As a multi-store business, it is common to make inventory transfers for various reasons, such as transfers between warehouses or stores, replenishing a point of sale, transfers due to promotions or special events, or optimizing stock levels. In all cases, each transfer is a delicate operation and must be carefully documented to reduce the possibility of negative impacts. Therefore, it is important for multi-store owners to ask themselves: what are the risks of inventory transfers?

Alice POS presents 10 risks to consider during an inventory transfer:

  1. Physical deterioration or losses.
  2. Delays.
  3. Data entry errors.
  4. Cost overruns.
  5. Quality issues.
  6. Obsolete inventory.
  7. Communication failures.
  8. Regulatory compliance.
  9. Inventory transport.
  10. Cybersecurity threats.

1. Physical Deterioration or Losses

The first risk of inventory transfer is the most obvious: the loss or damage of products during transportation. Indeed, many things can happen in a transit situation!

Firstly, accidents are common. Whether during driving or moving products, the scenarios for accidents are endless, making it challenging to anticipate certain situations for a business.

Secondly, improper handling of products can lead to physical breakages, which can be a significant inconvenience during sales. These breakages can vary in severity, from damaged packaging to product failure.

Finally, physical theft is also common during the transportation of goods. The process increases the vulnerability of the inventory, especially during the loading and unloading of inventory in transport vehicles.

The solution to reduce these risks: provide proper training to employees on the required transfer techniques. It is worth noting that insurance is always useful!

2. Delays of the Inventory Transfer

During an inventory transfer, the supply chain relies on products in transit and delays can have significant consequences. When operations are disrupted, stockouts in stores or production delays can be observed.

Several factors can cause delays in inventory transfers, including human errors, logistics, communication or technology issues, and lack of planning, among others. It is important to note that the likelihood of disruptions increases when coordinating multiple stages of the transfer process.

Stay aware of factors that could delay your transit and remain vigilant to be prepared for any eventuality. It is crucial to implement contingency plans and ensure some flexibility in the allocated time for transfers.

3. Data Entry Errors

Once again, mistakes are human. That’s why manual data entry or counting during inventory transfers can create problems. Discrepancies between physical goods and recorded inventory are quite common in such cases.

However, this is normal, as it is almost impossible to carry out stock relocation without the assistance of humans.

Since complete automation is impossible in this situation, Alice POS offers tips to calculate your physical inventory as efficiently as possible.

If you are looking for a point of sale solution that can streamline your data entry and inventory transfers, contact us for a demonstration of Alice POS!

4. Cost Overruns During the Inventory Transfer

Cost overruns are one of the major risks known to any retail store owner. Multi-store businesses, with their occasional inventory transfers, exacerbate this risk even further.

So, what additional costs should be anticipated? Firstly, a significant portion is related to transportation: fluctuations in fuel costs, road accidents, unexpected weather conditions, and higher transport fees during peak demand periods. Additionally, unforeseen customs fees may be charged during the transportation itself, required to be paid on-site if the stores are in different countries. Finally, unexpected storage expenses may also be necessary when the quantity of products exceeds the anticipated space.

For effective inventory transit management and to avoid numerous cost overruns, it is essential to accurately estimate and plan for the expenses that may accumulate throughout the process. It is better to overestimate than to underestimate!

If this risk concerns you, Alice POS offers some multi-store management tips to better avoid such unforeseen circumstances.

5. Quality Issues

An (almost) uncontrollable risk, quality issues arising from inventory transfers are directly linked to changes in environmental conditions. Indeed, adverse temperatures and humidity fluctuations during transportation can significantly damage products, depending on their fragility and composition.

Maintaining product quality is obviously vital if you intend to sell them in stores. It is therefore essential to inquire about the specific requirements of each product in your inventory to ensure optimal transportation conditions.

Do not underestimate the risk of quality loss and take action now to minimize the environmental impact on your inventory. Even though temperature control may be beyond your control, adequately protecting your equipment is possible!

6. Obsolete Inventory

Overstocks are common in retail and challenging to avoid. These are obsolete products termed as unsellable because they no longer meet the ever-changing market needs. Unfortunately, the relocation of products between stores or warehouses can exacerbate this issue within a company.

Indeed, inventory transfers sometimes move items that are difficult to sell to new locations. These items accumulate at another location, from where they may be transferred again if not sold. This leads to considerable costs and unnecessary efforts. One may even observe an accumulation of dead stocks in a single location, which quickly becomes cluttered.

It is important to emphasize that planning an inventory transfer can be more challenging than one might think. Gaps in organization can result in a significant decrease in the value of stocks due to the rapid depreciation of obsolete items. To avoid worsening an unsellable inventory problem, it is vital to have robust planning, real-time product tracking and a good understanding of the market at all times.

For more information on this topic, Alice POS discusses dead stock and ways to avoid it.

7. Communication Failures During the Inventory Transfer

When managing multi-store businesses, communication is a crucial aspect of success. In the case of inventory transfers, communication occurs between stores, with suppliers, carriers, and receiving departments.

All these communications are susceptible to misunderstandings and comprehension errors that significantly delay the transfer process and generate errors in inventory management. These communication breakdowns can occur at various levels of the process, leading to contradictory information about delivery times, inventory quantities, or even specific transport requirements.

Furthermore, communication breakdowns increase the risk of losses during the transfer or physical damage to products, as discussed above.

Poor coordination among stakeholders can also be caused by inefficient communication systems. Alice POS introduces features that can aid communication between multiple sites.

8. Regulatory Compliance

Depending on the location of your company’s various stores and warehouses, you may encounter regulatory compliance issues during the transportation of your inventories. Rules related to goods vary across regions and countries.

When crossing borders, it is crucial to inquire about customs requirements and various regulations you might face. These requirements can change without notice; therefore, the company must maintain constant vigilance regarding the laws of the regions involved. This helps avoid severe consequences that could jeopardize the transfer process or even the storage of inventories.

Do not overlook this detail during your next shipment of goods from one region to another.

9. Transport for Inventory Transfer

When moving products, a company can either use its own internal fleet of trucks, if it has one, or engage an external transport company. In the latter case, the reliability of this provider becomes a major concern during transportation.

As the provider is responsible for the timely delivery of products, unforeseen events such as production delays, quality issues, or logistical failures have a significant impact on the process. Delays in inventory transfer are observed, of course, but also stockouts and disruptions directly within the supply chain.

In most cases, providers directly affect the availability and quality of the transferred inventory. Therefore, it is important to choose a reliable transport company or hire competent employees for your own internal fleet.

Wondering how to effectively manage your suppliers? Alice POS offers some tips.

10. Cybersecurity Threats

Last risk on our list: cybersecurity threats. In the digital age, inventory relocation and data transfers are now facilitated by electronic systems. While convenient, these systems open the door to new threats related to information security.

Today, data breaches on the internet and hacking attempts are frequent. It has become increasingly simple for someone to hack a website or an electronic system to extract information, sometimes without the company even being aware.

In addition to compromising sensitive company information, these attacks can disrupt the very process of product relocation. Data transfer between different electronic systems further increases this cybersecurity risk, making the company vulnerable to hackers.

As an owner, it is important to educate yourself about the security offered by available electronic systems to limit their risks. Learn how Alice POS’s cloud-based point of sale is more secure against threats like these.


It is clear that the inventory transfer process is not without inherent risks, although it is essential to meet the logistical and operational needs of a multi-store business.

The solution? Implement robust management procedures, utilize advanced tracking technologies, and ensure clear communication among stakeholders involved in the relocation. In a case like this, only vigilance, preparation, adaptability, and a point of sale tailored to the needs of multi-store operations can mitigate risks and ensure a smooth process.

If needed, refer to this list for your future inventory transfers! Also, visit the Alice POS blog for more advice on multi-store management and beyond.

See What Alice POS Can do For You

No obligation. No fees.