Retailers, especially grocers and c-stores, can experience a major rush during this holiday weekend as people prepare for cookouts and road trips.
How Out-of-Stock Products Are Affecting Profits
Out of stock can sometimes mean out of business, according to Jim Callahan of Convenience Store Decisions. Many owners have not been paying attention to the effects that out-of-stock products can have on a c-store. It is important to understand how this is happening and how it can cause you to lose major profits if you do not take simple steps to fix the problem now.
What is Happening?
In the world of convenience, customers are drawn to c-stores because of their location and the ability to grab their favorite everyday products quickly. In recent months customers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their shopping experience and are turning to other types of stores such as grocery or supercenters to find their items. As many as 39% of shoppers have recently experienced this situation. One out of three of these shoppers said that it was their preferred non-alcoholic beverage that was out-of-stock. Unfortunately, non-alcoholic beverages are also ranked as the most important for c-stores to have in stock. These beverages are just one category of many that shoppers are finding their favorite c-stores continually not carrying.
Why Does it Matter?
The issue of not having products in-stock consistently directly conflicts with the definition of convenience, causing many customers to be frustrated, upset, and disappointed. These feelings are causing owners to lose on profits since over half of customers are not settling for an alternative item like many owners would hope, but instead, leaving without making any purchases. Customers then turn to the competition and purchasing the item that they were looking for, and often additional merchandise. This is even more urgent for c-store’s who do not have fuel sales to help level out profits. If your main sales come from in-store items than you cannot afford to consistently be out-of-stock on popular products.
How do I Fix This?
Shoppers know what they want, and it is very important that c-stores are being consistent in the items they are carrying.. In addition to beverages, other important products to always have in your c-store are tobacco, lottery tickets, and food.
To make sure you have the right food items stocked have employees walk around the store before and after every shift to make sure there are enough products on the shelves. They should also make note of any out-of-stock and low items so that they can be ordered. Make sure you or your employee are staying on top of your delivery schedule and adjusting orders to what is and is not selling. This is where paying attention to store and product data can really help profits thrive. If this becomes tedious you may want to try using smarter technology systems to keep orders sufficient and keep items on your shelves.
Overall, every customer is valuable to your business and you should do what you can to keep them coming back time and time again. Preventing out-of-stocks is critical in ensuring your customers return. Gaps in item availability may not just prevent a sale for one day but for all future sales from those customers who are feeling disappointed and frustrated. Make sure you are taking the steps to make sure you are staying on top of your deliveries and consider using smarter technologies and category data to help you analyze and decide what items you need to order and when.