Out of Stock Provides Online Grocery Opportunity | PYMNTS.com

Once again, grocery shortages in the United States are making headlines and consumers are growing increasingly frustrated with these stockouts. Weather events, COVID-19 surges and resulting labor challenges, among other factors, are making it increasingly difficult for grocers to keep shelves full. For grocers, for whom inventory availability is a top priority, these challenges could have a real negative impact on their relationships with their preferred potential grocers.

Research from the PYMNTS 2021 Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey: The New Retail Expectation study, created in collaboration with Toshiba, which featured a census-balanced survey of more than 2,000 US consumers regarding their shopping preferences, found that inventory is the best. the minds of many buyers. In fact, 38% of respondents said they thought if stores offered devices to check inventory on-site, it would improve their overall in-store experience.

Read more: Consumers want self-checkout options, but rarely use them

Additionally, in-store inventory checking was ranked as the most important on-device shopping capability that would improve the experience of Gen Z consumers. For these young shoppers, functionality is even more in demand than the ability to skip the checkout line, find items, access discounts or check prices.

In fact, when consumers are frustrated with out-of-stock items, they may even abandon their favorite grocers and head straight for competing stores, suggests research from the October 2021 PYMNTS study Removing Friction at the Checkout: How Payment Experiences Influence Consumer Choice, created in collaboration with Checkout.com.

The study, based on results from a census-balanced survey of more than 2,100 consumers, found that 56% of consumers cite lack of inventory status/product availability as a pain point. In fact, this frustration was the third biggest source of consumer frustration, behind the lack of their preferred payment method and slow websites.

See also: Friction at checkout rises as some merchants withdraw added values

These inventory problems can be particularly acute for small grocers.

“We know that an independent is not a manufacturer’s number one or number two retailer, which means a force lower down the pecking order. Chances are we won’t get our fair share of inventory,” Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) President and CEO John Ross told PYMNTS in an interview. is very emotional, so restocking inventory and returning to normal conditions could mean reducing our turnover, but a healthier relationship with the supply chain would be good for everyone.

Related News: From COVID to product shortages to labor supply, grocery stores are adapting to a range of challenges

On the other hand, consumer anxiety about out-of-stock offers grocers the opportunity to guide shoppers to their online channels, which provide real-time inventory updates and avoid the shopper having to the physical journey to be met by empty shelves.

Currently, online grocery shopping is an under-tapped space compared to other e-commerce categories, according to data from PYMNTS’ December study The Connected Consumer in the Digital Economy: Who Wants to Live in a Connected Digital Economy – and why ? which surveyed more than 3,100 American adults about how they digitally interact with their daily activities. The results revealed that 49% of consumers place restaurant orders through restaurant websites or through their mobile apps, while only 32% purchase groceries online. Conversely, 91% of consumers shop in physical stores.

Get the study: The Connected Consumer in the Digital Economy: Who Wants to Live in a Connected Digital Economy, and Why?

Leveraging consumer inventory frustrations could allow grocers to turn physical shoppers into omnichannel customers. Given that the results consistently reveal that these omnichannel customers spend more than physical shoppers, especially when they join grocer loyalty programs, this opportunity, if they can seize it, could help grocers extract more value. of their existing buyers.

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