Retailers losing £419.9 billion a year in revenue through in-store failings

25th Aug 2015

A study by IHL Group and OrderDynamics claims global retailers are missing out on £419.9 billion a year in revenue by failing to have in-store products in stock.

The research, Retailers and the Ghost Economy: The Haunting of Out-of-Stocks, says consumers are being left empty-handed in stores due to a series of service and operational issues. These include shelves simply being left empty (creating a £157.7 billion in lost revenue), customers being unable to find help from staff (£80 billion), a price/offer not matching the advertising (£49.1 billion) and the fact that staff couldn’t find stock in their warehouses (£45.1 billion).

The ongoing problems are stated to also be having a significant impact on a retailer’s bottom line, resulting in a revenue loss of 4.1% for an average retailer worldwide.

John Squire, president for OrderDynamics, who commissioned the research, believes technology failures play a large part in many of these missed opportunities:  

“There is a great deal of industry discussion around customer-centricity. Retailers are spending time and analysis trying to determine how to attract and retain customers and yet have a long way to go to reduce out-of-stocks and the resulting customer disappointment.

“As retailers enter the most important part of the year, it’s important to recognise that they can still take steps to reduce out-of-stocks with technology and connected data.”

It’s not just physical stores where revenue is being lost from empty-handed customers, however. Online, shopping cart abandonment is said to be leading to 42% of international revenue being lost at payment pages of retail websites.   

According to industry expert, Daan Pepijn, the only way established global retailers with equal operations on and offline can truly improve is by integrating their operational Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data up with their CRM data:

“Integrated CRM-ERP provides a way of comprehensively addressing both front- and back-office activities of businesses. In most cases in the past, CRM and ERP tools were run separately or as standalone systems.

“Even with benefits, a lack of interconnection or interoperability limits the advantages. An integrated approach will mean functions and features complement each other in an end-to-end solution.”

However, the issue of in-store, personal customer service failings leading to revenue loss is one that arguably can’t be  solved by technology changes.  

Research commissioned by Dyn, in April, revealed that customers still value in-store service a unique selling point for retailers, yet two-thirds of retailers now believe their customers receive the best service online (either website, mobile or app), compared to 25% of retailers who say their best customer service comes from in-store, suggesting more needs to be done to improve service in-store.

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