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Online stock issues force 51% of Brits to shop elsewhere

Issues with stock levels are a major factor that affects the consumer’s decision to shop online. In the United Kingdom, more than half of consumers immediately turn to a competitor if the item they want is out of stock.

That’s the most important conclusion from new research conducted by Whistl. Their study shows that over 90 percent of online shoppers in the UK are regularly being met with issues, such as low stock or items being unavailable. This leads to online consumers being frustrated (42 percent) or annoyed (32 percent).

But these problems not only lead to negative feelings among customers, it also pushes them to shop somewhere else on the web. Just over half of respondents say they go straight to a competing ecommerce websites if the product they were looking for wasn’t available.

Only 18% come back after stock issues

And it’s not only that current transaction online retailers should worry about. They also run the risk of losing future sales too, as only 18 percent of British consumers say they are likely to go back to a certain retailer if they have faced stock issues at their online shop before.

Another interesting find from the study is that stock notifications too can affect the buying habits of consumers. For example, messages about low stock give UK shoppers the push they need to order the product that day (78 percent), followed by ‘X people are looking at this now’ (45 percent)’, ‘X users have looked at this today’ (40 percent) and ‘X users have bought this today’ (23 percent).

‘Stock management is essential’

According to Melanie Darvall of Whistl, stock management is essential to online retailers, because the alternative would be dissapointed customers who take their business elsewhere. “It was interesting to see how stock level management and buyer notifications can affect buying behaviour. We knew that there would be some influence, but we certainly weren’t expecting it to have such a large impact as our findings have shown.”

“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 in order to avoid disappointment.”

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