Research by Advanced Supply Chain Group demonstrates growing retail sales channels are causing a majority of stock inventory management issues for 53% of retailers. On average, retailers sell through five channels, with 71% of respondents expecting this number to grow in the next five years because of impacts from the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and Brexit.
“Increasing sales channels is helping retailers to mitigate the unpredictability and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and Brexit. More routes to market can help to drive both sales volumes and value by reaching new customers and optimising retail selling prices,” says Claire Webb, managing director at Advanced Supply Chain Group. “However, whilst expanding channels creates more opportunity, it can also bring with it more challenges. Over half of retailers (53%) reported stock inventory management problems caused by growing sales channels.”
The survey finds that retailers have adjusted to inventory challenges by recruiting more staff to handle the stock (47%), expanding warehouse and fulfillment space (45%) and increasing the number of suppliers they source products from (42%).
“Minimizing errors and successfully managing stock requires technology and software that can integrate different vendors and suppliers that make up multichannel strategies. This ensures the right data, in the right format, flows to the right place at the correct time in a supply chain. It creates a control view of stock that’s built on accurate and real-time information to avoid costly stockpiling and out-of-stock scenarios,” says Webb.
- The top five most-used retail sales channels include owned ecommerce stores (65%), bricks and mortar shops (48%), Facebook (47%), third party online marketplaces (41%) and Instagram (35%).
- 38% of retailers highlighted managing stock levels as the biggest challenge of selling through more channels, with a similar number (37%) stating that forecasting stock became more difficult, while just over a third (35%) cited issues of overselling products through multiple platforms and this creating out-of-stock scenarios.