Retailers are risking lost omnichannel revenue opportunities during peak due to shelf gaps and stock being unavailable just at the moment shoppers are looking to make Christmas purchases, the latest research from Pricer, shows.
Original research of 100 senior UK retailers by Pricer showed that, as they look ahead to peak trading over half (52 per cent) say up to a fifth (20 per cent) of their in-store inventory is unavailable at any given time, while a further quarter (25 per cent) said between 26 per cent – 50 per cent of their inventory was unavailable for sale.
This comes in spite of recent research by EDITED showing that the number of products in stock across UK retailers in November rose +13 per cent year-on-year, as retailers experience subdued demand due to customer spending caution arising from the cost-of-living crisis, causing increased inventory levels and warehouses to become fuller. This, Pricer’s research, suggests points to potential replenishment issues impacting stores’ ability to get items restocked and back onto the shelves for sale ready for sale.
Three in ten (29 per cent) of the retailers polled by Pricer acknowledged shelf gaps were a problem for in-store operations, with a further 26 per cent saying replenishment and the restocking of shelves in a timely manner was also an issue. A quarter (24 per cent) reported the issue of ‘black holes’ in their visibility of stock availability, saying not having a real-time view of what stock is available on-shelf or where there are shelf gaps proved a problem when running the store efficiently.
And this, Pricer warns, could risk leaving revenue opportunities on the table as retailers enter the critical peak trading period; original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers in its latest report showed 46 per cent would abandon their entire basket if the item they needed was out of stock or not available on the shelf. Meanwhile, over half (54 per cent) say they are less likely to continue shopping with a brand or retailer where stock replenishment is often poor, showing the long-term impact of poor inventory availability and shelf gaps on lost loyalty and reduced customer lifetime value.
Mats Arnehall, head of region Europe at Pricer, commented: “While price conscious, the cost-of-living consumer is going into Black Friday and on into Christmas with mission-driven shopping demands. The moment of truth for them arrives at the shelf edge, which means retailers need to be ready, armed with the right technologies, to present the perfect offer and ensure sales are converted and custom retained.”
This article was originally published in Direct Commerce in November 22nd, 2022