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Future Of Retail: Is Virtual Inventory Getting Real?

In an age of rising adoption to online shopping and growth pace of the E-commerce industry, Offline retailers are looking to adapt to new ways to stay afloat and compete with their online peers. Virtual inventory is just one critical new-age solution that retailers need

If the rise of online shopping has to be attributed to that one metric that makes it the preferred destination for millions of shoppers worldwide, it will be the range of products to choose from at one platform. Something that is hard to replicate in physical retail environments where you keep the products available in-store for customers to touch, feel and choose from.

Space or lack of it, is a perennial issue for retailers, especially for high-value electronics goods retail or even manufacturers. Every square feet needs to be justified and accounted for, and if a certain brand is not delivering in terms of sales per square feet then it is likely to be replaced.  

The best way around this problem of In-store space and having large selection is to go digital with Inventory and have all the products you are willing to sell available online. This allows retailer to participate in the sale of a large range of products with relatively smaller space. 

To be competitive and relevant in the retail industry, many companies have started investing hugely in various technology such as CRM, manufacturing, automation, marketing but it is inventory management has been always been the biggest chunk of this cost. The spending on this requirement has been steadily increasing as well.

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Having virtual inventory gives retailers as well as the manufacturers an advantage over the competition and lowers the risk mostly for the retailers who do not want to stock huge inventory and work on a JIT basis. 

They can have the business run without worrying about the overhead cost for warehouse management and inventory management. With emerging Omnichannel retail businesses, virtual inventory helps retailers track inventory and fulfil orders across multiple channels.

The same inventory showcased to different platforms with options like buy online, pick up from store, return to the store and a real-time inventory list makes the process precise and streamlined and better consumer experience. 

Supply chain plays a very crucial role as having virtual inventory means the physical stock can be with a distant supplier or warehouse and supply chain ensures to have the right inventory to be picked and delivered timely to the customer increasing the rate of customer retention and loyalty.

Hardware being the backbone, will still be the inseparable part of the retail industry but virtual inventory is on a fast pace in coming years and will be adopted by most of the retailers.

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Read Also: AR and VR technologies are the future of the retail experience

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