Warehousing & Fulfillment

Practical Tips for eBay Inventory Management

Warehousing & Fulfillment
September 9, 2021
7 min read

Managing inventory on eBay is key to taking advantage of every possible sale, controlling margins, and planning an effective marketing strategy. Whether you are selling on eBay alone or are using eBay as part of a multichannel strategy, these tips will help you automate your eBay inventory management for maximum efficiency.

For shops small and large, eBay inventory management is crucial. Products are the lifeblood of your business and carrying inventory is likely your largest expense. Failing to stay on top of inventory management results in overselling, stockouts, and poor marketing ROI. 

However, though critical, inventory management is challenging and time-consuming to put in place, especially for merchants selling across multiple sales channels – not just eBay. 

How can eBay sellers enact proper inventory management strategies to ensure success? How can they effectively expand to other platforms without overcomplicating operations? How can eCommerce shops manage multiple channels without losing time, money, and loyal customers? 

Managing a successful eBay storefront and multiple marketplace listings requires finding the perfect balance of casting a wide net without spreading yourself too thin. Below we examine eBay’s inventory management systems that can help you maintain this balance and discuss the importance of implementing multichannel listing software. While eBay may be your only sales channel today, you’ll likely eventually add multiple retail channels to expand brand presence and market share.

Does eBay Have Inventory Management?

eBay offers a selling manager system that functions as an inventory management solution. It includes features such as managing scheduled, active, sold, and unsold listings using custom views. Plus, the free tool lets users quickly find listings using advanced search, set up automation rules to automatically relist unsold items, and view summaries of sales, order status, and listings. 

Included with Premium and Anchor eBay Stores subscriptions is Selling Manager Pro, which provides all the functionality of Selling Manager plus these features:

  • Manage inventory with quantity tracking
  • Use additional automation rules to relist unsold items
  • List with reusable product listing templates
  • Set up automatic feedback using custom stored messages
  • Generate sales reports

Note that sellers without these subscriptions can pay $15.99 per month to use Selling Manager Pro. 

These solutions are suitable for eBay-only medium-volume sellers fulfilling orders in-house. But multichannel eCommerce shops cannot rely on eBay’s tools – even Selling Manager Pro – because they do not work with other channels or third-party tools. 

Instead, multichannel sellers and those using third-party fulfillment (3PL) providers should seek software that streamlines and simplifies sales management across numerous channels

How Do I Manage eBay Inventory?

At a minimum, multichannel inventory management systems should have three primary components:

  1. Physical inventory management – Properly managing physical inventory reduces warehouse and carrying costs, while helping you sell more items and guarantee the inexpensive, fast shipping consumers expect today

Proper SKU management is the foundation of physical inventory management. It allows you to track inventory (and profitability) down to individual product variants and confidently make better business decisions. 

Further, the physical locations of warehouses will make or break your ability to provide fast, cheaper shipping without breaking the bank. Rather than using one giant warehouse near headquarters, incorporate multiple smaller warehouses spread across the areas where you conduct the bulk of your business. Storing goods near customers to reduce shipping time and costs requires working with an eBay fulfillment partner to forward stock inventory strategically. 

  1. Sales Management – Ultimately, eBay inventory management software should help increase sales. Collecting historical data on inventory enables access to accurate demand forecasting to bypass stockouts, avoid unsold inventory, and position you to have plenty of popular items on-hand ahead of surging demand. 

On the other side, data analysis will quickly alert you to goods that aren’t selling. Armed with this information, you can stop stocking unpopular items and place items collecting dust on sale to reduce inventory costs.  

  1. Data management –Accessing actionable physical inventory management and sales management data depends on having accurate stock level information. Smaller eBay retailers usually start with spreadsheets because they’re affordable and easy-to-use. Still, they don’t offer the timeliness or forecasting ability of inventory management software and more robust warehouse management systems (WMS).

Additionally, spreadsheets require manual data entry, which is prone to errors. Inventory management software automates most of these manual processes.

What Is the Best Listing Tool for eBay?

The best eBay listing software depends on the size and growth trajectory of your online business. 

SellerHub, created by eBay to bring Selling Manager and all their other tools under one umbrella and dashboard, may be enough – if you’re only selling on eBay. 

However, as your business grows, you’ll need more sophisticated tools that integrate with third-parties to optimize your commerce operations management (COM) strategy. A successful COM strategy allows you to track inventory across multiple sales channels, freeing up time and resources to grow your business and improve sales performance. 

Accordingly, as you examine eBay and multichannel listing software, look for these 8 features: 

  1. User friendly design and experience to add and edit data
  2. Monitors stock and pricing levels
  3. Schedules listings
  4. Allows merchants to create and manage eBay templates
  5. Auto-lists and re-lists profiles
  6. Allows bulk uploads of listings or bulk changes to listings 
  7. Supports all your sales channels (not just eBay) 
  8. Integration with fulfilment partner

How Do I Check or Change My eBay Inventory?

Selling Manager Pro or your listing software should come with an easy-to-use dashboard that allows you to check and change eBay inventory seamlessly.  

This functionality includes viewing total inventory on hand, manually updating inventory quantity, automatically increasing or decreasing quantities, applying the out-of-stock feature, and automating inventory management processes. As a result, sellers can quickly view inventory on eBay (and other channels if you’re using multichannel listing software) with integrated demand forecasting capabilities to minimize costly stockouts and improve marketing ROI.

The Bottom Line

In the end, the inventory listing software eBay sellers choose must streamline daily operations, track data accurately, and offer forward-looking insight that drives business results. Ideally, this software will fully integrate with all your target sales channels and fulfilment partners. 

Consequently, you’ll be empowered to refine your multichannel strategy and drive more revenue profitably across eBay and other platforms.

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