How case packs can be leveraged by sellers to optimize inventory control

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Thinking about how to fit case packs into your workflow is an important consideration for distributors and retailers alike. 

For distributors, it’s necessary to have the right packaging and ideal pack quantity with your retailers and your end buyer in mind.

For retailers, case pack workflows are doubly important. They need to quickly move products and manage inventory day-to-day.  

What are case packs? 

In simple terms, case packs are a quantity of the same SKU that the manufacturer packages together and distributes to their customer – whether a retailer or directly to the end consumer.

In simpler terms, case packs are the mechanism for how individual products are packaged for distribution. 

Case packs for retailers

Traditionally case packs have remained top of mind for merchants who sell primarily in-store. It’s that way because they are more visible to the consumer. This is because the packs themselves are often what is stocked on the shelves. This applies to a wide variety of products like food and beverage, health and beauty etc…

Nowadays, multichannel sellers see the need to account for a case in two ways. As a unit of sale on it’s own, as well as the ability to count the items in the pack as part of the inventory. 

Retailers who sell end products they don’t manufacture simply need to be able to account for case packs in their inventory. 

This is especially important if they are selling packs directly to consumers. They need to know how many individual units are available, and how many full packs are available to sell in a single transaction. 

Errors in properly accounting for case pack quantities can lead to overselling, or worse, cancelled orders.

Case packs for manufacturers and distributors

Brands that handle manufacturing and distribution look at case packs as a way to move more units and boost their brand recognition.

For brands looking to break into large retail stores, case packs are make or break. 

Packaging has to fit in a retailer’s shelf space and maximize the number of units per pack. You have to fit the most product in the least amount of space while delivering value and efficiency for buyers. Oh and the look and design have to be on-brand and distinguishable from the competition.

Smaller, space-saving case packs are ideal for two reasons.

  1. It’s better for the retailer
  2. It will increase the likelihood of offering more than one SKU in a limited amount of space

If the end consumer is buying items by the pack, smaller packs are an easier purchase for them to make. They see the savings of buying in bulk but also don’t feel like they are over-buying. 

What’s the big deal about case packs?

Retailers are always looking for ways to better give buyers a better experience. It’s one of the positives of fierce competition. The merchant who provides shoppers the best product, value and experience will usually come out on top.

Utilizing case packs in your inventory management workflows allows you to track received case packs, as well as the inner-products within them and include that in their quantities.

Most retailers receive products from their suppliers in case packs. It’s vital to be able to track both the pack itself as well as the individual components of the pack. 

Using case packs as part of an integrated inventory management strategy has another benefit:

  • It can limit the number of workarounds needed in your warehouse workflow
  • Ability to store case packs in locations under the actual case pack SKU

A warehouse management system that accounts for case packs can also add a layer of needed transparency. To view the cased quantities vs. uncased quantities makes it another actionable layer of inventory data.

What to consider when adding case packs to your inventory management system

You’ll need to have an inventory management system in place that tracks received case packs as well as the inner-products that make up the quantities within them. 

When viewing your catalog, easily switch between cased and uncased quantities and view them separately or as a whole. It’s also beneficial to be able to create a case pack within your catalogs.

Another way to add it into the workflow is to convert case quantity to individual quantity. Do this as an inventory search, or when looking at pick lists. 

Case packs can sometimes get complex. Merchants will benefit most from an inventory system that supports multi-level cases and can account for the difference between things like the master carton or the inner carton. 

Always keep in mind that depending on what you sell and who your distributors are, a case pack could mean many different things. Good relationships with your vendors are essential to getting the most out of case packs. 

Real-world examples of case packs done right 

Sellers can utilize case packs on channels like Amazon as a way to shore up market share. Many sellers are looking to move up the ranks of Amazon, and fully understanding how best to sell case packs on that platform is a great way to gain ground.

That’s why Amazon allows for scheduled deliveries of certain items that are used on a consistent basis. Think toothpaste, razors etc… personal care products are a major contender for the direct-to-consumer case pack model that Amazon offers.

These are the types of products that are meant to be purchased regularly because consumers just want to have a stock of them on hand. They don’t want to have to think about it and they certainly don’t want to spend extra time purchasing the items. For this reason, they would rather just buy the whole case pack, at a per unit discount, instead of running out to the store each time they need to replenish.

Brands can also use case packs to optimize their in-store offerings. Exclusive membership stores like Costco are highly coveted for retailers. If you don’t have case packs, you probably won’t be able to sell there.


It’s important to know inventory levels of cased items and un-cased items separately. The flexibility to sell an entire case and be able to sell cased items individually allows your business to be more nimble and remain competitive in the multichannel landscape.  

The most important thing for retailers to know about case packs is simply the ability to know if a product lives in cases or as individually stocked items in the warehouse. You need to be able to see case quantities on an individual item level.