Entrepreneurial Selling

Online Auction: Tips for Tracking Inventory

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

Tracking inventory helps online auction retailers stay informed about the movement of their inventory. This reduces the quantity of inventory that is required to be kept at hand, as well as saves storage space. How do you go about keeping track of your inventory?

One of the main challenges of the online auction business is where to store all the items for sale.

This can be especially difficult for those selling large items like furniture or televisions. One alternative is to store inventory at an off site storage unit. There are many of these available. The advantage of using off site storage is that your home is less congested, and the storage units are relatively inexpensive.

However, units are vulnerable to damage or theft, and insurance for inventory can be expensive. In addition, there is the cost of travelling to the storage unit to collect items for shipping.

Most online auction retailers prefer to keep their inventory in their homes. This means easy access, making it convenient to ship and also easier to track. In addition, people believe their inventory is much safer when stored in their home. However, this is not always true. Damage and theft are still possibilities. Review your home insurance policies and ensure your inventory is adequately covered.

When storing inventory at home, there are several things to consider.

Reduce inventory to the lowest amount possible. Keep inventory levels at a minimum if possible. This may mean result in a longer shipping procedure for larger products, if they have to be shipped from the distributor.

Designate a particular area of your home for storing inventory. Many retailers store inventory in the basement or garage. If you are considering this alternative, make sure the chance of damage is very low. Home offices and closets are other good places to keep inventory.

When storing inventory at home, make it as convenient for yourself as possible. Ensure everything is labeled. Whatever the method identification, position your inventory in a way that makes the label easy to read. This will avoid the need of lifting and sorting through the inventory to find the item to be shipped.

Place orders for seasonal inventory some months before it is required. This will save on space at your home. When seasons are coming to an end, inventory reduces. When the season is over, transfer remaining items to the back or bottom of the pile. Keep the commonly used items at a place where they can be easily accessed.

Maintain a spreadsheet that tracks inventory. This makes ordering much easier. You won't have to dig through boxes to count what is in stock. All you need to do is refer to your spreadsheet. Every time an item is sold, make a note and update the spreadsheet weekly or monthly, depending on your store size.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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