Inventory Management

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 4: Taste

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 4: Taste

Ever walk out of a business with a good taste in your mouth, even if it wasn’t a restaurant? For food and drink-based businesses, the importance of taste is obvious. For retailers, not so much…

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 3: Smell

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 3: Smell

… the brick-and-mortar experience boils down to the five senses. Those are the only means your customers have to experience your business, so making sure each sense is catered to is vital…


Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 2: Touch

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 2: Touch

When selling products, there are certain events that raise the likelihood a customer will buy a product. A customer sees the inventory, that’s step one. They walk over to it and stop to look, step two. But once a customer actually touches the item, the likelihood of them making the purchase increases dramatically…

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 1: Sight

Retail and the 5 Senses, Part 1: Sight

The best experiences in life are sensory. A hot chocolate on a cold day, a barefoot walk on a sandy beach, the clean smell after it rains— all of them are playing to the five senses. So why shouldn’t the brick-and-mortar retail shopping experience?…

5 Tips for Mastering Your Wholesale

5 Tips for Mastering Your Wholesale

Retail isn’t really about prices, it’s about profits. Adjusting prices is definitely one way to address profits, but the most successful merchants also ask, “what about the wholesale cost of my incoming inventory?”…

The Magic of Loss Leaders

The Magic of Loss Leaders

Ever wonder how electronics stores on Black Friday make money selling a TV for $50 less than what they paid for it? Here’s a hint: They don’t—not on the TV, anyway…

"Choice Paralysis" and You: Managing Inventory Variety

"Choice Paralysis" and You: Managing Inventory Variety

In the world of retail, conventional wisdom has always said “more is better”, especially when it comes to choices. Offering a customer the ability to choose from more and more products is the right way to grow— isn’t it?…

Let There Be Light: 5 Rules for Better Lighting

Let There Be Light: 5 Rules for Better Lighting

You’d be amazed at the difference lights can make. The right lighting can make a space feel inviting and warm. The wrong lighting can make it feel dingy and drab, or even downright foreboding!…

Why Managing Your Inventory Can Be Romantic

Why Managing Your Inventory Can Be Romantic

Ok, hear me out. I know counting shelves upon shelves of items isn’t super romantic. Even over here at Shopventory, as much as we love good inventory management, we don’t think it makes the world go round. But we do know that less time and money wrapped up in inventory means more time and money for other things ...

3 Ways Your Inventory Is Trying to Get Your Attention

3 Ways Your Inventory Is Trying to Get Your Attention

We all get distracted sometimes. It’s natural, especially in the hustle and bustle of retail. Letting the occasional distraction turn into a pattern is where problems start to arise. Fortunately, you can use your inventory as a barometer for your business and take concrete steps to make sure the occasional distraction doesn’t end up sinking the ship...

The Psychologist's 3 Tips for Pricing

The Psychologist's 3 Tips for Pricing

There is no part of inventory management that's more subject to mind games than pricing.  The way you set your prices dictates a lot about the consumer’s behavior— whether they realize it or not...

See (and Plan for) the Future with Inventory Management

See (and Plan for) the Future with Inventory Management

Ever wonder how we get weather forecasts? Or how people actually earn a living playing fantasy sports? It’s not magic, it’s math...

The Art of Inventory Optimization, Part 3: Life Optimized

The Art of Inventory Optimization, Part 3: Life Optimized

Any parent will tell you that doing a little bit of work as you go is a far better approach than letting things pile up...

The Art of Inventory Optimization, Part 2: Stock Levels

The Art of Inventory Optimization, Part 2: Stock Levels

“We’re out of stock.” Four words every customer hates to hear. And if customers hate to hear them, retailers downright loathe saying them. It means a lost sale and a disappointed customer, or (as your profit report will tell you) money lost now and money lost later...

The Art of Inventory Optimization, Part 1: A/B Testing

The Art of Inventory Optimization, Part 1: A/B Testing

Inventory optimization can be challenging at times. Even seasoned Purchasing Managers can struggle with deciding what products to order, but there’s a proven tactic that’s helping everyone from software designers to laundry detergent manufacturers. 

Effect of Inventory Management Technology on Employee Theft

We recently read a report from Software Advice, a company that researches and reviews inventory management software, who conducted a survey of nearly 400 employees to better understand how these systems can catch thieves that target any point in the supply chain. The results of the report were very interesting:

  • The report found that 22% of employees at companies without inventory management software openly admitted to stealing products (see chart below). This should be unnerving for manufactures and distributors, as well as retailers, since the inventory shrinkage that stems from this theft will affect profit margins for companies at any point in the supply chain. Software
  • The report also found that 24% of all companies with large quantity of goods in stock still do not use inventory management software, despite the fact that inventory theft by employees accounts for 44% of all inventory shrinkage.

  • Fifteen percent of employees whose stores use inventory management software admit to stealing from their store, versus 22 percent of employees whose stores use other methods.
  • Only 37 percent of small “mom and pop” stores are using inventory management software, versus 53 percent of local and regional retail chains and 85 percent of national retail chains surveyed.
  • Only a portion of “mom and pop” stores and regional chains are leveraging inventory management software (37% and 53% respectively), according to the report. Based on this fact it is apparent many businesses are leaving themselves exposed to the threat of employee theft – a problem that costs businesses in the United States more than $15 billion annually.
  • Using inventory management software is beneficial, as it allows companies to keep track of their inventory and avoid the time consuming process of manual data entry. While these systems won’t necessarily stop employee theft entirely, they give companies a resource to conduct accurate and consistent cycle counts to notice when there is an anomaly that could be attributed to theft.

The inventory management researcher at Software Advice, Forrest Burnson, who conducted the study, said this issue of employee theft needs immediate attention:

“Whether you’re a small, medium or large business – it is very important to protect your inventory. Since at least 60% of respondents to our survey admitted that employee theft was a problem of some degree, no matter the company size, business owners need to be swift and direct in addressing this matter. Using software is a great way to better secure your business and ensure your profit margins do not decrease.”

To read the full report, click here.

If you have comments or would like to obtain access to any of the charts above, please contact forrest@softwareadvice.com.

Whistle While You Work: Inventory Playlist (4th Edition)

It's time for another sunny inventory playlist to help you through inventory counts! Our Whistle While You Work series is a monthly playlist series where we share some new terrific tunes at the end of each month—all intended to putting a spring in your step while you count, and count, and count.

Workplace music can relieve stress, inspire creative problem solving and boost productivity. This month, we're dedicating our playlist to all of you early-to-rise business owners who are always up before the sun is.

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK1ST EDITION (1)

1. "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles

2. "Sun Giant" by Fleet Foxes

3. "Morning Train" by Sheena Easton

3.  "Sunny Afternoon" by The Kinks

4. "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" by Wham!

5. "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals

6. "I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash

7. "Island in the Sun" by Weezer

8. "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra

9.  "You are the Sunshine of my Life" by Stevie Wonder

10. "Sunday Morning" by No Doubt

What's on your iPod this week? Let us know in the comments!

 

Inventory Solutions for Multiple Locations

Managing inventory is a beast for one shop, but it becomes a whole different animal when you add multiple locations. This isn't necessarily defined by just having more than one brick and mortar store—it's any situation where you're selling from multiple points and housing inventory in multiple places. Even an online shop that sells at various farmers markets could benefit from multiple location solutions. At Shopventory, we've been working on our multiple locations feature for the last few weeks. Service for up to three locations is now available in our Premium plan, with the option to add more locations as needed. It includes all the inventory management tools available with our other great plans, but also features unlimited order volume, detailed sales reports by location, inventory reporting by location and profit margin reporting by location too. This allows small business owners to see all that important data and trends for each location, as well as move your inventory between locations as needed to stock your stores more efficiently.

multi location

 

 

It was our intention to ease some of the challenges that come with managing multiple locations. We want you to be able to monitor your inventory counts in when you can't be in two places at once, communicate better with your employees and run all of your businesses like the awesome boss you are.

We steal our best ideas from you, our customers, so please let us know what you think of this new Shopventory multiple locations plan—we wanna know the the great, the good and the could-be-better so that we can keep helping you run the business you love.

4 Benefits of Cycle Counting

If your inventory is growing as your business grows, you know that one of those growing pains is the dreaded inventory day. When you've got more things to count, so how do you keep the most accurate counts without having to close down the shop for a full inventory day? The solution might be cycle counting, a rolling system that might make your marathon inventory days obsolete. Cycle counting is a process where you count category by category vs. doing one big full-inventory count. Large retailers do this, well, quite literally all the time. That's the thing with cycle counts—it's an always-running process. Even though it's constant, it's also broken down into smaller bites of inventory that are much more digestible for many business owners than the whole shebang.

If you're interested in switching to cycle counts, start by identifying places in the week where you and your employees  might have time for inventory counts. Maybe it's on a slow morning and right after you close up on Tuesdays—whatever works for you. Then create your inventory cycle. Depending on your stock, your  full cycle might be only a couple of weeks long or it could be as long as thirteen weeks.  Spread your categories evenly over your cycle—each category should be counted at least once in that cycle. When you get to the end, just start the cycle again!

CYCLE COUNTS

What are the benefits to cycle counting?

1. It allows you to focus and confidently make ordering decisions. Counting more frequently will  open the door to a more accurate ordering system. You can focus on just one area of your shop, so use that dedicated time to not only count up, but make decisions about that subset of your business. 

2. It helps avoid discrepancies. Your counts will be more frequent, so it'll help you better identify  loss patterns and even have a more precise idea of when a theft occurred.

3. It gives you an excuse to clean up. When you're rifling through products more often, it provides a perfect opportunity to dust things off and keep your displays sharp.

4. It stops you from draining resources. Cycle counts can be done during down-time and don't necessitate closing or disrupting regular business. You know that one morning every week where you never see a living soul in the shop between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.? Rather than spending an extra two hours  on Facebook, count up everything in your dry goods section and check that off the inventory list for the week.

How have you set up your cycle counting system? Let us know in the comments!