Demand planning across multiple platforms presents a number of challenges.
Merchants may want to see aggregated information for a number of reasons:
1. Better determine selling trends
2. Place orders with sellers to meet demand across all channels and warehouses
3. Balance stock levels among locations
Inventory Planner helps to bring all sales and product information together so that you as a merchant can see your data in a way that helps to make buying decisions and optimize your purchasing budget and time.
Products with the same SKU, ASIN, or barcode on different platforms will automatically be shown together in Inventory Planner when viewing a combined warehouse.
But what if you’ve used different SKUs to list it on each platform. Is there a way to combine these?
Yes, there is!
Inventory Planner has a feature that allows you to link the same SKUs. Even if you use different SKUs, they can be manually linked with a master SKU to combine your Shopify and Amazon inventory, or data on any other platform with an Inventory Planner integration.
How to set-up ‘linked variants’
To link variants across connections it is necessary to assign a unique ‘master SKU’ for variants in each connection. This can be done in two ways:
1. Manually from the Replenishment screen by clicking Details (the “i” icon):
> Merged Variants > Manual Link Variants
2. Or you can import the master SKUs from a CSV. To do this from Replenishment, click on Import at the bottom of the screen then Master SKUs. You will need to import a CSV for each platform (ie, one import for Amazon, one import for Shopify).
The import will need two columns with column titles: The master SKU you are assigning, and the SKU from your connected platform. As an alternative to your platform’s SKU, you can use the product title, barcode, or ASIN.
Connect your first CSV by clicking on ‘select file’.
Use the dropdown options for each field to make sure the correct information is matched. Use the field ‘Select variants source connection’ to indicate which platform uses the SKUs in your spreadsheet. If you are importing SKU information that corresponds to Shopify, select Shopify in this dropdown.
Finally, click Upload.
You will then see the results of your import including information successfully imported and any errors with details.
Click on ‘Download all errors as CSV’ to see issues that need to be corrected. The number in the ‘Line’ column indicates the row in your spreadsheet where the error occurred.
Repeat the process with additional platforms using SKUs that you need to match. After the second import, the two platform SKUs will be matched using the master SKU you have assigned.
How to merge variants
When a product has an updated style or slightly changes sizes, it may be helpful to merge variants so that the new product has sales history needed to create a forecast.
In the Replenishment screen, for the new variant click on Details (the “i” icon).
Click on the tab for Merged Variants. Then you’ll search for the old variant.
Both variants will continue to show as replenishable. If an item is discontinued (a new variant is replacing an old one), then you should set the old variant as non-replenishable. For the new variant, Inventory Planner will pull in sales history of the old variant to create a forecast.