How to capture on-the-go shoppers with optimal inventory management

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Did you know that 61 per cent of retailers in the UK lack the tech capability to offer shoppers full visibility of in-store stock levels online?

This is a scary figure when one factors in that 42 per cent of adults in the UK specifically want this feature.

When one imagines the future of retail, it may conjure images of robots, sentient AI and IoT, but there is something less exciting that many retailers don’t offer, and yet many consumers want: omnichannel inventory management.

Retailers skipping this basic functionality may not be around for the future of retail. Inventory management – especially real-time, multi-location stock control that is accurate and customer-facing – is a key component to omnichannel success.

A new report from Cybertill, Retail Inventory: Expectations vs Reality, reveals that a majority of high street retailers are potentially alienating last minute shoppers by not displaying any information about in-store stock availability on their websites. This especially applies to mobile shoppers.

Globally, mobile browsing is more popular than desktop, signifying that consumers are on the go, and using mobile devices more often to shop and browse. In addition, 73 per cent of consumers still value physical stores for the immediacy of getting a product and not having to wait for delivery.

Cybertill’s report, which is based on research on 140 high street retailers with more than 30 physical stores in the UK, shows how retailers can capture the on-the-go-shopper more easily by displaying stock levels by store online and offering same day collection. Retailers not meeting this consumer need are potentially missing out on sales.

The report also investigates consumer expectations about omnichannel stock visibility and compares customer-facing services such as real-time stock availability by store, same day collection, and mobile usability.

One of the highlights from the report is that only 36 per cent of retailers show stock availability by store, and of those, 18 per cent show exact item quantities by store. Other highlights include how only 16 per cent of retailers offer same day collection, but 72 per cent of those also offer an exact “available from” time prior to checking out online. Meanwhile, 87 per cent of retailers don’t offer mobile users a “find near me” geolocation option.

For Gen Z, real-time visibility of stock levels are significantly more important, with 59 per cent of people in that demographic stating that they want real-time stock levels of nearby stores on retailer’s mobile app.

Essentially, Cybertill’s research signifies that the store is still a very important part of the shopping journey, and that the role of websites is in part to drive footfall to stores, something that the majority of retailers are simply not doing.

To download the report “Retail Inventory: Expectations vs Reality” here: https://hubs.ly/H0k8XqF0

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