How to Achieve Better End-to-End Inventory Visibility

Inventory management being conducted in a warehouse from an iPad.

Stockouts and backorders are revenue-killers.

When customers are ready to buy, and you can’t complete the sale, you lose out on revenue and may drive them directly to your competitors. 

The solution? Cross-channel inventory visibility through an OMS.

Having the right inventory levels is crucial. Inventory management and control are key to long-term success, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Increasing inventory visibility is the first step.

Without a robust and reliable inventory management system for supply chain management, it is nearly impossible to maintain accurate inventory levels in today’s omnichannel selling environment.

The Importance of Full Inventory Visibility


A study by Auburn University showed that only 13% of companies have an accurate inventory count on their website.

Another study of over 100 stores and one million SKUs revealed a similar truth. Nearly 60% of all the SKUs examined revealed inaccurate inventory levels.

This inaccuracy in inventory levels, amplified by complex supply chain operations, is a common yet solvable challenge.

Supply chain operations have become increasingly complex over the past few years, and companies without a consistent inventory tracking solution are paying the price.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Increasing inventory visibility and keeping accurate counts for those SKUs can significantly contribute to your bottom line. 

In that same study, correcting the inaccurate counts and establishing strict protocols for managing inventory led to a sales increase between 4% and 8% across the entire portfolio.

With accurate, real-time inventory across every sales channel, you can achieve the end-to-end inventory visibility you need.

Inventory visibility is important to customers when they are making purchasing decisions. They want to check the in-store availability of items before going to a physical store or know that items are indeed in stock and ready to ship when they buy online. 

Consumers are increasingly checking inventory as part of their buying decisions. When they see quantities available, especially when stock is running low, it creates an urgency to complete transactions.

Yet, if inventory counts aren’t accurate, you’re left with unhappy customers and lost sales.

Challenges of Real-Time Inventory

Both brick-and-mortar and eCommerce retailers face distinct challenges in achieving active inventory visibility. The task becomes doubly complex for businesses operating in both arenas, requiring a seamless integration for an optimized omnichannel experience. 

For eCommerce

  • Omnichannel Integration: Balancing and integrating real-time inventory, sales data, and customer experience across digital and physical store platforms.
  • Customer Expectations: Meeting diverse demands of customers who seek the convenience of online shopping and the tactile experience of in-store purchases.
  • Logistics Complexity: Managing complex logistics to ensure seamless delivery for online orders and inventory availability in physical stores.
  • Data Management: Consolidating and managing vast volumes of data generated from both online and offline sales and customer interactions.
  • Marketing Strategies: Creating targeted marketing strategies that cater to both online and in-store customers, ensuring personalized experiences.
  • Technology Investments: Allocating resources for technology that supports both e-commerce platforms and enhances the in-store experience.
  • Staff Training: Training staff to provide consistent customer service and manage technology effectively across both sales channels.
  • Security Measures: Implementing security protocols to safeguard both the physical store and e-commerce website, including inventory and customer data.
  • Return Policies: Crafting and managing return policies that are cohesive and user-friendly for both online and in-store purchases.

For Brick and Mortar Stores

  • Technology Infrastructure: Integrating real-time inventory requires a significant upgrade to modern digital systems for many traditional stores.
  • Integration with Sales Channels: Synchronizing real-time inventory data across both online and in-store platforms to maintain accuracy and consistency.
  • Data Accuracy: Ensuring inventory data is updated instantaneously to reflect exact stock levels, especially during peak sales periods.
  • Staff Training: Equipping staff with the skills to manage and interpret real-time inventory data and utilize the systems efficiently.
  • Customer Experience: Managing customer expectations with accurate inventory data to prevent disappointments and lost sales opportunities.
  • Supply Chain Coordination: Ensuring the supply chain responds effectively to real-time data for efficient restocking and inventory management.
  • Costs of Implementation: Bearing the costs associated with technology acquisition, staff training, and system maintenance.
  • Data Security: Implementing stringent measures to protect sensitive inventory and sales data.
  • System Downtimes: Addressing technical issues that can affect the efficiency of real-time inventory systems and impact sales and customer experience.
  • Adaptation to Market Trends: Developing agile business strategies that respond to live inventory data and evolving market trends.

Everything in One System

One of the keys to achieving better end-to-end inventory visibility is capturing data across every supply chain and sales channel.

Using data and analytics, you can track every item from purchase orders, incoming items, inventory in warehouse and fulfillment centers, and across the entire sales orchestration process.

By aggregating all of your inventory across distribution points, shippers, and third-party logistics, increasing inventory visibility improves everything about your operations.

This can be challenging, but it’s essential to maintain accurate levels. Organizations need one single version of the truth that encompasses the entire order lifecycle.

Digitize and Automate Data and Analytics

Only 15% of US retailers have completed digitizing their supply chain. Yet, managing the supply chain today is too complex for spreadsheets and manual processes. The only solution to maintain accurate inventory is automation. Every touchpoint of the supply chain lifecycle and order count must be accounted for and in sync.

You’ll need an order management system with deep integrations to accommodate your supplies, sales channels, and distribution networks. Accurate inventory requires end-to-end visibility throughout the supply chain.

Eliminate Manual Tracking and Tracing

With the right system, you eliminate the need for manual tracking and tracing. The best solutions will help you identify bottlenecks in your supply chain so you can plan more efficiently.

Forecast Demand

Using historical data, seasonality factors, and consumer behavior, you can make better decisions about safety stock and inventory ordering. This data also helps you better forecast demand to ensure adequate supplies are on hand to meet customer needs.

Improve Efficiency and ROI

You can also use this data to refine your operations for greater efficiency. Automating the process means things don’t fall through the cracks. When you know your inventory counts are accurate, you can make better decisions at every level.

Optimize Your Inventory

With accurate data, you can optimize your inventory. You can segment your entire product line and track sales and shipments more easily. This lets you track gross margins by product lines or SKUs so you know what’s making you the most money and where margins are lacking.

You can also track what inventory isn’t moving and may be worth considering discounting depending on holding costs.

Experience More Accurate Inventory Management & Control with an Order Management System (OMS) iStock-1334614073

The tech stack you employ can either provide an accurate inventory count or not. It takes the right order management system (OMS) to track the entire lifecycle from click to delivery.

With Deck Commerce, you can automatically process 98% of your orders — even the most complex orders. This reduces human error and ensures your inventory is always in sync across every channel.

Deck Commerce automates your inventory tracking with real-time visibility throughout every stage of order management and order fulfillment. This creates a more efficient workflow that helps you avoid stockouts, manage reorder points, and optimize inventory levels.

Deck Commerce lets you optimize your entire order fulfillment strategy.

Omnichannel & Store Fulfillment

You can automate your sell, fulfill, and return processes even to meet today’s consumer demands. For example, you can bring together Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPSIS), Buy Online, Return in Store (BORIS), ship from store, and more to keep inventory counts accurate.

Preorders & Backorders

For items not in stock, you can display estimated ship dates and auto-process inventory as it arrives to update counts.

Marketplaces & Dropshipping

You get flexible tools for managing inventory and fulfillment between channels, sources, and vendors to create a seamless customer experience.

Affiliate Programs

You can also manage affiliate programs effectively with Deck Commerce, preventing losses and maximizing sales.

All of these features streamline your operations and help you scale omnichannel and multi-brand operations. Eliminating outsourcing or using internal teams for OMS updates and automating up to 98% of your DTC order processing.

To learn more about how Deck Commerce can help meet customer demand and improve inventory visibility, contact Deck Commerce today or request a quick online demo.

About the Author
Jackie Breen

Jackie oversees strategic growth initiatives at Deck Commerce. She has 10+ years of experience in ecommerce solutioning for high-volume retail brands.

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