Outside Business Journal
Sponsor Content: Envoy B2B

When It Comes to Your Inventory, Many Retailers Are Blind

Reliable inventory visibility is critical to success


What’s one of the biggest challenges faced by specialty retailers? If you said the inability to see a brand’s inventory in real time, you’re right.

In a recent survey, retailers reported that only 55 percent of the brands they work with provide adequate visibility into inventory. That’s a shockingly low number. Nearly half of the brands out there don’t provide their retail partners with inventory numbers during the ordering process.

Interestingly, 83 percent of the specialty retailers in that same survey reported growth in the past year. Imagine how much more successful those retailers could be if brands delivered easy access to inventory data. Retailers could then pivot around the hurdles they’re facing to operate their stores in these tumultuous times, while keeping customers informed of timelines and alternative products.

While lack of inventory numbers is a problem, it also compounds other challenges.

Easing Supply Chain Pressure For Your Retailers

It’s likely that your brand has been affected by supply chain issues and you’re looking for ways to alleviate the problem. It’s clear that it’s going to take time to get production and distribution back up to speed, but in the meantime, brands need to take action and find a way to manage the issue. Seasons don’t stop, and retailers still need products.

Production issues may be out of your control, but you can deliver accurate inventory levels, along with actionable data, right in your B2B. This information will give your retail buyers a firm understanding of what’s available. It will also help them understand shipping times, and provide the knowledge they need to pivot around delayed products.

Stock Your Shelves

There’s a ripple effect that happens as a result of keeping inventory hidden from retailers. Your brand needs to keep the shelves stocked, just like a store. Retailers can’t order products they can’t see, and if they’re unsure of what’s available they’ll place smaller, more cautious orders.

Making it easy for retailers to see real-time inventory will likely yield an immediate improvement on your season. Increased replenishment orders for improved sell-through and more successful retailers combine to grow the positive impact each season has on your brand. It’s a simple equation. Inventory visibility leads to better replenishment and stronger seasons.

Your B2B Is The Solution

For many retailers, the process of checking available inventory is time consuming. Reaching out to a rep with a call or email, and then waiting to hear back, causes lag. Too much lag means the numbers aren’t wholly reliable, and it slows down the entire replenishment process.

If emails and phone calls aren’t the right way to give your retailers access to inventory numbers, then what is? Your brand should surface inventory numbers right inside your B2B platform.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents to our survey said they’d like a window into inventory numbers right in your brands B2B. This is how to get the job done. Putting inventory in the place your retailers already frequent for education and orders.

If you support your specialty retail partners with easy access to real-time inventory, right in your B2B, they’ll be able to sidestep some of the unexpected challenges of a crippled supply chain and the hurdles in front of them caused by the pandemic. That means continued growth for them, and a stronger season for your brand.

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