Over the last few years, e-commerce has experienced a substantial business growth due to increase in internet usage. The top players in the retail market are China and US, estimated to have $300 billion and $270 billion of retail sales figures respectively. One of the areas where most e-commerce businesses face problems is inventory management. There have been many cases where faulty or incorrect inventory management has led to snags in business operations for e-commerce companies like poor customer service, forecast sales errors and mismanaged inventory.
In simple terms, the main principle behind inventory management is to ensure there is enough stock to meet demand and to not go overboard which causes capital misuse.
The e-commerce industry is growing at an unprecedented rate. Worldwide retail sales are expected to jump to $28 trillion by 2019 with retail e-commerce accounting for 12.8% of retail purchases. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to drive this growth with e-commerce sales in the region expected to climb $3.5 trillion by 2019, contributing to almost 23.5% of the retail e-commerce sales growth worldwide.
Retail e-commerce or electronic retailing is also commonly known as e-tailing. It accounts for a significant share of revenue earned by the global retail market due to its supremacy in online trade and business operations. This growth has been helped along by increasing integration of mobile and smartphones phones, the internet and 3G network in the market. Several convenient payment methods like mobile payment, internet banking, and cash on delivery are appealing features that are helping in the growth of the global e-tailing market.
With such huge numbers, it can become quite difficult, not to mention time-consuming, to enter, track and manage inventory manually using archaic desktop systems. But thanks to new programs designed by technology firms, easy-to-use applications have been created for this purpose, which we call enterprise mobility solutions. With the help of these applications, it has now become possible to manage inventory in a way that was impossible several years ago.
As per reports, US Total Business Inventories is currently at a level of 1.841 trillion USD, which is up from 1.836 Trillion last month and up from 1.8 trillion a year ago. Inventory management can prove to be a complex task when retailers deal with large stock volumes and are spread across multiple locations.
An effective Mobile Application Management (MAM) tool for inventory management will help a business in the following areas:
- Check all inventory on one screen
- Track, sort, filter and search for items easily
- Ability to retrieve most important inventory information like date, name, category, location, and the barcode
- Ability to manage various stocks by separating items into different groups
- Receive alerts on stock shortages
- Import/export data
- Automatic and manual SOS inventory sync
- Track cost history per item
- Analysis sales reports and order history for each product
Enterprise Mobile Application Management for Inventory Control
Thanks to technological advancements, the e-commerce industry now enjoys greater mobility in inventory management, making managing and tracking goods easier than before. Company representatives are no longer required to be present physically at factories or warehouses for inventory management. With innovative mobile applications, companies can now receive real-time data updates, helping warehouse staff stay aware of stock status.
It also allows companies to engage with their customers in real-time across different channels. They can track their visitors and check email analytics to get a better idea of their customer’s preferences.
But most importantly inventory management software informs companies when they are overstocking or when there is a shortage of stock. By using a mobile enterprise application solution, companies can avoid making such crucial mistakes in their inventory management.
Advantages of MAM for Inventory Management
There are several advantages of using a mobile enterprise application system to manage inventory when compared to a hardware system:
- Quick and easy upgrade
If a company’s inventory is being managed with a mobile app, it can be easily upgraded in case of any advancements in technology. But in cases where a hardware system is being used, it becomes necessary to purchase new technology for implementation. A cloud-based mobile application can be easily maintained as well.
A traditional hardware based inventory managed system is very time-consuming. Replacing it with a mobile inventory management system will help save a lot of time for the company.
- Easy Implementation
Setting up a mobile inventory management system will be easy since most employees already use smartphones. Installing an app-based inventory management system will be easier and will offer instant access for workers to the system from anywhere. A mobile stock-tracking device can be incredibly useful for e-commerce companies that have multiple warehouses in different locations. What about the data security in BYOD?
- Budget Friendly
Several times it is seen that smaller businesses often fails under the pressure of setting up expensive inventory management software systems. On the other hand, a mobile enterprise application platform will prove to be a much more cost-effective option for managing stock digitally.
Companies adopting a mobile enterprise application platform will find it easy to support various types of mobile devices and operating systems like Windows, iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Also, a mobile enterprise application platform will integrate easily with different devices like credit card readers, scanners and printers. What about data security on the devices?
- Remote Inventory Monitoring
A mobile inventory management system will help keep tabs on inventory while it is being transported from one location to another. Managers can keep track of which items are being shipped from a warehouse and when the inventory enters another warehouse.
- Less Errors
By adopting an automated mobile inventory management process, the chances of errors in counting stock also decreases significantly.
For any e-commerce business, having control over its inventory from any part of the world is of utmost importance. Keeping track of inventory that is being constantly moved around or changed can be tiring, especially when it is not possible to be physically present in the warehouse always. Manually this is an impossible task. But a strong MAM program would be the best solution for managing inventory, allowing the authorized company person to easily search for stock using almost any device. A mobile enterprise application platform is also a far more affordable option than an inventory-management software. Overall, there is a good case to be made on why adapting the new technology may be a crucial step for e-commerce vendors to ensure their growth and success in the future.