Bypassing the out of stock crisis

Bypassing the out of stock crisis

In what seems a bit like groundhog’s day, the grocery industry is being impacted again by severe and persistent out of stocks.  For the week ending January 16th, the average out of stock rate across US grocery was hovering at 14%1 —nearly 3x the normal rate2,3.  Greg Ferrara, the president and CEO of the National Grocers Association, told the House Agriculture Committee recently that a nationwide labor shortage is a key root cause impacting supply chains.  While some categories are disproportionately impacted further down the supply chain like Meatpacking, Bakeries, and Beverage Manufacturing, the NGA notes that grocery stores are also under considerable stress.  Grocery retailers are operating “with 50% of their normal workforce”, further exacerbating stocking issues as stores continue to evolve their bi-modal operations—fulfilling both in-store and online shopping baskets4.

Savvy digital marketers have a hack to bypass the out of stock risk for their brand in real time.  An inventory aware path to cart circumvents this $15B industry issue.  With industry leading retailer integrations, real time inventory intelligence is engineered into our paths to cart online.  Whether you are in Boston, Louisville, or Beverly Hills, our paths to cart show only the local retailers who actually have your brand in stock.  This locally dynamic curation of the shelf not only prevents substitution risk, but it also avoids dead-ends for the shopper.  How many times have you seen a ‘buy now’ CTA that shows retailers that 1) aren’t even in your vicinity, or 2) don’t have the product in stock?

Protecting brand fidelity & loyalty within marketing is a key consideration. 85% of shoppers who experience out of stocks don’t wait to purchase it another time or place3.  And with in-stock rates averaging 14%, that breaks down to a 12% chance your brand will be substituted.

1 https://www.wsj.com/articles/supermarkets-play-supply-chain-whack-a-mole-to-keep-products-on-shelves-11635672603?mod=article_inline

2 https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-are-some-groceries-still-so-hard-to-find-during-covid-11597069761

3 Plugging Out-of-Stock Gaps in Consumer Goods, EKN/Microsoft, 2016

4 https://www.eater.com/22884292/supply-chain-issues-shortages-grocery-stores-covid

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