Out of Stock, Out of Luck

Written by: Ben Barenholtz, Director of Demand Gen, Quivers

Despite the fact that e-commerce is booming, the retail industry is losing over $1 trillion each year due to merchandise that is out-of-stock. Having stock-outs on your website really hurts your e-commerce experience and your brand.

Consumers Expectations are Sky High

Consumers are pretty spoiled these days. They become frustrated and indignant easily when they can’t get an item exactly when and how they want to. When a customer encounters an out-of-stock on your website it creates a bad experience in the consumers’ mind, immediately eroding your brand equity. And the data shows they’re likely to exit your site to purchase a competing product.

To deal with out-of-stocks, brands try to helpfully handhold consumers off their site to either a retail website, a local corp store or physical retailer—and seem to accept this as a good business solution. But, it’s not. At all.

First, you’ve already created a genuinely bad experience in their mind with your brand when they see the big ugly OUT OF STOCK label on your website. Everyone hates when this happens and 70% of customers facing an OOS will decide to substitute the desired item with another similar one. So you’re already on the defensive and trying to make a save.

Then, even if you guide a consumer to a physical retailer or corporate store when they actually wanted to buy online (which is the case most of the time), they’re going to feel frustrated at having to do the leg work and they won’t go. They’ll instead find a competing product online to purchase—and you lose the sale.

And when you send online consumers to a retail website, they’re still likely to end up with a competing product as you’re just one product amongst many. (Same thing happens if you actually manage to direct a consumer off the couch and into a physical retail store). Your great brand and product quality might help, but you’re stacking the odds against you—and you probably lose the sale.

The problem is, consumers prefer to deal directly with brands today and expect them to meet their needs at every turn. By the time online consumers reach your site, they usually have some real intent. They’re not just vaguely “doing research.” This is what makes stock-outs so dangerous. You’re losing the consumer right at the moment of desire, thus losing their purchase intent, losing money, and losing brand equity all in one bad moment of truth..

Check the Ego, Meet the Needs

Today’s consumers care a LOT about ease—frankly more than they do about your specific product. I know, that’s hard to accept. Brands operate with a lot of ego. But a great product is really just commerce “table stakes” now. You also must compete at providing a superb experience to have a competitive advantage.

This all means keeping your products in stock. You tell me. What do you think a consumer will do if they can’t purchase your product easily, when and where they want? Well, what they won’t do is wait on you to restock. What they will do is buy from your competitor, and probably continue to do so for a long time, unless you spend a lot of money to bring them back to your brand.

We Can Help You Stay Stocked, Using Retailer Inventory

At Quivers, we provide what we call Distributed Order Fulfillment software. Our platform lets you sell more products (based on retail inventory availability) on your website and delegate fulfillment to retailers based on that inventory.

We plug easily into most major e-commerce platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Drupal etc. and lets you access inventory across your physical retailers. By including retailer inventory on your site, your product offering expands, and you gain back sales lost from stock-outs.

Increase Sales with Retail Inventory Optimization

Our customers typically see about a 50% reduction in out-of-stock merchandise and, in turn, earn back at least $80K - $160K in monthly sales using our software.

To learn more about how Quivers

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