This past summer the Quivers team had the opportunity to attend multiple industry trade shows. Our team members noticed one common inquiry across the show floor. From the world’s largest brands to the bootstrapping brands in the industry, we kept hearing the same question:
How can brands better handle inventory issues online?
Struggling to maintain full stock availability is a common problem throughout the industry, especially when there are 80+ variants of a single product and along with the fact that inventory is not infinite. As you can imagine, this creates a number of obstacles when trying to grow online sales and satisfy consumer demands.
Ultimately the brand is seeking to boost website traffic, with the goal of converting visits into orders.
Out-of-stocks create a dilemma for both the brand and consumers.
For the brand, consumer acquisition costs increase because now they are converting fewer visitors into orders. Conversion rates are lowered not due to of lack of site traffic, but because consumers are unable to purchase desired products. This consequently leads to cart abandonment and dissatisfied consumers.
The eCommerce team has less SKUs to sell, and less chances of selling additional items through existing merchandising tools because the consumer left the site. Eventually the efforts put forth from marketing and eCommerce team members begins to have little impact. The even bigger issue is that out-of-stocks don’t happen on underselling products. Consumers want the most popular items, creating an even larger problem for the brand.
How do I keep the customer on the site when I don’t have the product they intended to purchase?
Here are the possible solutions and why they aren’t addressing the real to the root of the problem:
1. Email Notification: Notify Me When Back In-Stock
Notifying consumers via email when a product is back in-stock, is one option, however this solution is only a bandaid on a much larger issue. Expecting consumers to keep purchasing from your site, when desired products are consistently out-of-stock is unrealistic.
In reality, consumers want to buy instantly. They will not wait for inventory to become available, instead consumers will leave the site and hopefully purchase elsewhere.
2. Dealer Locator
We can all agree that we live in a world moving at hyperspeed, this is why convenience is such a sought after factor in the buying process. Dealer locators may help consumers find the products they are looking for nearby, yet this takes away from the luxury of saving money and time by having the products shipped directly to them.
Consumers want the ability to complete a transaction in just a few easy steps, in the least amount of time possible. Consumers simply don’t have time to deal with calling multiple retailers trying to find the item they want and driving to the store to pick it up.
3. Product-to-Product Links via Online Retailers
By providing the consumer with links to online retailers that have the item in-stock, you are handing over potential sales to the competitor. Often times online retailers will be promoting other brands via promotions, merchandising tools and ads. This is not the environment you want to send your consumer into. Also, the last thing your marketing team wants is the consumer leaving your site, especially after all the money and effort it took to get them there.
Not only have you lost a sale on a potentially cheaper product, you’ve given up the ability to market the 100+ other SKUs your brand has to offer.
You are probably familiar with all these solutions, and their inability to really solve inventory issues, our point is that there is an easier, cleaner way for the brand and the customer.
With Quivers, our collaborative order fulfillment solution is focused on reducing out-of-stocks online, while supporting the retailer channel and keeping the consumer in a branded shopping environment. Our solution enables out-of-stock products within an order to be fulfilled by local retailers who have the item in-stock. This leaves your brand with full inventory availability. Resulting in having both happy consumers, and increased sales!
If your company has these same problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to determine if we can help.
Inspired blog written by Quivers Senior Account Executive, Nick Jerkovich. If you would like to open a conversation with Nick please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Quivers: Powering the order fulfillment collaboration between brands and retailers, strengthening wholesale relationships, solving and simplifying inventory challenges, while aligning with the online-to-offline expectations of the evolving consumer.