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Stock issues hamper online shopping satisfaction levels

10 August 2018 - 11:53 by Simon Crisp

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A new study from HSO has found that the vast majority of consumers are disappointed by the fact that sites which offer safe shopping online do not usually provide the ability to see current stock levels for products, according to Internet Retailing.

31 per cent of outlets covered by the report were found to suffer stock shortages on a regular basis, which exacerbates this problem to a significant degree.

75 per cent of shoppers who participated in the survey said that they felt dissatisfied by the inability to get up-to-the-minute stock level updates, while 42 per cent said that if given the option they would jump at the chance of getting real-time notifications when desired items became available again.

A number of the respondents claimed that they frequently found that they could add products to their e-commerce basket, then be unable to complete the checkout process because they were not actually in stock as advertised.

The report’s authors argue that this is part of the reason that click and collect has become such a popular delivery option, since consumers can effectively check whether an item is stocked at their nearest store and pick it up on the same day, rather than facing any ambiguity when carrying out safe shopping online.

This indicates that many retailers have the ability to track stock levels in real time, yet fail to present this information to customers in a coherent, easily accessible way.

In spite of the complaints about the e-commerce experience, 70 per cent of consumers said that they preferred buying from the web because it gave them the opportunity to choose from a wider selection of products than at high street outlets. This should help web sales to grow going forwards, even if there is clearly room for improvement in some areas.