Inventory Turnover Ratio and Other Inventory Metrics for Ecommerce


When determining your goal ITR, consider your profit margins; the lower the margin, the faster you need to turn your stock. Also, consider the seasonality of your products and examine the profitability of each SKU. Inventory turnover ratio measures the rate of sales and replenishment of an item over time. Inventory turnover is calculated by dividing the cost of goods sold by the average inventory for the same time period. Depending on the industry that the company operates in, inventory can help determine its liquidity.

In addition, a slow turnover can indicate a change in consumer behavior, such as a decrease in market demand. You may consider updating your pricing to reflect new consumer behaviors if this is true. Pharmacies, for instance, may use JIT inventory management to ensure thespeedy delivery of medicationsto their customers while minimizing the number of pills that expire before purchase. Jewelers can sustain inventory turnover ratios lower than the 4 to 6 range because their profit margins and markups on individual items are typically much higher than that of a T-shirt business. Where a single T-shirt may yield a profit of $5, a necklace can bring in profits in the thousands. Want to see how many times you sold your total average inventory over a period of time?

Evaluate market trends and customer demand

However, doing so may lead you to invest in that are very slow to sell — or worse yet, that won’t sell at all anymore. This results in obsolete inventory or dead stock that increases holding costs, and costs time and money to move out. For companies with low turnover ratios, the duration between when the inventory is purchased, produced/manufactured into a finished good, and then sold is more prolonged (i.e. requires more time).

What is a good inventory turnover?

What counts as a “good” inventory turnover ratio will depend on the benchmark for a given industry. In general, industries stocking products that are relatively inexpensive will tend to have higher inventory turnover ratios than those selling big-ticket items.

In the most general sense, the more sales your business makes, the more successful your business probably is. Because the inventory turnover ratio speaks to how quickly a business is selling through its inventory, some businesses use it to check the pulse of sales performance. From 2020 to 2021, the average inventory turnover rate for ecommerce brands fell by 22%.

Improve forecasting

A low turnover rate may point to overstocking, obsolescence, or deficiencies in the product line or marketing effort. However, in some instances a low rate may be appropriate, such as where higher inventory levels occur in anticipation of rapidly rising prices or expected market shortages. Another insight provided by the inventory turnover ratio is that if inventory is turning over slowly, then the warehousing cost attributable to each unit will be higher. ShipBob’s merchant dashboard is equipped with inventory management capabilities to help you monitor and manage your inventory turnover ratio. With inventory reporting, trend-analysis, and real-time visibility into inventory levels, you can improve demand forecasting and get more control over the key metrics that drive business growth.


The inventory-to-sales ratio works in the opposite direction to the inventory turnover ratio, so a lower number is better. For example, an inventory-to-sales ratio of 1 would mean that every dollar invested in inventory is producing only 1 dollar of sales each year. This shows that capital is being tied up in inventory that isn’t selling and the business is likely to be in trouble. On the whole, businesses should aim to keep their inventory turnover ratio as high as possible, while being realistic about potential supply issues and the reliability of their sales forecasts. A higher inventory turnover ratio means that less capital is being used to run the business, so less debt or investment is needed just to keep things going. Therefore Company Alpha’s inventory turnover ratio for the year was four.

Inventory turnover ratio definition

Inventory turnover is a financial ratio that demonstrates how frequently a company turns over its inventory in relation to its cost of goods sold . Knowing this number can inform how you plan your purchasing, how you sell your goods and more. This measurement also shows investors how liquid a company’s inventory is. Inventory is one of the biggest assets a retailer reports on itsbalance sheet.

However, if a Inventory Turnover Ratio’s inventory has an abnormally high turnover, it could also be a sign that management is ordering inadequate inventory as opposed to managing inventory well. While COGS is pulled from the income statement, the inventory balance comes from the balance sheet. Above all, to improve inventory turn, you want to stock what sells. This doesn’t necessarily mean reducing prices across the board; lower prices don’t always increase turnover. Instead, explore the well-established pricing strategies that you may not have considered, such as premium pricing, seasonal pricing, rush delivery, cost-plus pricing, etc.

What is the average inventory turnover period?

As you can see, the car dealership’s inventory turnover ratio is 12. To calculate the average inventory, add the beginning and end inventories, then divide by 2. Go to the “Detailed Stock Report” tab of the stock report you have generated. Go to the cell under the last entry in the H column and click on it.

  • Since this can drive customers away, it’s important to keep an eye on how often you end up totally out of stock.
  • In the most general sense, the more sales your business makes, the more successful your business probably is.
  • Inventory turnover is a financial ratio that demonstrates how frequently a company turns over its inventory in relation to its cost of goods sold .
  • Conversely, a low ratio indicates weak sales, lackluster market demand or an inventory glut.
  • Company Alpha holds 1,000 units of its top-selling product Romeo at the beginning of the month, then sells 250 units over the course of the month.