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How do you handle buying product inventory?

     
4:17 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

The catalog of products I offer for sale is very large; so it would be impossible for me to keep inventory of all the products I sell without spending a large amount of money.

However, I'm thinking of trying to take an educated guess on products that I think will sell easily and bulk order these types of products to keep in inventory.

My question to you; is how do you determine which products to buy? based on products sale trends? products that are new and about to be released into the market?

The one thing I want to avoid is buying a product in bulk, and then have it not sell at all. Then I'm just sitting on inventory that's not getting turned over.

I want to try incorporate a JIT (just in time) inventory system...

Thank you,

olimits7

5:16 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It wouldn't be that complicated to implement an inventory management system will it, if you have a system that automatically updates?

Educated "guesses" aren't a great idea IMO, since it is a... guess.

I personally try all items myself before stocking it. I will mailshot existing customers by email first if I think the item will really sell. Its the best way I think. If your existing customers won't take it, its unlikely anyone else will.

8:44 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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olimits7 My first question is how long is the time you order from supplier until you are delivered the products.
2nd question would be how many different distributors are you ordering from and does the delivery time vary on all of them.
8:52 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Are you going to stock the most profitable items, or the ones with the highest volume? Both?

I once managed 14,000 stock items. Of those, only 300 accounted for 50% of sales but it took some data mining to determine & maintain the list of 300.

8:59 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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My answer is 10% less than I know I can sell for any given order. I can always make another order. I can't eat non-sold product.

All that means is take a look at your market and your ability.

Oh... and CASH.

1:50 am on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all the replies...

My suppliers are pretty good; most of the time they get my orders to me within 2 days. But occasionally some orders get delayed and take 3-4 days; depending on which warehouse the products are dispatched from.

I'm sure stocking inventory is an issue that most small ecommerce sites with a large catalog face constantly.

I guess my best bet would be to see which products have the highest inventory and keep stock in those products.

I wish I could stock all my products because when I have a product in-stock I can ship it out the same day, and customers love that!

It would be impossible to stock every single product. Lets just say the catalog was 25,000 products with an average price of $40; that would come out to $1,000,000...Yikes - I wish I could afford that! :-)

olimits7

7:19 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is it possible to make drop shipping arrangements with your suppliers?
8:15 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That was something I was actually just thinking about.

I think some do offer dropshipping programs, but others might not.

8:24 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Good-take advantage of it. We've got a number of suppliers that will also drop ship for us-and it is mutually beneficial in the long run.

After the first year, you have a good idea what numbers of which items you should stock, and they can drop ship the odd orders. You keep your suppliers happy by bulk ordering the popular items, and they keep you happy by drop shipping the less popular items.

8:27 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm not familiar with dropshipping costs, but what types of costs do your suppliers charge for dropshipping?

- Do they dropship for both domestic and international orders?
- Do you have to pay for shipping costs?
- Are there any fees they charge for dropshipping?

Thank you,

olimits7

9:04 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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- Do they dropship for both domestic and international orders?

Yes.

- Do you have to pay for shipping costs?

Yes.

- Are there any fees they charge for dropshipping?

No.