The Internet has made it easier to find a larger customer base because so many companies opt to sell their goods online, either in addition to or in lieu of a physical retail location. However, not having a physical store means that you have different optionsfor inventory storage. Knowing the various options will help you figure out the best one for your situation.
Before you decide on where to store your goods, you want to ensure that you have a strong inventory management in place. In order to efficiently sell your goods, you will need to know how many are in stock, the manufacturer’s information, the ordering information, and more. If you have multiple stores, then you will have even more to organize and manage. One easy way to do this is with good software for inventory. By inputting all your data into the computer, you will be on top of your inventory information, including automatically updating inventory,keeping track of your minimum and maximum stock numbers, and knowing how long it takes to restock. Efficiently organizing your inventory will also keep your costs low, as you will only have the amount of stock you need rather than too much or too little. Once you create a sufficient organization system, then you can decide where to store and how to provide the items to consumers.
Drop shipping is becoming a more popular form of inventory storage for suppliers. With drop shipping, you do not actually have any inventory in stock. Instead, your suppliers retain control of the inventory, and when you sell an item, the supplier ships the item directly to your customer. This can save you money overtime, since you do not have to buy any items upfront, nor do you need to store them. However, with this option you must have a very organized and sophisticated system for your inventory. Since you do not retain control, you must be in constant communication with your suppliers and their current inventory so that you do not sell something to a customer that is no longer in stock by the supplier. Drop shipping works exceptionally well for small or medium-sized companies.
Another option for the inventory for any online store is to store your inventory in a warehouse. For this option, you will have to lease space and store your items and then ship them out to your customers upon purchase. You and your staff will have to organize the inventory to make it easy to find and to keep organized. You can set up a barcode system to help you keep track of all inventories. Depending on the size of store you are running, the warehouse system will be more efficient than drop shipping. If you sell large amounts of items, then having complete control of the process will make everything run more smoothly. Small companies can also use warehouses to store their items, but you have to see if the cost of storage and pre-purchasing stock benefits your company.
Retail Store Plus Online
Many retail stores also create online stores to provide their products to a wider customer base. For retail plus online stores, you will have an actual store, with excess inventory stored in the back with your stock available online for customers to purchase. Your storage typically will be less than a warehouse space, although a decent sized stock room will offer sufficient space for most online and retail stores. For these stores, you should keep track of all physical and online purchases to ensure you have the accurate inventory available.