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Multi-Warehouse eCommerce Implementation

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Improving Order Fulfillment and User Satisfaction

Multi-Warehouse Key Concepts & Benefits

Multi-warehouses are a key eCommerce capability for group buying organizations because, depending on the vendor relationships, order fulfillment can come from multiple different warehouses. In general, this is the case for vendors, however it can also be important for the buying group to consider.

This can be particularly challenging as an organization grows and the numbers of orders and the item quantities in orders increase because the actual inventory may not be available in a single location. However, despite this it is still a necessity to be able to fulfill large orders in a timely fashion – this is where multi-warehouse capabilities come into play. As such, we encourage you to consider this as you consider your upcoming buying group eCommerce platform.

Making Sure You Check Every Box

Common Scenarios & Considerations

In regards to multi-warehouse, the most common scenario is for vendors to have different warehouses, and most often buying groups place orders for different vendors. For example, Company A sells a specific item that is part of a particular category, such as a pool heater. You can then have another vendor selling pool cleaner, then another selling pool filter replacements. These last two will likely be ordered in bulk, meaning they will need to go to a third vendor with yet another warehouse location.

Whenever you are presenting the inventory data to the buyer this is important to keep in mind. They need to have accurate information in order to fully understand the status of their order. When you present lead time for shipments, they will need to know that some items may take longer based on where exactly they have to be shipped from.

Each location should present accurate and up-to-date inventory data to the buying group in order to achieve high customer satisfaction. This is especially true as a buyer may have different shipping locations as well. If they need a specific item to arrive somewhere by a certain date, having accurate information is critical. They may even need it overnight. Some orders might need to be ground shipments, or maybe some orders are so large that they need to be sent via LTL or truckload.

Being able to coordinate all different matters of an order automatically is very important in running a smooth operation in a streamline fashion. The more accurate the information you present per location, the more confident a buyer can be in their purchasing decisions. The happier the customer, the more likely they are to buy more off your marketplace.

You want your buyers to trust the integrity of your site, meaning you need to ensure that vendors collaborate with you in gathering accurate data. They also need to comply with a set process for either drop shipment or fulfillment.

Automated and Accurate Data Management

Integrating Data With Your Marketplace

If you plan to represent your different vendors inventory information, you need to know how you will be inserting that data into your platform. Does your system have that capability? What about the software you are considering for your buying group marketplace? You want to be able to sync with your different vendors, pulling in their inventory and location data.

Furthermore, you’ll want to know whether the platform updates in real time or near real time. Also consider how the system will handle a vendor doing maintenance on their application meaning the application is down for a short while. Can your system interpret that it is not updating and make intermediate updates until it has better information?

For example, imagine that the buying group made a purchase for 500 parts and there were exactly 500 in stock. You’ll need to stop showing the item as “in stock,” as there has been a purchase that has depleted the on-hand inventory for that particular vendor. You’ll want to be able to send the multi warehouse information to your vendors, so they know where to restock their inventory from.

Transferring Inventory

Transferring Inventory

If you’re using internal warehousing or have vendors with multiple warehouses, it’s common to transfer inventory between locations. You’ll want to consider if your eCommerce platform allows your buying group to transfer inventory or if it can notify vendors so they can transfer inventory in their systems. This is an important logistical capability that enables them to utilize their inventory optimally.

Often, there will be runs set up for a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly basis between the different locations. If you’re able to notify for an appropriate amount of time, then those transfers will already be scheduled, and then it’s just a matter of putting the inventory onto a transfer vehicle.

In addition, it’s also common for the location information to dynamically adjust for which warehouse will be fulfilling something based on the ship-to location. As such, an important thing to think about is the ability to provide rate quotes that are accurate and that the estimated delivery time is accurate.

Getting the Most From Your Marketplace

Behind the Scenes Optimization

A key benefit of using a software platform is that it can technically optimize things behind the scenes and make the most intelligent business decisions. However, the software itself will have to be setup and configured in order to properly take advantage of that capability. Just because it is possible doesn’t mean it’ll work without proper testing and validation. We encourage you to check that the software you’re considering can do this at some point.

The Clarity eCommerce platform does have this particular capability as well as many other beneficial customizations you can enable to represent your business and fulfillment needs across a multi-warehouse environment.

How Can Clarity Help

Clarity Multi-Warehouse Solution Experts

We encourage you to delve into the provided resources below as well as the other available information we provide on our site. If you don’t find what you need or you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We’d love to help you out as you evaluate your buying group eCommerce platform so you make the best decision for your business.

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