Merchandising 201: How technology can help you improve inventory management

Inventory Management

A lot has been said about the importance of merchandising, and for good reason – if you want to run successful eCommerce operations, you need to be stocking the perfect goods for your target audience. Merchandising seems so elementary, but there are a lot of complexities that can make it a surprisingly difficult task.

Last month, we gave you a basic run down on merchandising, highlighting the four basic steps to a proper strategy: planning, sourcing, purchasing and arranging/displaying products. Now, we'll dig a bit deeper into these categories and explore how new eCommerce software and other technology can help you streamline the merchandising process and make it more effective.

1. Planning
The first stage of merchandising is planning, which entails the process in which retailers think about what products their target audience would be interested in. In the past, this may have involved a lot of "gut instinct" – entrepreneurs decide to carry goods based on their personal feeling.

A lot has been said about the importance of merchandising, and for good reason – if you want to run successful eCommerce operations, you need to be stocking the perfect goods for your target audience.

Modern technology has transformed what was previously an art into hard science.

With tools such as SalesWarp, you can now look at past transactions and behavioral data and determine which products are likely to sell. You can view a complete history of your customers, allowing you to target specific audiences and yield greater profits.

2. Sourcing
Sourcing is a critical part of the merchandising process that ensures merchants can get their desired products in-store for the lowest prices and according to schedule. Once again, eCommerce software can help improve this function by allowing you to integrate your operations with suppliers. This allows you to easily upload product catalogs from new suppliers as well as update inventory from your existing ones.

3. Buying
Buying should be obvious, but revolves around the process of actually acquiring goods from third-party vendors and distributors. SalesWarp can be utilized for its purchasing and receiving tools and more broadly for reordering and inventory management. With supplier integration, you can ensure your products are being purchased in a way that makes sense and helps you operate your business.

4. Arranging and displaying
Arranging and displaying pertains to making products available, findable and attractive on eCommerce websites. You can use SalesWarp to effectively manage prices and configure different products to make them easier to track. Additionally, you can group items and display them to relevant consumers in customer-specific catalogs. The end goal is presenting goods to shoppers in a way that encourages them to make purchases, and eCommerce software can help you do that more effectively.

Merchandising is an important function to any retailer, and in the past may have been a tremendously time-consuming business activity. However, merchants that make use of the latest technology and eCommerce platforms can make this function significantly less complex, thereby allowing them to do more with their time while maximizing return on investment.

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