Last updated: Feb 1, 2022, by Rianne Konings
Stockouts are frustrating for both businesses and shoppers. Both sides lose when an item isn't in stock.
For brands, because they are doing an excellent job driving attention and traffic to a product page which then fails to convert at the last moment (because the retailer doesn't have enough inventory in stock).
For shoppers, it is frustrating being left disappointed when ready to buy.
Ideally, your brands' online resellers list the agreed-upon assortment and consistently ensure high in-stock rates by tracking the inventory, comparing it to the demand forecasting, and ordering more (well ahead of time).
In reality, stockouts were up 250% in October 2021, compared to pre-pandemic levels (Source: Recent data from Adobe)
But what causes these high average out-of-stock rates?
What is a Stockout?
A stockout is when an item is unavailable at the point of sales (POS) and occurs when one particular retailer struggles with supply chain issues or poor inventory management. It impacts profits the most when the customer is about to purchase.
Poor Stock Replenishment and Demand Forecast
In some cases, out-of-stock events are caused by unexpected surges in demand, but in most cases, poor shelf replenishment practices cause stockouts. Especially when you need to track inventory across multiple platforms, both stock replenishment and demand forecast get more important yet complicated.
Most brand manufacturers diversify their eCommerce channels into their own webshop(s), retailer sites, and marketplaces, making it challenging to monitor if products are listed where they should be and available every day.
This article looks at a strategy to reach maximum visibility and maintain high in-stock rates on all eCommerce channels. Having the right tools available to measure stock availability metrics, save time and make the job more effective is essential.
Monitor Product Listings
Before you can have a good overview of the stock availability of your brands' products, you need to know where your products are listed and by whom. You need to determine if resellers carry the right products on the right channels.
Also, check if unauthorized 3P sellers are throwing a spanner in the works by unjustly offering your products online.
If you define a retailer-specific product assortment list, SiteLucent can automatically compare the SKUs on this list with the product listings on all these eCommerce sites. If there is a product (that you thought the retailer had in its range) missing on the shelf, you can address the retailer about this and seek redress. Often a retailer is not aware of this because they carry such an enormous assortment of brands. However, it can cause you to lose sales.
SiteLucent can help you visualize and overview the exact SKUs listed across retailers. This way, you get the complete picture and answers to:
- Which of your brands' products is missing online;
- Are resellers respecting the launch date of new products;
- Are resellers selling obsolete products;
- Who is selling your products (without permission) on marketplaces?
Track Daily In-stock Rates
Once you know your products are listed online where they should be, you determine if they are available for sales.
In the short run, running out of stock means that your product will not sell, and you lose sales. But do not underestimate the negative consequences it can have for your brand in the longer term. Besides losing sales, your products' placement in retail search results drops, you lose the buy button on marketplaces, return rates increase, and your brand image can get damaged.
The digital shelve changes daily, so check the in-stock rates for each online retailer and marketplace seller daily. SiteLucent tools can help you analyze and optimize at every level of product availability.
Out-of-stock (OOS) alerts and automated availability reports help your products be available for sales, be visible in search results, win the buy-box and increase customer loyalty.
SiteLucents' availability rate widgets show you the percentage of products available within the total portfolio. Look at the availability rate per brand, retailer, or seller and zoom in to a product detail level if needed.
Monitor The # of Days Out-Of-Stock
Each day out-of-stock is one too many! Buyers aren't waiting to switch to other products when their favorite product is out of stock.
You can't see the future, but it's critical that you correctly forecast your resellers' inventory needs. Daily tracking the length and timing of each product stockout can help you with that. SiteLucent can assist you in zooming in on products that more frequently run out of stock.
Products that frequently run out of stock have fewer chances of winning the buy box. Also, marketplaces algorithms prefer sellers which have a complete inventory most of the time.
Digital shelf analytics tools such as SiteLucent can show you specific patterns in availability, determine issues, and help the supply chain department of your brand anticipate potential supply issues in the future.
Receive detailed out-of-stock reports straight in your inbox with daily-updated availability status and days out of stock per product. Set up alerts on KPI and product level to the right person so you can quickly replenish inventory.
Prevent Lost Sales with OOS Alerts & Notifications
Stockouts lead to lost sales, reduced customer satisfaction, and lower loyalty levels. The more days a product sells out, the more buyers will be disappointed, and you will lose sales.
Lost sales are one-to-one tied to your out-of-stock rates. If a product is out of stock for two days, you take how much you would sell on average each day, multiplied by two, and you know your lost sales.
Stop missing out on sales opportunities that an out-of-stock notification could have prevented.
SiteLucent alerts on the KPI' Availability Rate' notify you when a product runs out of stock.
Get in Touch
Are you doing an excellent job driving attention and traffic to a product page that then fails to convert at the final moment because the retailer doesn't have enough inventory in stock?
Don't miss out on sales opportunities and boost eCommerce sales by fixing out-of-stocks across multiple retailers. Get in touch with one of SiteLucents' specialists and see in action how tracking your products can help you grow online.