With the ongoing advancement in retail technologies, we have transformed how we sell to our customers over the last decade.
Where once retail was predominately bricks-and-mortar, retailers are now selling on their websites, social media, and big platforms like Amazon.
And where once customers had to visit a store to make a purchase, they can now use their smartphones, laptops, tablet devices and even their smart speakers to buy what they want.
So, it’s against that backdrop that managing your inventory is much more complicated than it once was.
Nowadays, you’re managing stock in a physical store and through eCommerce platforms, online marketplaces, your website, and many other places.
If you’re struggling with managing your inventory, it’s essential to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
As the retail industry adapts to different ways of buying and selling, so too has technology come up with answers.
After all, managing your stock levels across multiple physical stores, social media, eCommerce and selling platforms would be nearly impossible if you relied on humans to do the legwork.
Imagine the chaos that would ensue if humans were responsible for that job.
Inventory management has never been more challenging or more important, so we’re dedicating a whole guide to the subject today.
You’ll learn about the importance of inventory management for retailers in today’s hyper-competitive industry.
We’ll also explain seven powerful benefits of using an EPOS system to improve inventory management.
7 powerful ways an EPOS system improves inventory management
Avoiding having too many of the wrong products or too few of the right products is key to retail success.
After all, if you can’t sell a product, you’re losing money, and if you sell out of a product, you’re also losing money.
And that’s where a high-quality EPOS system earns its keep; by making sure you never overstock or understock again.
There’s nothing more harmful to a retailer’s reputation in their customer’s eyes than being constantly out of stock for products.
Here are seven powerful ways an EPOS system will improve your inventory management.
1. Never run low on stock using stock alerts.
It’s incredible to think, but just a few short decades ago, retailers had to count their stock one by one physically.
And, of course, human error meant that mistakes would happen often.
Nowadays, though, managing your inventory is a much more hassle-free, efficient process.
That’s because if you use a powerful EPOS system (ahem, like AirPOS, for example), you can set minimum stock levels.
But what does that mean in practice?
Imagine you’re a shoe shop store, online and offline.
A particular pair of brown leather shoes are selling fast.
You can then set your EPOS system to alert you and reorder these fast-selling shoes once they get to a particular stock level; for example, there are only 15 pairs left.
The good news is that you can do that with any product across many locations, which means you’ll never run out of stock again.
Even better, you can set different stock levels for individual products, so, for example, slow-selling items hit a different threshold before they’re re-ordered.
2. Predict trends and get customer insights.
Pre-2000, the retail industry involved much guesswork.
You’d guess what trends might be on the horizon.
And you’d guess what customers might be into for each season.
But when the big data era arrived, retailers no longer had to gamble on what would be a hit and inevitably lose money if something didn’t sell.
That’s because modern, powerful EPOS systems help you remove the guesswork and make data-driven decisions.
We know much more about customers now than ever before in retail history.
EPOS systems give you access to all the critical customer data with reports, including what customers like to buy from you, when they buy, and how much they spend.
That means, for example, you can stock up on products that are hot sellers and mark down bad selling products to get rid of them.
And it also means you’ll be able to spot seasonal trends; if a product sold well last summer, you could stock up on it again this summer.
Having access to this critical data means you ultimately have access to information that helps you understand your customers better and make educated decisions and assumptions for stock buying.
3. Manage inventory across different locations.
As we discussed earlier, retailers are no longer confined to physical stores.
Indeed, many have an omnichannel and multi-channel presence.
But managing online and offline stores can be a real challenge if you’re not keeping a laser-like focus on stock levels across all stores.
Selling out online but being overstocked for the same product in-store isn’t going to win you many plaudits with customers.
Thankfully, the best EPOS systems allow you to manage inventory across different locations.
That means you can effortlessly run a multi-location store and seamlessly track and sync stock to avoid nasty out of stock issues.
With one centralised system, you’ll be able to control inventory online and offline and get a 360-degree view of your business.
Even better, your EPOS system will be able to integrate with your ecommerce store too – WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce etc. – which allows you to share stock through your online and offline stores.
4. See stock anytime, anywhere.
Central to the success of many retailers is their ability to keep on top of their inventory.
Modern, busy retailers need access to their stock 24/7.
They need real-time data that alerts them to stocking issues and automatically adapts to peaks and troughs.
This should be pretty standard for most POS systems, however, some don’t provide it out of the box. Thankfully AirPOS does.
Using the AirPOS reports app, retailers can see stock anywhere, whether online or offline.
And being able to see your stock means you’ll have a firm grasp of where it is.
You’ll quickly understand what it’s doing, why it’s selling (or not selling), and the actions you might need to take.
Even better, the AirPOS reports app will automatically be updated in the easy-to-use, centralised system as soon as a product is sold online or offline.
5. Manage inventory via different channels (e-commerce and in-store).
It’s incredible how many ways you can sell products nowadays.
You could be listing products on the Facebook marketplace or selling them on Instagram stories.
Or you might be selling them in-store or through click and collect or you might be selling them through your slick new eCommerce website.
With all those options, though, there’s an inevitable headache; how do I manage inventory across different channels?
Thankfully, technology has answered that question; say hello to the EPOS system, which effectively manages your stock across many channels.
Robust EPOS systems like AirPOS allow you to sync data into one simple, centralised system that manages your inventory across all channels.
Ultimately, a good EPOS system removes the headache of managing your inventory across multiple channels.
6. EPOS systems help you check stock at the till when customers ask.
Modern retail customers are impatient; they want and need things quickly and with minimum fuss.
Long gone are the days when they’ll spend several minutes searching your store.
And why should they?
A simple visit to the checkout will answer their stock questions.
So, if a customer wants to know where a product is or whether it’s in stock, your trusty EPOS system will give you the answers quickly.
You can filter products through tags, names, colours, sizes or anything you want.
Ultimately, it means your customers enjoy a better buying experience and a hassle-free way of identifying products they’re interested in.
And for you, it means less time is spent searching for products and checking stock levels; all the information can be pulled up instantly with a quick scan of a barcode or SKU.
7. A good EPOS system allows you to upload inventory faster with barcodes and SKUs.
Thankfully, the days of manually uploading inventory for your eCommerce store are long gone for most retailers.
That’s because retailers are now benefiting from robust EPOS systems that do all the legwork.
Once you had to upload products one by one (yawn!), you now can upload many products in bulk simultaneously.
The vast majority of good EPOS systems (ahem, did we mention AirPOS?) come with a barcode scanner that allows you to scan barcodes and SKUs quickly.
It’s not exciting and certainly won’t set your pulse racing, but inventory management is a crucial business function for retailers.
There’s no doubt about it; inventory management in 2022 is much more challenging than it was even a decade ago.
As you’ve learned today, EPOS systems provide a wide range of benefits for retailers like you.
You’ll rest easy knowing that you’ll never run low on stock because your EPOS system will have intelligent stock alerts set.
You will be ahead of competitors because your EPOS system will help you predict trends by accessing powerful customer insights.
No longer will inventory across different locations be a barrier to success; your EPOS system will manage everything in one centralised system.
Say goodbye to phone calls and emails to see where your stock is; using an EPOS system like AirPOS means you can see inventory anytime, anywhere.
In this era of multi-platform, multi-location selling, an excellent EPOS system will also allow you to manage inventory across various channels.
Even better, your new EPOS system will make the customer’s buying experience better while also allowing you to check stock levels from the check-out when a customer asks.
Finally, a good EPOS system allows you to make full use of barcodes and SKUs to manage your inventory, allowing you to save time with bulk uploads.
Ultimately, with all retail technologies, the main ambition is to save you time and money and help you make money (profit).
The good news is that the best EPOS systems help you achieve that and provide you with many other vital features to help you manage every facet of your retail business.
How can AirPOS help?
AirPOS is one of the world’s best EPOS systems that allows you to manage your inventory effectively.
Built by retailers for retailers, you can try AirPOS today with zero risks and take advantage of our 14-day free trial.
Fancy a demo first?
Book in for your free remote demo with a member of our team.
Our team of EPOS experts will walk you through the system, tailor it to your business needs and answer any questions you may have, not only about AirPOS but EPOS in general.