Skip to content

Set up your shop

Create my product assortment

Enquête auprès des commerçants partenaires Ankorstore

How to manage the supply in a retail store?

7 October 2022

No matter what type of business you operate, whether it is online or a physical store, you need to ensure that your customers can purchase a range of quality goods at a reasonable price. Keeping your inventory full is crucial. No retail store owner wants to be in a position where they have to turn away a customer because they don’t have a product on the shelves. This is why having a good knowledge of the principles of effective supply chain management is absolutely fundamental for any new retail business owner. 

Supply chain management can be a complex process. With many supply chain issues arising from political and economic upheaval across the world, retailers need to be more focused on supply chain strategies than ever before. If you are new to the world of retail and concerned about managing your supply chain, take a look through this article. We will give you a quick definition of supply chain management, explain its importance, and provide an overview of how to manage the supply in a retail store.

Clara Jammes

What is supply chain management?

Supply chain management refers to controlling the flow of merchandise to and from a retail business. Every step of the supply chain process must be scrutinised, streamlined and optimised in order for a retailer to extract maximum value from their products. 

Supply chain management involves :

  • Developing a shipping strategy
  • Utilising freight and logistics technology
  • Carefully tracking supply and demand issues
  • Managing inventory 
  • Cost management
  • Ensuring reliable and fast delivery of products
  • Instigating quality control practices
  • Establishing and maintaining good relationships with suppliers and shippers

What is sourcing? What is the difference?

Supply chain management differs from sourcing and procurement. Sourcing refers to the process before a product is procured. It is the research stage of locating and vetting potential suppliers. Procurement refers to the process of obtaining the product from a supplier and having it shipped to your retail store or warehouse. 

Supply chain management is concerned with the entire supply process, from sourcing to procurement to customer fulfilment. A supply chain management strategy will take into account all areas of the supply chain. The aim of supply chain management is to lower overall costs, enhance profit margins and encourage collaboration between all stakeholders in the supply chain. 

How can retailers get involved in supply chain management?

So, what is the best way for retailers to get involved in supply chain management? The first step is to make sure you work with every stakeholder in the chain. This means having a good understanding of everything from the role of your wholesalers to how your shipping company operates to the procedures that staff use to unload and itemise inventory. Managing your supply chain also requires you to know exactly how customer orders are fulfilled and the time it takes for a product to reach the consumer. 

Some retailers can handle all these duties themselves, while others will delegate tasks to subordinates or use third-party logistic companies to manage these areas. However, it is always prudent to familiarise yourself with all aspects of the supply chain, even if you are not involved in the day-to-day management of each step. 

Supply chain best practices and their benefits

Investing time and effort in the supply chain management process has a range of benefits. Optimising your supply chain process can help you to manage your inventory costs, which in turn will allow you to enhance your profitability. You can better manage stock levels and ensure you always have enough products to meet consumer demand. Keeping a close eye on your supply chain will avoid situations where products are overstocked or out of stock. This in turn will enhance brand loyalty from your customers and solidify your relationships with suppliers.

By focusing on the below best practices, you can ensure that your supply chain is streamlined, reliable and cost-effective:

  • Ensure you have enough staff to handle supply chain duties
  • Provide your staff with thorough training so they understand the supply chain process
  • Use reputable cloud-based inventory management software
  • Regularly review your supply chain processes
  • Focus on maintaining good relationships with your suppliers

How to maintain healthy supplier relationships?

Establishing and maintaining good relationships with their suppliers is of great importance to any retail business owner. Whether you are dealing with a supply store that provides you with products, shop fittings supplies or other retail equipment, you need to be sure that you are getting the best price possible and that the goods you need will arrive on time. 

Creating a good relationship with the people who provide you with wholesale retail supplies takes time and effort. Think about what you would want from an ideal customer. Prompt payment, repeated business and good feedback are all just as important to wholesale suppliers as they are to retailers. 

How retailers can collaborate in strategic sourcing?

One of the recent trends in supply chain management practices is the concept of collaborative strategic sourcing. This is a strategic procurement process whereby retailers or companies within the same sector collaborate in product sourcing. Buyers join forces to develop strategic purchasing strategies aimed at cost-effective and ethical sourcing of products.

Although they may be in direct competition, retailers can band together to make greater use of global sourcing opportunities. By combining their buying power, retailers can leverage their ability to place bulk orders to secure better prices for inventory. In order for it to be successful, the collaborative strategic sourcing process depends on a high level of trust between all parties. While it may be difficult to initiate and manage such a process, it can be highly lucrative and successful. 

Where to find help managing your retail supply chain?

Many new retail entrepreneurs struggle to effectively manage their supply chains. Assistance can be found via third-party logistics business consultants who can provide you with advice and guidance on how to streamline your supply chains. You can also enlist these types of specialists to review your supply chain policies and procedures to identify any areas that can be improved. 

The team at Ankorstore also provides a range of services designed to help new retailers get their businesses up and running. One of the best ways in which a new retailer can utilise Ankorstore’s resources is by joining our Ankorstart program. 

The Ankorstart program is completely free and non-binding and has been designed to provide e-commerce retailers and bricks-and-mortar retail shop owners with professional assistance in launching new businesses. More than 10,000 retail business owners are already getting expert help and advice via Ankorstart. Take a look at Ankorstart for yourself and discover how our experts can help you launch a successful, sustainable retail business.


Why is the supply chain important for retailers?

A well-organised and efficient supply chain will ensure you always have enough stock to meet demand. This will increase brand loyalty and encourage your customers to recommend your business to others. Optimising your supply chain will allow you to price your goods at a point that provides value for your customers and delivers profit to your business.  

What is involved in supply chain management?

Supply chain management is the process of controlling the movement of goods from suppliers to retailers. Managing the supply chain means that a retailer should be knowledgeable, if not involved, in every step of the process. From securing wholesalers to shipping, inventory control and fulfilling customer orders. By focusing on the supply chain process, retailers can deliver maximum value to their customers and secure good profit margins for their businesses.

What is the best way to optimise retail supply chains?

There are many ways in which a retailer can optimise supply chain procedures. You should ensure that you have favourable deals with your wholesale suppliers and that you maintain good relationships with them. The same holds true for your shipping partners.  Retailers should also make sure that they have enough staff to process inventory and stay on top of any supply issues. Staff should be trained on relevant aspects of the supply chain and have a good understanding of the supply chain process as a whole. Many retailers find it beneficial to form partnerships for collaborative strategic sourcing.

Logo Ankorstart
Ready to open your shop?
Shape your retail success with a winning product mix. Discover expert tips to curate a compelling assortment that drives sales