Managing the SKU explosion


The long tail
So-called ‘long tail’ economics mean that online retailers – particularly fashion and car parts - can advertise and efficiently sell many more variations of the same item than their bricks and mortar competitors. This comes at price, however, and the price is managing your listing speed and complexity. Good ecommerce systems will allow you to do this comfortably.
Listing speed
Technology to the rescue for variation-hit sellers! With many items, multiple variations and perhaps only one season to sell them in, the key is to be enable listings quickly. A bulk upload facility saves an enormous amount of time and eliminates human listing errors. The larger, more robust platforms are capable of handling hundreds of thousands and even millions of sub-SKUs.
Stock level updates
When variations sell, automation can help manage very large stock levels across different sites, stores and channels, even down to the multiple sub-SKU or variation level. This includes handling data feeds and stock information from other sources like suppliers or drop-ship partners, so that you always know where you are with your stock and you don’t have to worry about overselling.
Integrating all your processes into one system goes a long way to taking the complexity out of running your business. Variation returns can be high in the fashion sector. Using an integrated system to eradicate your shipping errors and allowing your customer service staff to manage returns and refunds from one system keeps your customers happy and keeps your seller ratings high.
Analytical insight
The more variations you have, the greater your reliance on solid performance data. With a system that can give you instant and accurate reporting, you can really get a handle on which variations are selling the best, which variations are perhaps worth losing, which helps you when you’re ordering from suppliers. You reduce your excess stock and shorten your cash conversion cycle.
Overcoming variations
Don’t panic, because Volo helps you manage your variations all the way through from listing and supply through to demand. This allows you to grow your business while still controlling your efficiencies. Volo customer Starlet Vintage was able to make variations pay and double its revenues within 2 years. To discuss your challenges and how you can comfortably manage your variations, why not book a call with one of our consultants. Good luck!