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Advance Inventory Logic Features & Functions

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Advance Inventory Logic

Advance Inventory Logic is an incredibly important factor for buying groups and group purchasing organizations. The existence of an item in inventory is determined not just by the buying groups inventory, but also the vendors. If the inventory isn’t up-to-date, it can cause issues when an item is needed immediately.

It’s very important for the inventory data to be as accurate as possible. However, this can be challenging if the buying group e-commerce system cannot gather this information themselves. Some of the vendors may be utilizing a system that is hard to keep integrated, leading to data disparity amongst the different parties.

The different members of the system need to be able to see how long it takes for a purchase to be fulfilled and delivered to the buyer; the inventory data helps keep track of this. In addition, there is also a need for the actual fulfillment and inventory management to be fully optimized, this is true for the members, vendors, warehouses, and distribution centers. Some buying groups fulfill their orders, but others do not, and so it is doubly important to manage inventory across the buying groups inventory as well as the different vendors.

This is why we urge you to consider if the buying group software you are considering handles inventory management in order to understand how different scenarios could play out. How do they handle multiple locations? What about fulfillment hierarchies? There may be a need for intelligence around inventory locations and the specific fulfillment logistics around that inventory location.

Accurate, Automated, & Synchronous Across Systems

Value of Inventory Data

You will want to understand how inventory is managed across multiple potential fulfillment partners. The majority of the time, a member is going to want their order to be fulfilled as quickly as possible, all while taking advantage of group purchasing discounts and/or rebates. As such, you need to ensure that the inventory information being shown, be it on a user interface or through some form of automated integration, is as up-to-date as possible.

Without up-to-date and accurate information, it's difficult for a buyer to make a good purchasing decision. If they complete an order, only to find out there was incorrect information and something doesn’t go as planned, the customer may become very disgruntled. This is especially true if they pay for an item only to find out there aren’t enough in inventory to fulfill their order.

If you have up-to-date information, you can let end users know when inventory is out of stock and even notify them whenever it becomes available again. Just by having a level of inventory management, the users can be aware of the status of desired items, and having accurate information will help keep all parties involved happy. Leveraging accurate information around inventory data can also be accompanied by notifications around similar items or even discounts available for alternative items.

So, while it can be fairly detailed, the buying group is really looking for value. As such, the fact that you can provide them with suggestions and ways to help them reduce their cost without any loss in quality is important. They will appreciate knowing what items are in stock, and possible alternatives in case they need an item soon but find their initial choice unavailable.

In addition, having a good inventory management system is helpful whenever a buyer is looking to buy a replacement part for something or even something that is rarely in stock. It can be incredibly helpful to allow them to search with synonymous terms, synonymous SKUs, or part numbers that are references in order for them to find possible alternatives. Perhaps they can find an off-the-shelf item that can fulfill their needs in place of the OEM item.

Making the Complex, Simple

Queue Management

You don’t only need to manage the inventory information, but also the queue of inventory. You want to create a buffer, meaning you have extra stocked items that may not be shown as available, but are there as a back-up to prevent fulfillment issues. This is especially useful for highly popular products.

For example, let's say you typically sell 1,000 of a particular SKU, you may consider having around 50 extra for a buffer. Even if you only sell five items, you could benefit from having one on hand in case of an urgent need for the product. This is a safety net of sorts, providing a bit of leeway in case of an error in inventory information.

Often, buying group sites need to show if an item is nearly out of stock. This can serve as a warning, letting buyers know that if they wish to purchase one of these products, they need to complete the transaction soon.

There are also some clients who stock items that are made up of multiple other parts that are in their inventory. This could be something like an engine. Perhaps there are parts within the engine itself that are sold individually that someone wants. There might be an extra disassembly fee, but it could still be useful to present the option for those only seeking one small part of a larger product.

How Can Clarity Help

Clarity Marketplace Experts

We recommend you talk internally with your team about the different functions and the scenarios you might encounter as you provide value to your members. Consider how they might benefit from different capabilities and features. Look into the requirements needed to implement them, and don’t insert a cumbersome functionality if it doesn’t provide value to the end user. However, do keep in mind that implementing more complicated features into a system later down the road can be costly.

As it is helpful to understand the capabilities and limitations up front when making decisions about your buying group eCommerce platform, we have provided further resources below to help guide you. Feel free to reach out to our team here at Clarity if you would like to discuss things further; we would love to help you make the best possible choices regarding your group purchasing platform. Thank you, and we look forward to working with you.

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