Ecommerce Inventory Visibility

Eliminating the blind spot that’s hurting your bottom line

Ecommerce inventory management.

It’s the heart of your ecommerce software stack. No inventory means nothing to sell – leaving your finely-turned order, advertising and fulfillment management systems sitting idle.

And inaccurate inventory? That’s even worse; leading to lost sales, frustrated customers, cash tied up in overstocks and, in the case of Amazon and other sales channel partners, severe penalties.

That’s where ecommerce inventory management platforms come in.

But the right inventory management platform can be more than just software managing SKUs sitting on shelves; it should also be a powerful tool to drive profitability, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

Boosting Margins Through Improved Inventory Yield and ROI

Advanced commerce inventory management systems like the Etail platform do more than just track stock; they're powerful tools for improving your bottom line.

By providing detailed insights into sales patterns, turnover rates and product performance, these platforms help you optimize your inventory yield. This means investing in high-performing products and reducing slow-moving stock. Better inventory yield leads to higher margins, as you're not tying up capital in unsold or slow-moving goods. Plus improved ROI comes from being able to pivot quickly, responding to market trends and customer demand with agility. It's not just about inventory tracking. It’s about smart inventory investment, ensuring every dollar spent works harder for your business.

The Ecommerce Inventory Challenge

If you are struggling with inventory issues, you’re not alone.

Surveys, including those by the National Retail Federation and Auburn University, show average inventory accuracy for companies ranges from 65% to 75%. That even includes companies that use up-to-date technology like barcode scanning to manage inventory. That's a staggering figure, highlighting the prevalence of inaccurate stock data.

This inaccuracy stems from several factors:

  • Manual processes: Spreadsheets and manual data entry are error-prone and time-consuming.
  • Multiple sales channels: Managing inventory across different platforms like Amazon, Shopify, and your own website creates a fragmented view of stock levels. It doesn’t help that each channel often has its own taxonomy – its way of categorizing and reporting data. So the data needs to be normalized to a standard format and aggregated before it is used.
  • Multiple fulfillment locations: Ecommerce today is complex and fulfilling orders often relies on multiple partners which may be holding inventory such as 3PLs, channel fulfillment options like Amazon FBA or Walmart WFS, retail locations, drop-ship suppliers, and micro warehouses or dark stores. They may each have their own systems for tracking inventory through their systems, making combining input to create an accurate overall inventory picture a challenge.
  • Merchandising options: A unique SKU may be sold as a single pack, as part of a multi-pack, or as a component of a kit or bundle.  That complicates demand forecasting and replenishment
  • Timing:  Replenishment inventory may be in transit, in the system as a return, or on the receiving dock but not checked in yet.
  • Theft: Either by employees or, in physical retail locations, customers walking off with inventory.
  • Demand fluctuations: Seasonal trends and unpredictable buying patterns can throw off forecasting models.

The consequences of inaccurate inventory can be brutal:

  • Stockouts: Customers can’t buy what isn’t there to be sold. According to a survey by the IHL Group, retail out-of-stocks grew by 17.7% from 2022 to 2023. To put this into perspective, it would take an average retailer 15 sales days to make up for this lost profit.
  • Overselling: Even worse, the customer orders an online item that is actually out of stock. That leads to frustrated, disappointed customers.  So you not only lose the sale, you lose the customer. And, if the sale was made through Amazon or other third-party marketplaces,  you’ve increased the potential for marketplace penalties.
  • Overstocking: Holding excess inventory ties up capital, eats away at profits and increases storage costs.
  • Wasted time: Manually chasing down inventory discrepancies diverts resources from other crucial tasks.

A Single Source of Truth: The Engine Driving Inventory Visibility

Advanced commerce inventory management platforms like Etail offer a solution – a centralized hub for all your inventory data.

Imagine a system that:

  • Tracks inventory in real-time: Every sale, purchase, and return is automatically reflected in the system, ensuring accurate stock levels across all fulfillment options.
  • Updates sales channels: Automatically updates inventory published to sales channels – removing listings when inventory is not available and republishing them when inventory is replenished.
  • Provides low-stock alerts: Automated notifications prevent stockouts by prompting timely reorders to suppliers.
  • Offers insightful reporting: Data is normalized and aggregated across sales channels, stocking locations and merchandising options to provide a 360-degree view of inventory no matter where or how the SKU is stocked or sold. Advanced platforms like Etail can even calculate the exact dollar impact of not having the right inventory in the right place at the right time so you can pinpoint, prioritize and head off potential inventory issues.

This inventory visibility empowers you to:

  • Optimize ordering: Replenish stock only when needed, reducing the risk of overstocking and maximizing cash flow.
  • Improve fulfillment efficiency: Accurate inventory data ensures orders are picked, packed, and shipped accurately and promptly.
  • Boost customer satisfaction: In today's omnichannel world, customers don't see channels; they see your brand. They expect seamless experiences, whether shopping online, in-app or in-store. A single view of inventory supports this seamless experience. No more order cancellations due to unavailable products – and happy customers lead to repeat business and positive online reviews.

Beyond Visibility: Unlocking the Potential of Inventory Management Platforms

Inventory management platforms go beyond just providing a clear view of your stock. Advanced platforms offer features designed to streamline your operations and boost your bottom line.

  • Integration with other business systems: Seamlessly connect your inventory platform with your sales channels,  shopping cart, accounting software and fulfillment providers. Advanced systems like the Etail platform are built on a powerful integration engine that makes it easy to add or remove new partners and systems as your business scales or to react to unforeseen disruptions.
  • Demand forecasting: Leverage historical sales data and industry trends to predict future demand more accurately, preventing both stockouts and overstocking.
  • Warehouse management: Manage bin locations, track product movement within the warehouse, and optimize the picking-and-packing processes.
  • Kitting and bundling: Create pre-configured product bundles to streamline order fulfillment and boost sales.

The ROI Advantage: Turning Inventory Management into Profit

Investing in an ecommerce inventory management platform isn't just about convenience – it's a strategic decision with a direct impact on your bottom line. Here's how:

  • Reduced carrying costs: By minimizing overstocking, you free up capital that can be invested in other areas of your business.
  • Improved margins: Accurate inventory data prevents unnecessary markdowns to clear out excess stock.
  • Enhanced operational efficiency: Automated processes and streamlined workflows free up valuable time and resources.
  • Increased sales: Having the right products in stock at the right time leads to more sales and satisfied, repeat customers.

Implementation Tips for Ecommerce Inventory Management Platforms

Implementing an ecommerce inventory management platform can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Start with clear goals: What specific problems are you trying to solve? Is it reducing stockouts, improving order accuracy, or enhancing customer satisfaction? Choose a platform that aligns with these goals and integrates seamlessly with your existing systems. Training your team is crucial; ensure everyone understands how to use the platform effectively. Lastly, monitor and adjust. Use the insights gathered to refine your inventory strategies continually. Remember, the goal is to make your inventory management system a lever for growth, not just a tool for tracking.

Embracing Efficiency for a Thriving Ecommerce Business

In today's competitive ecommerce landscape, inventory management is no longer an afterthought – it's a strategic imperative.

By leveraging the power of ecommerce inventory management platforms, businesses can gain crucial insights, streamline operations, and unlock significant financial advantages. Remember, accurate inventory data is the cornerstone of efficient order fulfillment, satisfied customers and a thriving online brand.

Additional resources


Network Inventory Optimization


Regional Inventory Visibility: How to offer 1-2 day delivery while protecting margins

Dynamic Inventory Publishing: Using yield management to maximize ecommerce inventory ROI

Master SKU Management: Aggregate, automate and manage data from everywhere you sell and stock product

The Power of Product Bundling


Primary Functions of Distributed Logistics

Master SKU Management

Regional Inventory Visibility

Dynamic Inventory Publishing


Yield Management: Dynamic Inventory Control is the Key to Ecommerce Profitability

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