The Importance of Fully-Stocked Shelves

A survey shows lack of inventory, difficulty finding desired items and long checkout lines are top threats to retaining loyal customers.

Nearly 70% of U.S. adults would avoid shopping at a retail store if they encountered empty shelves, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by Galleria Retail Technology Solutions, a provider of retail and category optimization solutions.

The study, conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive on behalf of Galleria from Nov. 3-6 2011, surveyed a random sample of 1,021 U.S. adults 18 and older regarding retail store loyalty. Results were weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population. The survey also found that women are more likely than men to avoid shopping at a particular retail store if they encounter empty shelves during their visit.

“As we approach Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, retailers need to note that making sure their shelves are fully stocked is critical when it comes to retaining loyal customers,” said Bryan Eckhoff, executive vice president of sales and account management for North America, Galleria. “The cost of empty shelves can be extremely high. Out-of-stocks can force consumers to migrate from a particular store, risking the loss of the value of an entire shopper’s basket, not just one product. Consistent out-of-stocks may force the permanent loss of that customer.”

Key survey findings include:

•            More than two out of three (68%) U.S. adults would avoid shopping at a particular retail store if they encountered empty shelves

•            Women are more likely than men to say empty shelves would cause them to avoid shopping at a given store (73% vs 62% respectively)

•            Nearly two out of three U.S. adults would shun a retail store due to:

◦            Long check-out lines (64%)

◦            Desired items out of stock (63%)

◦            Difficulty finding desired items (62%)

“Statistics have shown that it costs five times more to obtain a new customer than to retain an existing customer,” Eckhoff said. “In the current U.S. economic climate when consumers are more cost conscious than ever, retailers should make every effort to ensure they have the right products, in the right place at the right time to keep their customers happy…and coming back.”

Galleria’s suite of retail optimization software can be utilized by retailers to determine the correct products and quantity of those products to stock in store based on actual consumer demand. This approach minimizes the chances of an item being out of stock, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. The retailer benefits from this with increased sales, minimizing unnecessary inventory and reducing wastage.




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