Your company may be a reseller of many different brands or products, but keeping track of all those items can get complicated very quickly. If you don't have enough space to store everything that needs to go into your inventory system, it might take too long (or even become impossible) to manage each item individually. If this sounds like something you've been dealing with lately, here are some tips on how you can better organize your inventory so you'll know exactly where every single piece of merchandise comes from, when they're supposed to arrive, and what's left to sell before they expire.
We asked our community of experts -- both online and offline -- about their favorite ways to keep their inventories under control. Here's what we found out.
You could probably use any method of organizing your inventory, but if you want to ensure maximum efficiency while minimizing downtime, you should start by taking advantage of technology. A lot of businesses already rely heavily on computerized systems to run their operations, which means there are plenty of tools available to help you sort through all these various parts.
For example, if you work with a manufacturer who sends you catalogs full of new stock that you need to order, you can find them easily using Google Images. You can then save images of specific pieces as PDF files, which makes it easy to search through those pages later. It also lets you mark anything you'd like to purchase or sell down the road without having to leave your computer screen.
Similarly, if you sell wholesale, you can set up a database that helps you keep tabs on all of your orders, shipments, and deliveries. This allows you to see what you still owe to customers and what has yet to ship, which gives you a clear picture of current inventory levels and keeps things running smoothly.
If you prefer not to invest in software, though, you can always manually create spreadsheets or databases to help you stay organized. For instance, you can write notes next to individual listings in Excel or Google Sheets to record information such as the date you bought or sold the product, its condition, and other relevant details. Alternatively, you can simply add pictures or scans of the actual item onto your list. Then, whenever someone asks about a particular garment, you can pull up your records and let them know whether or not it's still available.
While manual methods aren't quite as convenient as automated ones, they do allow you to customize your system according to your preferences and workflow. They also offer the flexibility to adapt over time as your business grows.
This doesn't mean you have to give up on automation entirely, however. Many apps now exist that help you maintain lists of multiple types of inventory across several categories. These include inventory management solutions specifically designed for retail stores, eBay sellers, Etsy shops, and others. One popular option is Reseller Inventory Spreadsheet (RIS), which offers a variety of features including automatic data entry, customizable reports, and real-time inventory updates.
Another option worth mentioning is Apparel Exchange, which works similarly to RIS except that it focuses on apparel rather than general goods. The downside, however, is that Apparel Exchange only supports two file formats, CSV and TXT.
The bottom line is that no matter what kind of inventory organization strategy you choose, you shouldn't overlook the importance of regular maintenance. Make sure you check your inventory regularly to catch potential problems early and avoid wasting valuable time trying to fix issues after the fact. Also, remember that most large manufacturers tend to send out updated stock lists once per year anyway, so try to plan ahead accordingly.
It's important to note that just because you operate as a home-based business doesn't necessarily mean that you have to deal with selling physical goods. While some people consider themselves entrepreneurs solely due to the nature of their jobs, others actually earn money primarily through services instead of sales. In either case, inventory management isn't nearly as crucial for freelancers and independent contractors since they rarely handle tangible goods.
On the flip side, however, anyone who sells digital downloads or subscriptions via website or mobile device likely relies on an inventory system to keep track of their wares. Whether you're operating out of your own studio apartment or a storefront location, you'll almost certainly need to buy, receive, stock, and deliver thousands upon thousands of units in order to fulfill customer orders. And unlike traditional retailers, you won't need to worry about storing these items yourself. Instead, you can delegate the task to third parties whose job is simply to move your inventory around.
One common practice among online vendors is to rent warehouse facilities from local warehouses and distribution centers. Since it's much cheaper to pay somebody else to hold your inventory than to store it yourself, this approach often saves you tons of money. But regardless of whether you opt for self-storage or outsourcing, it's vital that you make sure your inventory stays safe during transit. Most reputable companies provide insurance against theft or damage, but they usually require you to submit documentation proving ownership of the property being stored. Keep this paperwork handy when making arrangements.
In addition, if you decide to hire someone to transport inventory, make sure you know what rules apply to moving items between locations. Some states prohibit certain kinds of vehicles from entering commercial areas, while others impose restrictions based on weight limits or vehicle size. Before signing off on a contract, read the fine print carefully to make sure you understand the requirements.
Finally, you may decide to build a custom network of suppliers and distributors whom you trust implicitly. Although this type of setup requires more effort upfront, it ultimately pays off in terms of lower overhead costs and increased reliability. Plus, you'll be able to cut deals directly with smaller producers who wouldn't otherwise reach mainstream consumers.
Whether you're starting your first online venture or trying to grow your existing business, you'll eventually come across inventory management challenges. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to tackle them effectively.
First, you can look for free options that meet your basic needs. There are plenty of sites dedicated to helping people locate secondhand clothes, collectibles, books, furniture, and other miscellaneous household items. For example, Craigslist is a great place to browse for used electronics, cars, appliances, jewelry, artwork, antiques, and a host of other goodies. Similarly, Facebook Marketplace is a good resource for finding quality gear at affordable prices.
Then again, you might feel comfortable paying extra cash for professional assistance. After all, why would you bother going through the hassle of cleaning, sorting, packing, and transporting old stuff when you could just hand it over to professionals who specialize in doing all of that for you?
As mentioned above, you can always turn to a third party for help. As far as inventory goes, you can contact your bank or credit union for advice on how to properly store your valuables. Your car dealership might also be willing to assist you with proper disposal of unwanted equipment. Meanwhile, if you have access to a garage or basement, you can ask your landlord to store your belongings until you're ready to retrieve them. Just make sure you document everything before letting anybody touch your personal effects!
When it comes to managing your home business inventory, there really are endless possibilities. Depending on your budget, skillset, and resources, you might end up utilizing a combination of approaches outlined above. Whatever route you choose, however, it's important to be consistent and thorough. Otherwise, you may miss out on opportunities to capitalize on unsold inventory.
You've decided it's time to start selling online as a reseller or affiliate marketer -- but where should you store all of that merchandise? The answer isn't always easy, especially if you're just getting started with ecommerce. Here are some tips from experts who have been there before about what works best when organizing your online shop.
Yes. Resellers typically buy products directly from manufacturers. They then list those products on their own website or through other marketplace sites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc., and often charge a commission fee (typically 10% - 15%) to process sales. Some sellers also use drop shippers to handle this part of the process, which means they don't actually stock any goods themselves.
Reseller prices can be lower than retail because many times retailers pay wholesale costs to distributors, so resellers usually take advantage of these discounts. However, resells need to keep track of their inventory levels and know exactly how much product to order each month. This means keeping good records on everything purchased. For instance, if you bought $1,000 worth of shirts last year, you'll want to write down every single detail about them including date acquired, size/color, brand name, style number, price paid, and anything else relevant.
If you're new to reselling, you may not yet be used to recording things like purchase dates, but once you get into it, it becomes second nature. You can create spreadsheets using Google Sheets or Excel and record important information like quantity per item, unit cost, total value, and even notes about why you chose certain sizes and colors. If you prefer paper instead of digital tools, you could still use pen and paper to log details.
Once you've got your records set up, consider building a database to manage your inventory. There are several options out there, such as Shopify Inventory Manager and Magento Inventories Plus, but we recommend starting with something simple like Microsoft Access or FileMaker Pro 12 (which has free trials). These databases let you enter inventory data easily by importing CSV files, making it easier to add new orders without having to reenter them manually.
There's no reason why you couldn't use multiple programs to save yourself lots of work. Just remember to back up regularly!
A reseller takes physical possession of the items he sells, while a retailer doesn't. A retailer simply buys products off another person, whether that someone is a distributor or manufacturer. Retailers offer higher margins compared to resellers since retailers must cover overhead expenses, rent, staff salaries, marketing efforts, plus maintain expensive stores.
In fact, most large brick-and-mortar retail stores are run as resellers. The only difference is that they don't physically possess the goods they sell. Instead, they act as middlemen between buyers and suppliers, taking care of packaging, stocking, displaying, and pricing the merchandise.
As a result, resellers tend to focus on offering high quality items. And sometimes, resellers will offer additional services like gift wrapping or delivery.
While resellers generally receive better prices because they don't incur as many costs, they aren't immune to buying bad products either. So it's important to carefully review your purchases and ensure you're satisfied with what you're receiving.
For example, you might find cheaper deals on clearance racks, which mean you're likely to see damaged or defective products. That said, the average profit margin for resellers tends to be around 20%, so you won't lose too much money by purchasing less popular items.
Another thing to note is that there are different types of resellers. Affiliates and affiliates are essentially people who promote others' brands and earn commissions on sales generated by referrals. Many affiliate marketers choose to operate independently rather than being employees of larger companies, though many large corporations do employ these individuals.
Wholesalers on the other hand, provide bulk quantities of merchandise to smaller businesses. Wholesalers often specialize in specific types of items, depending on the needs of their customers.
Some wholesalers also deal exclusively in older, discontinued styles of clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. Because of this, wholesalers often carry very limited inventories, which makes them perfect candidates for resellers looking to fill gaps in their collections.
It's important to understand both sides of the equation when choosing a reseller model for your personal business.
We discussed above ways to organize your reseller inventory based on its type, but now we'll look at how to organize the actual items themselves. Most successful resellers begin by sorting their inventory according to categories, subcategories, and finally individual listings. By grouping similar items together, you can avoid wasting space and time searching for random pieces.
Let's say you wanted to buy five pairs of jeans today, but found out you already had 50 that fit perfectly. It would be frustrating trying to sort through them again to find ones you didn't already own, right? Instead, you'd probably group them together under "jeans" and move onto the next category.
When creating your listing, think about what makes sense for your audience. When you build a page for your first sale, you can include photos and descriptions that appeal to prospective buyers. But after that, you can customize your pages further by adding tags, keywords, and links to related items. Then you can change the layout to suit your preferences.
Here's a quick guide explaining how to create custom tabs for your eBay listings:
Step 1) Go to My eBay.com
Step 2) Click Listings & Sales
Step 3) Select Edit Your Listing
Step 4) From the left side menu select Add New Tab
Step 5) Choose Layout Type
Step 6) Create Your Custom Tabs
Step 7) Save Changes
These steps apply regardless of whether you're using a desktop computer or mobile device. And while you can customize the appearance of your tabbed sections, you shouldn't edit the text inside of them. Doing so might cause issues with search engine optimization (SEO), leading to potential penalties later on.
Instead, try writing clear titles and descriptions to attract visitors and improve SEO. Also, never forget to optimize images whenever possible. Finally, you should test the performance of your site periodically throughout the day to identify any bottlenecks.
Organizing your inventory is crucial to success as a seller. Without proper organization, you risk losing valuable time and energy searching for particular items. With careful planning and organizational skills, however, you can efficiently source goods and complete transactions in a fraction of the time.
When it comes to keeping a tidy wardrobe, most people tend to go with their gut instincts when deciding what goes where. But if we want our clothes to last as long as possible, then there's no better time than now to get rid of those pieces that aren't working anymore. And since fashion trends come back around every season, this means that we'll need to be on top of things so we can sell off our old stuff before it becomes too outdated or outmoded. This process may seem like hard work - but thankfully, there are plenty of tools available online that can help us take care of all these tasks.
An effective inventory management strategy doesn't just involve having tons of extra space and being able to quickly source new items whenever needed. It also requires making sure that everything from the fabric used to sew garments to the packaging materials used for shipment have been properly accounted for. So whether you're running a boutique shop or a wholesale company, here are some tips that you should consider using to create an easy-to-use inventory software program.
If you've ever walked into a big retail store, you probably noticed how neatly arranged the shelves were. The merchandise was cleanly separated by color, size, style, etc., which made it very convenient for customers to find exactly what they wanted. If you think about it, this kind of organization is pretty much impossible without a proper inventory management plan. A good example would be the Apple Store (yes, even though they're not a traditional retailer), where each product has its own section and shelf, giving them a neat appearance while allowing shoppers to easily browse through thousands of goods. It's safe to say that a lot of thought went into creating such a layout.
But even if you don't run a chain of retail shops, chances are that you still use some type of inventory control software to keep tabs on your stock levels. For instance, Amazon uses something called Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) to ship orders directly to warehouses located across the country. These warehouses receive shipments from sellers who order products via the Amazon marketplace platform. When Amazon receives the item(s), the warehouse staff automatically packs up the ordered package and ships it off immediately. After receiving payment from the seller, Amazon sends the invoice along with a confirmation email detailing the delivery information. All of this happens seamlessly thanks to the cloud computing technology behind the scenes.
You might wonder why Amazon needs to maintain an inventory of anything, let alone hundreds of millions of products. Well, according to the official FAQ page, "Amazon fulfills customer orders based on demand. Therefore, Amazon does not carry inventory for many items." In other words, Amazon doesn't physically hold any excess items for sale. Instead, they rely on third party suppliers to provide products, meaning that Amazon never actually owns any physical items.
So basically, Amazon only maintains stock levels once the supplier delivers the product to them. From there, Amazon takes over the responsibility of packing and sending the items to the buyer. As far as Amazon knows, there's nothing wrong with the product until someone complains about missing a specific item. That's where the fulfillment process ends. Once the order arrives safely at the destination address, Amazon pays out to the buyer. Then the cycle begins again.
Now, this isn't necessarily true for everyone. Some retailers have their own warehouses, either locally or overseas. They might also offer services such as drop shipping -- a service where another vendor fills the gap between ordering and shipping. Other businesses choose to buy products in bulk and sell them individually. Either way, maintaining accurate inventory records is crucial because it helps ensure that each transaction is completed successfully.
There are two main types of inventory management strategies: centralized and decentralized. Centralized systems require users to upload data to a central location, whereas decentralized systems allow individuals to access their own account independently. There are pros and cons associated with both methods, depending on your particular situation.
For starters, centralized systems typically cost less upfront and usually give you access to a wider range of features. However, because these programs operate within a single database, it can become difficult to monitor individual transactions. On the flip side, decentralized systems often enable greater customization options, including multi-user accounts and multiple locations to view inventory statistics. Depending on the model you decide to use, you could save yourself significant amounts of money down the line.
Once you know which method works best for your business, you'll need to figure out which tool fits your needs. To start, you'll first need to determine the number of products you expect to deal with, as well as the frequency with which you intend to update inventory numbers. Next, you'll need to pick the right software program to suit your needs. Here are three different categories you can choose from: desktop, web-based, and mobile apps. Each category offers unique benefits that help you stay ahead of the competition.
Desktop Inventory Software
The desktop version of inventory software is ideal for larger enterprises that handle high volumes of sales and regularly update inventory figures. With this option, you can customize the interface for optimal viewing on your computer screen. You can also add additional fields to capture important details regarding each piece of inventory. Desktop apps generally include barcode scanning capabilities, which makes it easier to scan items and complete purchases. Plus, these programs offer built-in reporting functions that show detailed stats about your inventory status at any given point in time. Finally, they integrate with various accounting platforms, enabling you to automate processes related to invoicing, payments, and shipping.
Web-Based Inventory Software
With web-based solutions, you don't need to install any special software onto your laptop. Instead, you simply log into the website using your browser. In addition to providing a user-friendly experience, web-based inventory software gives you access to real-time updates, which allows you to see sales figures instantly at a glance. Also, unlike desktop applications, web-based versions do away with unnecessary clutter, making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
Finally, you can opt for mobile apps instead of building custom software for your inventory system. Although these apps look similar to websites, they function differently due to their limited functionality compared to desktop programs. Mobile apps are great for smaller operations that prefer a streamlined approach. You won't need to spend hours updating inventory reports manually, saving valuable time that you can invest elsewhere.
While bigger outfits may benefit from investing in full-blown inventory management software, small businesses shouldn't overlook the importance of taking charge of their inventory. Even if you don't have enough room for a huge table filled with boxes and crates, you can still utilize several simple tricks to speed up your workflow. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
Create separate folders for each department. Organize your files accordingly based on the type of garment. Keep fabrics grouped together, and accessories next to apparel. Separate shoes from bags, belts from jewelry, and sweaters from jackets.
Use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of inventory. Use columns to categorize items by brand name, style, manufacturer, material, quantity, price, and date purchased. Make sure you enter the correct measurements (for example, height x width x length) rather than approximations.
Keep a tally sheet. Use sticky notes to jot down any relevant information. Be sure to write down dates purchased, sizes, colors, and quantities. Whenever possible, try to avoid writing things down on paper. Paper is prone to smudges, tears, and stains, which can cause problems later on. Just stick to digital forms of documentation.
Don't forget about your employees! Ask them to document their observations during regular meetings throughout the day. Don't worry if you end up with dozens of pages of handwritten notes. Simply shred the papers after reviewing them to clear up space on your desk.
As you gain experience managing your inventory, you'll learn to recognize certain patterns that indicate potential issues. Take note of any discrepancies in pricing, styles, or availability, as well as changes in the overall quality level of your product lineup. Once you spot these red flags, it's essential to act fast to prevent further damage.
Inventory management systems can help organizations improve efficiency and productivity while reducing costs. Having an organized and updated database enables you to identify gaps in supply and make informed decisions about future plans. Whether you have a small shop or a massive enterprise, following these steps will help you build a reliable inventory system that keeps you competitive against your competitors.
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