How to Track Jewelry Inventory for eCommerce Fulfillment
A solid understanding of how to track jewelry inventory is a critical component to establishing a successful eCommerce operation for your jewelry and accessories product line. Whether you offer fine, demi-fine or fashion jewelry and accessories, the small size and high value of the product requires a customized approach. This final blog in our Jewelry eCommerce series offers further insight into the key considerations for setting up a successful inventory management solution that prioritizes security and accuracy, as well as customer satisfaction.
Tracking jewelry inventory in the DC
From the moment product arrives at an eCommerce fulfillment center, standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be setup to support the unique requirements of jewelry inventory. Inbound protocols, for instance, should trigger different processing activity based on value as identified through the advance shipping notice (ASN). When receiving jewelry inventory into a PFS facility, employees are systematically notified of high value items as they are scanned in. These items are immediately routed to a designated location to be put away to stock, whether that is a caged area or other secure location. In pick areas dedicated to fine jewelry such as lab-grown diamonds, only select employees are allowed access to the secure area where the product is put away, picked and packed.
Inventory counting and quality assurance (QA) must also be vertical-specific. Cycle counting activity for most verticals within a distribution center (DC) is velocity-based, meaning the item moving the most is counted the most. Usually, these fast movers are going to be at your lowest price point. For jewelry brands, and particularly those selling fine and demi-fine products, your cycle count program must also consider value when determining how often to count inventory to ensure accuracy for your more valuable assets and the ability to conduct research if there is a discrepancy.
To ensure accurate picking for your small-piece jewelry fulfillment program, PFS utilizes a scan-driven picking process. Using RF scanners, each pick is system confirmed via scan. This approach ensures order accuracy while also tracking inventory levels with the highest degree of precision.
Inventory tracking and loss prevention
In our previous blog on jewelry eCommerce security, we highlighted the use of cages to enhance product security. Beyond locating product in the high-value cage, PFS also maintains additional SOPs that help minimize non-theft related loss of inventory. For instance, we support a custom restock program for jewelry brands that ensures product is replaced to the appropriate location. When product is discovered out of place, employees know to place the item in red bins located at the end of each aisle. These bins are regularly processed and product is restocked to the correct location by designated inventory control personnel who can ensure accurate placement, minimizing the risk of a miss-pull as well as lost product.
Though it is rare, there can be instances when product is accidentally dropped on the floor for one reason or another. Additional product protection measures such as adding curtains around a high-value cage to keep product from accidentally leaving the cage can increase non-theft related loss prevention. This also plays a role in determining how product is putaway to stock upon receipt. For product that is received in prepacked bundles of 25, for example, PFS will often leave the product in the packs until needed to reduce the opportunity for pilferage but also the risk of inventory getting mixed up or miscounted during cycle counts.
Determining how product is placed in the pick area is also an important piece to demand planning for clients at PFS. Especially during peak demand, there must be a balance that ensures optimal picking productivity while maintaining a safe and secure environment for the product. Looking at forecasts and historical data, PFS determines where to locate pick bins, how much product to keep in the bins, and how much to unpack or keep bundled to ensure fast picking as well as inventory tracking.
Multi-node benefits for jewelry fulfillment
Whether you are selling exclusively online or across multiple channels, distributing inventory across multiple fulfillment points enables you to support faster and more cost-effective delivery options. A multi-node operation greatly enhances scalability and speed, ensuring redundancy across geos and broadening capabilities as it relates to demand planning.
The transportation benefits a multi-node solution provides are significant for jewelry and accessories brands. A heavily gifted item, customers expect to receive their jewelry orders on time. A delayed deliver can significantly damage the customer experience and deter from future purchases. Establishing a multi-node network powered by advanced distributed order management (DOM) technology ensures brands can offer competitive delivery times across regions. For jewelry brands, undertaking multiple footprints is possible without taking on a significant amount of overhead cost thanks to the smaller footprint requirements. In locating product closer to customers across geos, brands are also able to expand carrier selection by incorporating regional carriers across local markets.
For jewelry brands with a brick-and-mortar presence, allowing customers to choose the delivery or pick-up method that best suits their needs is important to meeting modern consumer expectations to shop when, where, and how they choose. By equipping stores to support alternative fulfillment methods such as buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and same-day delivery, you achieve the convenience factor that has become important for eight-in-ten consumers (80%) when shopping for non-essentials online. Store fulfillment technology such as PFS’ RetailConnect can help facilitate more seamless operations within stores by automating picking and packing activity.
Your jewelry eCommerce operations demand a tailored approach to ensure long-term growth. From creating standout unboxing experiences, to setting up adequate high-value security, to effectively managing inventory, your operations must work together to protect the integrity of your products, your brand and your customer experience. To learn more about how to establish a successful jewelry eCommerce operation or to speak with a PFS expert about taking your brand to the next level online, contact our team today.