Automated Inventory Management: What Is It & How Can It Boost Business?

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Every ecommerce entrepreneur has a goal to take their business to new and exciting heights. But with that comes the need to work with the better tools and resources that our modern digital age – thankfully – offers us. 

In fact in the last five years alone, the demand for automated inventory management has doubled as businesses wake up to the power of automation.

Imagine you’re running a successful business, receiving an outpour of orders and customer ratings are through the roof – but now that you’re scaling up, so does the complexity of managing all the inventory. This is where automated inventory management systems step in to lead the way to more efficient business operations. 

While pre-loved manual structures become a thing of the past, automated systems are coming onto the scene to fuel your business. You can expect real-time inventory data and tracking information, visibility over all the stock, and so much more. 

Let’s dive straight into everything you need to know about automated inventory management and how it can take your business to the next level while saving you both time and money. 

What is automated inventory management?

Automated inventory management revolutionizes the way businesses handle their product stocks. It harnesses the power of digital systems, tools, and applications for inventory control, monitoring and management with unparalleled efficiency and accuracy. 

Gone are the days of manual record-keeping and tedious calculations. This modern system streamlines the inventory management process, ensuring swift operations while significantly reducing the chances of costly mistakes. Say hello to a new era of inventory management where speed, precision, and productivity converge.

What is an automated inventory management system?

To take it one step further, an automated inventory management system is a platform that provides retailers with real-time data about inventory at all stages and locations. 

Think of it like a one-stop-shop for all your ecommerce needs. From inventory tracking and forecasting to syncing across warehouse locations and sales channels, automated inventory software simplifies your workflows and makes it easier to respond to change. 

What are the benefits of automated inventory management?

With automation on your side, you can wave goodbye to inventory guesswork. These clever systems keep you in the know about exactly how much stock you need and when to reorder it to help you avoid over-selling and stockouts. No more nail-biting moments when you realize you’ve run out of your hottest-selling product.

Woman doing manual inventory checks

What’s even better is that systems like Linnworks manage your inventory across all your warehouse locations and sales channels with multichannel integrations. 

 How you can scale your business with Linnworks: 

  • Avoids stockouts and prevents overstocking: With fast inventory sync across multiple sales channels, you’ll always have the right amount of products for your customer orders
  • Forecast demand with accurate inventory data: You’ll see every revenue opportunity for your business by know which product sell the best on which sales channel
  • Manage inventory levels: Gain access to a dashboard that will enable you to track stock levels in one centralized location for an accurate picture across multiple sales channels
  • Faster shipping workflows: Print all shopping labels in bulk, easily track the order of any delivery, and save money on carriers by comparing them first.

How does automation help the customer experience?

Research shows that nine in 10 shoppers prioritize retailers that offer a convenient experience. 

This experience extends from the moment your prospects or customers are discovering your brand through to final product delivery, returns and any related customer service interactions. 

How automated inventory management software can increase customer satisfaction: 

  • Reducing stockouts: No-one likes sold-out products – not customers or ecommerce owners. Real-time updates ensure stock counts are optimized and products are available. This reduces the risk of delay or disappointment and enables you to meet customer demand.
  • Faster Order Processing: Automation streamlines order processing, from order placement to fulfillment, reducing processing times and enabling quicker delivery to customers.
  • Timely Updates on Order Status: An automated inventory system provides customers with regular updates on the status of their orders, including tracking information, enhancing transparency and keeping customers informed throughout the fulfillment process.
  • Personalized Email Notifications: Automated systems can send personalized notifications to customers, such as restock alerts or special offers based on their preferences or past purchases, enhancing engagement and fostering customer loyalty.
  • Seamless Multi-Channel Experience: Not to mention, an automated inventory system helps maintain consistency across multiple sales channels, ensuring a seamless shopping experience regardless of the platform customers use.
  • Minimized Errors and Delays: Automated inventory management reduces human errors and delays, such as overselling or stocking incorrect items, resulting in a smoother customer experience and avoiding frustrations.

These are some ways (just to name a few) that implementing an automated inventory management system can significantly elevate the customer experience, enhancing satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.

What are the key features of automated inventory management systems?

Automated inventory management stock checks

You’ll want to consider both your current needs and how the system can support your future growth when choosing an automated inventory management software. Don’t overlook the importance of comprehensive support across all aspects of your business, going beyond just forecasts and workflows.

Let’s dive into the features you should keep an eye out for when exploring automated inventory control systems.

Predicting supply and demand

When it comes to inventory management, staying one step ahead of supply and demand is crucial. That’s where the power of advanced software comes into play. 

These intelligent systems can analyze sales patterns, giving you the ability to predict and prepare for fluctuations in supply and demand. 

It’s like having a vision into the future that helps you navigate seasonal products and complex market conditions with finesse.

Demand forecasting uses cases

Curious about the practical applications of demand forecasting? Here’s a few ways you can make the most of this feature: 

  • Adjusting Stock Levels: When the sales frenzy hits, automated inventory management systems can elevate stock levels to meet rising demand. Once the sales storm settles, here at Linnworks, we can simply adjust the stock volume, preventing any unnecessary inventory buildup.
  • Optimizing Inventory: Forget about relying on manual processes and spreadsheets that often lead to out-of-stock nightmares and frustrating delays. Linnworks lets you analyze sales and stock levels across the board, making it easier than ever to optimize inventory levels. 
  • Improved Forecasting: Historical sales data, seasonal trends, and the analysis of similar products are golden nuggets of information. When you harness the power of automated inventory management, you can tap into these insights and elevate your forecasting game. 
  • Smart Purchasing Decisions: Timing is everything, especially when it comes to selling online. Linnworks is your trusty companion you can rely on for forecasted sales, lead time, and desired stock cover days, helping you make informed purchasing decisions. 

With demand forecasting at your fingertips, you’ll be able to navigate market fluctuations and make strategic decisions that propel your business forward. It’s time to embrace the future of inventory management where anticipation becomes your greatest ally.

Streamlining workflows

Say goodbye to slow, repetitive, and tedious manual workflows, thanks to Linnworks. 

Manual work not only slows you down but also opens the door to human error. But fear not, because Linnworks is here to automate those workflows, freeing up your team’s time for tasks that require their focus and attention. It’s like having a productivity booster on steroids!

Efficient workflows in action

Warehouse team utilising automated inventory management system

Effortless Order Processing: Once your customers place orders, Linnworks springs into action like a well-oiled machine, without requiring any additional work from your team. The system determines workflow rules the moment instantly, leading to efficient order fulfillment – even lending a hand with logistics and warehouse management processes.

Flexibility in Fulfillment: If a product is out of stock at the customer’s nearest logistics center, Linnworks can automatically fulfill the order from a different location where the goods are available. 

Bid farewell to sluggish manual workflows and the potential for errors. With Linnworks automating your processes, you’ll experience streamlined operations, efficient order processing, and logistics – unlocking new levels of productivity and customer satisfaction. 

Gaining real-time insights

Great automated inventory management systems will ensure your business can access real-time data to help you scale up. Linnworks offers accurate and up-to-the-minute inventory counts and order insights, so you have a crystal-clear view of what’s happening in your business. 

Real-time data doesn’t just give you a snapshot of your current stock levels. It’s also a game-changer when it comes to automating your inventory management processes. 

With a bird’s-eye view of your inventory, you can: 

  • Keep the right amount of stock on hand
  • Track inventory that is running low
  • Ensure smooth operations
  • Bid farewell to manual purchasing headaches.

Linnworks not only provides you up-to-date insights, it also manages real-time data across all locations you sell on to maximize sales growth and operational efficiency. 

Automating listing management

By automating listing management, you can keep out-of-stock items listed online while clearly indicating their unavailability. 

Think of it like having a virtual sign that says “out of stock” while still giving customers the chance to find the products they’re looking for. Automation takes it a step further by allowing you to present alternative options to customers or provide them with the opportunity to sign up for a notification when the product is back in stock. 

Why is listing management crucial for multichannel selling?

When selling across multiple sales channels, managing listings can be a big challenge for ecommerce owners. 

With the automated listing management that Linnworks offers, you can write a single listing and effortlessly share it across all the sites and apps where your products are sold – saving you precious time and effort. 

No more updating each listing individually or worrying about inconsistencies. Automation ensures consistency, reduces the chance of mistakes, and keeps your online presence streamlined.

Targeting copy to audiences: Personalized messaging at scale

Happy customer opening package

The best automated inventory management systems will enable you to speak directly to your audience (or a variety of audiences) through great personalized messaging. Here’s a few ways automation can help you connect with your customers. 

Use Cases for Audience Targeted Copy:

  • Tailored Pages for Different Generations: Each generation has its own preferences and communication style. Automation allows you to display different versions of a listing for various sites or apps based on the target audience. Whether it’s Generation Z or an older audience, your messaging can adapt to capture their attention effectively
  • Consistent Dynamic Language: Automation ensures that certain product attributes like dimensions, technical features, and environmental credentials remain constant across different audience segments.
  • Customized Pricing and Promotions: Every audience segment may have different price sensitivities and preferences when it comes to promotions. An efficient, automated inventory system will enable you to automatically tailor pricing and promotions to specific audiences. 

Targeting copy to audiences with automation is key to building engagement. Linnworks can aid you in ridding generic content and introducing messaging that really resonates with your customers.

Grouping listings

Another helpful feature of inventory management software is the ability to group listings by categorizing products that are similar to or complement each other. A purchase order for one product could trigger a notification that there’s a demand increase in a specific category, allowing your team to stock accordingly. 

If replacement stock isn’t available from a supplier for a specific item, then you can stock up on the alternatives recommended by your automated inventory management system. Create urgency and manage expectations by adding a notice to low-stock items such as “selling fast” or “limited availability.”  

Cost-saving benefits

With an automated inventory management system on your side, you can reduce costly errors that are typically caused by manual data entry. 

No more accidentally ordering of excess stock or missing out on sales opportunities due to inventory discrepancies. 

Linnworks, specifically, also includes features that keep labor costs down by: 

  • Using Real-Time Metrics: Built-in analytics that provide data on worker performance and shows areas for improvement.
  • Helping Employee Training: An automated system means training new employees is easier than ever and cuts costs associated with manual onboarding processes.
  • Speeding Up Inventory Counts: Manual methods for inventory counting are time consuming, but you still need to know how much inventory you have! That’s where automated inventory solutions step in. They offer complete visibility and will outperform any manual system to save time and reduce costs.

Streamlining your operations helps you save those precious dollars – key for small businesses, in particular. Think of it like a personal financial advisor who’s always looking out for your bottom line! 

Real-world examples of automated inventory management

Tru Earth website home page

Here’s what our friends over at Tru Earth say about how automated inventory management systems have helped them completely scale up their business and introduce better workflows and overall efficiency:

“At Tru Earth, we use a comprehensive inventory management system which consistently syncs our inventory levels with our sales, enabling us to update the inventory in real-time across all the channels we operate. It also has built-in reporting features that aid us to make data-driven business decisions!

From an eCommerce perspective, an inventory management system is absolutely essential for keeping a real-time tab on stock levels and sales and preventing understocking or overstocking – which can either lead to lost sales or dead stock respectively. 

They also touched on just how important automated inventory management systems are in the digital age: 

“In an era where the entire retail and eCommerce landscape is fiercely competitive, inventory management systems are no longer a luxury but a necessity. Delighting the customer with exceptional service and seamless experiences is the key – and this is where an inventory management system can help eCommerce platforms truly excel.” 

Ryan Mckenzie, the Co-Founder & CMO of Tru Earth. Tru Earth® is a leading eco-friendly household product company committed to eliminating plastic from landfills and oceans.

Automated inventory management is a easy with Linnworks

Ready to revolutionize your inventory management process? Automating your inventory systems brings a world of benefits with minimal manual effort. 

A good automated system helps provide the best experience for everyone, especially customers. It does this by boosting efficiency, listing products at the perfect time and tracking inventory using advanced data analytics ready for reordering. Not to mention reducing the potential for human error that comes with manual inventory management.  

But automation isn’t just about effective inventory management. It’s the secret ingredient to rapidly scaling your business while adapting to those constant market changes.

Discover what Linnworks can do for you

An automated inventory system like Linnworks will give you back your well-deserved time so you can focus on other areas of business and unlock new, exciting possibilities. 

Are you ready to take your inventory control to the next level? See Linnworks in action with our interactive product tour and dive into all that this automated inventory management solution has to offer.

It’s time to discover the power of inventory automation and learn how to navigate the world of inventory management in a multichannel selling environment.