Every commerce business faces challenges with inventory management. It’s always fluctuating, whether it’s the click of every order submit button, supply chain issues, or changing market trends and customer-selected fulfillment.

In addition, businesses encounter difficulties with selling products across various channels, storing products in various locations (warehouses, fulfillment centers, retail stores, etc.) and business-specific fulfillment logic. With all these factors to consider, managing inventory can get complicated very quickly for commerce businesses.

This is why we recommend that commerce organizations assess their inventory management capabilities when evaluating digital commerce systems. It’s important that the solution accommodates the way your organization manages inventory, including the potential to integrate with other digital tools you employ, along with the flexibility to ingest rapid inventory changes.

Sitecore OrderCloud’s new feature, InventoryRecords, supports various inventory management use cases for flexible inventory management. Just released a little earlier this year, InventoryRecords enables manufacturers, distributors, and retailers with seamless inventory management for commerce business success. To give you an idea of possible complex inventory issues that OrderCloud’s InventoryRecords solve, let’s look at a few variations of inventory and order fulfillment needs:

Multi-location retailer

A multi-location retailer sells most of its products in all 500 of its stores around the country. Each brick & mortar location must track inventory for the products currently available in-store so that when online shoppers browse, they can see what’s available at the location nearest them. The shopper can decide whether to choose a shipping option or select a specific store for buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) convenience.

Product manufacturer

A manufacturer has three distribution centers strategically located across the country. They primarily ship orders from the closest distribution center to provide cost-effective and fast shipping to their customers, leading to a positive shopping experience.

To execute such experiences, the manufacturer needs inventory management capabilities to determine which distribution center is the best option for each customer based on their cart contents and ship-to address. Additionally, from time-to-time the manufacturer needs to prioritize different needs, such as sending out the oldest inventory first, shipping from the distribution center location with the most amount of inventory, or any other requirements depending on the business circumstances.

Regulated product distributor

Some of the products a distributor fulfills from its single warehouse arrive in lots. It’s very important that when fulfilling these products, they’re not combined across lots. Upon checkout, customers enter a ship-to address, and then the manufacturer needs to determine if the whole order can be fulfilled from the first lot of inventory. If it cannot, they will fulfill the entire order from the second lot of inventory so that products are not combined across lots.

In addition to these three types of commerce business scenarios, there are numerous cases where complicated inventory management requires flexibility. For instance, automating inventory statuses to update the product availability depending on the inventory amount.

These businesses all represent very different inventory management strategies, however with a little analysis and planning, Sitecore Commerce can help support each of these or your unique business logic using OrderCloud.

If you are interested in the technology behind our inventory functionality, check out these documents: Multi-Location Inventory technical overview & Inventory Use Cases.

Ashley Wilson is the Senior Manager, Business Analysis at Sitecore. You can follow her on LinkedIn