Next-level inventory management part 3 – three ways in which the flexibility of virtual inventory benefits omnichannel retailers

Author:  Emma Dijkstra, Expert Lead Order Management, Emakina.NL. 

The days when being omnichannel meant that a retailer had both a webshop and a number of physical stores, with a single warehouse for both, are gone. Nowadays, retailers have any number of sales channels (webshop, marketplaces, apps, etc) and any number of inventory locations (multiple warehouses, stores and dark stores, drop shipping partners, etc). 

This leads to new challenges in managing inventory across all of these channels and locations. Keeping track of physical inventory in each location is great, but it is not enough to give retailers the flexibility they need. 

This is where virtual inventory comes in: this gives retailers new ways to aggregate and segment their stock. It lets them create virtual pools of inventory—defined by inventory rules, buffers and exclusions—and control which inventory pool is used for what purpose, and prioritize inventory by sales channel. 

These pools can be adapted dynamically to changing circumstances – here are three ways in which this is beneficial: 

  • When demand on one channel suddenly increases, you can change what is available to sell in that channel – in this way you can prevent one channel selling out and leaving the others with none. 
  • At the same time, for products that are nearing the end of their lifecycle, you can push all stock to the channel that is most likely to sell them. 
  • You are able to quickly adapt to unexpected changes – for example, you probably want to immediately add store inventory to online stock when there is a lockdown.

Would you like to find out what this means for your business? Contact Emma Dijkstra, Expert Lead Order Management at Emakina.NL. 

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