Posted on 6 March, 2019 | 3 mins
There’s a hidden productivity killer in retail—one that saps more than 90 hours a month from time-poor owners. Fortunately, inventory management experts TradeGecko are here to tell us all about it.
Running a retail business requires balance. One day, you’re fulfilling orders and making sure your products get shipped on time. But at the same time, you’re thinking about marketing, your cash flow, employee salaries, the competition and customer loyalty.
The complexity can get overwhelming. Fast.
Regulations, economic uncertainty and new approval layers add on to your already unending list of admin tasks. Many business owners in your shoes rely on countless spreadsheets and manually manage complex systems just to keep the business running.
These businesses consume too much time and fail to achieve lasting growth.
No matter how meticulous you are, costly mistakes are bound to happen. Doubt takes over. You start having second thoughts about whether or not starting the business was a good idea or not.
Trust us… it’s a great idea.
… You’re simply experiencing the growing pains of a business.
Typically, when a business starts to grow, a small business owner’s attention goes straight to marketing to increase sales volumes and channels. It makes sense to do so. And we can’t blame you… brand marketing is fun!
For others, potentially just like you, your attention is split several ways.
Operations are then placed to the backburner, sometimes even handed off to a lead salesperson or an eager intern. Our most recent survey shows this same finding: That three of the biggest barriers to your business growth include insufficient time, operational issues and inventory management.
Businesses under $1 million spend over 90 HOURS on inventory management, product sourcing, and managing purchase and sales orders every month.
This can be a hidden killer at this stage of your business. Since customers technically never see it, most business owners ignore inventory management until it’s eating a hole in their bottom line–or worse.
When stubborn inventory management problems finally manifest themselves as a customer experience nightmare—think broken shipping and fulfilment promises—it may be difficult to gain the trust of customers again.
Less manual work, more time for you
There are backend operation solutions out there to make your day-to-day operations seem less like a chore. These systems are integrated, automated and primed to enable your business growth rather than hinder it.
As a retail business, it’s no secret that your inventory is your lifeline.
- But do you have enough stock to meet demand?
- Is there too much resulting in overstock and sharp discounts?
- Will overstock eat into your margins?
- Is your inventory in the right location to ensure adequate handling of orders and POS?
- Is inventory synced in real time to ensure you don't overcommit and negatively impact the customer experience?
It’s important to take the time to really think through these questions. Each one could have hours of pain and frustration buried in the wrong answer.
While it is possible to manage a lot of this on spreadsheets, they’re only effective to a point.
Once your business grows beyond a single sales channel, experiences high order volumes or starts to push beyond a few hundred SKUs, you'll be competing in an endless marathon where nobody wins.
Why invest in manual transactions, when you can focus your efforts on what you love: building your brand and engaging with your customers.
There are affordable solutions out there that can serve as the single source of truth for your growing retail business.
The best operational solutions not only provide integrations with accounting systems and sales channels, but also provide access to a suite of apps, reports, and forecasts.
Demand forecasts can ensure that you’re saving time and have the information and tools to grow your brand and to delight your customers.
Go ahead, do some research. Each solution will have different benefits depending on the type of business you operate.
But when you find the right one, your investment will pay dividends for years to come.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a solution that will help you make smart decisions on-the-fly and future-proof your business against your biggest concerns.
If you’re not sure how to start, we can help. Start a 14-day free trial of TradeGecko today!