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Unavailable stock accounts for almost a fifth of UK retailers’ inventory

Unavailable stock continues to account for nearly a fifth of UK retailers’ inventory, according to new research from OneStock.

It shows that although out-of-stocks have fallen by 8% since retail reopened, analysis of over 359,000 SKUs across the UK’s leading retailers by OneStock’s Inventory Availability Index, showed that unavailable inventory still makes up 18% of retailers’ ranging.

Supply chain disruption and closed stores have hit inventory levels hard. Research of more than 2,000 UK shoppers by OneStock showed 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.

The impact can be significant, eroding customer loyalty as a result.  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, said: “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 said.

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