Years ago, one sure sign of a brand’s success was its products being featured on the shelves of an ever-growing number of retailers and department stores. Today, success is about finding a brand while browsing the online marketplace of your choice – and trusting that you can order the products you need based on active inventory data without having to look elsewhere.

Brands understand this, but expanding through digital channels presents a different set of challenges than setting up physical locations or adding more retail and wholesale partners.

First, there is no shortage of online marketplaces to choose from. Besides familiar names like Amazon or Zalando, retailers ranging from Macy’s and Bloomingdales to Belk and others are all actively working with third-party sellers. More than likely, growing brands will want to be present across many marketplaces at once to achieve their eCommerce revenue targets.

Why inventory data is critical to online marketplace success

Ensuring a great customer experience across multiple channels relies on sending the correct stock data to each marketplace, enabling consumers to see what’s available for purchase. Accurate pricing and inventory information are just as crucial as presenting product features and an appealing image.

This is why many brands seek out marketplace integration services in the first place, though their needs could evolve significantly as they continue to expand.

Initially, a brand might update product feeds from a central warehouse hourly during the day and every few hours at night, depending on its location. Concurrently, historical sales data could determine the percentage of stock to distribute to each marketplace.

In practice, sales can unexpectedly fluctuate based on shifts in demand from one online marketplace to another. The existing cadence of product feed updates may not keep pace with purchases, increasing order cancellations. This not only impacts customer experience but also jeopardizes relationships with online marketplaces that base seller agreements on minimizing cancellation rates.

Innovation that addresses active inventory management

Highstreet.io recently developed a real-time system to address these challenges. It allows brands to dynamically manage active inventory across multiple marketplaces at once. This involved changing the architecture of our existing solutions to adjust the way data is handled once a product had been ordered, but not yet fulfilled.

The functionality Highstreet.io built introduces a series of dedicated “buckets” that manage inventory data in both physical and virtual warehouses, as well as a component that can calculate how inventory should be distributed based upon pre-defined business rules. Incremental orders could be “reserved” as they are created, for example, but the system also tracks when they were canceled or when the system needs to be reset.

Brands also need to store inventory values once orders have been distributed, of course, and Highstreet.io’s active inventory solution added that too. It also includes a module to configure the flow of inventory data across channels and a way to visualize a brand’s inventory by marketplace and SKU, as well as the history of all updates from a brand’s product feeds.

The benefits of enhancing your ability to manage active inventory

1. Reduce your cancellation rate

Highstreet.io’s active inventory solution will provide brands greater confidence that their customers will be able to find the products they want, regardless of the online marketplaces where they choose to shop. This also helps build a track record for increased accuracy, which allows brands to meet the key performance indicators of their marketplace partners.

2. Complete automation of a complex process

By calculating the precise stock value that gets sent to each marketplace, Highstreet.io’s active inventory solution will also save brands from having to conduct a manual, historical analysis of which orders were canceled or the rate of cancellation.

3. Gain insight into sales performance across multiple online marketplaces

While the technology handles the heavy lifting, brands need to maintain clear visibility into the health of their business at all times. That’s why Highstreet.io’s active inventory solution also provides reporting on the state of its inventory, orders, and SKUs. These reports are emailed to simplify distribution to all relevant stakeholders, empowering them to make informed decisions about the evolution of their sales and marketing strategy.

4. Ease of expansion to into additional online marketplaces

With more third parties opening up platforms for sellers, it will not be unusual for brands to make their products available across a wide range of partners. They will now be in a better position to do so, knowing thanks to the ability to dynamically synchronize pricing and inventory data across all shopping channels.

Ready to get your active inventory under control? Building your brand using online marketplaces shouldn’t be limited by concerns around what’s in stock and what’s not.
Connect with Highstreet.io to learn more about the solution we’ve developed to bring greater peace of mind, and the ability to continue on your path to growth.