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Retailers to lose £147m in lost opportunities this Christmas

13th Dec 2012
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Retailers could lose nearly £147m this festive period due to empty stock levels if they fail to provide consumers with a multichannel experience.

Additionally, retailers could lose an extra £1.7bn to their competitors, as customers take their loyalty elsewhere to find the product they want.

That’s according to NetSuite’s survey of 2,000 UK consumers that, combined with research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and UK retail firms, showed two thirds of retailers were out-of-stock of particular products last Christmas, with clothing the most common.

Those retailers affected by stock-outs could not fulfil 21% of Christmas orders last year due to a lack of product availability – resulting in a potential overall revenue loss of £147m through missed sales opportunities, said the research.

In terms of this Christmas, the survey of retailers revealed that inaccurate demand planning is the biggest challenge to order fulfilment (52%); followed by aging IT systems (50%), lack of a holistic view of the business (34%), and human errors when processing orders (29%).

To combat this fall-out, retailers must deliver a seamless multichannel experience to customers this Christmas. According to the findings, the average consumer will conduct 43% of their shopping in-store and 57% online over the festive period. Mobile will also play a key role with 20% of consumers using their device to make purchases.

Andy Lloyd, GM of commerce products for NetSuite said: “Delivering an omnichannel retail experience is a key challenge for retailers as consumer shopping habits continue to shift, both in-store and online. Stock-outs in particular cost more than lost revenue or competitive advantage; they can tarnish a brand, especially over the highly emotionally charged festive season. Retailers need to take steps to avoid stock-outs wherever possible, and investing in improved demand planning is the best way to mitigate this risk”.

And retailers look like they’re taking these steps to prevent empty stock levels. The figures showed  72% of those surveyed plan to invest in additional IT in the next 12 months, including online (59%), mobile (45%) and social commerce (38%), as well as CRM systems (41%).

 Colin Edwards, economist at CEBR, added: “The Christmas period represents the most lucrative revenue opportunity of the year for retailers, comprising one fifth of annual revenues on average. By investing in the right solutions, CIOs and IT managers can enable their businesses to successfully compete with other retailers and capitalise on the potential revenues offered by Christmas.”


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