The holiday season is the most important sales moment of the year. Nevertheless, a Zetes study reveals that retailers miss about 35 percent sales due to products not being immediately available or the lack of product information.

A quarter of consumers leave a store without actually buying anything if they do not immediately see the product that they are looking for or if that is not immediately available. It is one of the conclusions of a market research conducted by supply chain expert Zetes. The study specifically focused on buyer behavior during the annual peak period between November and January and analyzed both physical and online retail. 120 European retailers and over 2000 consumers were interviewed for this study in the January 2018 timeframe.

Time is money

The study states that stores miss 35 percent of sales due to the unavailability of products. The main reason for this is the expectation of the customer: more than in the past, customers will simply leave a store if they do not immediately see a product and they do not bother to talk to a shop assistant. 

If customers do however approach a shop assistant, they expect to receive more information about the product availability within two minutes. A rather limited window of opportunity especially if you know that the study also calculated that 51 percent of shop employees need to go to a cash desk to obtain the necessary information, and that 47 percent also needs to check the warehouse to verify the availability of a product. Both actions cost time and time is very expensive during the peak period. The study also reveals that 62 percent of retailers do not have access to real-time product data.  

Return Management

Also deliveries and returns typically cause extra problems during these busy months. It is common knowledge that people tend to buy quicker when they are sure that they can possibly return a product. The processing of returned parcels also causes problems. 26 percent of retailers indicate that they are having problems during the peak, so that only 39 percent of the returned goods are available for sale within 48 hours.  

Conclusion

“A lack of visibility of data is the core of these sales problems during the holidays,” the report states. “Consumers want choices, and they want to be informed. Instead of a general “not available” message, a retailer has a much greater chance of securing sales by telling the customer that a product will soon be back in stock and delivered within three days or will be available for click & collect.” There is still a significant room for information management improvement with direct sales optimization as a result. 

More information
https://www.zetes.com/en/white-papers

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