5 Top Expert Tips to Unlock Inventory Efficiency Like a Pro

In the ever-evolving landscape of online commerce, businesses face razor-thin profit margins, fierce competition, and the critical significance of each dollar. Navigating this challenging symphony requires adept conductors with its surging demands, intricate supply chains, and market volatility.

However, amid these complexities, poor inventory management is a common obstacle that threatens businesses. The consequences of inefficient inventory practices extend far beyond inconvenience; they can result in substantial financial losses that significantly impact the bottom line. To thrive in this competitive environment, mastering inventory management is indispensable.

In a recent captivating interview with IMRG, our Co-founder, Anshuman Agarwal, unveiled his wealth of knowledge and expertise on the “5 Top Tips To Make Inventory More Efficient.” During this exclusive conversation, Anshuman delved into the critical strategies and industry best practices that can empower retail businesses to optimize their inventory management, streamline operations, and achieve unparalleled efficiency.

Whether you are a seasoned retail giant or an ambitious e-commerce startup, these invaluable tips are poised to revolutionize your inventory management game, providing you with a formidable competitive edge in the bustling marketplace.

Five top tips to make inventory more efficient

Tip 1: Unleashing the Power of Granular Planning

Did you know? By addressing the issues of overstocking and understocking, businesses can achieve a significant 10% reduction in inventory costs. 

In the fast-paced world of fashion, precision is paramount. Anshuman advises that retailers delve into granular planning rather than relying on generalized strategies. Instead of clustering stores, analyzing the unique demand patterns of individual outlets is essential. By closely monitoring daily inventory and sales, businesses can accurately gauge their true potential while identifying areas that may be causing sales losses. 

Furthermore, a deeper examination of specific product attributes, such as sleeve type, fit, and others, can reveal crucial insights into what precisely drives demand. Armed with these granular insights, retailers can make more informed decisions, avoiding the pitfalls of overstocking, restocking, and potential sales loss.

Tip 2: The Art of Automated Buying

In the dynamic world of fashion retail, lead times can stretch as far as six to nine months, accompanied by varying minimum order quantities (MOQs) from diverse vendors and categories. Navigating these intricacies requires a finely-tuned, automated buying process. According to research released by Logistics Trends & Insights, Atlanta, and American Global Logistics (AGL), a majority of retailers, comprising 72%, intend to transform their supply chain operations by incorporating real-time visibility through automation and analytics. 

By leveraging historical data and precise sales projections, automated buying empowers retailers to make well-calculated decisions regarding inventory levels when new stock arrives. This streamlined approach minimizes uncertainties and optimizes inventory with remarkable precision, ensuring success in the fast-paced market.

Freeing retailers from manual tasks allows them to focus on strategic planning and creative endeavors. The symbiotic partnership between human creativity and data intelligence marks a new era of retail excellence, empowering fashion retailers to thrive in a competitive landscape.

Tip 3: Embracing the Efficiency of Automated Replenishment

Many brands fall into the trap of relying on manual and sporadic store replenishment procedures. Recognizing this critical issue, Anshuman passionately advocates for the implementation of automation as the ultimate solution. By harnessing the power of automated replenishment systems that continuously analyze sales trends in real time, retailers gain the upper hand in decision-making for each store’s inventory needs.

The automated system’s prowess doesn’t stop there. It cleverly identifies the nearest alternative style to replace any stocked-out item, ensuring a seamless replenishment process and averting potential sales losses. With this cutting-edge approach, businesses can bid farewell to the haunting spectre of stockouts.

Embracing more frequent and accurate replenishments is the key to unlocking success. By doing so, retailers stay ahead of the curve effortlessly, accurately predicting trends and efficiently meeting customer demands. In Anshuman’s vision, automation is the catalyst for empowering retailers to make informed and timely choices, ultimately propelling their brands to new heights.

Tip 4: Catalyzing Omnichannel Retailing

The omnichannel retailing experience has evolved into a cornerstone of modern retail success. Businesses can maximize customer satisfaction and drive conversions by seamlessly integrating physical stores, websites, and social commerce platforms. The key lies in maintaining a single view of inventory across all channels. Real-time inventory synchronization is crucial, enabling customers to access available products regardless of their chosen shopping platform.

This fosters a seamless shopping experience, making purchases, returns, and stock access effortless for customers. Embracing a robust omnichannel retailing solution elevates efficiency and enhances the overall customer experience, leading to tremendous success in the competitive retail landscape. The future of retail lies in the hands of those who can adapt to these changing dynamics and cater to their customers’ needs, ensuring continued growth and prosperity for their businesses.

Tip 5: Opting for Inter-Store and Dark Store Fulfillment Wisely

With a vision to amplify efficiency, Anshuman recommends retailers should delve into the innovative realm of dark stores. The traditional model of servicing online orders from physical stores often incurs heavy operational expenses, hence the emergence of dark stores as an enticing prospect. These establishments, acting akin to compact warehouses, promise an upgraded and cost-effective system for online order fulfillment.

Dark stores, strategically designed, enable a remarkable reduction in logistics expenses and a noticeable boost to profit margins. Their true essence lies in their ability to swiftly and consistently restock online orders. This not only leads to an enhancement in customer experience – with orders reaching the doorstep faster and more reliably – but also ensures more effective and efficient utilization of inventory.

Anshuman’s push for the exploration of dark stores is a testament to the fact that innovation in retail is ceaseless and that embracing it can truly revolutionize how businesses operate while simultaneously optimizing profits and customer satisfaction.

Final thoughts

Mastering inventory efficiency is a crucial component of a successful retail business. With Anshuman Agarwal’s expert advice and the five transformative tips – granular planning, automated buying, automated replenishment, omnichannel retailing, and discerning inter-store and dark store fulfillment – retailers can unlock unparalleled efficiency gains, simplify operational complexities, and deliver unmatched customer satisfaction. Embrace these strategies, and watch your inventory management soar to new heights of effectiveness and profitability.

Let’s build a future where efficient inventory management sets the stage for retail triumph.

Catch the complete conversation with IMRG here:

Five tips to improve inventory




How to Succeed in Retail: Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges with the Power of Advanced Tech Innovation

As we navigate through the uncertainty of our current times, the age-old adage, “necessity is the mother of invention,” proves accurate once again. Retail businesses are experiencing an unprecedented era of turbulence – inflation is mounting, consumer behavior is evolving at an astounding pace, and the retail landscape is shifting, necessitating more agile, innovative, and sustainable approaches.

Faced with these challenges, how do retailers keep their heads above water? The answer lies in adopting advanced technologies.

#1 Challenge: Can algorithm-driven approaches help in decision-making?

In today’s dynamic retail landscape, businesses have realized that data is not merely an offshoot of transactions; it is a treasure trove teeming with invaluable insights. The hero of this evolving narrative is algorithm-driven retailing, where the alchemy of advanced analytics transmutes raw data into actionable insights, facilitating strategic decisions in the blink of an eye. 

As per Gartner’s estimations, by 2025, algorithmic retailing is set to unlock over $1 trillion in the total value for retailers. This powerful approach tackles the intricacies of consumer behavior, seasonal patterns, market realities, and supply chain trends with unparalleled precision.

Recent research by Harvard Business Review (2023) reveals the transformative impact of this data-driven approach – retailers leveraging algorithmic merchandising have witnessed a significant 15% boost in average order value and an impressive 25% uptick in customer retention rates.

The forward-thinking predictions by Gartner further underline the potential of algorithm-driven retailing. Moreover, it equips retailers with unmatched agility to respond to market shifts. The swift and precise decision-making capability powered by algorithms allows businesses to adapt their strategies promptly and effectively, confronting the hurdles of inflation and supply chain disruptions.

An often underappreciated aspect of algorithm-driven retailing is its contribution towards environmental sustainability. By finessing order quantities and curbing overstocks, it reduces waste and fosters eco-friendly business practices. By 2025, it’s estimated to diminish out-of-stock situations by a staggering 80% and escalate inventory turns by 25%. This data-powered strategy enhances customer satisfaction and profitability by accurately forecasting demand, fine-tuning pricing, and deftly curating product assortments to mitigate the risk of overstock or stock shortages.

By harnessing the power of advanced algorithms, businesses can predict demand with higher accuracy, optimize pricing, and deliver personalized customer experiences on a grand scale. In essence, adopting algorithm-driven retailing is akin to having an indefatigable retail scientist working round-the-clock, continually refining your business operations.

#2 Challenge: Can automation and digitization improve warehouse efficiency?

As the heartbeat of a retailer’s operations, warehouses are transitioning from traditional stockrooms into technologically advanced nerve centers, bolstered by the power of automation and digitization. This revolution is not only redefining the nature of warehousing but also underlining its strategic role in today’s competitive retail landscape.

According to a report by LogisticsIQ, the warehouse automation market is expected to grow from $14 billion in 2020 to $30 billion by 2026, with an impressive CAGR of 14%. These figures underscore the robust trust and investment businesses are placing in warehouse automation and digitization.

Automation delivers unprecedented operational efficiency. It streamlines workflows, reduces errors, and dramatically enhances productivity. Furthermore, manual tasks such as order picking, packing, and shipping can be automated, freeing up valuable human resources for strategic tasks and decision-making.

Digitalization, on the other hand, provides retailers with real-time visibility and control over their inventory. With digital systems, businesses can track product movement, manage stock levels, and respond to changes in demand promptly. According to Zebra Technologies’ Warehouse Vision Study, 77% of decision-makers plan to invest in Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and digitize their inventory, picking, packing, and restocking processes by 2024.

Moreover, automation and digitalization facilitate predictive analytics, enabling businesses to anticipate future trends, manage resources effectively, and make data-driven decisions. This ability to anticipate and respond to market fluctuations can offer retailers a significant competitive advantage in the dynamic world of e-commerce.

#3 Challenge: Can stores address fulfillment challenges?

In the ever-evolving retail landscape, the boundaries between online and offline shopping are rapidly fading. As consumers demand faster deliveries and better availability of products, retailers are forced to rethink their fulfillment strategies. But amidst this transformation, a new model called “fulfillment from store” is emerging, offering a glimmer of hope for sustainable retailing.

Imagine a symphony of brick-and-mortar stores that serve as more than just customer engagement points. These stores become dynamic micro-fulfillment centers, poised to deliver products with unprecedented speed. This vision is becoming a reality as retailers redefine their physical stores as local distribution hubs, unlocking their incredible potential.

One of the remarkable benefits of the “fulfillment from store” model is the drastic reduction in last-mile delivery costs. McKinsey reports that last-mile delivery expenses account for a staggering 41% of total supply chain costs. By utilizing physical stores as fulfillment centers, retailers can significantly cut down on these expenses. Not only does this lead to cost savings, but also contributes to the reduction of carbon footprints, laying the foundation for a more sustainable retail ecosystem.

Furthermore, this model empowers retailers to bring products closer to their customers, resulting in faster delivery times. The Forrester Institute conducted a study in 2023, revealing that retailers adopting the “fulfillment from store” model reduced their delivery time by an impressive 27%. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also fosters customer loyalty, as shoppers value swift and reliable deliveries.

Additionally, the consolidation of online and offline inventories enables retailers to optimize their stock levels, reduce overstock and markdowns, and avoid the detrimental effects of out-of-stock situations. By harnessing the power of technology and strategic inventory management, retailers can create a harmonious balance between meeting customer demand and minimizing waste.

While the “fulfillment from store” model holds great promise, challenges remain, particularly within the fashion industry. The implementation of store fulfillment strategies in marketplaces has been constrained primarily by technological limitations. Brands encounter difficulties in deciding which products should be made available on which retail channel and incur elevated expenses when delivering individual items from stores to customers’ residences.

However, with innovation and collaboration, these challenges can be overcome. Technological advancements can empower brands to streamline their inventory management systems, ensuring that the right products are available online and in physical stores. Collaborative efforts between retailers, logistics providers, and technology companies can help drive down the costs associated with last-mile delivery, making sustainable retailing a viable reality.

Ultimately, achieving sustainable retailing requires a collective effort from all stakeholders. Retailers must embrace innovative fulfillment strategies, leverage technology to optimize inventory and forge partnerships to address logistical hurdles. 

#4 Challenge: Can sustainable retailing be truly attainable?

As we navigate through challenging times, the issue of greenwashing has become increasingly prevalent in the business world. Greenwashing refers to the deceptive practice where companies make misleading environmental claims, leading consumers to believe that their products or services are eco-friendly or sustainable when in fact, they are not. Beyond being a matter of bad business ethics, greenwashing undermines the collective efforts to reduce the environmental impact of human activity.

In order to truly achieve sustainable retailing, it is crucial for companies to move beyond greenwashing and embrace genuine environmentally friendly practices. One key aspect of sustainable retailing lies in the use of advanced technology. By incorporating cloud-based inventory management systems, retailers can minimize waste by accurately matching supply with demand. This reduces the need for overproduction and excess inventory, thereby decreasing environmental harm. Furthermore, algorithmic retailing can optimize logistics and transportation routes, leading to a reduced carbon footprint for the retail industry.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has reported that retailers utilizing advanced technologies have successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 19% in 2022 compared to previous years. This showcases the positive impact that embracing sustainable practices can have on the environment. By adopting these technologies, retailers not only benefit their bottom line through increased efficiency but also contribute to the overall goal of achieving sustainability.

However, sustainable retailing goes beyond technological advancements. It requires a holistic approach that encompasses various aspects such as responsible sourcing, ethical manufacturing practices, waste reduction, and the promotion of sustainable products and services. Companies need to be transparent and accountable in their environmental claims, ensuring that they adhere to recognized standards and certifications that validate their sustainability efforts.


While sustainable retailing poses challenges, it is not an unattainable goal. It requires a shift in mindset and a commitment from companies to prioritize environmental responsibility over short-term profits. Consumers also play a vital role by demanding transparency and holding companies accountable for their environmental claims. By supporting genuinely sustainable brands and products, consumers can drive the market toward a more sustainable future.

Innovate or fall behind – The ball is in your court

The retail industry stands at a critical crossroads. As challenges mount, technology emerges as the lifeline for survival and prosperity. The path forward may be challenging, but the promise of advanced technology illuminates the way. To thrive in the future, retailers must wholeheartedly embrace these transformative technologies. It is no longer a choice but an imperative for survival and growth. The time is now to adapt, innovate, and harness the power of technology for a successful future in the ever-evolving retail landscape.


How does Increff WMS simplify your complex warehousing needs?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the employee turnover rate in the warehousing sector has been as high as 49% annually. Due to this very high attrition rate, businesses often face severe fulfillment delays, low efficiency, and increasing costs.

So, why does this happen? Entry-level warehouse jobs are still considered to be manual, repetitive, and devoid of growth. To retain employees and reduce dependency on skilled labor, organizations must implement new technologies that keep their workers engaged.

However, it is not as easy as it sounds. With such a high attrition rate, employers cannot spend too much time on training. So, they need an effective, easy-to-use solution that gives them a good ROI. Here’s where Increff Warehouse Management System comes in.  

In this blog, we will showcase the top 5 reasons why Increff WMS is the ideal solution for managing your warehouse operations.

1) Quick deployment and easy maintenance

While legacy systems can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to deploy, Increff WMS can be up in just 1 week. It can also integrate with your existing ERP system alongside any other e-commerce platform or logistics management system you are using. This allows for a seamless experience and easy management of all your functions from a single touchpoint.

Unlike traditional on-premise solutions, which require regular hardware maintenance and updates, Increff WMS is a cloud-hosted hardware agnostic solution requiring no additional upkeep. It can run on a smartphone and also has Chrome accessibility. The system will be auto-updated whenever a new feature, bug fix, or upgrade is released.

2) Effortless learning and operations

The most critical thing for a warehouse management solution is ease of use. At the end of 2022, there were almost 500,000 open warehouse jobs. It shows businesses are unable to retain employees, and the turnover rate is very high. So, companies cannot spend a ton of time and resources on training new employees.

Increff realizes this, and its Warehouse Management Solution is designed to have a very shallow learning curve. With our simple and intuitive user interface, your employees can be trained on Increff WMS’s individual activities in just 5 minutes, unlocking high productivity from day one. 

It also simplifies the entire operations process with a single channel for B2B and B2C order processing and easy error tracking. The system is manually operated and has automation capabilities using the available data and operating via conveyor belts. Even though the system is manually operated, it has a 100% foolproof mechanism where the user cannot proceed to the next step if an error is detected.

3) Unbelievable accuracy

Increff WMS ensures the highest level of inventory accuracy with a promise-to-ship agreement that guarantees 99.99% accuracy at the bin level. This means you can trust that your inventory is always up-to-date and you never oversell or undersell your products.  It also offers an extremely swift inventory-order sync time of 10-15 seconds to ensure you never take extra orders without having the units to fulfill them.

The solution also upgrades your inventory management by enabling serialization that prevents duplicate scanning of items and achieves 100% first-time-right operation. As for when products are to be collected for shipment, it optimizes the path around the warehouse for more picks with lesser distance traveled, saving a lot of time and effort.

4) Simplified decision-making

It is important for businesses to be able to analyze different KPIs associated with inventory, order management, and putaway to get an overall picture of the warehouse performance. 

With 80+ actionable reports from Increff WMS, businesses get access to important insights that allow for data-backed decision-making rather than simply following one’s gut or using traditional methods like spreadsheets. Our reports cater to different stakeholders, including warehouse managers, operations, finance, category, and supply chain teams, allowing for simplified decision-making at all levels of your organization. 

5) Scalability 

For any business, scalability is a very important factor when considering a new solution. You wouldn’t want to change your systems frequently while experiencing high growth, which could slow down processes and increase traction. 

So, even if you are a small company projecting a very high growth rate but with a low order volume currently, Increff WMS can meet your requirements. While for enterprises, it can scale as required and even process up to 100k+ dispatches per day per the warehouse. The solution also maximizes your warehouse space utilization saving storage and labor costs.

Apart from being simple and efficient, Increff WMS is also the best in the market, with 200+ brands believing in what we have to offer. Gartner has also recognized Increff as a notable vendor in its report “Asia/Pacific Context: Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems” for 3 consecutive years now.

Schedule a quick demo to learn more about our solution and explore how we can help your business.


Upgrading delivery experience – Going beyond warehouses/ distribution centers

Until recently people hailed 5-day delivery as quick. Nowadays, consumers expect delivery to take no longer than 24 – 48 hours. With speed and agility spearheading order fulfillment, the time between booking an order and receiving it is decreasing. Retailers with digital presence have felt the need for a better supply chain to manage customer expectations. 

Going by the statistics, an incompetent order fulfillment strategy can lead to business loss. Thus, it’s imperative for retailers and brands to bring their A-game.

E-commerce order fulfillment process: Examining the current situation

E-commerce order fulfillment was mostly carried out by centrally located warehouses or distribution centers far from customer locations. Since inventory allocation was solely based on rough estimates determined by past years’ sales patterns. Depending on where the fulfillment center is, shipping costs and delivery times would vary.

Let’s expand on them in detail.  

Loopholes in this strategy

When fragmented data from multiple distribution centers and warehouses is combined, managing the high volume without an ideal omnichannel order management strategy becomes a mammoth task.

The current system has the following problems:

1. Inefficient warehouse management: Warehouses are intricate ecosystems where multiple processes work simultaneously. An improperly managed warehouse leads to inaccurate inventory information, inefficient space utilization, and mismanaged picking procedures, all impacting business productivity and employee efficiency at various levels.

2. Mismanagement of peak sales: Incorrectly assigned inventory is a surefire way to stockouts – every retailer’s nightmare. Its inefficient tracking and management lead to stockouts that not only impact profitability and sales but also cause customer dissatisfaction and reduce loyalty.

3. Delayed delivery: Longer delivery times have now become the quickest way to lose customer trust. Especially if they have paid extra for expedited shipping, they expect delivery within the promised timeframe. Delayed order fulfillment is often due to inefficient warehouse operations, inventory mismanagement, and inaccurate demand analysis.

4. High fulfillment costs: In order to meet the strict delivery timelines, brands opt for faster shipping options. Items when shipped from a centralized location far from customers, take longer to reach and cost more. High shipping and logistics cost reduces profit margins and overall brand revenue.

5. Lost sales opportunities: Inaccurate demand assessment leads to improper inventory distribution, overstocking, and stockout scenarios. Without timely replacement or replenishment, brands lose sales and revenue. If styles are available in stores but not exposed to online sales channels, their visibility reduces thus impacting total turnaround time and increasing chances of markdowns. 

Using an omnichannel approach to enable faster order fulfillment

Growth in e-commerce and the need for instant gratification have met with unexpected challenges. Such bottlenecks in the supply chain prevent brands from reaching their full growth potential hence it’s critical to address them.

Increff omnichannel order management and merchandising solutions are designed to extend efficiency and visibility across all retail sales channels. 
Let’s see how they can up your delivery game:

1. Boosting warehousing efficiency – Increff WMS is a web-based multi-channel order management system that provides a single view of inventory across all marketplaces with real-time order inventory sync. Inventory serialization enables digitization and automation to achieve 100% First-Time-Right operations. Order priority-wise picklist generation and optimized pick paths ensure ~99.9% order fulfillment within the promise-to-ship time. 

2. Managing peak sales- Robust tech stack and real-time inventory order sync ensure complete synergy between the marketplace and warehouse. It prevents chances of excess order cancellations which lead to customer distrust. The auto-replenishment feature sends prompts when a fast-selling stock is getting exhausted so it can be reordered on time to avoid stockouts.

3. Enabling 24-48 hrs delivery – By conducting pin code level demand analysis with Increff Merchandising Software regional utilization module, brands can distribute inventory according to existing demand. This brings inventory closer to the customer and ensures faster order fulfillment from the nearest location. 
4. Lower fulfillment costs – With Increff Cloud Warehousing service, brands can outsource inventory and order management to experts to reduce CapEx and improve operational efficiency.

5. Enable Omnichannel retailing– Increff O2O (Offline to Online) allows brands to expose store inventory to online sales channels for better visibility and faster order fulfillment from stores. 

Omnichannel order fulfillment for the win 
Undoubtedly, an omnichannel fulfillment system can augment and enhance your sales and revenue. In this day and age, where time equals money, businesses need to optimize their processes to enhance productivity. Intrigued to know how our suite of retail tech solutions can empower your business? Head to our website


Why is Increff WMS the right choice for your warehouse operations

Are you managing warehouse operations with systems that make you raise questions like:

  • How is my inventory placed in the warehouse and is the bin space optimally utilized?
  • How often should I plan my audits so that I can plan the warehouse shutdown accordingly?
  • Will my existing manpower be able to manage the peak season rush or do I need more hands to support the order flow?  

These red flags indicate it’s high time to replace your existing system. Bring in Increff Warehouse Management System for efficient inventory and order management.

Here’s what makes Increff WMS, the world’s simplest and most efficient cloud-based warehouse management system, the right choice for your retail business compared to any other systems.

Contact us to know more (HERE)

Smart Merchandising Technology

Unlock the power of analytics to win more online sales opportunities

As retail e-commerce sales worldwide are expected to grow by 56 percent over the next years, reaching about 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026, retailers cannot ignore the enormous potential of an online presence. But getting into each customer’s shoes to map their journey, understand their needs, and fulfill their demands can be quite challenging.

Arm your online sales data with analytics capabilities that can help you turn raw sales data into actionable insights to facilitate quick and informed decision-making, thus helping them offer the right products at the right time for sales maximization.

Here’s how Increff Online Analytics can make this happen

Connect with us now. Sign up for free HERE.

Smart Merchandising Technology

Planning a sustainable future with Increff Merchandising Solution

Apparel companies, be they haute couture or mass-production chains, are at all times burdened with an inventory glut. This glut eventually results in deadstock that generates 53 million tonnes of litter for landfills each year in addition to the environmental consequences of the production of the garment itself. Approximately 30% of the clothing produced each season is never sold. As much alarming as these figures look, it is expected to further lift and increase to a blaring 150 million tons by the year 2030.

The crux of the matter is how we tackle this issue effectively and efficiently from the roots. It is at this stage that we shed light on the importance of accurate planning, and how an easy tool can help merchandisers optimize this process. Introducing Increff Merchandising Software

By analyzing and studying past sales, revenue, discounts, size cuts, and stock-outs, Increff Merchandising Software helps determine the ideal assortment mix at a granular level. It enables merchandisers to optimize the inventory at a store-style level and produce accurate data reports that act as a foundation to study sales trends from past seasons and focus on consumer trends and bestsellers. Clients can bet on their best performers and reduce overstocking substantially by redefining the sales pattern with better clarity.

Better planning and distribution have made a difference of up to 25% less inventory holding among users of Increff Merchandising Software.

Inter-store transfers also help to move the stock around and increase sell-through. Here the available stock among stores in a region is moved to a store where it has better performance potential. This will give the styles one last chance to perform before they go into discounting and sales. Increasing the visibility of styles also gives the last chance to rectify mistakes made in planning and selling the purchased stock.

The mammoth task of ensuring a sustainable future in its true essence only requires discipline and structure that we at Increff help merchandisers achieve via our Planning module. The industry has been guilt-ridden due to its major contribution to damaging the environment and we must approach the future cautiously. Let’s use intelligence in playing our part judiciously in this journey by using smart analytical tools to build a sustainable and resilient future.

Check how Increff smart technology solutions can help you walk on the path toward sustainable retailing. (LINK HERE).

Smart Merchandising Technology

Dive into your sales data and interpret the right story

Retail is one of the most data-driven industries, from sales data to inventory details – every data point offers an opportunity to make your retail business more efficient and successful. The right data at the right time can help you understand customer behavior, estimate demand requirements, build forecasts, and make informed decisions.

Here’s how the Increff Business Intelligence module can help you turn raw sales data into actionable insights and facilitate quick and informed decision-making.

Connect with us for more details

Business Technology

5 sure shot techniques to reduce costs in the retail supply chain

Creating a highly competitive retail supply chain depends on how well you’re able to control/reduce your costs. Incurring unnecessary costs can mean that your processes aren’t efficient enough, your funds are blocked in too many fixed assets, or your supply chain isn’t performing at an optimum level. These factors could pile up costs, impact margins, affect your competitiveness, and eventually make your business falter. 

Keeping costs under control is therefore one of the most essential aspects of supply chain management. Let’s look at 5 sure shot techniques that can help you reduce your costs:

  1. Localize fulfillment

Transportation accounts for about 40 to 50 percent of logistics costs, and 4 to 10 percent of the selling price of final products. Reducing the distance between your warehouse and customer clusters is, therefore, necessary to control overall costs. The closer your warehouse, or fulfillment center, is located to your customer cluster, the quicker fulfillment will be, which also means a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Regional Utilisation (RU), the idea of fulfilling maximum orders locally, is one of the topmost solutions for cost management in supply chains today. 

RU becomes even more effective when coupled with new-age merchandising solutions. Powered by data insights, this enables brands to conduct Pincode level analysis to place the right products at the right warehouse, or store, as per demand in a particular market. Shelving the right styles and size combinations can boost regional sales significantly while saving costs on logistics.

  1. Rethink warehousing!

As a brand expands, operating from a centralized warehouse can raise distribution costs and impact business quite significantly. In fact, as per Logistics Bureau, up to 12 percent of companies are unprofitable after distribution costs are taken into account.

This can be tackled with Distributed Warehousing which enables brands to expand into other regions, and support efforts toward regional fulfillment. Fulfillment of orders from various local and widely distributed warehouses is quick and cost-effective. 

Technology solutions like Increff Cloud warehousing allow brands to rent out spaces based on regional requirements. This means investment in warehouse infrastructure is not required and brands are able to convert CAPEX into OPEX thus controlling their overhead costs. In recent times, this has been further augmented with the rapid rise of 3PL players with whom brands can partner for renting warehousing spaces and adding value to the supply chain. 

  1.  Manage manpower costs

Costs incurred due to human labor is another significant portion of your expenditures. These include their wages, training and development costs, costs incurred in hiring additional/ad hoc labor during peak season sales, and adjusting manual errors committed by the workforce. 

With new-age WMS and merchandising solutions, brands can successfully avoid a lot of unnecessary labor costs and reduce errors in decision-making. Simple UX/ UI facilitates easy training which is extremely useful during crunch times when the technically skilled workforce is scarce or expensive. The ease of use increases the fungibility of staff and maximizes the use of the available workforce.

Automated solutions ensure continuous, seamless workflow with minimum decision-making errors. Digitizing inventory through serialization allows easy scanning of individual pieces of inventory for efficient tracking and reduces training time to 5-10 mins. This minimizes efforts and costs related to elaborate training and development of the human resource operating the system.

  1. Make data-backed decisions

Holding on to obsolete inventory can add up to 25 to 30 percent more to the unit cost of your products. Besides, the capital tied up with this inventory could account for about 15 percent of opportunity costs. Obsolete inventory is mostly a result of the inability to forecast demand accurately.

However, new-age merchandising solutions backed by relevant data enable brands to create product assortments with the right styles and sizes. This helps them meet the customer demand perfectly, without causing problems of overstocking or under-stocking, both of which impact costs, the former causing wastage and the latter calling for in-season redistribution. 

New-age solutions facilitate analysis of future demand over a time horizon of the next season or business year. Analyzing past sales data helps create a favorable estimate of the upcoming season stock requirements so the right quantity can be placed in the right location. Manufacturing the right quantity as per demand avoids overproduction, unnecessary expenditure, and resource wastage. 

  1. Use multiple channels for order fulfillment

Last mile connectivity is known to be the costliest part of the supply chain and accounts for about 53 percent of the total shipping costs. This calls for transforming order fulfillment through omnichannel retail, which is a fluid vision of fulfillment that allows customers to receive their orders in the faster possible time. 

Fulfillment options like Buy-Online-PickupIn-Store (BOPIC), store fulfillment, curbside pickup, home delivery, etc. are getting popular. Conversely, a customer visiting a store who is unable to find the desired product can make use of the ‘endless aisle’ online option to purchase it and get it delivered at home or the nearest store. This doesn’t just offer immense customer ease, but also allows brands to resort to the most cost-effective fulfillment option.

Cost control is the first step towards business process efficiency and with the above-given tips, brands can simply rule the roost among their competitors. Effective cost control has great benefits for not just the business stakeholders, but also the environment and society at large.


7 Biggest supply chain mistakes & how to solve them

You could be one of the most seasoned merchandisers and yet you could fall for some common supply chain mistakes. Often these result in inflated costs, poor workforce management, sub-optimal processes, delays in fulfillment, and lots of confusion and errors. It is necessary that these mistakes are brought under the scanner and fixed before they leave a severe dent on the business growth.

Below we discuss 7 common mistakes that need immediate attention. 

1. Choosing too many tech vendors


It could be quite tempting to implement multiple tech solutions from different vendors, considered experts or specialists, at multiple stages of the supply chain. However, this can result in creation of silos, and a lack of coordination among different processes especially if there are separate screens to track the progress of each stage. Multiple dashboards require extensive coordination and great resource time in management, it affects inventory visibility and reduces clarity, leading to a fragmented workflow.  


Instead of installing separate tech solutions to monitor individual processes e.g. OMS, WMS, Returns Management, etc. within a warehouse, it is beneficial to find the right tech partner with a single comprehensive solution to ensure seamless workflow and inventory accuracy. A single view of inventory provides one source of truth and ensures transparency within the warehouse to boost efficiency by making coordination between different arms of retail operations easier. 

2. Inappropriate use of data


Making the maximum use of data is crucial to take accurate supply chain decisions, cutting costs, and ensuring the right products reach the right customer clusters. Inaccurate analysis or working manually on tedious Excel worksheets can lead to incorrect interpretations and missed sales opportunities.


Install algorithm-based, intelligent merchandising solutions that automated decision-making to minimize human intervention, offer quick decisions, and ensure accurate merchandise planning, buying, and allocation. By drilling down analysis to the individual store level, decision-making becomes highly granular and accurate. This also enables brands to shelve the right stock at the right store in the right quantity, thus avoiding over or under-stocking and capturing sales effectively.

3. Ill inventory health in stores


Fashion brands are especially sensitive to the health of the inventory in stores because the demand changes rapidly with seasons and trends. With expanding business requirements, brands could overlook the importance of keeping the right stock, in the right quantity, at the right location, and at the right time. This leads to problems like aging stock, leftover stock, and inadequate size and style. Stock brokenness can lead to the unavailability of popular styles and a significant loss of sales.


Ensure you conduct an accurate demand forecast for the upcoming season and regularly replenish the stores to meet in-season demand spikes. Pull back slow-moving inventory to make space for better-performing styles. By maintaining the health of the inventory, you also minimize the possibility of running out of popular styles. Investing in good inventory management software enables you to minimize human errors, streamline merchandising, and maintain a healthy inventory.

4. Poor cost management strategies


A number of poor management practices can lead to an unnecessary increase in costs. This starts with the overproduction of goods which overshoots the estimated market demand causing overstocking, obsolescence, and wastage. A mismatch in supply and market demand can cause wastage or shortage, and subsequently a rise in transportation costs due to in-season redistribution. As brands expand their territorial footprint, ordering from a faraway centralized warehouse can become costly. Likewise, investing in warehouse infrastructure where you hope the demand would increase, also means unnecessarily blocking precious resources.


Use data-backed solutions to accurately forecast demand for a particular customer cluster. Merchandising solutions can help you stock the right styles and sizes for each market, ensuring zero wastage. With distributed warehousing and collaboration with 3PL partners, you can avoid investing in warehousing infrastructure, and convert your CAPEX into OPEX. Likewise, with regional utilization brands can ensure that most of their orders are fulfilled locally, and transportation costs are reduced dramatically. 

New-age technology solutions like Increff Cloud Warehousing, enable automation and offer a simple UX/UI to avoid the need for costly and time-consuming training. This increases the fungibility of your manpower and reduces dependency on expensive skilled labor. 

5. Single delivery service


Brands that focus only on one sales channel (say a website or social media) and develop myopia for all the others are likely to face the heat of intense competition. This is because customers are increasingly looking for quick fulfillment and ease of delivery from multiple points of contact with the brand. Brands which are unable to rise up to this new trend are likely to become irrelevant as omnichannel begins to dominate order fulfillment.


Create a walled garden of brand touch-points and experiences around your customers. Adopting omnichannel fulfillment and the latest fulfillment practices such as BOPIS, curbside pickup, or in-store pickup, enhances customer convenience and satisfaction. Omnichannel is also a cost-effective practice as it enables the brands to choose the most economical option to deliver goods to the customer.

6. Inefficient returns management


Brands could commit the mistake of ignoring their returns management as an auxiliary function of their supply chain. This can cause delays in returns logistics, slowing down of resale, stockpiling and obsolescence, or in-transit damage. Lacking the data about the reasons for return or the most repeatedly returned items could lead to regular repetition of past mistakes.


Have an automation-based returns management solution in place that will streamline the entire returns process. It enables you to sort and grade the returned goods, resell the good stock, and redirect the refurbished stock to the secondary market. This minimizes waste and enables brands to earn maximum value from the returned goods. Serialization enables 100% tracking of inventory and capturing the exact reason for returns in the barcode. Repeatedly returned products can be easily quarantined, analyzed, and removed from circulation to prevent unnecessary expenditure.

7. Excess discounting to clear stock


Discounting could seem like the easiest way out to clear the stock at the end of the season, or during periods of slow sales. However, excess and indiscriminate discounting don’t just impact your margins, it also affects your brand image. Excessive discounting dilute the reputation of your brand and your customers may find it hard to trust the pricing of your products in the future.


Increff Markdown optimization solution enables brands to offer the right percentage of discount, just tipping the balance towards conversions, and preventing an excess drop in margin. This depends upon the ongoing performance of an item and the status of its inventory.

The mistakes discussed above could cost your business dearly as the intensely competitive marketplace of today leaves very little room for inefficiencies. Brands, therefore, need to plug all the possible loopholes and ensure the highest possible efficiency in their supply chain processes.