As we saw in Part 1 of this two-part blog series, lack of inventory visibility and onerous stock counts are damaging productivity and revenues for telecom retailers.
We learned that inaccurate or limited inventory views mean that staff waste far too much time searching for products, which can lead to lost sales and erosion of customer loyalty.
According to a study by SML, looking at the wider retail sector:
- 43% of survey respondents cited one of their key barriers in offering great customer service as having real-time visibility over stock levels, and
- 38% of respondents said they planned to invest in technology that would offer a clearer view of inventory.
So, what are some of the available technologies that enable that clearer visibility and reduce onerous, repetitive, and unnecessary inventory management tasks — specifically when it comes to telecom retail?
1. Intelligent, integrated inventory management software is essential.
It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” to use smart inventory management solutions — in today’s competitive market, governed by the demands of highly sophisticated customers, it’s table stakes.
An advanced inventory management solution like iQmetrix’s should be seamlessly integrated with your point of sale, retail management, and back-office systems. The iQmetrix Inventory Management module is available as part of an end-to-end, complete Interconnected Commerce solution, or as a modular integration into your existing tech, and is centrally managed across platforms for a unified inventory operation.
Because cross-channel visibility is essential for your business, iQmetrix’s Multi-Channel Inventory Management system enables retailers to list all products on all channels, all from one system. This provides real-time stock updates across all locations and retail channels to ensure product availability. And having a robust system means that your customers can rely on you to have the products they want.
The iQmetrix inventory module manages the end-to-end product lifecycle — which means you can let our solutions handle back-end necessities while you focus on in-store success. From shipment to updates to sales tracking, serialized and non-serialized inventory is always taken care of.
2. Streamline count processes and reduce errors with centralized count sheet configuration.
As mentioned in Part 1, it’s all too common for inventory counts to be cumbersome and prone to errors. These errors in inventory counts then create a host of problems that create extra work and cut into profits.
Fortunately, a new feature in iQmetrix’s Inventory Management module can solve for all that. Our new centralized configuration for Inventory Count Sheets is a game-changer. This feature is designed to empower inventory managers with unprecedented control, compliance assurance, and operational simplicity. Here are some of the benefits:
- Streamlined configuration: Customize company-wide inventory count policies with ease.
- Uniformity and compliance: Centralized control guarantees consistency across all stores.
- Time and resource savings: Say goodbye to manual coordination and oversight. The feature automates the process of creating count sheets, saving valuable time and reducing operational overhead.
- Precision and accuracy: With automated processes and centralized oversight, you can count on precise inventory data, leading to better decision-making and reduced stock discrepancies.
- Scalability: As your retail chain expands, this feature seamlessly scales with you, allowing you to configure and enforce policies for new stores effortlessly.
- Enhanced in-store operations: By simplifying inventory management, this feature allows stores to focus on core operations and, more importantly, their customers.
3. Boost transparency by giving customers visibility into your local stores’ in-stock products.
Given that so many shoppers start their journey online — often using Google — and many want to see the product in-store, this solution is an amazing way to leverage this increasing customer behavior.
Adding our Local Inventory solution means that when eager shoppers search for a particular device or product “near me” they see your in-stock products in the search results, so you can drive in-store sales from those online searches. Your results will even appear above major big-box retailers, as proximity to the searcher is key. That’s a competitive edge that smaller or mid-sized retailers couldn’t normally hope to achieve.
It also means you can cast a wider net and reach customers that don’t know about your store or are unaware you carry the products they want. And not every wireless retailer has an online presence like an eCommerce site, so this lets you capture customers who prefer to do research or buy online before visiting your store, ensuring you won’t miss out on a sale.
What’s more, the reporting feature means you’ll know which products are the most popular, which allows you to further optimize your inventory management and stock more of the products that customers are searching for.
4. With constrained peg space and limited inventory resources, seamless vendor integrations become essential.
There’s only so much stock you can hold in-store, especially when it comes to the seemingly infinite range of accessories and wireless-adjacent products out there. You’ve got limited peg space, and limited funds to tie up in in-stock inventory, so you can only hold the most popular products. At the same time, you don’t want to lose out on the sale if your customer wants a particular item.
This is where vendor integrations come into play. These powerful integrations help telecom retailers of all sizes streamline their operations by not only providing an endless aisle of products and dropship solutions, but also managing inventory, purchase orders, fulfillment, and forecasting.
iQmetrix has an extensive partner ecosystem, all of which are seamlessly integrated with iQmetrix’s retail management solutions, including a wide range inventory management services. They can help solve issues of crunchy supply chains and competition with mass market retailers while simultaneously dealing with uncertain customer demands, inventory forecasting challenges, and increasing customer expectations. If you’re looking for a way to stand out and gain customer loyalty in the competitive retail space, your ability to deliver any product your customers could want will set you apart from others.
Added to that, our Dropship services extend the capacity of in-store storage to offer your customers exactly what they want even when it isn’t in-store. Direct vendor-to-customer shipping ensures shoppers get their products with no delays, and you never have to have the item in-stock, taking up valuable peg space and tying up inventory funds.
We see our clients benefitting greatly from implementing Dropship in their stores. Our data shows that telecom retailers who use Dropship sell an average of 24 Dropship items per location, per month — and the average Dropship transaction earns $33 profit per order. The most popular items? Phone cases and screen protectors.
Recently, we’ve also improved our Dropship search functionality with these integrations, so you can now very easily find the product that you’re looking for and give your customer that great experience.
5. Cross-channel visibility between carriers and retailers is key.
Because consumers shop on multiple channels, telecom brands must ensure consistent brand interactions no matter the channel, to avoid poor customer experiences, reputation damage, and revenue loss.
iQmetrix’s Brand Management solution enables brands to align products, names, prices, and promotions across all customer touchpoints, including corporate stores, the authorized retail channel, and ecommerce channels.
This creates a much-needed bridge between carriers and retailers to create a win-win for everybody.
- Brand Management can quickly and nimbly push unified pricing, current promotions, new products and more across retail channels.
- On the pull side, those carriers get visibility into what’s in stock across their authorized retail channel, along with other information they may need.
The win-win here is that carriers see and control only what they need to, while retailers still get control over the business operations that they run, with peace of mind knowing that pricing and promotions are all up to date.
Trish Sale, Vice President of Product at iQmetrix, said, “Our advanced Inventory Management suite is the Interconnected Commerce experience at its best. The days when a business could succeed by shipping the same product offering and volumes to all stores across all geographies and rely on local store or district managers to push in updates on their inventory status and what they needed are long past. For your business to stay competitive in the hybrid online-to-in-store world, you need seamless and live communication of inventory status. Not just for your warehouse team, but for your entire organization and brand, and for your local customer so that you never lose a precious sale.”