OPERATIONS

Poor stock availability is biggest turn-off of store shopping

BY Marianne Wilson

The lack of stock is shoppers’ biggest complaint when it comes to shopping in physical stores.

That’s according to the report by retail IT consulting and technology firm REPL Group in which 48% of respondents said that stock availability is their biggest frustration when shopping in malls. Making matters worse, 69% of consumers said they have experienced being sent a coupon from a store only to find that the product was out of stock once they got there.

In other findings, 25% of shoppers cited the inability of stores to match online deals as a further frustration. However, 44% of shoppers expect stores will be able to match the pricing and offers of their online counterparts by 2022.

“With so much choice online, consumers can afford to shop around to find the best price. Retailers must recognize this and act to rebalance the scales in order to offer more competitive pricing in-line with their online counterparts,” said Mike Callender, executive chairman, REPL Group. However, it’s important to state that price isn’t everything and stores are in a position to market something that online retailers can’t – a premium shopping experience in which customers can touch and try on items and get a level of information on products they can’t online.”

More than half of retail workers (66%) in the survey said their store has been left unprepared for unforeseen spikes in demand. And 34% said that they believed that more accurate forecasting would improve their job satisfaction – a sentiment echoed by 34% of consumers who feel that stock levels being available via an app would enhance their shopping experience.

“Retailers must address these frustrations with stock availability as not only is it causing them to miss out on those immediate sales, but it could also deter shoppers from visiting their store in the future,” said Callender. “By adopting new technology, it is possible for retailers to see real-time stock updates and replenish as is required. They could also make this information available via apps which can be accessed by the consumer to ensure they aren’t making wasted trips to the mall.”

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