Inventory availability has improved, with out-of-stocks falling by 8% since retail reopened, data from OneStock, the modern and agile Order Management System (OMS) provider for omnichannel retail, reveals. However, with unavailable stock still making up almost a fifth of retailers’ inventory, out-of-stocks risk compromising sales and long-term loyalty, it warns.
Analysis of over 359,000 SKUs across the UK’s leading retailers by OneStock’s Inventory Availability Index, showed that out-of-stocks had fallen by 8% since the end of lockdown in April, but unavailable inventory still makes up nearly a fifth (18%) of retailers’ ranging.
With the UK facing repeated periods of lockdown over the past 12 months, unavailable stock – either shuttered in closed stores or unavailable due to supply chain disruption – and delays to processing of online orders due to the explosion in demand for ecommerce, have negatively impacted customer experience.
Original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers in OneStock’s latest report, Omnichannel Study: How retailers can serve the post-Covid shopper, revealed that 82% of shoppers had experienced out of stocks, either online or in-store, during the pandemic, with unavailable inventory most commonly experienced online by UK shoppers (47%).
A fifth (20%) of consumers had bought a product online, only to then be sent an email from the retailer advising them it was out of stock, while a further quarter (23%) experienced delays due to stock shortages after they checked out online.
And this, the report warns, doesn’t just negatively impact customer experience, but erodes customer loyalty. Almost three quarters (73%) would be less loyal or less likely to buy again from a retailer if they experienced product unavailability, while a further 59% said they would have less confidence to continue shopping with a retailer if they continually experienced out-of-stocks.
Romulus Grigoras, Founder and CEO at OneStock, commented: “With the accelerated and sustained demand for ecommerce, online competition has intensified. As such, retailers are investing more and more to bring shoppers to their sites, nurture them and serve them the right products in order to convert them, only to fall at the final hurdle if the item then isn’t in stock, costing not only that conversion but eroding long-term customer loyalty.”
“By removing silos within the inventory pool, and unifying stock – whether it’s from the DC, warehouse or store – so that it can be picked from any channel, retailers not only extend their available ranging, but can enhance customer convenience, improve conversions and increase customer-life time value,” he concluded.
For further information on how retailers can unify stock to improve conversions and sales whilst driving operational efficiency, download the report: Omnichannel Study:How retailers can serve the post-Covid shopper