Today’s retailers face a number of challenges, from managing their stock to fulfilling orders from multiple channels. Here we go through some more of the issues they are facing, and explain how a cloud-based solution, such as NetSuite, could help due to the proven success in this sector.
Managing your inventory
One of the biggest challenges you face as a retailer is successfully managing your stock levels. Not ordering enough stock means that customer orders won’t be fulfilled on time, which may result in them taking their business to a competitor. And of course overstock issues can lead to damage, waste, and markdowns which all contribute to lower revenues and profit margins.
Changing seasonal demands can make it even trickier to calculate how much stock you are going to need, and when.
This becomes even more difficult if you are storing stock in several different locations – you need to be able to locate it easily and accurately order more when required.
The movement of stock
When your stock is sitting in the warehouse, how do you accurately track it so that you know exactly what you have in, what’s due to arrive from suppliers and what’s due to be sent out to the shop floor or to your online customers?
The internal movement of stock can be difficult to manage when it involves items on the shop floor, in the store warehouse, and in the main storage warehouse. And this can become particularly tricky when you are dealing with returned items. Then there’s the issue of transferring stock from one location to another easily, and tracking what has been moved and what is being held.
All of these factors make it extremely difficult to provide true live stock updates that you can rely on to make the right business decisions.
How can NetSuite help?
- Consolidate your inventory – NetSuite allows you to consolidate your inventory systems into a single, integrated warehouse inventory control solution so that all of your data is in one place.
- Advanced features – these include demand-based inventory planning and automatic replenishment, serialised inventory, lot and bin management, bar coding, landed costs, and more – all available across various locations and warehouses as required.
- Demand-based replenishment – ensure you always have the right level of stock on hand to meet fluctuating periods of demand. And keep excess stock to a minimum.
- Real-time alerts – let you know the instant stock levels fall below predetermined thresholds so you can re-order before it becomes a serious issue.
- Serialised inventory – track purchases and sales by assigning a serial number to each item.
- Printable barcodes and item labels – take control of the movement stock. For example, you could set up a process whereby all items moved from the store warehouse to the shop floor are scanned so that you can easily see exactly what stock you have in each location.
- Anywhere, anytime access – since NetSuite is cloud based, you have the ability to track inventory anywhere, anytime. So rather than having to wait until you get back to your computer to check stock levels, you can do it from anywhere provided you have an internet-enabled device.
- Real-time data – Get real-time, detailed visibility into inventory trends, stock on order, and supplier on-time performance.
Fast order fulfillment
Customers these days have high expectations for omnichannel fulfillment – they expect to buy their goods from the channel of their choice, receive their orders in good time, and be able to easily return them if necessary. Great order fulfilment differentiates your business, creating loyal customers who buy more and become brand advocates.
But how do you successfully manage and fulfil orders from multiple channels? Typical problems you may have come across:
- You ran out of stock of a certain item
- Your supplier let you down
- You had delivery problems
- You failed to keep the customer updated on progress
- You didn’t adequately handle your returns
How can NetSuite help?
NetSuite Order Management automates and manages the end-to-end order lifecycle to ensure that you fulfil your commitments.
- Order management features – these include order capture and validation, order release, shipment confirmation, customer communications and settlement. It even supports complex processes such as split shipments, drop ship, personalised products, and more.
- A single source of truth for inventory – spanning warehouses, stores, and drop-ship locations. This means it manages commitments and ‘available-to-promise’ inventory across all channels. And by linking commerce to your supply chain, it ensures that you promise accurately.
- Order lifecycle dashboards – the complete inventory visibility, coupled with a 360° view of customer profiles and orders, allows you to manage orders efficiently throughout the entire order lifecycle. Order lifecycle dashboards with real-time order status and tracking enable you to deliver the perfect order every time.
- Centralise your order management – manage orders from multiple channels – in-store, web, call centre, mobile – all in one place, allowing shoppers to buy anywhere, fulfil anywhere and return anywhere.
- Flexible fulfilment options – NetSuite also lets you utilise a wide variety of flexible fulfilment options, such as direct ship from warehouse. So, for example, even if an item wasn’t available in store, you could easily arrange to have it sent to the customer directly from the warehouse.
Features such as these mean you can process orders faster, have more satisfied customers and lower operational costs.
NetSuite has helped a large number of retailers solve their problems. Some of their new customers include clothing brand Fat Face and contemporary kitchenware brand Joseph Joseph. Take a look at some of relevant case studies here.
Please leave your comments below, and share this article with your colleagues.
We recently wrote a related article explaining how NetSuite can help retailers cope with some of the other challenges they are facing today:
‘How can NetSuite help retailers solve their problems?‘ – which covers:
- Changing shopping habits
- Higher customer expectations
- Streamlining the returns process
Take a look, we hope you find it useful.