Inventory Summer School #1: Unify Your SKUs and Product Identifiers
Brought to you by… Ghostek
A simple but important solution to easing the inventory management challenges facing today’s telecom retail operator is the consistent use of a single product identifier — no matter what technological solution you’re using.
With inventory management systems being so interconnected, it’s essential that what is identified as, say, a black 32GB iPhone 12 in one system is the same in another. Surprisingly, this is still very often not the case, with different retailer’s internal systems using different identifiers, such as the SKU, or the manufacturer’s serial number, or the universal product code, or the bar code.
Jared Kennedy, Product Manager at iQmetrix, said,“This is a fundamental, foundational problem. Every system tends to use its own version of product identifier. Sometimes they’re the same as each other, but sometimes they’re not, and that causes problems.”
Trish Sale, Product Director — Service Products at iQmetrix, agrees this is a major problem. She said,“If you don’t have a unified understanding of a product, when someone goes to look for it — whether you’re talking about a customer, or a retailer talking to a vendor — they won’t be able to find it. With today’s globally connected world, you need to have a common understanding of what these products are.”
Unifying SKUs across multiple, and often highly varied retail locations, enables retailers to arrive at one standard set of product identification across a full network of stores. With this standard SKU set, changes in pricing, promotion, naming, and more can be fed into every store instantaneously and consistently.
Imagine a launch of a new device. As soon as the device promotion is announced at the carrier level, the consistent price, promotion, and naming around the product is then fed across all retail locations without the need for store managers or employees to manually enter the new product data. Otherwise, this manual process can (and does) result in delay and inconsistencies in product availability, pricing, and promotions between one store and the next.
Carriers and retailers are now looking to allow for customer returns to be accepted in any store, regardless of if it’s corporately or authorized retailer owned. This is also only possible with unification of product SKUs, as it allows for retailers’ systems to recognize returned stock and place it back into their inventory system for a future sale or store transfer.
Leveraging Product Serialization
As wireless carriers move toward more sophisticated inventory management, they can leverage the product serialization number — the identifier that is unique to the specific item — provided by cell phone manufacturers. Sophisticated inventory management solutions allow retailers to use these serial numbers to track items throughout their entire life cycle, across all retail locations, corporate or authorized retailer owned. By tying sales and workflows such as activation to each item’s unique identifier, retailers get a more accurate picture of product sales on a granular, per-item basis.
Retailers can supplement the serialization provided by manufacturers with inventory solutions that assign unique identifiers to a wider range of products, including accessories. Assigning serial numbers to high-ticket items (i.e., those priced at $50 or more) also simplifies functions such as store-to-store transfers and reintegration of returned items.
This edition of Inventory Summer School was brought to you by…
Founded in 2016, Ghostek is a brand manufacturer based out of New York City.
Ghostek manufactures cell phone protective cases, power solutions, speakers, headsets and other accessories for the wireless retail and related channels.
Ghostek products can be found in over 4,000 locations worldwide, with over 2,000 locations in the United States. Strong presence in both e-commerce and retail allowed Ghostek to truly understand what the customers want and need.
Ghostek’s purpose is to provide end users with high-quality products at an affordable price, resulting in high ROI for the resellers.
Ghosteks offer a good, better, and best option in all three categories, with reporting that analyzes sales data, helping the retailers make informed decisions. The supplier stands out from the competition by producing premium mobile protective cases for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 devices.
Its 40,000-square-foot warehouse allows Ghostek to offer daily same-day drop-shipping globally. This gives retailers peace of mind that they can place orders smoothly, with free shipping and flexible payment terms.
- Vendor Managed Inventory
- Direct-to-Store Shipping
- Same-Day Shipping Logistics
- Free Shipping
- Net Payment Terms
- No Minimum Order Quantity Required
- Smooth & Easy PO Approvals
- Design Solutions
For more information, go to the Ghostek partner page.