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About inventory management: Depending on the size of your business and the ecommerce hosting solution you have chosen, your needs will vary. Some ecommerce solutions have, built in, an inventory management screen where you can choose to discontinue items, replenish supplies or just keep on top of products you might be running low on. Yahoo Small Business offers an inventory management solution built-in to their software. However, there are several stand-alone inventory management software packages available such as netsuite, Cougar Mountain and even Microsoft has one for online retail sales. Again, your needs determine what applications suit you best.
Keeping track of your inventory through inventory management software is one way that inventory management on the internet can help your online business. Through most inventory management software, you can even handle order fulfillment through your vendors if they have internet business services. Replenishment at a click! You'll never have to run out of stock for your online business again!
If you are building an inventory management solution from scratch, you will need an extraordinary amount of skill for database design, coding and implementation. However, if you choose an inventory management solution as part of your ecommerce hosting package, most inventory control management can be accomplished with a couple of clicks and maybe one to two pages of instruction text. The beauty of pre-packaged inventory management is it allows novice internet users and online retail shops to have all the power of an enterprise-level inventory management system without knowing too much about how it works. In general, it's a great idea to go with an inventory management solution that has already been built and tested. Large-scale vendors test their software with many users to make sure it's easy to use and you benefit from all their research without having to do it on your own.
An SKU is a unique identifier associated with your products. Each product you offer, when using an inventory management program, will correspond to a SKU. That SKU is then tracked in your inventory management software when sales occur or deliveries are made; increasing and decreasing as product supplies change. What this provides you, as an online business owner, is the ability to have inventory control management-- knowing when to buy more of an item or create a big, blow-out sale to get rid of overstock.