Getting a big picture view of your business is critical for decision-makers to be effective. However, getting that top-level view isn’t always easy, especially if you’re contending with multiple streams of data. Zoho Inventory is one of the most cost-effective solutions for centralizing your sales and supply chain data. In this article, we look at why it’s beneficial to use a tool like Zoho Inventory and go over an example of how to connect a third-party sales channel like Amazon to Zoho.
Why a Birds-Eye View of Your Business Is Important
Effective marketing can be transformative for a business. In fact, we have a crash course on putting together an effective marketing plan that will boost your business online. That said, marketing and operations need to be in harmony, and there’s nothing worse than having a super successful advertising campaign and then running out of inventory.
The best way to get started is to consider placement, or, in other words, meeting your customers where they are. For an eCommerce business, placement can mean leveraging multiple sales channels to ensure you get your product in front of your target market. Let’s suppose you have a website where you sell home decor items, and you’ve identified a few online marketplaces, like Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy, which your target customer uses. Of course, you will want to list your products on these sites to extend your reach and improve your sales.
While this seems relatively straightforward, selling through multiple sales channels (e.g. Amazon) can present several logistical challenges. For one, you might find yourself with an excessive workload (e.g., redundant efforts like cross-referencing sales volume and compiling information from numerous sources) and crippled business intelligence (e.g., improper data collection and integration among sales channels).
We’ve also seen poor supply chain management due to supplier mistakes and inefficiencies in the process. It’s generally up to you, as the store owner, to identify and address these inefficiencies because suppliers likely won’t tell you if there are any issues. You also have to stay on top of inventory because running out of stock will cost you sales and can damage your brand. You may be unable to keep up with demand if you’re:
- Not monitoring your sales velocity
- Not accounting for the holiday shopping season
- Not tracking your other sales channels
- And not preparing for promotions
Using Zoho One to Optimize Inventory Management
At the time of writing, we’re facing a global supply chain crisis that will mean an inventory shortage well into the holiday shopping season. As we know, nothing tests a system and our ability to react quite like a crisis. Businesses should be proactive and waste no time optimizing their inventory management, and the first step is to get a birds-eye view of your supply chain.
In our experience, the best way to optimize your supply chain is to invest in a technology that:
- Provides you data-driven insight into your supply chain so you can make informed decisions.
- Centralizes your sales channels instead of siloing them so you can minimize management time.
- Centralizes your stock management so you are sure you can meet demand.
- Improves reaction time and resolves inefficiencies so that you’re saving money in both the short and long term.
While there are many excellent inventory management tools out there, we’re big fans of Zoho One because of its low price and modularity. In Zoho, the Inventory application can help you consolidate your shopping channels and centralize your supply chain. You can also connect to a vast range of eCommerce channels, and when you factor in third-party extensions like Zapier, you can connect almost anything.
Example: How to Integrate Your Amazon Store With Zoho Inventory
To give you a sense of just how helpful Zoho Inventory is, let’s walk through how it integrates with Amazon:
- Improved Tracking: While Amazon offers you some tracking capacity, you’ll still need a way to monitor inventory, auto management, and taxes. To this end, the Zoho Inventory integration allows you to track stock flow, cash flow, and taxes across multiple currencies, locations, and channels. It also generates comprehensive reports that will enable you to track your performance.
- Seamless Syncing: When you integrate your Amazon Seller account with Zoho Inventory, you can sync your sales orders and inventory and then fulfill them in Amazon Inventory. This will let you track all your online sales, offline sales, and shipments from a single app.
- Straightforward Setup: All you’ll need for this integration is your Amazon Seller ID and an MWS Auth Token ID. Log into your Zoho Inventory account, navigate to Integrations, and select Marketplace. Amazon will authenticate the request, and once approved, your data will automatically sync.
As you can see, integrating a single sales channel with Zoho Inventory is pretty straightforward. Things can get a bit more challenging when integrating multiple sales channels to pull from the same inventory pool. Additional challenges arise if you’re trying to integrate sales channels that don’t have direct integrations and require the use of third-party extensions, like Facebook Marketplace. We’ve dealt with this before, so be sure to watch out for mismatched settings (e.g. regions, currencies, and time zones) and user permissions.
How Out-Sourcing Reduces Headaches
As we’ve seen above, connecting a single sales channel to Zoho Inventory is simple, but linking multiple sales channels that communicate with one another can be challenging. When building a sales network for your brand, it’s essential to be meticulous with every setup step. If you’re struggling with how to link everything together, we highly recommend finding a team that specializes in setting up business automation. Especially if your business requires a custom inventory management system. If you need help linking your sales channels and setting up an inventory management system, fill out our contact form, and we’ll set up a free 30-minute consultation.
For more information on Zoho Inventory, read our article on building a custom Shopify extension with Zoho Inventory.