What causes overselling?

Updated over a week ago

SKULabs provides a solid stock syncing foundation upon which we're able to accurately track down any cause of overselling. Given the right circumstances there is still room for overselling without precautions that are not enabled by default.

What to do when you've oversold

1. Force push stock for any affected SKUs. Open the item's details page, scroll to the Listings Panel, and click on the Blue lightning bolt icon under the "Last stock pushed" column.

2. Let SKULabs support know. Provide the affected SKU and allow us to review the logs we have that led up to the issue. It can take several hours to analyze the data we have and build a breakdown of the final moments leading up to the overselling situation but we're guaranteed to get to the root cause of the issue.

3. If widespread, consider a drastic safety stock strategy like "free - 100" rather than disabling/deactivating sync; see below on how to set up a stock strategy.
4. Review our recommended solutions below.

Preventing overselling on an ongoing basis

Create a safety stock reservation strategy

Once you opt in to stock sync, you're given the chance to review your stock rules but the default stock rule is set to "free" meaning we sync all of your available inventory to all of your sales channels as quickly as they allow.
The key to preventing overselling is to implement a reservation strategy in addition to what you already owe to customers in your unfulfilled orders. Some reserves are "fixed" and act as buffers for things like undocumented exchanges, loss, and damage while other reserves are dynamic and based on the behavior of your buyers.

Identification and causes for overselling

Transactions outside of your inventory management system

If not properly registered in SKULabs, any of the following can result in on hand counts which do not reflect actual inventory availability. This is strictly an accounting problem where your staff may be performing inventory transactions without registering those changes in SKULabs. At a minimum, manually editing the item's inventory or using the "deduct" tab's scan-out interface can account for changes done ad-hoc in the warehouse without the overhead of manual orders, cycle counts, and RMAs.

  • Replacements / Exchanges

  • Loss / Damaged goods

  • FBA replenishments

  • On-site cash sales

Other causes

Beyond inaccurate on hand values, there are still some cases where despite accurate inventory you are still able to oversell. Fortunately, we have solutions for all of these cases.

  • Sales coming in from multiple channels too quickly. Set inventory reserves using stock rules or go out of stock on certain stores before others or talk with our team about Enterprise options for velocity-based dynamic inventory reserves. Even without an Enterprise account, you can still set up your own safety stock strategy

  • Orders releasing inventory for sale when archived after shipment in another software. Configuring an automated deduction strategy or using scan-based deduction if you scan all of your orders out will resolve this issue.

  • Third-party listing publishing / product information management software inappropriately overwriting stock levels. Run manual stock sync after major updates to your catalog. Using re-push stale inventory will automatically correct these mistakes within 24 hours.

  • Product CSV uploads direct to your marketplace / sales channel that contain inventory quantities. Run manual stock sync after major updates to your catalog. Using re-push stale inventory will automatically correct these mistakes within 24 hours.

  • Advertising all of your inventory on multiple channels. This is bound to cause the occasional oversold situation. Remember that for each additional listing you have for a product, you're over-advertising by an additional 100%. Within a 2-20 minute period, someone could buy all of your stock on more than one channel or listing resulting in an overselling scenario. Set up safety stock reservation

  • Outages at marketplaces and cloud sales channels like Shopify / BigCommerce. Amazon will not accept a ticket unless 24 hours have passed since an inventory feed was uploaded but not yet processed. Historically this has not happened but several hour delays have occurred meaning you realistically need 1 day of stock reserved to completely eliminate the unpredictable risk of overselling due to marketplace outages. Prepare for flash sales by ensuring your sync health on your dashboard is consistently green (no sales channel outages) before releasing new products or launching a new sale.

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