What you'll learn:
- How separating your in-store and online inventory damages your sales potential and leads to customer abandonment
- What the single stock pool approach is and how it helps you maximise your omnichannel presence
- Features and integrations that will bolster your single stock availability for customer fulfilment from any location
When it comes to managing in-store and online operations, many retailers still maintain distinctly separate inventories — one for eCommerce and one for their physical stores.
If you’re taking this approach, it’s almost certainly killing the sales potential of your business. Having an integrated inventory management system that combines your stock across every channel takes your stock availability, customer satisfaction and revenue to a whole new level.
Let’s compare each approach, and the clear benefits of a single stock pool that allow retailers to maximise their stock everywhere they want to be.
The outdated approach: siloed inventories
The majority of retailers manage their stock through one warehouse solution for eCommerce and another for physical stores.
Using this method means often the online site offers a limited selection of the company's total product catalogue. And it’s understandable why many retailers adopt this model — it’s an easy way to confidently control and display the stock that’s available for purchase. There’s no risk of selling the same stock twice and, in theory, it’s a less complicated system.
However, separating your inventory causes two major problems:
- Limited online stock that leads to high customer abandonment
- The use of ‘online-only inventory’ that alienates customers who want to buy or collect in-store
Let's break down exactly how these problems happen.
Limited online stock leads to high customer abandonment
If your online store only includes a partial selection of your available stock, you’re limiting both choice and convenience for shoppers. Most consumers start their buying journey online when they Google a product, and their next step is to use websites to assess products and make their decision.
Your online inventory is a catalyst for both online and in-store sales, so if you’re not showing all stock that’s available and an online consumer doesn’t find what they need, they’re definitely going to bounce from your website without digging further or visiting your store.
Online-only inventory alienates customers and loses you sales
Having siloed warehousing systems and inventory allocation might seem like it keep your stock organised, but it only heightens the chance of stock issues and missed sales. Say a potential customer sees an item they like on your website, and while it’s in stock in your physical store, it’s not on your eCommerce site. Since the customer only sees the ‘out of stock’ notice, they’ll simply go elsewhere.
Without the cross-channel stock availability and option to shop in-store, you’ve lost a sale you had the product to make.
So what’s the solution? How do you go from losing to securing this sale and others?
Adopting a single stock pool and omnichannel inventory approach
There is a much more versatile and effective omnichannel approach we’re seeing leading retailers embrace. It’s designed to maximise sales potential across the entire business and provide the best experience and convenience for customers. And it’s called a single stock pool.
How a single stock pool works and maximises your sales potential
Utilising your entire product range and inventory availability across every channel you’re on (physical stores, eCommerce site, marketplaces etc) means you’re giving customers the chance to see exactly what’s available and choose how they’d like to purchase an item. That choice and convenience is definitely attractive to customers.
And where do those customers come from? Google searches. The more products you have listed in your online store, the more visibility in search results and the more people visit your website and can access a larger stock range that sells out less often. It’s a win-win all-around.
Creating a single stock pool also gives you the chance to use powerful omnichannel systems to implement Live Stock in Store and Click & Collect services which convert online customers into physical store visits and sales. And with real-time visibility over all your inventory and locations, you can offer fast, flexible home delivery by orders from nearby stores instead of distant, central warehouses. Add to that smart integrations like Shippit to efficiently manage your courier arrangements and provide real-time tracking to customers and you’ve got the makings of a best-in-category shopping experience.
Building a single stock pool gives you an advantage, but you need the right support first
Adopting a single stock pool omnichannel model gives bricks and mortar stores an advantage over online-only retailers, with a level of flexibility and convenience that digital stores can’t match.
Sounds like a simple shift, right? Absolutely. But without a properly equipped inventory system, it can be a difficult task to undertake.
Once you create a single stock pool, you’ll need to build out product imagery and SEO data for your eCommerce store, ensure you can see real-time inventory information easily and have an inventory management system that supports integrated systems to avoid selling the same stock twice.
Using the right system means you can maximise your business’s full potential across every channel. Retail Express is made with second-to-none inventory management and eCommerce features that make single stock pooling and omnichannel practices easy for retailers. And an onboarding and staff training experience that makes getting started even easier. Book a live demo with one of our retail experts today to see how you can maximise your sales online and in-store.