Saving Money On Ecommerce Store Inventory

Ecommerce merchants must manage their inventory carefully in order to be successful. For some merchants, especially if they are just starting out, this can be a challenge.  The cost of purchasing inventory items can cut into profits, and make it difficult to stay in the black.  Here are some ways that merchants can save money on store inventory costs.

Money Closeup

Plan Ahead

Impulse inventory buying for your online store a lot like personal impulse buying: you usually end up spending more than you should, and buyer’s remorse is always a possibility. Decide in advance which products you want for your store, and how often you will add new items to your inventory, based on sales of current inventory or other criteria that you decide is important.

Try Before You Buy

To avoid losing money on surplus inventory, always ask for a free sample of any new product before you order it in bulk from the supplier. No matter how enticing it may look online, it is still a good idea to test any new products before committing to ordering a certain amount.  Many distributors will send free sample products and items to retailers upon request, particularly if the retailer has ordered items from them in the past.


Don’t assume that the distributor’s price points are set in stone. Often, distributors will offer discounts at certain times of the year and/or to merchants who place larger orders.  You may not always be told about discounts and special pricing unless you ask, however.

In-Store Promotions

If you end up with an excess of a product, consider remarketing it in a way that will make it more appealing to your customers.  You can also try reducing the price of the item or combining it with other similar items and selling these items together.  While this obviously won’t reduce your initial inventory ordering costs, it may save you from having boxes full of items that you’ve already paid for, but can’t sell.

Above all, don’t let shipping, customer service, or other problems with the vendors that you use hinder the success of your ecommerce store. Make sure that you work with reputable vendors who clearly outline their shipping, returns, and other important policies at the outset.