How real-time stock visibility can transform your marketing efforts

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As ecommerce businesses scale and become increasingly complex, it’s essential to invest in technologies to track and manage their most important assets — stock and employees. If a business loses track of these two vital ingredients, the resulting chaos can be catastrophic.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) like Linnworks can be deployed to ensure your stock and your staff are in the right place at the right time, to ensure you deliver on your promises and continue to delight your customers.

However, the uses of real-time stock visibility go far beyond the logistics of warehouse management and product dispatch. We spoke to Simeon Iliev, Business Development Manager at E-Motive Online, to learn how online sellers can utilize real-time stock visibility across the entire organization. 

Helping businesses sell online

E-Motive helps businesses sell successfully online. “We work with brands, manufacturers, resellers, and distributors,” says Iliev. “It’s all about establishing organizations online and connecting them with online marketplaces. Or, if they’re already selling online, simply helping them do it better.”

Historically, E-Motive has been particularly strong in complex marketplace categories like automotive parts and accessories. “Our strongest vertical is definitely automotive,” says Iliev. “We also have a proven track record with home and garden and sports and leisure. We’re seeing a lot of success in the fashion and technology categories, too.”

People and technology

Working across myriad verticals and with such a diverse range of organizations requires a range of go-to-market strategies. These strategies often involve the deployment of both people power and technology. “We cover many different areas in our ecommerce projects,” says Iliev. “As such, we have quite a few successful partnerships. One of them, as you might suspect, is with Linnworks.”

E-Motive’s approach depends on a variety of different factors. While some clients will already be well-versed in ecommerce, others need additional support. “When we’re talking about brands and manufacturers, you can imagine these guys don’t have a huge capacity to establish themselves online,” says Iliev. “That’s why we provide a full end-to-end solution, from literally opening the store, the business account, or the marketplace, to handling customer service, reputation management, data work, and occasionally, even the project’s physical work and fulfilling the orders.”

For businesses already primed for online selling, E-Motive provides expert help ensuring their data is fully optimized. “We make sure that their data is in the best possible shape so that they can enhance product visibility and drive more traffic to their stores and marketplace listings.”

Leveraging data to make better marketing decisions

For online sellers, marketing has evolved beyond the traditional promotional activities generally associated with the profession. 

Almost every aspect of running an ecommerce business creates data. Used wisely, this data is incredibly valuable. But just because every stock movement and customer touchpoint creates data doesn’t mean this data is easily accessible.

“The first problem an online seller needs to solve is how to track that data,” says Iliev. “Spreadsheets will only take you so far. You need to have some kind of inventory management tool that will show you exactly what is happening with your stock. And it’s essential to have that information in real-time.”

Once this data is captured, it can be used across your organization. “Tracking real-time stock movements isn’t just useful in the warehouse,” says Iliev. “For example, making this information available to your marketing teams makes a lot of sense.”

This strategy will not only help marketing build campaigns based on the availability of stock, but it will also help them become more agile and efficient. “If a product suddenly becomes unavailable, there is no point in spending money to promote that product,” says Iliev. “Similarly, if a product is selling slower than expected, marketing can prioritize campaigns to enhance that product’s visibility and hopefully sell more units.”

As lines have blurred between sales, marketing, and customer services, reputation and brand management have become huge components of marketing an ecommerce venture. 

Delivering on your promises

Sellers need to view their listing and inventory management strategy from the perspective of their buyers. “Imagine that you’re a buyer and you don’t just ‘want’ to buy something on eBay, you ‘need’ to buy it,” says Iliev. 

The difference between “want” and “need” is particularly evident in categories like automotive spares and accessories, where a late delivery might mean the difference between getting a vehicle back on the road in time to take someone to work or other essential journeys. 

“If the stock levels on the marketplace aren’t accurate and the seller cannot fulfill that order, that’s a major inconvenience. You realize that you’re either not going to get that item on time or, even worse, not at all. That’s a 100% recipe for disaster in terms of reputation management.”

In an industry where poor customer experience and negative reviews can kill a business overnight, reputation management is an essential component of any go-to-market strategy.

Customer services

There are two reasons why customers inquire about stock levels and delivery schedules.

“First of all, it’s really important for that customer to get that item delivered on time,” says Iliev. “Secondly, they might have been burned in the past and ordered goods that have never arrived. Even if this was five years ago, the memory of the negative experience can still influence their buying decisions.”

When things do go wrong, ensuring your customer service teams have access to real-time stock visibility is essential. But even when stock levels are correct, some customers will require additional reassurance. This is particularly true when selling on channels like eBay.

“Your customer service team bridges the divide between your business and its customers,” says Iliev. “For every 20 orders you receive on eBay, statistically, your customer service team will hear from two customers asking if a product is available. So in that sense, your customer services team must be fully aware of what’s happening with the stock.” 

Third-party fulfillment and global markets

Online sellers are increasingly locating their stock in multiple locations. This helps retailers take advantage of third-party logistic services to access programs like Amazon Prime and enter global markets. “Whether we are talking about manufacturers or resellers, they absolutely need distribution centers,” says Iliev. 

Placing stock in multiple locations enables online sellers to test new markets without investing in new infrastructure. “If your business is based in the UK and there’s a good fit for your products in the United States, you don’t need to invest in a new office or warehouse,” says Iliev. “You can absolutely do everything from the UK. There is going to be a certain investment involved, but it’s not going to be as significant as having a physical presence there. Testing a new market is one of the easiest things to do. And it’s definitely a good idea whenever your business considers starting a new venture.”

When managing SKUs across multiple locations, having the capability to track real-time stock movements becomes a priority. “You can’t just step out of your office and physically count how much stock you have in your warehouse,” says Iliev. “You’ve got to have the right tools to maintain full control and visibility across your various marketplaces, websites, and other sales channels.”

12 ways real-time stock visibility can transform marketing 

Real-time stock visibility can significantly impact an online seller’s marketing activities by enabling more targeted, efficient, and customer-centric strategies. Here are 12 ways an online seller can leverage real-time stock visibility to transform marketing activities:

  1. Dynamic product promotions: With real-time stock visibility, sellers can adjust their promotions and marketing campaigns based on inventory levels. They can prioritize products with higher stock levels or needing to be cleared to make space for new inventory.
  2. Marketplace listing optimization: Real-time stock visibility can help online marketplace sellers prioritize which products to focus on optimizing based on inventory levels and demand.
  3. Urgency messaging: Sellers can create urgency in their marketing messages by highlighting limited stock availability or promoting products running low inventory. This will encourage your customers to make quicker purchasing decisions.
  4. Personalized recommendations: Real-time stock data can be deployed to provide customized product recommendations based on customer browsing history, past purchases, and stock availability. This enhances the relevance of recommendations and increases the likelihood of conversion.
  5. Inventory alerts: Sellers can send real-time inventory alerts to customers who have expressed interest in a specific product but have yet to make a purchase. These alerts can notify customers when the desired items are back in stock or inventory levels are running low.
  6. Pre-order and waitlist campaigns: Sellers can launch pre-order and waitlist campaigns for products that are out of stock or in high demand. Sellers can gauge interest levels and manage inventory more effectively by enabling customers to reserve items in advance.
  7. Segmented email marketing: Real-time stock visibility enables sellers to segment their email marketing lists based on customer preferences, purchase history, and product availability. They can send targeted emails to different customer segments, highlighting relevant products and promotions.
  8. Social media engagement: Sellers can leverage real-time stock data to create engaging social media content, such as countdown timers for limited-time offers or live updates on popular products that are selling fast. This encourages customer engagement and drives traffic to the online store.
  9. Adaptive pricing strategies: Real-time stock visibility can inform adaptive pricing strategies where prices are dynamically adjusted based on inventory levels, demand fluctuations, and competitor pricing. Sellers can offer discounts or incentives to move slow-moving inventory or capitalize on high-demand products.
  10. Cross-sell and upsell opportunities: Sellers can identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities based on real-time stock availability and customer purchase patterns. They can suggest complementary products or premium alternatives when certain items are out of stock or low in inventory.
  11. Test global markets: Use real-time stock visibility to strategically test international markets on online marketplaces. Identify destinations with high demand for your products and low competition, and gradually expand your presence in these markets. Start by offering products with sufficient stock levels to gauge customer interest and assess logistical challenges. Monitor real-time data on sales performance, customer feedback, and inventory turnover to iteratively refine your international expansion strategy and capitalize on lucrative opportunities in new markets.
  12. Post-purchase engagement: After a customer makes a purchase, sellers can use real-time stock visibility to update order status, shipping notifications, and estimated delivery times. This enhances the post-purchase experience and encourages repeat purchases in the future.

Discover how real-time stock visibility can transform your business

The best way to discover how real-time stock visibility can transform your business is to see it in action. Book a demo with one of Linnworks’ ecommerce and warehouse management experts today, and learn how you can optimize your online sales across multiple sales channels and global locations while continuing to delight your customers. 

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