Out of Stock? Not Again! 7 Pro Tips for Managing Small Business Inventory

Do you own a small business? If so, you understand that accurate inventory control is one of the keys to success. Finding the perfect balance between having what your customers want without having too much stock on hand can be tricky.

What’s the secret to maintaining the perfect small business inventory? You’ve come to the right place for answers.

Inventory management is an integral part of your business. After all, it can be a challenge to strike the perfect balance between keeping enough stock on hand without having too much.

This article takes a look at some tips that your small business can use to improve inventory management and increase profits starting today!

1. Track Inventory at All Times

One of the best practices for inventory management is to stay on top of your inventory levels at all times. This prevents your stock from getting out of control. 

The best way to accomplish this is to invest in some effective software that provides a solid tracking system. Tracking software will save you tons of time, money, and frustration.

Monitoring your inventory in real time allows you to see what merchandise is moving and what isn’t. This way you can make quick decisions without having to wait for reports filled with information that is already out-of-date by the time it reaches your hands.

2. Refine Your Forecasting 

Your ability to accurately project sales is crucial to inventory management. Again, this is why you need tracking software with a dashboard feature that can show you historical sales figures, allowing you to efficiently react to market trends and fluctuations in the economy.

Always keep in mind that the more accurate you can be in your forecasting process, the less likely you are to have to end up dealing with inventory problems month to month.

3. Hire Someone to Control Stock

Along with good inventory management software, we recommend designating someone to handle inventory control on a daily basis. This is the person you can go to for answers at any moment for information regarding how sales are aligning with incoming shipments.

Keeping inventory at an optimal level can feel like a type of science. Yet it’s really not that complicated. Having an employee dedicated to constantly monitoring inventory on hand is a great way to ensure that you don’t wind up in a bind somewhere downstream

4. Focus on Quality Control

This is a part of inventory control that often gets overlooked. Solving the mystery of why some items sell or don’t sell often isn’t a mystery at all. It’s vital to pay close attention to stock that doesn’t seem to ever move.

Damaged stock will turn customers off in a New York Minute. Even if it’s an item they’ve been looking for, no one wants to spend money on damaged goods. Be alert for merchandise that gets dropped on the floor, shoved to the back of a shelf, or gets pitched into a space where it can get damaged or misplaced and eventually lost.

Never underestimate the value of having employees straighten shelves and face-out merchandise so that customers can find it. After all, items need to be available and look good, otherwise no one can buy it or will want to buy it.

By shining a spotlight on quality control, you can quickly eliminate waste and take better control of inventory, thus increasing profits.

5. Listen to Your Customers

Believe it or not, your customers can be one of your best resources for controlling inventory. Listen to them. After all, they are the reason you’re in business. Your job is to meet their purchasing needs and serve them. 

It’s vital that you listen closely when they tell you the products they want, their comments on their shopping experience with you, their experiences with your competitors, and what they would like to see in the future. Their input on your inventory is invaluable. 

When something isn’t selling, there’s a reason for this. Listen to your customers and they will tell you the reason. Never hesitant to make adjustments to inventory based on customer input. Keep your customers happy and watch your business thrive.

This is true both online and in a brick and mortar store.  Your customers want great selection, value and quality, and they won’t hesitate to go somewhere else to find it. So listen to them and make it your mission to keep them coming back to you.

6. Expand Inventory Without Overstocking

One of the fastest ways to increase your customer base is to expand the range of products you offer. This can be a delicate balance to maintain. After all, as you increase your range of products, you begin to increase the possibility of carrying too much inventory.

A good POS system can help with this. A system that closely monitors sales can greatly increase your ability to manage future stock orders.

Keep in mind that increasing your range of products is important, but it needs to be the right products. A POS system will efficiently tell you if an item is selling or not, allowing you to make rapid decisions and switch out non-sellers for items that have proven to be consistent sellers.

7. Use a Customer Loyalty Program to Improve Inventory Flow

Customer loyalty programs can be a clever way to move items that don’t sell well at the regular price. These programs help to optimize inventory by offering loyalty points on products you can give away or offer at a discount. Customers love these programs.

The Keys to Effective Small Business Inventory

When it comes to running a small business, controlling your inventory is critical. These tips for small business inventory can help you run a tighter ship in order to keep stock as low as possible while maximizing sales. 

Always remember that small adjustments can make a huge difference, and controlling inventory is one of the best things you can do to get the most out of every dollar.

Click here to see the best strategies and tools for customer retention.