Two thirds of consumers frustrated at lack of real-time stock availability

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Two thirds of shoppers (75%) are left frustrated by a shortage of real-time stock availability while just under a third (31%) revealed stores they visit regularly run out of stock, according to a study conducted by enterprise solutions provider HSO.

The poll also revealed that 42% of consumers wish to be alerted at the exact moment when a selected item will be restocked or made available. A further 44% polled would prefer the addition of knowledgeable staff members to provide this real-time information, something currently lacking in many retail stores.

These statistics were supported by additional consumer comments, some expressing frustration with filling up an online basket, only to get to the checkout page to find that some of the items are out of stock. Further to this, there were comments about not being sure if an item would be in stock in-store, or if an item wasn’t in stock, when it would be coming in.

HSO sales director Hector Hickmott said: “Convenience is crucial within today’s retail sector. Consumers are driven by digital expectations which have enabled near instant access to services, goods and data. Shopping should be no exception and when hampered with inaccurate stock information, the positive customer experience is threatened and could result in declining sales.”

The poll further revealed that the option to ‘click and collect’ products is a popular choice opposed to home delivery, with over 52% of shoppers using this service within the last year. Almost a tenth (9%) of the sample had used this option more than once a month in the last year.

The study also explored the primary reasons for many consumers ditching the high street to shop online, with nearly three quarters (70%) referencing convenience and 35% citing ‘a greater product range’.

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