Out-of-Stocks Drive Customers To Your Competitors

Nearly one-third of U.S. shoppers found empty shelves this holiday season, an Aldata survey finds.

Holiday shopping wasn’t a cheerful experience for many Americans this holiday season.

According to a new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. in-store shoppers, 31% discovered that the product(s) they were looking for this holiday season were out of stock. And after encountering empty shelves, nearly half of these shoppers (46%) left for a competitor’s store. The findings are part of the 2011 Post-Holiday Shopping Survey, which was sponsored by Aldata, a global provider of retail and distribution optimization software.

In addition to holiday inventory levels, the research examines topics such as store layout changes and cost-conscious consumer attitudes. Other major findings include:

• Food and Beverage Experience Highest Out-of-Stocks: 56% of shoppers experienced out-of-stocks at food and beverage retailers during the holiday season. Food and beverage was followed by toys and games (39%), apparel and footwear (39%), consumer electronics (30%), and video games and consoles (25%) to round out the top five retail categories with the highest out-of-stocks

• Shoppers Look to Spend Less in 2012: More than half of survey respondents (55%) said they plan to spend less this year. Top ways to save include: using coupons (70%), taking advantage of pricing promotions (68%), buying cheaper brands (51%) and buying generic/private label brands (48%)

• Consumers Value Low Cost Over Convenience: Consumers are not only shopping for value-priced brands because money is tight (66%), but 30% are also shopping multiple grocery stores to try to get the best prices

• Consumers Grocery Trends Consistent across U.S. and Europe: The number of shoppers who go to multiple grocery stores in order to find the best prices was fairly consistent between the U.S. (30%), UK (36%), France (33%) and Germany (32%). In addition, the number of US shoppers (26%) buying less groceries each week because they cannot afford the prices was fairly consistent with those doing the same in the UK (28%)*

•  Lost in the Store: Shoppers familiarize themselves with store layouts, so when retailers make layout changes, shoppers find themselves adding significant amounts of time to their weekly grocery trips–62% claimed layout changes would add more than five minutes to their trip each week and 30% claimed these changes would add more than 10 minutes each week; 38% claim changes to store layouts leave them “annoyed,” with an additional 28% feeling “frustrated.”

“Today’s shopper is tight on time and money. Retailers should be doing everything in their power to provide the best possible store experience to meet their evolving needs. That means precise demand forecasting to ensure shelves are never empty, and optimizing the store floor to avoid constant layout changes,” said Allan Davis, CMO of Aldata. “Not only did the survey data demonstrate that many stores missed the mark this holiday season, but also that these misses damage brand perception of retailers and result in lost revenue. If you’re not giving shoppers what they want, they will easily shop the competition.”

*Global numbers are derived from a December 2011 Aldata survey deployed in the UK, France and Germany. One thousand (1,000) respondents from each country were surveyed.

The 2011 Post-Holiday Shopping Survey is a national survey designed to provide insight into the experiences of in-store shoppers during the 2011 holiday season. The survey, which examines topics such as holiday inventory levels, store design and cost-conscious consumer attitudes, was conducted in December 2011 via Zoomerang, an online survey services provider, and is based on more than 1,000 respondents.






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