Etail Solutions Blog

Online Inventory Management - Part 1: Managing Multiple Listings Per Item

online inventory management

To find out which, how many, and where items in different units of measure are selling, most sellers have to manually merge data from duplicate SKUs. This blog post explains how to remove this bottleneck so it no longer interferes with your ability to grow your business. While other sellers are feeling the stress of using outdated and ineffective methods to manage inventory, you'll feel in complete control knowing your inventory levels are perfectly in sync as you buy and sell.

SKUs and Unit of Measures

A SKU or Stock Keeping Unit is what online sellers use to manage inventory. Here at Etail we recommend using one SKU per item in its base unit of measure. Unit of measure (UOM) is just another name for quantity. For example, you may sell 6 eaches (individual units) or one 6-pack. However, both transactions must be tracked from the base unit of measure which is the each.

 

Unit of
Measure
   Conversion    Image Base Unit of
Measure
Each 1 OKeefesWorkingHandseach 1 each
2-pack 2 OKeefesWorkingHands2-pack 2 eaches
4-pack 4 OKeefesWorkingHands4-pack 4 eaches
6-pack 6 OKeefesWorkingHands6-pack 6 eaches

The Challenge of Managing Multiple Units of Measure 

In order to manage products in different units of measure and the corresponding product data sellers often create duplicate SKUs. This makes inventory management and replenishment nearly impossible. Activity reports for each SKU must be generated and manually combined to find out which, how many, and where SKUs are selling, as well as how many and when to reorder.

This bottleneck can be removed by using one SKU per item in its base unit of measure. You want to control costs and inventory availability at the master SKU level while controlling product data such as quantity, price, image, weight, and item description at the listing level.

For example, in the table above we’re selling O’Keefe’s Working Hands Cream on four different sales channel listings:

  1. An 'each' listing on Amazon
  2. A 2-pack listing on Amazon
  3. A 4-pack listing on eBay
  4. A 6-pack listing on Shopify

In order to sell different quantities of this item across multiple sales channels your inventory management system must automatically perform unit of measure conversion when you publish inventory, pricing, and fulfill orders.

For example, let’s suppose you have 60 units in stock. Here’s how your listings should look when you publish inventory availability.

Listings Unit of Measure Published Quantity
Amazon ASIN 1 Each 60
Amazon ASIN 2 2-pack 30
eBay 4-pack 15
Shopify 6-pack 10


It must be driven from your base unit of measure which is the each or 60 units. When an item sells, your inventory management system must perform unit of measure conversion and automatically deduct the appropriate quantities from availabile inventory.

Conclusion

To know which, how many, and where SKUs are selling without having to manually merge data from duplicate SKUs, point your listings back to a master SKU. This will make selling products in different units of measure a lot easier and allow you to spend more time growing your business.

 

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Topics: Etail Vantage Point