Whistl findings on stock-outs

Customer loyalty isn’t a given – more than half will go to a competitor if faced with stock issues according to research from Whistl.

The worst problem seems to be among high demand fashion items, while food and drink followed closely (16%) technology (15%) and finally with entertainment (8%).

More than 90% of the UK public regularly face stock-related issues, including low stock and items being unavailable. Online shoppers felt frustration (42%) and annoyance (32%).

Where there was a stock problem, 51% said they would go to a competitor to get the goods they wanted.

The Whistl research showed stock notifications can be a good way of keeping a buyer interested. A ‘Low stock’ notification gave customers the greatest sense of urgency (78%), while 45% responded to ‘X people are looking at this now’. ‘X users have looked at this today’ ranked at 40 per cent, while ‘X users have bought this today’ at 23% elicited the least urgency.

“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.”