Over the past few years, the consumer has changed. According to Deloitte, consumers today are less loyal, perhaps as a response to economic pressure and increasingly competitive options. Today’s consumer prefers an experience to products. They frequent brick-and-mortar locations less often, preferring the ease and flexibility of online or mobile shopping. They have high demands and will head to the competition if you can’t deliver.
While the consumer is quickly evolving, business owners are left with a fundamental question: how do you attract, retain, and sell to these new consumers? One foundational method that hasn’t changed is to give customers the products and services they want. That sounds easy, but customer satisfaction, engagement, and retention create vast complexities for businesses today.
One way to approach this age-old question is to establish a secure, automated inventory management system for your brick-and-mortar or online store. As competition increases and consumers demand more, businesses should continue to strive to meet their customers’ wishes, knowing the what, when, and how of customer satisfaction. By incorporating inventory management into your existing point of sale (POS) system, you can optimize your inventory practices, enabling you to better meet customer expectations.
Let’s look at why inventory management is essential to your POS system.
What is inventory management?
Often, people link inventory management to retail operations and retail operations alone. Indeed, retail stores rely heavily on inventory management systems; however, other businesses do (or should) as well.
An inventory management system is software that oversees the monitoring and reporting of available products or services for sale. The system helps business owners know what inventory is currently available at any moment. Inventory management systems keep you "in the know” in real-time.
Inventory management systems identify every product or service available for sale, while making note of the type of product, the description, the quantity, and any other identifying features, such as barcodes. Inventory management systems can also analyze data, generate reports, and identify top sellers, helping you stay prepared and ahead of the game. By incorporating these systems into your POS, you create a more comprehensive hub for your business, keeping all aspects of customer satisfaction and company growth in one place.
Benefits of an inventory management system.
Without an inventory management system, you’re left to your own devices. Keeping tabs on your stock or your customer preferences is challenging to do by hand.
An inventory management system can improve your cash flow, reduce overhead (such as storage costs for inventory), reduce employee costs, give you better organization, enhance transparency, and improve your relationships with your vendors. Additionally, with better reporting and forecasting abilities, you can focus on your customers’ needs and interests, allowing you to become a best-in-brand merchant.
Let’s look at the benefits in more depth.
No excess inventory.
When you don’t keep consistent tabs on your inventory, you could easily order more than you need. Excess inventory sitting on your storeroom shelves is money left on the table. Additionally, you have to pay to put that extra inventory somewhere! Why store items you don’t need (or won’t sell)?
By implementing an inventory management system into your POS, you can protect yourself from excess inventory and large storage invoices. With an inventory management system, you’ll be able to know what products sell, what time of year you may need to boost your inventory (like during the holidays), and what items should be discontinued. By being more targeted in your inventory management, you can stock your shelves more efficiently, so to speak, by only ordering what you need.
Ordering the right amount of inventory not only saves you money in storage costs and product waste, it also reduces the amount of insurance needed as well as the taxes owed on that inventory. Additionally, you reduce the amount of risk you may face by having less inventory on-premises, while freeing up that money for other business-building goals.
Having the right inventory in stock will increase your customers’ satisfaction with your business, encouraging them to buy again. We’ve all experienced that disappointing feeling when you find just the item you want to purchase, only to find out the store is out of your size or doesn’t have the right model in stock.
An inventory management system can help you nail down what products you need and when you need them, eliminating haphazard guesswork. Competition is fierce enough these days. You don’t want to lose a customer to a competitor because your inventory wasn’t up to date. Happy customers, happy business owners.
Incorporating an inventory management system into your POS.
To achieve optimal business practices, you should integrate an inventory management system into your existing POS. Doing so can increase your profits and decrease your administrative headaches.
By incorporating an inventory management system into your POS, you can get alerts and reports on when to restock your inventory. Each time a customer purchases an item, your POS system will update your inventory count in real-time. You’ll always know where you stand with your products.
You can also gain additional insights into your customers’ behaviors. Through reporting and analytics, you can objectively identify which products your customers love and which are less desirable. Purchase the inventory your customers demand and discount and sell old stock that’s currently taking up space. By adjusting your inventory purchases based on consumer needs, you can increase customer satisfaction and retention, as well as your profits.
Speaking of profit, through centralized, automated control of your inventory, as well as access to reports and analytics, you can manage your business to higher profitability. Doing so also allows you to scale your business based on objective consumer insights. You can manage inventory across different brick-and-mortar locations or through your online store. Quite simply, you can focus on growing your business with better control of your inventory management.
Partner with an expert to grow your business.
The proper inventory tools can increase both your efficiency and your profits while reducing or even eliminating frustration and administrative burdens. By partnering with an expert in inventory management, you can seamlessly integrate your management system into your upgraded point of sale system, making your inventory work harder (and smarter) for you. By providing you with seamless integration and low fees, we’ll help you tailor your POS system to your specific business, giving you peace of mind. Join the hundreds of thousands of satisfied merchants who trust NAB to process more than $45 million in transactions. To set up a consultation, contact us here or give us a call at 877.840.1952.