Stock-outs drive online buyers to competitors

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More than half of consumers immediately turn to a competitor if met with stock issues, research by Whistl has revealed.

Two out of five consumers said that the most in–demand fashion items caused the most stock problems, followed by food and drink (16 per cent), technology (15 per cent) and entertainment (8 per cent).

The research found that over 90 per cent of the public are regularly facing stock-related issues, such as low stock or items being unavailable, with these problems leading potential buyers to experience frustration (42 per cent) or annoyance (32 per cent).

Some 51 per cent said that if the item they were looking for was not available they would head straight to a competing site to avoid disappointment.

When it came to stock notifications, ‘Low Stock’ gave consumers the most sense of urgency to buy online that day (78 per cent), followed by ‘X people are looking at this now’ (45 per cent), ‘X users have looked at this today’ (40 per cent), and ‘X users have bought this today’ (23 per cent).

“It was particularly insightful to see how people react when they see a notification of low stock on something they want (or think they want). The fear that it may be snapped up by someone else if they don’t act quickly typically makes them purchase immediately to avoid disappointment,” said Melanie Darvall, director of marketing and communications at Whistl.

“It may seem obvious, but stock management is essential to effective and prosperous retailers as the alternative is customers becoming disappointed, and taking their business elsewhere.”

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