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Work at Home Moms > Online Auctions Getting Started Tutorial > Inventory Tips

Inventory Tracking Tips for Online Auction Retailers

One of the biggest challenges to being an online auction retailer is ‘Where do you put all that stuff” This can be particularly difficult if you’re selling large items like televisions or furniture. One option is to store inventory in an off-site storage unit. There are a tremendous amount of these popping up all over the United States. The benefit to using off site storage is two part:

You’re not tripping over inventory in your home

Rental units are generally fairly inexpensive.

However, units can be subjected to theft and/or damage and insurance for storage items can be expensive. Additionally, when items are sold it means a trip to the storage unit to package the item for shipping.

A great many online auction retailers choose to instead store their inventory in their homes. Home storage means easy access to inventory, making it easier to ship and potentially easier to track.
Additionally, many people feel their inventory is safer when it is stored in their home. This isn’t always the case. Theft and damage are both still a factor and home insurance policies should be reviewed to make sure inventory is covered.

When storing inventory in your home consider the following:
Scale down inventory to lowest possible amount. Keep inventory levels to a minimum if at all possible. That may mean a longer shipping process for larger items, if you have to have them shipped to you from the distributor, however if space is at a premium it may be worth the extra day or two.

Designate a specific area of your home for inventory. Many home based store owners or direct sales representative store their inventory in their garage or basement. If this is an option for you, take care to make sure there is little chance of damage. For example, if mice can get into the garage and eat your gift baskets that’s not a good storage location! Closets and home offices are also another good area to keep inventory.

When storing inventory in your home, make it as easy on yourself as possible. Label everything! If duct tape and a sharpie marker work for you, great. Type A personalities may prefer a label maker. Whatever your method of identification, place your inventory so the label is easy to read. This will prevent you from having to lift and sort through all the boxes to find an item that needs to be shipped.

Seasonal items. Order seasonal inventory a few months before it is needed. This will save space in your home. While seasons are winding down inventory dwindles. Once the season is over, move the extra items to the bottom or back of the pile and keep the most used items right up front where they’re easily accessible.

Keep a spreadsheet on hand that tracks inventory. This will make ordering MUCH easier. Instead of having to dig through boxes and count what is in stock, all you have to do is look at your spreadsheet. Each time something is sold, make a notation and update the spreadsheet on a weekly or monthly basis depending on the size of your store.

Tracking inventory closely will help online auction retailers stay on top of their inventory, thus reducing the amount of inventory that needs to be kept on hand (saving you space and the inevitable stumble over a box in the way).

Recommended eBay Resources:

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