This guest blog is bought to us by Asha Hudson from Made By Hudson.
In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, effective inventory management is a critical aspect that can make or break your online business. Being able to manage your stock means you can meet customer demand, reduce carrying costs, and make sure your supply chain runs smoothly. In this blog post, we explore the key principles and best practices for e-commerce inventory management to help your e-commerce business succeed.
Understand your inventory
Before diving into inventory management, it’s essential to gain a clear understanding of your inventory. Categorise your products based on demand, profitability, and turnover rate. Analyse historical sales data to identify seasonal trends and popular products. This analysis will enable you to make informed decisions on stocking levels and plan for peak demand periods.
Dropshipping allows business owners to start selling products without the need for a physical inventory. When a customer places an order, you, the business owner, fulfil it directly from the manufacturer or supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer. It is important to remember that you have limited control over the customer experience. If a customer receives a broken or incorrect product, they will look to you for answers, even though you didn’t handle the inventory.
First in, first out (FIFO)
FIFO means that the first products to arrive in your inventory are the first ones to be sent out – making it favourable to retailers selling goods with expiration dates or perishable items. It ensures that older inventory is sold first, reducing the risk of products expiring or becoming obsolete. It is important to note that if prices fluctuate often, it can lead to inflated profits due to differences between the cost of goods received and the cost of goods sold.
Adopt an inventory management system
To streamline your inventory processes and reduce human error, consider investing in a robust inventory management system. These systems offer real-time tracking of inventory levels, automated order processing, and analytics to support data-driven decisions. Choose a system that integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform and provides insights into sales, inventory turnover, and overall performance.
Implement the ABC analysis
The ABC analysis is a valuable inventory management technique that classifies products into three categories based on their contribution to revenue. Class A products represent high-value, low-frequency items. Class B products fall in the moderate category, while Class C products are low-value, high-frequency items. By understanding these classifications, you can prioritise inventory replenishment and allocate resources.
Set reorder points and safety stock
Determine the minimum stock level (reorder point) at which you need to replenish a product to avoid stock outs. Additionally, maintain a safety limit to account for unexpected fluctuations in demand or supplier delays. Calculating reorder points and safety stock levels helps maintain the balance between inventory availability and carrying costs.
Embrace demand forecasting
Accurate demand forecasting is indispensable for inventory management. Analyse historical data, market trends, and customer behaviour to predict future demand. By adopting demand forecasting techniques, you can ensure that you have the right products in stock when customers are ready to make a purchase, preventing stockouts and ensuring inventory turnover.
Employ just-in-time (JIT) inventory
JIT inventory management is a strategy that focuses on receiving goods only as they are needed, reducing excess inventory and storage costs. This method can be effective in minimising carrying costs and improving cash flow, but it requires strong supplier relationships and efficient logistics to avoid running out of stock.
Monitor inventory performance metrics
Constantly track key inventory performance metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your inventory management strategy. Key metrics include inventory turnover rate, days of inventory on hand, stock out rate, and carrying cost percentage. These metrics provide valuable insights and help you identify areas for improvement.
Efficient e-commerce inventory management is vital for sustaining a successful online business. By understanding your inventory, adopting the right tools and techniques, and continuously monitoring performance, you can optimise inventory levels, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. Implementing these best practices will not only streamline your operations but also lay the foundation for long-term growth and profitability in the competitive world of e-commerce.
We believe that managing stock is a key component of managing cashflow for an e-commerce business. We always advocate and recommend a well set-up system to help you manage your stock. A fully integrated stock management system to complement your beautifully designed and functional website (like the ones Asha creates) is a match made in heaven!
Book a discovery call with Asha Hudson from Made By Hudson.
Follow Made by Hudson on Instagram for more helpful tips.
This guest blog is bought to us by Meredith Nowlan from The Regional OBM.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level and know that you need a hand to do it? Perhaps you’ve just signed up with a business coach or a virtual CFO and they’ve given you an action list that’s as overwhelming as it is invigorating. Well, I’ve got some great news for you. I’m going to dive into the wonderful world of Online Business Managers (OBMs) and how having one can positively impact your business. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s explore how an OBM can work wonders for your business.
Streamlined Operations and Processes
Picture this: you’re running your business and it’s gaining momentum. It’s freaking amazing, but sometimes the day-to-day operations can get a little stressful/time-consuming/all-encompassing (insert your own experience here!).
Enter the OBM, your wing woman in business. These magical beings specialise in optimising and streamlining your business operations and processes. From creating efficient workflows to implementing systems that make your life easier, an OBM will have your business running like a well-oiled machine.
Strategic Planning and Goal Setting
Remember the coach or new CFO I mentioned earlier? They’ve clued into the fact that you’ve got big dreams and even bigger goals. Sometimes, it can be challenging to turn those dreams into reality, even with the awesome assistance they’re giving you. That’s where an OBM comes in. Share your goals with her and every plan that she makes will help you navigate towards the desired end result. Your regular catch up’s will turn into brainstorming sessions on the best way forward – and she’ll love it just as much as you do.
Delegating and Managing Teams
As a small business owner, you wear many hats. And there are days where trying to juggle all the tasks can leave you feeling like a one-person circus act. So don’t let fear hold you back! An OBM is here to protect your sanity. They’re masters at delegating and managing teams. They’ll help you build a dream team of talented individuals and ensure everyone has the tools they need to work seamlessly. This particular OBM is not afraid to employ tech stacks where necessary – automagic is just a few key strokes away! With an OBM on your side, you can focus on what you love and let them handle the rest.
My tip – a project management system such as Trello, ClickUp and Asana can really make an impact on getting started with the first 3 topics!
Enhanced Customer Experience and Satisfaction
Having a kickass customer journey and customer service can be the difference between you and your competition. Happy customers mean repeat business and positive word-of-mouth, and that’s pure gold. This process should be a well-oil machine that cranks every single time – no matter which team member picks up the order or how many after-school activities you are actively ubering this week. An OBM can work with you to implement customer-centric strategies and processes that will leave your customers smiling from ear to ear.
Dubsado is the client relationship management system I utilise inside my own business and recommend most to my clients!
Time and Stress Management
I get it. Running a business can feel like a never-ending rollercoaster ride, especially when you throw in family and community responsibilities (or just trying to get to the pub for dinner on Friday night to remind friends you still live). It’s exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting. An OBM is like your personal time and stress management guru. They’ll help you reclaim your precious time and alleviate stress by handling operational tasks. So take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy a better work-life balance. You deserve it!
When an OBM is not for you
If you aren’t ready to implement change, hand over partial control of the reins or really don’t want suggestions on how to improve your systems, communication and automations… then what I’d suggest is looking into a Virtual Assistant (VA). VA’s are more than happy to follow a set checklist to help you manage the day-to-day. Whilst many of them are happy to think outside the box, they understand that it’s not what they’re here for and will gladly follow your lead. There’s nothing wrong with being at this stage – so long as you aren’t sitting stagnant out of fear of what could come next!
How to start with an OBM
If you are wondering how to start with an OBM, the first step is booking a discovery call! In this first session, we’ll chat about what’s going well in your business and where you are struggling with keeping up, maintaining control and what systems need a good tightening. Understanding what systems and software you’ve in place already gives me a great idea of where you need to head next to achieve the vision you have for your business.
An OBM is a game-changer, offering streamlined operations, strategic planning, team management, automation wizardry, enhanced customer experiences, and stress relief. So why wait? Embrace the benefits bringing on OBM onboard will bring – you won’t look back!
Meredith Nowlan is a Systems Strategist and Online Business Manager with extensive experience in the logistics, mining and transport industries. She’s worked in almost every role an office could have and considers herself the ultimate wing woman in the business world. From kickstarting your Dubsado setup to creating streamlined systems and automations across various apps, Meredith has your back when it comes to sprinkling auto-magic over your business. Based in FNQ, Meredith works remotely with business owners from all around Australia (some from their caravans!) to ensure their businesses run like a well-oiled, efficient machine that frees up your time and skyrockets your success.
Book a discovery call with Meredith Nowlan from The Regional OBM, or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Follow The Regional OBM on Instagram and Facebook for more helpful tips.
This is a guest blog bought to us by Laura Higgins, the Creative Director at The Inspired Hive.
Bamboozled by the mere idea of a marketing strategy? What even is that and why do you need one for your business?
Truth is, once you’ve got a good ‘un, you’ll wonder what took you so long to sort that sensational marketing strategy and activate it as a kickass plan.
A marketing strategy is your road map. Your destination? Business success. Like any map worth its salt, it shows you:
- Where you are and where you’re headed
So you can position your business and set cracking good goals.
- How to get there
So you can focus and refine your messages to find and appeal to your ideal audience.
A gosh-wow marketing strategy helps get your business vision out of your head or off the page. It gives it a super strong pulse, a serious pair of legs, loads of momentum and heaps of endurance.
In short, a sensational strategy gives your marketing direction, structure and style. And this dear reader kills overwhelm and anxiety stone dead.
A spot-on marketing strategy kills overwhelm and anxiety stone dead
Most clients coming to me for marketing mentoring or strategy-making are a little (or a lot) dazed and confused. They’ve had it with jumping on random marketing activities to try to get quick wins. They’ve tried to follow the latest hot trend and ended up with a hot mess. They’re sick of flops and feel defeated.
They’re desperate to make things work, and they do! We start with a solid strategy to get clear on:
- What they want to achieve
- Who they want to sell to
Then, based on their strategy, we plan and create content (aka all the stuff on social media and everywhere else) that talks to their ideal customers in lively, engaging, authentic ways.
Because as accomplished business strategist Brian Tracy (more on him in a minute) says,
‘Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!
The result of strategising and planning? You get to swap overwhelm and angst for showing up in style in places your once and future customers can find you.
Four foundations of a great marketing strategy
Bryan Tracy’s best-selling book Eat That Frog sets out the following four foundations for building a solid marketing strategy.
Specialisation – what’s your secret sauce?
You can’t be everything to everyone. How can you offer a specialised service or product that packs a punch like no other? Put simply, who are your customers? What tailored, transformative service or product can you offer them?
Sparkling and super-talented photographer Fiona Sexton has a health background and works with allied health professionals to capture the human body and movement in exquisite images that convey health, movement and mindfulness.
Visit Fiona’s site
Differential – how can you be better?
Or, as I like to say, how can you go the extra mile for your customers? Can you offer short time frames or give your time generously? Can you support business humans who might otherwise struggle to access your levels of expertise and experience?
Marvellous Mary Cameron, aka The Wrinkly Writer, invests oodles of time and energy in creating faff-free, quirky copy for small businesses with hearts and smarts.
Visit Mary’s site
Segmentation – different strokes for different folks
Maybe your product or service meets the needs of very different sets of customers. That’s completely OK, as long as you understand each group’s beliefs, goals, and drivers.
I work with
- CEOs of Adult Community Education providers to develop marketing strategies that inform and engage adult learners and give them the confidence to explore and follow new paths
- Small business owners across multiple sectors to show them how to use socials to turn their curious followers into contented customers.
Concentration – where are your people?
Who needs your products and service the most? Your answer will set the tone and target for your messaging (what you say and to whom) and point to the platforms where your people hang out. Just as you can’t be all things to everyone, you can’t be everywhere. Do your research and decide if Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn (or somewhere else entirely) will work best for your business.
Focus your marketing efforts where your ideal customers are likely to find you.
Need help to figure out who, where, and how to do that?
Book a chat with Laura at The Inspired Hive.
You can follow The Inspired Hive on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for more helpful tips.