Inventory Management Strategy: Play Chess, Not Battleship

chess pawns and king

Commerce is a game of strategy. As customers’ expectations continue to accelerate, inventory precision is imperative to reducing shopping cart abandonment, optimizing fulfillment, and ultimately delivering a winning customer experience.

Inventory Visibility & Planning

Like in a game of chess, you need a clear view of the board to evaluate how to advance. If certain areas or pieces are obstructed from view, you're left incapable of calculating the smartest next move.  And although you’re likely not in the business of selling rooks and knights, varying components of your inventory have their own unique rules related to allocation and order orchestration.

Like in a game of chess, you need a clear view of the board and understanding of the rules to evaluate how to advance.

Which warehouse or retail store should inventory come from?

Without a holistic view of your inventory, managing a commerce department can feel a lot like a game of Battleship. Lacking a view of the playing field, locating pieces becomes a wasteful process of guesswork. (And you’re always left with a sinking feeling).

This is one more way an order management system (OMS) is a game-changer. A proper OMS will collect and aggregate inventory from an unlimited number of endpoints or channels – be it stores, distribution centers, 3PLs, etc. This aggregated view enables real-time precision for front-end and back-end systems and fuels a strategic order orchestration process.

Shoot Down Guesswork

As a customer shops online, the most up-to-date inventory availability should be displayed to prevent oversells. An advanced OMS will aggregate inventory from all your channels and pass available-to-sell information to storefronts through real-time APIs.

Deck Commerce OMS automatically protects “safety stock” margins and can allocate designated inventory percentages to specific front-end channels. For example, many businesses opt to set aside separate stock for marketplace sales (e.g., Amazon and eBay sales through ChannelAdvisor).

You have customer expectations—and operational SLAs—to uphold. Stop bombing the order process with inaccurate inventory information. Leveraging OMS for inventory management including pre and backorder visibility replaces guesswork with a comprehensive view and strategy designed for your DTC business.

House Rules

Although Deck Commerce always consults customers with industry best practices, automated workflows can be configured to your business’s rules. Your house, your rules.

Like chess, our out-of-the-box solution comes with a core framework that has stood the test of time, but nuances naturally exist in best-in-breed tech stacks, legacy ERP systems, or unique product regulations. From product customization approval to customer appeasements, workflow mapping is a standard scoping exercise and benefit.

The standard rules paired with your configured workflow needs establish the strategy that automatically orchestrates orders. It’s like playing chess online against a computer: The computer has the advantage because the best move is pre-calculated and human error is removed.  

It’s Your Turn

The world moves in real time. Your customers shop in real time. With an order management solution in your tech stack, comprehensive inventory views and order orchestration can be real time as well. It’s time to stop lobbing guesswork into an unknown battlefield, time to stop waiting for your opponent to move again. With OMS, it’s your turn to advance.

Learn how retailers scale and grow with Deck Commerce Order Management

About the Author
Kari Polson

Kari is passionate about helping direct-to-consumer brands grow by optimizing their entire customer experience. She can typically be found with coffee in hand and listening to a good podcast.

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