Harness Inventory to Improve Cash Flow: 5 Steps All E-Commerce Retailers Should Consider

Online retailers will be well aware by now that the current e-commerce climate is imbalanced at best – with ongoing supply chain issues, shortages in workers and raw materials, a cost-of-living crisis and inflation at an all time high. In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to have an all-knowing eye on what’s coming into your business, and what’s going out.

Amazingly, many retailers hold up to 80 percent of their cash in their inventory. To harness your inventory for optimal cash flow and therefore position yourself among the most resilient of today’s retailers, take a look at our expert advice below. Having full control of your stock levels in this unpredictable climate will not only boost your cash flow and protect profits, it might just save your business.

For full stock visibility, use intelligent inventory software

To ensure your inventory is working for you and not against you, you’ll need full visibility of your entire stock, for every channel. With access to this data, you’ll know exactly which of your most popular items need to be replenished and when, which are slow-moving, and which could benefit from being discounted or promoted. In addition, by knowing exactly how much money is attached to certain items, you can make more informed purchasing decisions, guaranteed to keep cash flow moving and boost those profit margins.

Use historic sales data from each channel to invest in your best-sellers

As a retailer, it’s likely you’ll know what your best-sellers are, but what about for each of your sales channels, and for different time periods such as spring, summer or the Christmas holidays? By using varied time periods of historic sales data, you can identify your hottest sellers on a granular scale – even down to variants such as colour, style and size – and invest cash into the items you know will pay off.

Release cash in slow-movers and out-of-season stock

When times are tight, resilient retailers unlock more cash, and sooner, than other retailers – and nothing is more of a cash trapper than an excess of unsold stock.

Just as you can use data to inform you of your most popular items, you can also get laser-focused on the dud items that are clogging up your warehouse and blocking your valuable cash. Inventory Planner has over 200 custom reporting metrics, allowing you to target slow-moving items, old items or stock that’s gone out of season and push that stock for sale via discounts or promotions.

Accurately forecast demand

To avoid the afore-mentioned excess stock, you’ll need a means for accurate sales forecasting; but predicting demand during these quick-moving times involves multiple factors – making manual calculations almost impossible. It would be a misuse of your time to spend hours in spreadsheets, manually poring over data in order to predict future demand.

Using an automatic sales forecasting tool such as Inventory Planner will save time and increase accuracy, as it uses your historic data across multiple channels, as well as market suges, promotional periods and seasonality to offer accurate and reliable sales predictions. To improve accuracy at times when sales peaks are unpredictable, you can also use custom time periods to inform your decisions.

Assess supplier performance and switch up if necessary

Less-than-ideal supplier performances can cause delays, complicates deliveries and cost retailers more than an arm and leg. Some supply chain issues are unavoidable – everyone is feeling the current supply chain crisis – however having the right data allows retailers to assess supplier performance. Look for delays, extended lead times and increased costs with your current suppliers and don’t be afraid to switch up if you find an alternative.

To see for yourself the impact Inventory Planner could have on your business, try a free 14 day trial today.