Andy Lloyd, General Manager of Commerce Products for NetSuite said: "Delivering an omnichannel retail experience is a key challenge for retailers as consumer shopping habits continue to shift, both in-store and online. Stock-outs in particular cost more than lost revenue; they can tarnish a brand, especially over the highly emotionally charged festive season. Retailers need to take steps to avoid stock-outs wherever possible, and ensure their commerce systems allow them to quickly recover from misallocated inventory by helping customers to purchase products from alternate store locations or channels, such as eCommerce, when the store is out of stock."
The causes of stock-outs
When exploring reasons for stock-outs over the Christmas period, 52 percent of retailers surveyed put this down to inaccurate demand planning; 42 percent said that they did not have the right products available in the right place (online or in-store) at the right time; while 34 percent said that they lacked a holistic view of the business. In preparation for this Christmas:
- Almost 20 percent of retailers have not ordered additional stock ahead of Christmas.
- 10 percent of these retailers claim financial constraints to be the cause of lack of stock.
- Over half of retailers have ordered additional stock across their entire product range.
- 30 percent of these retailers have ordered additional stock across items that were popular last Christmas.
Andy Lloyd continued: "While it's great to see that a large proportion of retailers are prepared for Christmas this year, our research shows that many of the reasons behind out-of-stock products comes down to factors which are within retailers' control, with inaccurate demand planning affecting more than half of retailers alone.""The figures from the CEBR demonstrate the cost of taking a gamble this Christmas when it comes to demand planning. To remain competitive, retailers must invest in their systems and processes to ensure that they have full business information transparency, greater customer insight and better demand planning capabilities. Being able to tightly align sales forecasts with inventory replenishment plans can eliminate stock-outs, improve customer satisfaction, whilst ultimately ensuring a retailer can remain competitive during such an important shopping period."