The Virtual Apparel Warehouse and Order Fulfillment

Both online and offline apparel retailers face several challenges when it comes to inventory and supply chain management. If you over-order a product, you're stuck with inventory you can't sell, which can eventually bankrupt your business. Conversely, if you fail to order enough stock, your customers will migrate to competitors when the dreaded "sold out" sign appears on your website or your shelf becomes empty.

A virtual apparel warehouse can make order fulfillment far more effective. It addresses both issues simultaneously and allows you to conserve time between the warehouse and your customers' closets.

What Is a Virtual Warehouse?

When you implement a virtual warehouse, you make only part of your inventory available to customers. For instance, if you order 500 pairs of shoes, you might mark only 450 available in the system. If you happen to run out, you have more inventory on hand, and your customers don't have to wait as long to receive their product.

While you'll still experience a delay when you have to dip into excess inventory, you'll save time because you won't manually have to count as much product that arrives from the manufacturer. When you reach the sell-out point, you simply count the number of items on warehouse shelves, make them available to customers, and sell them.

You can also use virtual warehouse software to reserve portions of every order for different stores. For instance, you might have a flagship store in one location that experiences significant traffic. Smaller retail establishments might not need as much inventory. Therefore, you reserve smaller amounts of product for those stores, so your larger locations don't run out of merchandise.

How Do Virtual Warehouses Improve Profitability?

In the apparel industry, SKUs can swing wildly out of control, warehouse space can become increasingly expensive, and customer demand can grow without warning. Order fulfillment remains a top priority for most apparel retailers, but no business owner wants to spend money on merchandise he or she can't sell.

The solution lies in virtual warehousing. As your control over inventory gets more meta, your forecasts become more accurate and your brand's reputation improves. Both of these results can boost profitability, especially if you refine your reserves based on historical data.

You can either manage your virtual apparel warehouse on your own or work with a third-party logistics provider that specializes in apparel inventory control and order fulfillment. The latter option allows you to rely on the 3PL partner to handle the meta aspects of inventory management, so you don't have to guess.

Maximizing your in-stock rate helps you keep products moving and satisfy customers. After all, you don't want consumers to give your competition a try because you couldn't fulfill their order in a timely manner. Virtual warehouses limit potential overstock costs that can easily run your apparel business into the red.

If you're interested in virtual warehousing and other apparel supply chain logistics services, get in touch. The Apparel Logistics Group offers a free consultation during which we'll explain our role in your apparel business and help you maximize inventory.

Posted: 12/1/2016 4:50:21 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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