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4 Point Guide for eBay Inventory Management

By Ankit | May 23, 2022 | 10 Min read
ebay inventory management

An inventory management software may be a hard sell for a business in its nascency. But as soon as it spreads its wings towards scalability, you cannot rely on obsolete methods to track your inventory. You must evolve from time and resource-intensive methods as your business expands its reach.

eBay is one of the most crucial eCommerce platforms helping small businesses build their niche in the online retail landscape. Regardless of what you sell, how you price it, and where you sell it from, eBay has been the bridge that connects smaller businesses to a global audience. 

Whether you turn to eBay as a side hustle running parallelly with your 9-5, or you’ve conceived a legitimate business with a generous turnover, one thing that remains pivotal to the business’s success is how well you manage your eBay inventory. 

Efficient eBay inventory management can generate a sizeable income for your business. While products are a crucial part of the system, you need to focus on their storage and renewal, among other factors, for a retail system to run like a well-oiled machine. 

But what is the right way to manage an eBay inventory? Can automated software facilitate eBay inventory management? Yes, and yes. 

While we explore the detailed answers to some of these questions, let’s start by understanding the importance of eBay inventory management. 

Why is eBay inventory management important for your business?

A company’s inventory management is essential to their health because they can avoid having too much or too little in their inventory. When you know the ideal level of inventory that you must maintain to prevent stockouts and inaccuracies, you can: 

Better manage your funds: Automated inventory management software like Sumtracker enables you to analyze inventory reports which help you regulate your inventory levels. This way, you avoid overspending on your inventory items. 

Regulate cash flow: When you only invest in the stock that sells, leaving more room for you to maximize profits and income. 

Ensure customer satisfaction: With an efficient inventory management software like Sumtracker that sends you low stock alerts, you will never run out of items that sell or have an overflow of low-selling items. 

 eBay inventory management features: inbuilt or external?

The simple answer is – both. The long answer is that the inventory management features on eBay are quite limited. Besides, eBay’s intrinsic inventory management features are not suitable for multi-channel syncing. 

eBay’s ‘selling manager system‘ doubles as an inventory management channel for sellers. It qualifies as an inventory management system because it provides services such as – managing scheduled, active, sold, and unsold listings using custom views. The free tool allows you to set up basic automation to relist unsold stock, review sales summaries, and track orders and listings.

The ‘Selling Manager Pro,’ on the other hand, is an upgrade that is included in Premium and Anchor subscriptions. Although, you can add it to your free plan at an additional $15.99/month. ‘Selling Manager Pro’ provides all the features included in the ‘Selling Manager System, plus:

  • Track quantities to manage inventory levels at all times. 
  • Automate the process of relisting unsold items
  • Reusable templates for product listings
  • Configure automatic feedback with custom stored messages
  • Generate sales reports

Again, eBay inventory management solutions are relevant for eBay-only retailers with a medium order volume that usually fulfills in-house orders. If you’re looking for multi-channel inventory syncing, eBay’s inventory tools may not be the right tool for you. 

The best way to go would be to look for automated inventory management platforms like Sumtracker that offer vital features such as auto-syncing across multiple inventories, low stock alerts, bundle and kit optimization, and sales reports. 

eBay inventory management: How to make it seamless?

eBay’s inventory management system stands on four key pillars – physical management, sales management, data management, and audits. To ace your inventory management technique, you must assimilate these components into practice:

Physical: The way you manage your inventory reflects on your sales. A well-managed inventory can improve your sales, generate a more significant ROI from your warehouse, and help you qualify for eBay’s perks – fast shipping programs that can potentially enhance customer experience. The physical management of your warehouse is further branched into two factors – SKUs and Warehouse locations: 

SKUs: SKUs or Stock Keeping Units are alphanumeric codes used to differentiate between products. To illustrate better, consider that you’re selling a large leather jacket for women. Now the SKU for this product may be 01-F-JA-LE-L, where: 

  • 01 – Clothing
  • F – Female 
  • JA – Jacket 
  • LE – Leather 
  • L – Large size

SKUs are instrumental in ensuring:

  • Optimum inventory levels: Identify specific products and control the chances of stockouts and inventory overflow. 
  • Regulating inventory: An articulate SKU structure can aid employees in picking the right products more quickly, which can, in turn, expedite the delivery process. 
  • Stock replenishment: Defining SKUs can help you track stock more effectively. Setting low stock alerts using SKUs will help you prevent stock shortages. 

In some cases, eBay does not allow sellers to use the same SKU for multiple listings. But sellers want to sell the same product in more than 1 listing. They may try multiple price combinations, new keywords in the title for SEO, ranking the same item in multiple categories, or A/B testing images. So, they have to assign 2 different SKUs to the 2 listings.

Sumtracker enables you to define that inventory of SKU1 is dependent on inventory on that of SKU2. So when the inventory of SKU1 = the inventory of SKU2, you only need to manage the inventory of SKU1, and SKU2 will be synced automatically, saving you a ton of precious time. 

You can perform A/B tests on promotions, product descriptions, and pictures – identify what sells and maximize your profits with Sumtracker. 

Warehouse Locations: The location of your warehouse is also a salient factor in inventory management. For instance, if you invest in a single, relatively larger warehouse right next door, you may be prone to challenges – especially for the orders placed from outside your city. Instead, set up multiple warehouses sporadically across a multitude of locations. This will help you make the fast-moving stock more accessible to consumers. If this arrangement incurs an inconvenient cost, you can always outsource some of your stock storage to fulfillment centres. 

Data: Data management and inventory management are two terms often used interchangeably. However, while Data management refers to the processing and analysis of information pertaining to your eBay stocks and sales, inventory management is the umbrella term that covers the broader process. In other words, data management is a part of holistic inventory management. Data management usually pivots around data points such as batch numbers, expiry dates, inventory levels, re-order points, and the time spent in the warehouse. 

You can deploy the following three techniques to manage your inventory data: 

  • Excel spreadsheets/Google Sheets: Spreadsheets are one of the most basic forms of data management. Especially for nascent businesses, Spreadsheets can prove to be cost-effective and easily accessible. Although, as you begin scaling your business with heavier volumes of orders to fulfil, manual regulation of data, mixed with the odds of human error, can render your Spreadsheet inefficient. 
  • eBay selling manager pro: eBay selling manager pro is a built-in feature-packed system that helps you improve your inventory operations. However, the eBay system is incapable of performing multi-channel sync and third-party integrations, so it is only ideal for sellers who want to sell via eBay. 
  • Automated eBay inventory management software: eBay inventory management software like Sumtracker has overcome one of the biggest challenges of eBay’s selling manager – multi-channel syncing. Sumtracker facilitates the inventory management process with state-of-the-art features such as – automated multi-channel syncing, low stock alerts, and accurate sales reports, which help you avoid overstocking and stock shortages. 
  • Audits: Periodically auditing your inventory helps you regulate it and identify missing, stolen, damaged items or slow-moving stock. To make more space in your inventory, you can use sales techniques to encourage users to purchase these items.
  • Sales: The final part of the eBay inventory management funnel is sales management – combining the physical and digital processes to amplify your eBay sales and positively influence your sales projections. Sales forecasting, fast shipping programs, and shifting your slow-moving inventory can help you attain the right mix of sales management:
    • Slow-moving stock: Audits and data management can help you identify slow-moving (unsold, slow-selling) stock in your inventory. You can then deploy schemes, discounts, and bundles to free up more room in your warehouse.
    • Sales forecasts: Sales reports can help you narrow down your search to finding the products that sell best and their peak selling schedules. Using this data, you can price your products better to capitalize on the increasing demand and ensure that your inventory has adequate resources to handle it.
    • Free shipping programs: Free shipping programs can be instrumental in boosting sales. A robust inventory management system can differentiate between thousands of SKUs at a time. This makes it easier for your staff to identify and pick the required items. The sooner they fulfil the delivery; the higher are your chances of meeting the 97% on-time handling, qualifying you for eBay Fast N’Free delivery.

Can inventory management software make the job easy?

Automated eBay inventory management software significantly cuts down your effort as well as the time consumption that goes into inventory management. The right inventory management software like Sumtracker:

  • Provides an easy and intuitive way to add and edit data
  • Maintains inventory and pricing information
  • Auto-syncs listings
  • Listings can be uploaded in bulk or changed in bulk.
  • Easily integrates with all your sales channels.
  • Define how inventory of a product can be dependent on another base product

5 vetted tips to improve your eBay inventory management

If you’re starting out your eCommerce ventures, follow these simple tips to get the hang of eBay inventory management: 

  • Set competitive prices: Prices determine your overall revenue, and thus, it is crucial to set the right price for your products. Price it too low, you may accrue a loss; price it too high, there may not be enough sales. A good practice is to keep an eye out for your competitor’s prices and set comparable rates for your products. 
  • Know and understand eBay’s seller policies: eBay has a set of compliance rules and seller policies that can heavily influence your eCommerce store. Read and assimilate these policies when you execute your business operations to steer clear of a policy breach. 
  • Try making bundles of your products: Bundles can help you optimize your sales. Bundling a slow-moving stock with a fast-selling stock can help free up your inventory space. 
  • Make projections based on inventory forecasting: When you take your sales history into account, you can create improved forecasts on future sales and inventory stocking. This prevents your inventory from running into a stock overflow or a shortage. Besides, sales trends give you an insight into what sells so that you never run out of items that boost your business. 
  • Use software to manage your inventory: Inventory management software like Sumtracker not only help in reducing your manual effort but also help you minimize the scope of loss due to inaccuracies in your inventory. With its auto-sync feature, Sumtracker makes it possible for you to run multi-channel eCommerce stores from a single control panel. 


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