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Out-of-stocks the main reason shoppers abandon physical stores

Shoppers have listed out-of-stock items as being the number one reason for leaving physical stores without making a purchase, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by Zebra Technologies, polled more than 4000 consumers in the Asia-Pacific region and showed that customers expect items seen online will be in stock – with this phenomenon being especially true of younger shoppers.

Meanwhile, 29 per cent of shoppers reported having left a store because the price did not match the one shown online.

The report also revealed a major gap between retailers’ impressions of customer satisfaction regarding returns. Retail executives believe 80 per cent of shoppers are satisfied with the returns process, but only 57 per cent of consumers surveyed said they were. But 81 per cent of retail executives said managing returns of online orders is a significant challenge.

“Our study shows that while better services will help retain current shoppers and attract new ones, retailers need to make sure they have the basics right when it comes to product availability, ease of finding products, returns and exchanges,” said Zebra Technologies APAC vertical solutions lead, healthcare and retail George Pepes. “To win with shoppers today, retailers must deliver the seamless, multi-channel experience that customers expect and leverage technology to provide more personalised services for managing inventory and building smarter operations.”

The study showed that consumers are increasingly expecting technology-enabled experiences in physical stores. Sixty-three per cent of shoppers are likely to use a video touchscreen to locate items, check prices, receive promotions and scan barcodes, while 59 per cent of shoppers are likely to use location-based coupons sent based on a shopper’s in store location. Fifty-eight per cent of shoppers are likely to use auto checkout services where they can leave a store without stopping to pay for items.

“Brick-and-mortar stores in Southeast Asia have not only withstood the digitalisation of retail, they have also become more influential in shoppers’ purchasing decisions,” said Zebra Technologies regional director for Southeast Asia Fang-How Lim. 

“The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all technology architecture that will work for every retailer. There are, however, a set of real-time technologies that have proven to be most impactful when it comes to improving fulfillment speed and accuracy.”

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