How Can a Virtual Assistant Help You With Store Inventory Management?
- June 20, 2023
- 6 min read
- By Raspreet Kaur
TABLE OF CONTENTS
74% of businesses have experienced shipment delays and much longer lead times. This gap represents the urgent need for improvement in the industry. Store inventory management is a complicated process, and it serves as the backbone for the optimal functioning of retail businesses. Present market conditions require firms to step up their game. However, hiring support doesn’t come cheap; that’s why most companies hire virtual assistants to complete their tasks. Read more to discover how outsourcing store inventory management to a virtual store assistant can cut your expenses and worries in half.
The Growing Significance of Virtual Assistants in the Retail Landscape
The expansion of the retail industry has created a growing need for virtual assistants to support back-end processes like store inventory management. From stocking to order management, the end-to-end process is handled by them. Apart from affordability, the aspect that makes hiring retail staff different from full-time employees is their scalability and flexibility. The working model gives them the added advantage of working remotely-anytime & anywhere.
Essential Skills Your Virtual Assistant Needs For Store Inventory Management
What skills do you need while hiring virtual assistants for store inventory management? Well, we have done a quick rundown of the top ten mandatory skills that your VA must have. This list makes it easier for you to sieve through the resumes and find one that suits your needs.
Communication is one of the most effective and powerful skill sets. Especially in the retail industry, solid communication skills are required to complete daily store inventory management tasks. Your VA should have written and verbal proficiency to easily handle all client and vendor communication. Whether sending emails, daily update reports,
coordinating with vendors, etc., your VA should be on it. It helps bring uniformity in terms of communication in the workplace and accelerates retail operations.
2. Technical Expertise
Joining the digital transformation wave is the only way to keep up with the growing competition. This process requires every candidate you hire to have basic IT knowledge. Fortunately, most virtual assistants are well-versed in technological advancements and have experience using a powerful software tool suite. Excel, Powerpoint, CRM, and inventory management applications are some of the areas your VA should have proven experience in. Being capable of using these apps can automate basic tasks in your store and reduce human error in store inventory management.
3. Email Management
Running a business comes with a messy inbox. This is where most VAs come in. Regardless of your virtual assistant's role, email management skills are a must. Your virtual store assistant sieves through your emails and organizes them based on your priorities. It saves you the hassle of searching through important emails and responding to them. They are also responsible for timely replying to client emails, customer inquiries, orders, vendor reports, etc. You could also ask your VA to execute email marketing campaigns, which includes monitoring them and using analytical parameters such as click-through rates, open rates, subscribe/unsubscribe rates, and bounce rates.
4. Time Management
Smart business owners hire virtual assistants that successfully manage their time on their own and with their clients. You're hiring a VA to work as an independent individual who can improve your business's overall efficiency and productivity. It means the virtual assistant needs to be caught up with daily tasks, keep up with deadlines, streamline workflow, and realistically plan daily task completion. Virtual assistants generally create calendars to monitor and coordinate store inventory management and other retail operations.
Typing skills come very much in handy, especially while working remotely. Your virtual assistants must have professional typing skills to take notes during meetings, transcribe client meetings or reports, or accurately perform data entry. Store inventory management requires handling a lot of data; mishandling could cause problems for your business. However, a VA with sharp skills can fasten the data entry process so your company doesn't have to face retail hassles.
6. Mathematical Skills
Your virtual assistant will be dealing with numbers all day, so they need to be quick with their arithmetic skills. Store inventory management can be hectic and time-consuming, so a virtual assistant who is comfortable working with numbers. This makes it easy for them to look at Inventory data all day and process them with minimal human error. Therefore, it's a significant advantage if your virtual assistant has this skill.
7. Detail- Oriented
Virtual assistants responsible for store inventory management should ideally have a keen eye for detail. The retail environment is fast-paced, and you need someone who doesn't miss out on the details among it all. Being detail-oriented comes in handy when dealing with stocking, customer complaints, inbound and outbound inventory, shipping, etc. Your virtual assistant should meticulously handle and store the data in an organized manner so it's easy to retrieve them when needed.
5 Tips That Will Streamline Your Store Inventory Management
An efficient and well-maintained inventory system is the core of any business. Not only does this significantly reduce operations costs and increase margins. Implement these five expert tips to make your store inventory management effective & efficient.
1. Maintain Safety Stock
Lack of stock can affect the profitability of your business. That's why business owners use statistical methods for accurate sales forecasts. It helps them determine stock for each item in the inventory. In addition, it's crucial to maintain safe stock options, which means keeping a minimum in-stock count for each item in the inventory. Software applications like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems help business owners track this information for each item so they can maintain safety stock.
2. Leverage Technology
Technological advancements are a vital differentiator in giving you an edge over your competitors. As a business owner, you must stay on top of inventory tracking and management techniques. It helps in making informed decisions regarding which technologies to invest in. Integrating the latest technological tools and platforms will facilitate the company's rapid development.
3. Cut the Excess Inventory
Excess inventory lying around in your warehouse is just dead weight. It occupies unnecessary space, making storing or moving new stock challenging. Products no longer being sold or used or in demand must be unloaded. Research shows that reducing stock-outs and overstocks can lower inventory costs by 10%. An inventory audit is the fastest and easiest way to single out products underperforming in the market. Offering special discounts like buy one get one free or 50% off will help you free up storage.
4. Order Processing
Order processing and efficient store inventory management go hand in hand. Implementing advanced strategies for order processing management is pivotal for providing efficient services such as shipping, receiving, and storage. Introducing a new layout to the warehouse and reliable personnel will ensure orders are processed quickly without delays or errors. There are software tools available that help business owners simplify order processing and management.
5. Contingency Strategies
Running a business is complicated, to say the least. Retail operations, specifically store inventory management is not an easy task. Several things can go wrong, such as running out of stock, no working capital to purchase items, fluctuating demand due to seasonal hikes, etc. Thus, it's necessary to have contingency plans to be prepared for such unforeseen circumstances. This way, you have a plan of action to help you get out in an emergency.
Why struggle with store inventory management when you can outsource it to a virtual retail assistant? The retail industry is vast, and you need backup support. So, business owners choose outsourcing as the most convenient and cost-effective solution. Office Beacon has domain experts with considerable knowledge and skillsets to meet your requirements. Outsourcing from Office Beacon gives you the benefit of an exceptional online store assistant at competitive rates.