How Live Stock Visibility Tools Are Helping Retailers Excel At Customer Experience

Understand why retailers offering Live Stock In-Store and Click & Collect product visibility and availability online gives them a competitive advantage.
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Retail Express
July 31, 2020

What you’ll learn:

  • Why live stock availability and visibility tools are needed to keep up with customer expectations
  • The rise of the “Instagrat” customer and exactly who they are
  • How stock availability tools like Live Stock In-Store and Click & Collect work
  • The importance of offering real-time inventory data

Customer expectations are driving the need for live stock visibility and availability on eCommerce websites

The retail landscape is changing faster than ever. What defined a great shopping experience ten years ago is different from today, and it will be transformed again within the next decade. But giving your customers the best shopping experience means figuring out exactly what they need today. 

Consumer buying behaviour today is driving the need for retailers to be equipped with a POS solution that integrates with their eCommerce platform that can provide real-time product visibility and availability on their website. We’re now seeing the rise of a new breed of shopper — someone we call the ‘Instagrat’ consumer.

‘Instagrat’ consumers represent a growing proportion of modern shoppers who demand convenience and use digital research to find the best possible solution for their needs — they’re searching for instant gratification in their buying journey. 

These customers prioritise:

  • Hassle-free purchases
  • Instant stock availability
  • Competitive prices

Retailers have been forced to evolve new practices which satisfy these new customers and their buying behaviours. And that’s where offering live stock visibility and availability through Live Stock In-Store and Click & Collect options on their websites has become a game-changer.

Offering your customers Live Stock In-Store combined with Click & Collect means:

  • Shoppers can see exactly what stock you have in all your stores
  • Availability is updated in real-time
  • Shoppers can pick up available items instantly

Why live stock visibility and availability works with a customer’s omnichannel buying journey

The vast majority of today’s shoppers start their buying journeys online. It’s the fastest way to get reliable information on which products and suppliers can best meet their needs at the right price.

However, there’s a misconception that because shoppers research online, that they always complete their purchase online. The prevailing wisdom is that this gives pure e-commerce companies an advantage over those with bricks and mortar stores — and that’s not quite right.

When it comes to completing purchases online, there is often perceived friction from the shopper:

  • “I can’t touch or feel the product. What if it looks different in real life?”
  • “I don’t want to wait for delivery. And what if they come while I’m out?”
  • “It’s such a hassle to return items I don’t like.”

So naturally, they’re now demanding the best of both worlds. Consumers want to research and find available products online (Live Stock In-Store) but visit nearby physical stores to check the products before taking them home (Click & Collect). This is the new gold standard for the previously mentioned “Instagrat” shoppers.

"Instagrat" customer experience — the new gold standard

With Live Stock In-Store displayed on your eCommerce website, you’ll experience a higher percentage of in-store visitors with serious purchase intent, and fewer wandering ‘pedestrians’. Each of these visits also provides a cross-sell opportunity to increase basket size.

In terms of long-term customer value, in-store visits are perfect for nurturing stronger customer loyalty and relationships. And best of all, we’re seeing shoppers favour retailers offering both of these services—even when it’s not the cheapest option.

And that all makes sense. But a well-managed Live Stock In-Store and Click & Collect experience also delivers something unexpected — better conversion rates for online visitors.

How do live stock availability and visibility tools work on an eCommerce site?

If all you display online is inventory specifically reserved eCommerce and you run out of that allocated stock, you’ll definitely lose that sale and probably a return customer. Over time, these lost opportunities can add up to be costly.

But if you’ve implemented the tools to be able to say “Hey, this item is in stock at a store close to your house, and you can pick it up right now,” then you’re increasing your chance of a sale and exposing your customer to in-store experiences and cross-selling. 

Having a clear live stock availability strategy lets you leverage the inventory stocked across every store and warehouse, giving customers more purchase options and maximising your odds of a successful sale.

Live Stock In-Store and Click & Collect is powered by real-time data

Providing this level of customer experience makes intuitive sense and we’ve seen how powerful it is in practice. But we’ve also seen how it can fail without the right infrastructure. When we say Live Stock in Store, we mean accurate to the second. When we say real-time Click & Collect, we mean customers can collect their items now — not tomorrow, not this afternoon, but right now. 

This means your website needs to be able to automatically display the nearest locations for both of these services. Failing to provide real-time inventory levels across all store locations means you can’t deliver this gold standard service. And trust us — your customers will always find another retailer that does.

So how do you keep your stock availability up to scratch?

Having a POS system that syncs with your eCommerce site and allows you to easily set up Live Stock In-Store and real-time Click & Collect availability will set you on the path to increased market share and sales.

With real-time stock availability assuring customers to shop near them, you’ll experience heavier in-store foot traffic that results in healthier margins and build more loyalty with your shoppers.

But only if you can deliver this service with instant and real-time data across all your stores and stock locations. At Retail Express, our fully integrated eCommerce and POS software gives you the tools you need to seamlessly set up your Live Stock In-Store and Click & Collect services and integrate your stock levels across every channel and store. 

Book a personalised demo today to find out how other retailers in your category have successfully implemented live stock availability methods with Retail Express.

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