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Inventory Turnover Ratios for Ecommerce

As a result of overstocking, some items you failed to sell can get outdated and less or not demanded anymore. Such goods are called obsolete inventory, harming your business as you’ll need to sell them off much cheaper or write them totally off, which will impact your bottom line. It brings us to a tricky question about what to consider a good turnover ratio for an e-commerce company because e-commerce embraces a variety of businesses. You can’t expect a consumer goods retailer to have inventory turnover similar to that, say, of a jewelry store. Inventory management software comes with many features that will help you modernize and optimize your inventory management processes and policies.

With all the capital tied up in bulk inventory, it could take a very long time to get that money back. In general, it’s better for retailers to reduce their carrying costs by resisting the urge to buy in bulk, even where there are economies of scale or discounts to be had. If those products aren’t going to shift, those potential savings from the manufacturer could be meaningless. Often, businesses try to increase the inventory turnover ratio by diminishing the amount of inventory on hand to keep goods moving faster through the operation. This usually results in a limited choice of goods in terms of colors or sizes available. However, this way, merchants may endanger their sales by losing potential customers due to failing to meet their needs.

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You could look for alternative suppliers, increase pricing or scale back promotions to address this. It’s always a good idea to maximize the value you can get from your inventory (and the capital invested in it) and avoid going out of stock. Average inventory value is the average between the cost of inventory held at the beginning of the period being analyzed, and the cost of inventory held at the end of the period being analyzed. Some companies have complex supply chains, with components being ordered from different suppliers around the world, which need to be combined and packaged to create the finished product.

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The sell-through rate helps identify which products those are, so you can work with your suppliers to have smaller but more frequent orders. Simply knowing that your inventory turnover ratio is 4, for example, does not mean a great deal on its own. To make better use of your resources (capital, warehouse space, staff) you could order stock more frequently and work to reduce lead times.

Can an Inventory Ratio Be Too High?

ShipBob’s fulfillment solutions include both a warehouse management system (WMS) for in-house fulfillment, as well as hands-off tools and fulfillment services for brands that don’t want to run their own warehouse. For both solutions, ShipBob offers an international fulfillment network and dashboard with a built-in inventory management system. Every warehouse needs each SKU to be stored separately and not mixed to reduce the chance of a mis-pick, and the efficient use of space is very important when it comes to storage. Before you make drastic decisions regarding your inventory, analyze your marketing to ensure that your messaging, visuals, and navigation are on point (on both desktop and mobile). Determine if demand is there — and if you’re capturing it correctly.

Inventory Turnover Ratios for Ecommerce

However, a smarter approach implies starting with smaller discounts about halfway through the season and steadily increasing the price drops from there. There’s no secret that the demand for certain goods increases during certain seasons. Check your sales for the last few years and identify seasonality for various groups of products when demand is at its highest. This way, you’ll know when to order a large party to cover the seasonal demand and ensure the goods won’t remain unsold or become obsolete. Ultimately, you can profit from volume discounts suppliers often offer for ordering in bulk.

Material requirements planning, or MRP, is a related process to understand inventory requirements while balancing supply and demand. When a manufacturer dictates the minimum, or maximum, amount you may sell an item for, that limits your ability to use price as an inventory lever. Average inventory is typically used to even out spikes and dips from outlier changes represented in one segment of time, such as a day or month. Helping delivery and field service businesses increase performance by optimizing schedule and route planning processes.

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With the right software, you’ll also be able to find cost-saving opportunities that would otherwise lie dormant in your data. The old-fashioned approach involves running calculations in spreadsheets. What many businesses have found, though, is that spreadsheets are better for displaying data than harvesting insights. In this article, we’ll discuss how to find the ideal turnover ratio considering your industry and size and share practical tactics for reaching that goal.

We will walk you through everything you need to know about inventory turnover, and how to calculate your own inventory turnover ratio. From increased profitability to optimizing efficiency, a rigorous understanding of your inventory turnover is key to a streamlined inventory management operation. The inventory turnover calculation informs everything from pricing strategy and supplier relationships to promotions and the product life cycle.

How to improve inventory turnover

Besides, there’s also a danger of not being able to refill the shelves in time to avoid the sold-out situations (especially when it comes to popular goods). Since customers don’t tend to wait for goods to be in stock again but instead search for what they need elsewhere, you might lose their business. For ecommerce businesses, a ratio between 2 and 4 means that your inventory restocking matches your sale cycle; you receive the new inventory before you need it and are able to move it relatively quickly. Inventory turnover ratio is the business metric that tells you how healthy your product business is.

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Why is inventory turnover important?

Among the factors that most frequently affect inventory turnover are wrong pricing strategies, seasonality, and poor inventory management procedures. Ultimately, there can be a lack of marketing, resulting in fewer sales and lowering the inventory turnover ratio. For an e-commerce business, inventory is one of the most significant parts of management. Inefficient inventory management can dramatically affect cash flow for your e-commerce business, with a large amount of working capital sucked up by the excess stock or sales lost due to stock shortages. That’s why keeping an eye on inventory turnover is key to ensuring flawless e-commerce business operations. This one may seem obvious—a surefire way to improve your inventory turnover ratio is to increase demand for your product.

Know what’s trending in your market to understand customer demand and respond accordingly. Save precious time on manual calculations with tons of inventory management apps that integrate seamlessly into your e-commerce platform and simplify things for you. Track sales across all your digital channels, forecast future demand, automate restocking, monitor your inventory in real-time, and make better strategic decisions for your business. Likewise, you might target your inventory-to-sales ratio by identifying slow-moving products and working to reduce your inventory of those to minimal levels, so you don’t have excess capital tied up in them. You could do that by increasing advertising, lowering prices, or reducing reorder quantities, among other things. But if the sell-through rate increases too fast then your inventory levels will decline and you risk running out of stock.

Limitations of Inventory Turnover Ratio

Beginning inventory is the number of units held in inventory at the start of the same period. Units sold is the number of units that were sold during the period being analyzed. Ideally Inventory Turnover Ratios for Ecommerce you’d look to benchmark your turnover against similar businesses in your industry, but if this proves challenging, then look internally at your trends and seek to better them.

Inventory Turnover Ratios for Ecommerce

But if this isn’t possible, make sure your products are appropriately wrapped, insulated, and cushioned, so they can endure a bumpy ride. Product returns negatively affect both your sales and your inventory. And while returns and exchanges will never completely go away for product businesses, that doesn’t mean you’re powerless to minimize their frequency. So, to get your average inventory value for Q1, you would take the value of your inventory on January 1, add it to the total value of your inventory on March 31, and then divide that number by two. Inventory turnover measures how often a company replaces inventory relative to its cost of sales. Make sure to stay ahead of your rate for optimal inventory efficiency.

In general, low-cost/ high-turnover products have higher inventory turnovers than high-cost/ low turnover items like luxury goods. If your inventory turnover ratio is too low, high holding costs can impact your cost of goods sold (COGS) and store’s profitability. In this situation, it may make sense to modify your pricing on your overstock items so that you can sell them more quickly.

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