for that purchaser out of inventory for the set time period – if a purchase is not completed in that time period the beer or the seat falls back into inventory and becomes available for a different purchaser. All automatically.
To learn more about how Nexternal’s Enhanced Inventory System works in conjunction with our eCommerce platform to transform your inventory windstorms into a smooth sail… just reach out to your Nexternal Account Manager.