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Online shoppers go elsewhere when items out of stock

A report by 84.51° says nearly a quarter of shoppers will move their spending rather than wait

Out-of-stock items are an ongoing source of consternation for grocers trying to build their online sales, but a new report from Kroger’s data analytics firm 84.51° says they could stand to lose nearly a quarter of their sales business when products are unavailable.

84.51°’s “Consumer Digest: Omnichannel Trends February 2024” report reveals that 23% of omnichannel shoppers will search elsewhere online if their grocer has items out of stock. 

When it comes to substitutions, not all products are created equal, according to survey respondents. 

The product categories shoppers are most willing to allow substitutions include shelf-stable items, paper products, and household goods. Those products they are least willing to substitute include: health care products; beauty care; pet supplies; and products out of the deli, meat, and fish departments. 

Eighty percent of those surveyed for the report said order accuracy is important. Only 77% said they are willing to wait to purchase the item in-store or during their next online purchase. 

Nearly one in five (19%) will find the out-of-stock item elsewhere online, and 4% will move their entire cart to a different online vendor, the report stated. 

Customers said accuracy of orders was the most important aspect of online shopping, with 90% citing it as essential. Availability of products was second at 84%, while 78% said coupons, 74% available time slots, and 73% ease of navigating the vendor’s website or app. 

Convenience and time saved were the two biggest reasons shoppers gave for buying groceries online, and 61% said they prefer their orders be filled by the grocer as opposed to a third-party service.

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