If E-commerce has become an important part of your small business, you know that online customers expect a lot of you. It may even seem like they want you to read their minds, expecting personalized and targeted promotions. And I don’t mean the typical recommendations of “items you might like” based on their browsing history. It’s come to the point that retailers are expected to not only know what customers want to buy, but also how, when, and where they’ll buy it.

Forty percent of small business owners desired to improve customer service this year, according to the 2017 State of Small Business Report. But how can you, as a business owner, improve customer satisfaction and personalize each customer’s experience? One tangible way is to link product and customer data. You have to go beyond tracking consumer behavior across different channels or getting their name right in an email. To offer the types of marketing customers expect and want, you must know the data that tells you the what, when, how, and where of their purchase history and exactly what items a customer has purchased and store that information in the same system. You might be surprised to read that it starts with inventory management. Here’s how:

Seasonal Demand Forecasting

You don’t want your inventory control to fail during peak seasons, leaving customers without the items they really want or need. This compromises your business’ image as a viable organization that cares about its customers. If you run out of the must-have item of the season, it is in some ways worse than regular under stocking as customers may have few alternative options. It’s essential your inventory management tracks high-demand items so you have what you need when your customers need them.

Improved Order Fulfillment

It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B or B2C company, sending the wrong items to customers is a stressful experience for all involved. Especially in the B2B industry, your customer’s livelihood may depend on a particular piece of inventory to meet its own customer demands. The implementation of an automated inventory management system streamlines the order fulfillment process. From a customer order, employees can easily generate picking and packing notes, tracking labels, and invoices. If something happens to go wrong, inventory control helps identify the source of the problem and notifies other affected customers.

Customers also expect fast order fulfillment, which means you have less time to pick, pack, and ship items. Efficient order fulfillment also depends on the efficiency of your warehouse or storage area. Everything you need for the picking and packing process needs organized and in a convenient location, which will improve the speed at which your orders are fulfilled. And from there, your business’ order turnaround time improves. Customers are certainly happy with that!

Customer Buying Behavior

This goes hand-in-hand with forecasting, but on a more personal level. Not only will you be able to see the big picture of seasonal ebbs and flow, but also what products individual customers buy and when they tend to buy them. From there, you can use that data in your marketing efforts, offering promotions that fit certain customers’ tastes and buying habits.

Convenient Returns

Customers don’t want returns to be a hassle. An inventory management system can track pertinent data about items that are returned so you can keep extra inventory levels that reflect return rates. In addition, when an item is returned because it is damaged, faulty—and it is still under warranty—you can arrange with the manufacturer to do an instant swap of the product to keep the customer happy.

Streamline Warehouse Operations

As a business owner, the last thing you want is inventory sitting on shelves collecting dust. Unsold inventory takes up valuable warehouse space, costing money to store it. Depending on the type of product, it could spoil or go out of style in the meantime. Just as bad is being totally unaware of what you have in stock.

That’s the issue entertainment facility TopGolf faced. One warehouse stored gaming supplies for multiple locations. Bryan Harej, inventory analyst for the company, said Excel spreadhsheets didn’t cut it, with such a complex company. He added they “never had a true handle on inventory in the warehouse and keeping the sites running at full capacity was stressful.”

Harej implemented an inventory management system and saved the company nearly eight hours a week in labor. A streamlined operation helps meet the high demands of all of their locations, which then results in happy customers who enjoy the best experience possible while visiting TopGolf.

A well-designed inventory management system enables you to reduce the amount of time that stock sits in storage. When you don’t carry extra inventory for extended periods of time, your inventory costs decrease. That savings is then passed on to clients in the form of lower prices.