Shelf gaps risks lost Peak revenues as 20% of retail store stock unavailable for sale

Retailers are risking lost omnichannel revenue opportunities during peak due to shelf gaps and stock being unavailable just at the moment shoppers are looking to make Christmas purchases, the latest research from Pricer, the world’s most trusted electronic shelf label (ESL) provider, shows.

Original research of 100 senior UK retailers by Pricer showed that, as they look ahead to peak trading over half (52%) of retailers say up to a fifth (20%) of their in-store inventory is unavailable at any given time, while a further quarter (25%) said between 26% – 50% of their inventory was unavailable for sale.

And yet, this comes in spite of recent research by EDITED showing that the number of products in stock across UK retailers in November rose +13% year-on-year, as retailers experience subdued demand due to customer spending caution arising from the cost-of-living crisis, causing increased inventory levels and warehouses to become fuller.  This, Pricer’s research, suggests points to potential replenishment issues impacting stores’ ability to get items restocked and back on to the shelves for sale ready for sale.

Three in ten (29%) of the retailers polled by Pricer acknowledged shelf gaps were a problem for in-store operations, with a further 26% saying replenishment and the restocking of shelves in a timely manner was also an issue.  A quarter (24%) reported the issue of ‘black holes’ in their visibility of stock availability, saying not having a real-time view of what stock is available on-shelf or where there are shelf gaps proved a problem when running the store efficiently.

And this, Pricer warns, could risk leave revenue opportunities on the table as retailers enter the critical peak trading period; original research of over 2,000 UK shoppers in its latest report showed 46% would abandon their entire basket if the item they needed was out of stock or not available on the shelf.  Meanwhile, over half (54%) say they are less likely to continue shopping with a brand or retailer where stock replenishment is often poor, showing the long-term impact of poor inventory availability and shelf gaps on lost loyalty and reduced customer lifetime value.

Mats Arnehall, Head of Region Europe at Pricer, commented:

“While price conscious, the cost-of-living consumer is going into Black Friday and on into Christmas with mission-driven shopping demands.  The moment of truth for them arrives at the shelf edge, which means retailers need to be ready, armed with the right technologies, to present the perfect offer and ensure sales are converted and custom retained.”

“This is about being able to act on advanced forecasting decisions to dynamically manage prices at the shelf edge, respond immediately to gaps, assort and promote against true demand to raise sales and reduce waste, pick more rapidly for online orders to avoid interrupting the customer and also to avoid cannibalising stock,” he concluded.


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