The Future of Inventory Management: Part Two

03/16/2017 06:27 pm ET Updated Mar 28, 2017

Welcome to my second – and final – column about how inventory management can improve customer service.

While my initial piece is more of a call to action, think of this article as an in-depth analysis of what technology can do to increase efficiency and strengthen productivity.

This is also a continuation of my conversation with the team from SalesWarp, which specializes in retail inventory, order and fulfillment solutions.

(Disclaimer: I am not an investor in, an employee of or a consultant to any company referenced in this post. Nor do I have a conflict of interest involving any material contained in this review.)

Regarding customer service, I now have a better appreciation of how a retailer can bolster that feature.

The process starts with applying data across all sales channels, to deliver a superior shopping experience. That, in turn, inspires greater customer loyalty, more referrals and repeat purchases from the very people a business must accommodate.

According to SalesWarp:

“Smart investments in technology can help independent retailers – particularly small business owners – do the necessary things well, including sales, purchases, promotion and fulfillment. Launching these features is a matter of weeks, in some cases, allowing companies to verify inventory with absolute confidence.

“Indeed, total accuracy of what a retailer possesses is more than possible; it is (or should be) the new standard for operations, management, accountability and service.”

I agree with those assertions, based on my own research relating to the ways companies interpret data and personalize their respective wares.

The recurring theme is one of insight, intelligence and leadership.

The focus for retailers and customers alike is one of trust, which is to say, does either party trust the information they have?

If a business does not trust its own reportage – if a company has no confidence in the integrity of its own numbers – how it can it expect customers to believe anything else that organization claims or tries to do?

The question is rhetorical, because what is on store shelves determines, to a large extent, what is in store for a company’s relationship with consumers.

By taking control of inventory a business can seize control of its future.

In the present that means consumers can be the advocates of the change they want; and retailers can be the agents of the changes they promise to deliver.

That situation benefits everyone, without added expense or anxiety.

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