Are you gearing up for a new eCommerce business? Or maybe your current online shop has just experienced an embarrassing inventory blunder?
Either way, knowing how to resolve common inventory mistakes, and more importantly how to prevent them from occurring, can protect your small business from losing out on profits, inventory costs, and even customer relationships. So if you need help with your inventory, here are a few pointers you should keep in mind:
Use Inventory Apps to Avoid Inventory Mistakes
Mistakes will happen from time to time, but using inventory management apps to prevent issues from constantly impacting your small business is always a smart move. For instance, Sortly and SOS Inventory are apps that provide multiple features and tools that can streamline your inventory processes and eliminate many inventory mishaps in the first place.
These apps do require a paid subscription, however, so if you are on a really tight budget, you may want to consider using a free inventory app, such as Goods Order Inventory or Stock Control. While these apps are perfect for managing inventory from your iPhone or Android, you may also want to look into inventory management software, to further protect your small business from the high costs of potential inventory issues.
Get Familiar With Techniques to Prevent Mishaps
Preventing some of the most common inventory issues, including data entry mistakes and mis-shipped items, can be simple with the right inventory management tools and apps.
If you want to ensure that future inventory mistakes don’t end up costing your small business, you should also educate yourself around inventory management best practices. Being more familiar with inventory management terms and techniques, such as ABC analysis, safety stock inventory, and dropshipping, can better prepare you to work with software companies and inventory experts, to design inventory management processes that work for your business.
For example, if you choose a dropshipping model, working with a dependable dropshipping supplier can eliminate the risk for customer-facing order mistakes and expensive inventory issues.
Understand FTC Regulations for Order Mistakes
When you send the wrong item to a customer, you may think that the recipient is legally required to send that mis-shipped item back. Per FTC laws, however, consumers are never required to send these items back to a business, and attempting to charge those recipients for your inventory mistakes could result in costly fines for your small business.
This is just one more reason to use the tools and tips above to streamline your inventory operations and prevent order mishaps, so that you can protect your business from potential losses.
Of course, you can request that your customers return unordered merchandise as long as you pay for shipping, so look for ways to lower your shipping costs, so that your small business is not severely impacted by these inventory mistakes and added shipping expenses.
Establish Excellent Customer Service Standards
Even when using the safeguards mentioned above to enhance your inventory management processes, order and inventory mistakes can still happen. When those mistakes affect customers, it can be bad for your business, but if those customers already trust you, they will be more likely to forgive occasional mistakes.
With a commitment to excellent customer service, you can build that trust and satisfaction that will encourage more positive responses to order mishaps, so this should be a primary focus as you improve your business processes. This means being available to answer customer communications and offering clear return policies on your website. You also need to be fully prepared to take on tough customer service issues, if you want to preserve connections and your reputation.
Inventory mistakes do happen, but they don’t have to cost your business a fortune. With the right inventory tools and policies in place, you can quickly resolve inventory mishaps and prevent small mistakes from becoming even bigger issues for your small business. So dedicate some time to implementing these techniques and tools into your inventory management plan, and also make sure your customer service is strong enough to protect your business.
Photo Credit: Rawpixel
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