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Oversells - What causes them?
Oversells - What causes them?

Learn about the common mistakes that allow products to over-sell, and how to fix them

Dave Freel avatar
Written by Dave Freel
Updated over a week ago

ChannelGrabber is a stock management tool. You're using it to keep your stock levels in sync, yet you've just had an oversell. How can that be? 

ChannelGrabber keeps your stock up to date in real time, but in order to do so, it needs to be fed all the correct information, at the correct time. Below is a list of common causes of oversells, and how to avoid them going forward.

Your stock management has not been activated

When you first register a ChannelGrabber account, stock management is NOT immediately activated, so unless you have spoken to us and we have confirmed in writing that it is active, or you have activated it yourself (see guide on Activating Stock Management) then we will not be pushing stock updates to your channels.

The stock was altered on the channel directly
This is a big no-no, but we see it all the time. You're paying us to manage your stock levels so let us manage your stock levels! ChannelGrabber should always be your go-to when updating stock levels. If you change the stock on the channel directly, it will be overwritten by the level in ChannelGrabber next time it makes an update. So make sure ChannelGrabber knows what the stock should be!

A third party has altered a stock level

Did you move to us from a competitor? Did you check that you disconnected your sales channels from them when you left? If not, check now! Numerous times we've seen over-reaching systems make changes to your stock levels, long after you stopped using them to do so. These can be hard for us to spot, as we can't see that a stock change was made by X, only that you oversold, so be careful!

The product listing was not imported when a stock update was made

If the listing isn't in the system, we can't update its stock. If an order happened before your listing was imported, it isn't going to be reflected on the listing immediately. The next time there's a stock update for that product it will be brought in line with your stock levels. To bring it in line quicker, import your listings immediately from your channels and then use the stock sync button after importing new listings.

The product was imported with an incorrect stock level

ChannelGrabber will use the stock level from the listing the first time you import a new product. If you aren't sure your listing stock levels are accurate, then ChannelGrabber isn't going to be accurate. We strongly recommend doing a stock take after importing your listings for the first time. This may seem like a daunting task but we just can't manage your stock levels correctly if they're not correct to start with! 

The problem here is you won't see an oversell straight away. You'll see it in a few months, or even years, as it can take a while for your stock to run down to the oversell levels.

Your SKUs dont actually match

Another common one. When we see an order for "SKU X" we can only update the listings that contain SKU X. Not SKU X' or SKU  X (subtle difference to see, I know - there is an extra space between the U and the X in the last one). Again, can be hard to spot if the SKUs are very similar, so do be careful when setting them up.

Your bundle is not set up correctly

Bundles can be complicated so if you use them, please do so prudently.  We have detailed guides on Creating a Bundle and Creating a Variation Bundle but here are the rules in a nutshell:

  • Make sure your "master" or component products have different SKUs than the bundle product

  • Make sure that each separate bundle/variation bundle has a different SKU, even if there are two similar bundles that contain the same products

  • Test your bundle once it's created, by amending the master/component SKU stock levels and making sure the bundle stock updates accordingly

  • Never enter quantities on a Bundle directly - it should always calculate its stock level from the component products that it is made up from

Please use the above checklist to make sure your bundles are working as they should before reporting a bundle oversell.

The last one was sold in 2 places, within a second of each other
Okay, this ones annoyingly unavoidable. Even if everything is working 100% there is always a chance that the last item is sold at the exact same second on 2 different sales channels. In practice, this is a 1 in a million occurrence. We physically need some time to send a stock update before the next order is placed, and this just can't happen when they're placed simultaneously. 

This one can actually be exacerbated by sales channels not processing our updates in a timely fashion. For example, you receive an order on eBay for the last one. Within a few seconds we'll have sent a stock update of 0 to your Amazon listing. But, what if Amazon is having server troubles? In the past we've seen examples of stock updates being sat on for 15 minutes. 15 minutes of your product being available for sale when we know its not. We're very sympathetic that receiving 2 orders within 15 minutes and one being an oversell can look like we didn't do our job, but ultimately we need all the sales channels we work with to play ball too.

If you dont think any of the above applies - Get in touch! We'll help you figure out where it all went wrong. 

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