DTC Inventory Management Services
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are given an upper advantage than traditional brands thanks to social media, the ability to offer lower prices, customer-friendly policies, product quality, better customer engagement, and more.
But many DTC brands struggle to manage inventory as they grow, reducing the advantages that come with shopping from an online brand.
If you’re struggling to keep up with your DTC inventory, ShipBob can help.
ShipBob is a best-in-class 3PL that can help you optimise your inventory management process and grow your business.
Read on to learn more about our inventory management solution for DTC brands.
We chose ShipBob because it was very much about the DTC experience, as opposed to becoming Amazon or something. We want to make sure people are coming to our site and creating that loyalty and getting a personal experience.
Co-owner of The Caker
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What is DTC inventory?
DTC inventory refers to inventory purchased for an online brand that sells directly to consumers. Inventory must be purchased and ready for fast fulfilment once orders are placed.
Many direct-to-consumer brands struggle with inventory management. It’s challenging to optimise inventory by keeping storage costs to a minimum while also forecasting inventory to ensure there’s enough readily available to meet customer demand.
With DTC inventory, businesses must implement inventory tracking systems that offer SKU management capabilities in order to organise, update, and view SKU at a glance. This allows brands to track inventory across their sales channels and quickly make decisions on SKU performance.
Best practices for managing DTC inventory
Managing DTC inventory can be a challenge. Whether you’re a brand managing multiple yet similar SKUs or a home furnishing business that needs to store overweight and heavy items — every DTC industry comes with its own set of challenges.
However, there are universal best practices for all DTC brands. It includes implementing the right processes and technology to track inventory efficiently.
Here are some best practices for managing DTC inventory.
1. Track inventory in real time
Be sure to implement software designed specifically to help manage inventory in real time. With the right real-time inventory management solution, you can reduce risks of inventory shrinkage, inaccurate inventory reports, stockouts, and backorders.
With inventory tracking software in place, your orders and inventory are synced in real time. This makes it much easier to track inventory by increasing inventory visibility and providing insights into when it’s time to replenish inventory, run a promotion, and track slow-moving items that are no longer generating sales.
“Having ShipBob’s dashboard is so helpful, especially when you can look on there and see how many have been sold today and how many you can sell. It’s really helpful to know that it’s a trustworthy inventory source! It’s really handy, and I love that it just automatically implements new changes.”
Nakisah Williams, founder of Craft Club Co.
2. Practice proper SKU management
As your DTC brand grows, SKU proliferation is inevitable. But to stay profitable, it’s important to optimise inventory by determining slow-moving SKUs and possibly discontinuing them.
With the right inventory tracking software, you can easily track slow-moving items vs. fast-moving items and make decisions on what SKUs to discontinue or replenish.
“With ShipBob, we were able to mark any combination of SKUs as a unique bundle and select the component SKUs right through the dashboard. Each time that bundle was fulfiled by ShipBob, we could see the individual components that were physically picked, and we would know that the order went out as expected.
ShipBob also allowed us to make changes to bundles on the fly with complete control and visibility, which is important in monthly subscription boxes, holiday bundles, and many more scenarios. With our old 3PL, we had to rely on a game of telephone and someone else to do this for us.”
Gerard Ecker, Founder & CEO of Ocean & Co.
3. Simplify fulfilment
Managing inventory is a major component of the ecommerce fulfilment process.
If you are currently handing fulfilment in-house but offer different products in variations, it might be time to partner with ShipBob.
ShipBob’s entire distribution network is powered by the same fulfilment software, which includes built-in inventory management software. ShipBob can receive and store each SKU separately, pick and pack orders efficiently, and ship orders through the most cost-effective route. This allows you to spend less time on logistics but maintain visibility into operations.
It’s simple to add products to the ShipBob dashboard automatically or manually. If you have the same SKU imported from different stores, you can easily merge them to prevent duplicate products/inventory.
“As we saw our small startup business beginning to gain traction, we needed to find a 3PL that could help us manage the thousands of orders we would get in minutes. When I was researching companies, I knew they had to be tech-enabled, integrate with Shopify, and a company that could scale with us. We found exactly that with ShipBob.”
Jason Ton, CFO of 100 Thieves
Partner with ShipBob
ShipBob has vast experience in fulfiling a wide range of DTC industries.
With a global fulfilment network and best-in-class technology, ShipBob offers a wide range of fulfilment capabilities to help you create an effective DTC logistics strategy, including flexible fulfilment, advanced data and analytics, and other world-class logistics solutions.
“Last time we shipped our own packages, it took us 3 weeks. It took ShipBob less than 2 days. I couldn’t wait to delegate this business over, because the stress level was through the roof. I am just so grateful for ShipBob.”
Andrea Hamilton, founder of The Finer Things 1920
With ShipBob’s network of fulfilment centres, you can strategically split your inventory across our locations to get your products from point A to point B more quickly and affordably. Storing inventory near your customers helps reduce the shipping zones and costs associated with shipping orders to faraway destinations.
Distributed inventory also helps you stay competitive by offering fast shipping to your customers. When an order is placed, ShipBob’s algorithm automatically selects the warehouse and courier that will give you the quickest turnaround at the best price. This strategy has helped our merchants bring 13% savings to their bottom line.
100% Coverage Across the Continental US
If you’re looking to expand into the United States, ShipBob has 2-Day Express Shipping that provides 100% coverage in the continental US from even just one fulfilment centre.
You can also distribute your inventory across ShipBob’s fulfilment centres across all regions of the United States. We leave it up to you to decide where you want us to store your inventory.
At ShipBob, we track your orders from A to Z. Filter orders by status, search for specific orders, see a quick timeline view of where your order is in the fulfilment process (e.g. when an order is picked, packed, or shipped), easily find shipping-related information (e.g., weights, dimensions, or courier service), and get a quick snapshot of any orders that require action.
With order management software for your direct-to-consumer and wholesale shipments, you can manage subscriptions, make changes to your orders post-purchase, map your store’s shipping options to ShipBob, and automatically share tracking information with your customers.
At ShipBob, we empower merchants to manage their inventory with the right tools and guidance. It’s easy to view the status of inventory and quantity on hand across locations at any point in time, identify slow-moving inventory with high storage costs, and gain insights into the performance of units sold over time by channel.
Our inventory management software helps you set reminders to proactively replenish inventory with reorder notifications, bundle your products for promotions, make inventory transfer requests, and much more.
Reporting and analytics
To provide you with visibility into our operations and performance, and also hold ourselves accountable, ShipBob’s free analytics tool is packed with charts to help you with everything from year-end reporting, to better supply chain decision-making.
Data can be a competitive advantage, and our reports show an analysis of which fulfilment centres you should stock, days of inventory left before you run out, impact of promotions on stock levels, each shipping method’s average cart value, shipping cost, and days in transit, your fulfilment cost per order, storage cost per unit, and much more.
End-to-end customer experience
We care about the customer experience as much as you and strive to be an extension of your team. From custom branded boxes to free plain packaging, ShipBob works with you to provide the unboxing experience you want. We also help you offer the fastest, most cost-effective shipping options to meet your customers’ expectations.
As soon as an order ships, tracking is pushed back to your store. We also offer return management services, allowing customers to generate return shipping labels and track returns, while getting your products processed and back into your available inventory as efficiently as possible.
How ShipBob improves your fulfilment and logistics
Save on fulfilment costs
Coffee creamer brand Prymal joined ShipBob in 2019 and was quickly able to save $8,000 per month on fulfilment costs, while at the same time achieving 4x growth.
Improve your conversion rate
Not only was BAKblade able to scale internationally by partnering with ShipBob, but they found adding 2-Day Shipping increased their conversions as well.
Store, ship, and grow internationally
Sunglasses brand Ombraz distributed their inventory across 3 fulfilment centres in two different countries. This has allowed them to ship to 55 countries on seven continents.