Inventory Optimization: 7 Technologies for Advanced Stock Control, Merchandising, and Inventory Management
Inventory optimization is a vital part of your long-term business growth strategy. In fact, without a good inventory optimization strategy, you run the risk of slowing down profitability over time.
It’s the glue that holds your service-level goals, market shifts, marketing KPIs, and inventory management together — ensuring that your backend stock management and operations work seamlessly with marketing KPIs to boost profits.
And, like with any aspect of a growing online retail business, you’re going to need the right technology to do just that. Technologies that help streamline the most critical aspects of inventory optimization include:
Let’s jump in!
1. Advanced Merchandising Technology
As the online space becomes more saturated, the importance of meeting customer expectations grows. And you have even less time to do so.
Merchandising is vital in ensuring you show the customer the right product at the right time, as that aligns with potential shoppers and your business needs. And without the right technology, it’s almost impossible to do just that and keep up with the competition.
Good merchandising technology will help you:
- Automate repetitive tasks and streamline your front and backend admin
- Optimize your online merchandising strategy for both marketing and retail KPIs
- Adjust to shifting business goals, inventory changes, and/or market trends in real-time
- Make smart merchandising decisions based on real-time analytics
One of the only tools that do all of the above is Kimonix.
Kimonix Advanced Merchandising Tool
Kimonix is the first AI-powered, holistic eCommerce merchandising solution developed to enable online retailers to execute, manage, and optimize ROAS-driven merchandising strategies in real-time.
- Enables eCommerce brands to build smart, automated, multi-segmented product collections and category pages
- Includes the ability to implement advanced collection page cross-sell strategies
- Gives you the ability to sort product collections and categories according to dynamic business parameters
- Offers built-in collection A/B testing to tweak performance before implementing new merchandising strategies
- Includes personalized collection landing page options for customer-targeted email marketing campaigns
Kimonix's advanced merchandising starts at just $55 per month and is tailored to monthly orders. We also offer a 14-day free trial and/or product demo.
2. Advanced Retail Operation Technology
The next technologies worth investing in are those that streamline retail operations for eCommerce brands. These include tasks related to supply chain movement, supplier payment processing, staffing, inventory management, and more.
No matter how lean your eCommerce business is, operational optimization is vital in ensuring you can reduce dead stock, optimize profits, keep operation costs down, and build better demand forecasting models.
Yes, you can do this manually, but implementing the right technology will help to:
- Dramatically reduce human error and costs
- More accurately forecast demand and projected revenue growth
- Better manage stock to prevent overstocking or stockouts
- Offer more streamlined inventory management
One great tool that does all of the above is Cogsy.
Cogsy Retail Operations Tool
Cogsy is a retail operations tool that offers eCommerce stores a more “godlike view” of their demand forecasting, restocking needs, stock levels, and purchase orders — all from one dashboard.
- Incorporates real-time replenishment, purchase order, and restock recommendation alerts and notifications
- Includes the ability to create accurate yearly demand forecasting
- Offers real-time inventory reports across all warehousing locations
- Ensures your backend cash flow projections align with any operation or marketing plans/events
- Includes pre-order functionality
Cogsy’s advanced retail operations tool starts at $49/month, with plans tailored to your total revenue. They also offer a 14-day free trial.
3. Advanced Backend Return Management Technology
If you’re not prioritizing return management into inventory optimization strategies, it could be costing you.
After-sales service is one of the most important digital touchpoints of your shopping journey and affects revenue and retention — both of which are vital for long-term growth and profitability.
With the right technology, you can turn your reverse logistics procedures into smart return management, which will:
- Keep your customers satisfied and engaged
- Reduce returns processing costs and lessen customer service calls
- Speed up turnaround times for returns
- Give you access to additional insights and data you can use to further optimize
One great tool that does all of the above is Loop.
Loop Backend Return Management Tool
Loop Returns is an automated, customizable returns management tool designed to drive customer lifetime value while rescuing revenue and improving customer experience.
- Ability to build customized return workflows within an on-demand returns portal
- Offers shoppers the ability to quickly find alternative versions of the purchased product
- Includes a robust list of tools designed to optimize return costs, prevent revenue loss, and limit return abuse
- Enables brands to easily integrate Loop with other leading Shopify apps and SaaS tools
Loop offers a variety of payment plans that are either flat rates or usage-based — the latter offering more flexibility. Their flat rates start at $59 per month, while usage-based plans start at $29 per month.
4. Advanced Social Proof Management Technology
We know that social proof is an essential driver for reaching and converting brand-new shoppers. It also plays a considerable part in inventory optimization. This can be in the form of UGC, reviews, ratings, and more to drive merchandising and push slower-moving products.
However, despite the importance, it is easy to neglect social proof collection — especially as your sales and customer base grow. This is where social proof management and collection technology come into play.
With the right technology and tools, you can:
- Collect social proof from customers on auto-pilot
- Implement social proof into your merchandising and marketing strategies automatically
- Offer advanced analytics and data you can use to further store performance and inventory optimization
- Better personalize social proof as a sales tool
- Enhance marketing messages with urgency and FOMO
One great social proof tool that does all of the above is Loox.
Loox Social Proof Management Tool
Loox is an advanced social proof solution designed to help you build trust and scale your online retail stores through product review videos and image collection — as well as referral and reward programs.
- Ability to auto-generate referral links for reward programs
- Includes automatic review request emails with discount incentives
- Ability to leverage social proof elements to drive AOVs (average order values) and encourage upsells
- Integrates with Google Shopping and is an official Google Reviews partner
- Includes customizable grid, list carousel, pop-ups, and sidebar widgets
Loox plans start at $19 per month, and each includes a 14-day free trial. They also offer the ability to choose between reviews or reviews and referrals.
5. Advanced Automated Analytics Technology
AI and machine learning technology doesn’t just streamline inventory optimization tasks. Another highly beneficial payoff of using advancing technologies is the access to more insights and data — with real-time reporting, you can use drive performance and shift dynamically when needed.
Collecting data manually is almost impossible these days, not if you want to keep up with customer expectations. By adding automation tools, you can collect and consolidate real-time data to improve system performance and future-proof your eCommerce brand. The benefits include:
- Universal dashboard for easier tracking
- Improved business intelligence
- Advanced data collection
- Faster, more accurate results
- Improved productivity and reduced costs
One great automated analytics tool that does all of the above is Littledata.
Littledata Automated Analytics Tools
Explicitly designed for eCommerce brands, Littledata is an automated analytics tool that captures every customer touchpoint from every selling and marketing channel.
- Offers a complete picture of marketing attribution for paid and organic channels
- Includes tracking triggers for important KPIs, such as customer lifetime value (LTV), purchase count, and more
- Ability to use data to build better campaign audiences
- Ensures you get complete eCommerce data from the newest version of Google Analytics, GA4
Unlike other Shopify apps, Littledata includes a 30-day free trial. They also offer a special plan for startups.
6. Advanced Dropshipping Inventory Management Technology
If you’re running a hybrid business incorporating dropshipped or print-on-demand products, you will want to integrate dropshipping inventory management tools into your inventory optimization tech stack.
Why? The right technology will ensure you can:
- Sync all your distributor data with your online store and other inventory management metrics
- Offer automatic emails when orders are received
- Find new trending dropshipping product trends
- Manage all your suppliers from one central dashboard
One great automated dropshipping management tool that does all of the above is Spoket.
Spoket Dropshipping Inventory Management Tool
Spocket is a full-service dropshipping inventory management tool that enables you to find, add, and manage products from around the globe.
- Includes access to Spocket’s catalog of $5 million+ US/EU products
- Enables you to take advantage of wholesale pricing and discounts without a minimum order requirement
- Automates the entire dropshipping part of your brand
- Includes branded invoicing
Spocket offers a free plan that enables you to review products and available features. Their paid plans start at $29.99 per month.
7. Advanced Warehouse Management Automation Technology
Last, but not least, let’s talk about advanced warehouse management as part of your inventory optimization technologies.
For those not outsourcing manufacturing or distribution, your warehouse management is vital to backend operations and inventory management.
In fact, warehouse technology is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the on and offline retail management space — it covers anything and everything from digital processing to AMRs (autonomous mobile robots).
For now, let’s just highlight the benefits of digital processing automation and technology. Advanced warehouse management technologies will enable you to:
- Offer advanced inventory management features such as re-order and replenishment-level settings
- Reduce warehouse costs and inventory mistakes
- Increase picking efficiency
- Communicate continuously with sales systems to ensure everything is perfectly synced
One great warehouse management tool that does all of the above is ShipHero.
ShipHero Warehouse Management Automation Tool
ShipHero is a robust, all-service WMS (warehouse management software) and is, therefore, not suited for new sellers on smaller budgets.
- Offers a variety of advanced inventory management tools such as multi-warehouse and order allocation, POs, and receiving
- Includes end-to-end visibility with ParcelView and PostHero
- Improves efficiency and reduces warehouse costs
- Reduces miss-picks and human error dramatically
- Offers one-click integration with leading eCommerce platforms to ensure better order tracking and shipment notifications
ShipHero standard WMS prices start at $1,995 per month, including full service with their tools and features.
There you have it, seven inventory optimization technologies and their benefits. Let’s recap the tools you can use to harness these benefits in order to streamline your store and ensure long-term growth and profits.
No matter which tool you start with first, there is no denying that in any area you introduce automation, machine learning, dedicated server and other new technology trends, you will reap the benefits and stay ahead of your biggest competitors.
Still have inventory optimization questions? You can reach out to us here.