Retail businesses sure have changed since the days of the good old “general store.” Of course, general stores still exist but it would be rare these days if they don’t have a website and an online shopping cart, too.
The question is, along with offering the ability to shop online, are retailers keeping up with how they are managing their inventory in real time so that they can efficiently deliver the goods whether their customers come into the store to shop or choose to order through their website?
According to a report from Astound Commerce, an e-commerce development agency, advances in e-commerce technology, such as the ability to track inventory in real time, “have increased market penetration by more than 50% over the last 10 years.”
The report, “20/20 Vision: Looking Forward by Looking Back at 20 Years of Digital Shopping Innovation,” which is an analysis on what digital advances have made the biggest impact on customer experience, states that back in 1999, real-time inventory management that provided “inventory visibility across digital and physical channels was available on less than a quarter (24%) of retail business websites. Today, 95% of retailers offer consumers visibility into product availability across channels.” This statistic is based on an analysis of 100 retailers.
Real-time inventory management is crucial for delivering a positive customer experience. For retailers that have both a brick-and-motor store and an e-commerce site, it’s the best way to make sure that there is always enough of a product available to meet demand.
Don’t turn off your customers with an “out-of-stock” message. If you want to keep up with today’s marketplace, you have to deliver what your customer wants, and that means it’s time to get real with how you manage inventory both in-store and online.