What is overselling and how to avoid it?

What is overselling and how to avoid it?


In a nutshell, overselling is usually selling a product that is out of stock, or selling a larger quantity than your actual stock.

We could say that all sellers sometimes have an overwhelming feeling that their business is slipping through their fingers. This happens especially if they are dealing with multiple sales channels, such as eBay, Amazon and their Magento website, all at the same time. One of the most common issues that you might face when you are working with more than one marketplace is overselling.

In e-commerce overselling usually happens when your customer buys a product that is already sold. It is more common when you are working through a few different marketplaces. For instance, you didn’t track your inventory correctly, so you accidentally sold an item that was already sold in another marketplace. Here as an example, you sold an item on eBay at 1 o’clock. Two minutes later, you sell the same item on Amazon. What do you do now? This situation will definitely cause dissatisfaction from your customers and could directly and negatively affect your business. When one of your customer leaves a negative review, that permanently changes your reputation. So that situation needs to be avoided at all costs.

So how can I avoid overselling?

There are a few ways, but let’s start with the most obvious and arguably the best solution – stock control software. There have been applications specially developed to control your stock and synchronise it across multiple platforms in order to avoid overselling. Our in-house built app, NVENTREE, has been tailored specifically to our client’s needs and it is extremely flexible. It is capable of adjusting to the customer’s precise needs, since all of our customers have different requirements. 

The best part about NVENTREE is that besides controlling and managing your stock, it can also be used to print invoices, courier labels, create pick-waves, and so much more. It’s safe to say we would highly recommend giving it a try.

Take care of your warehouse and your products!

Another option to avoid overselling would be to take care of your warehouse and your products. Why, you might ask? Well, it’s important to be aware of your product’s condition. In other words, you might have enough products in stock, but what do you do if half of them are damaged or broken? You can’t sell those. Let’s say you’ve just sold 3 products, but you have 4 in stock. What if 2 of the products that you have in stock have been damaged during shipping from the supplier, and you never bothered to check? This is why we highly recommend being aware of your products and checking on them regularly. Do a weekly check on your products, it only takes a couple of minutes, and it can help avoid overselling.

Have a safety stock!

If possible, try considering owning a safety stock. This safety precaution will definitely help avoid overselling. Since you have a small reserve of safety, you can be sure that you will never disappoint your customers. The only problem with this is that you have to allocate additional space in your warehouse and invest money that might be frozen for a long time. So even though this method isn’t ideal to avoid overselling, it’s still something to keep in mind!

Use Low-Stock Alerts

The easiest way to mitigate an issue is to be aware of it. Implementing low-stock alerts will help you avoid overselling inventory by letting you set a specific threshold in your stock that initiates an alert. This can and should be based on your reordering turnaround times. 

Have your inventory tracked and managed

The most efficient solution is to automatically track your inventory via a third-party software or an application. Basically, when you connect your store to the system it will automatically adjust your stock levels. As soon as you sell something, the software will change your stock. This way you don’t have to do it manually and there is no need to follow up with your sales records.

As previously mentioned, NVENTREE is capable of automatically adjusting your stock levels, and we’d highly recommend using it.


In conclusion – overselling is bad

You have to avoid it one way or another, and while having a safety stock and taking care of your products is a good way to avoid overselling, these methods aren’t perfect, nor flawless. Your best bet would be to use an application built specifically for this purpose. Give NVENTREE a try today, we are sure you won’t regret it!