From owners and managers to cashiers and stockers, inventory work is the least favorite task of everyone in the retail business. Inventory can be an even bigger challenge for small, locally owned stores that lack the massive distribution channels and advanced computer systems the big box stores use. If you want to streamline the inventory process in your store, these four tips can take the stress out of your most dreaded chore.
Track Sales at the Individual Purchase Level
One of the most effective ways to streamline your inventory process is to maintain a purchase-by-purchase accounting style to track your merchandise sales. Keep a database of your inventory and subtract items as soon as they sell. It’s also helpful to use separate categories for in-stock, sold, returned and damaged or destroyed items. While this type of accounting requires more effort upfront, it can save you days of work during inventory time.
Use Stocktaking Solutions for Monthly Checks
Another way to make quick work of inventory is to use a stocktaking solutions software system that tracks inventory with barcode scanners. This makes it easy to track sales from day to day and to do monthly inventory checks. Some systems offer cloud-based services that allow you to use an Apple or Android phone to perform operations, which can save your store a lot of money over purchasing specialized equipment.
Keep Comprehensive Digital Records
Digital records are a must for any business today, and they are especially important in retail. Your store can cut costs and save time by keeping comprehensive records in digital format. Avoid the common pitfall of data loss by maintaining multiple copies of all records and backing up data several times each day.
Maintain a Restocking Schedule
Inventory can quickly spiral out of control when restocking happens at random times. It might be tempting to restock items as soon as they’re delivered, but throwing things on the shelves right away makes it difficult to keep track of what’s in stock and what’s sold out. Make a digital calendar to keep track of your restocking schedule and share it with all your employees. Remember to update inventory at the end of each restocking day.
Whatever method you use to track inventory, the most important thing is that it works for your store. Developing an effective, streamlined inventory process often requires a lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to change or adjust your system if something isn’t working well.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.