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Sort your stock out: The industries most likely to suffer from stock outages

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year - but also the busiest. December is when ecommerce and retail has one of its most intensive periods, also known as peak season.

During this time, people are purchasing Christmas presents, new clothing for the party season, and also preparing for the furniture and home deals that appear left right and centre in January.

According to the Bank of England, a typical UK household spends over £700 more in December compared to other months, with the biggest increase on fashion and furniture.

However, when there’s a pent up demand for stock, what happens if retailers don’t properly prepare?

Sort your stock out: The industries most likely to suffer from stock outages

TikTok's role in stock cuts

TikTok has taken items going viral overnight to the next level. There are currently 23.9 million views on TikTok for the hashtag #ChristmasPartyOutfit, followed by 21.1 million for #ChristmasFoodIdeas.

The social networking app has created a new temptation for consumers. With TikTok, we visually see how items look before we’ve even thought about buying them - and it has an extraordinary power over real-life sales. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to gush over how much they love a dress or a sofa - and it sells out.

However the immediate sell-out power of TikTok and other social apps can mean that businesses aren’t prepared for such high demand.

An item being labelled as out of stock can sometimes make it appear more desirable. After all, there’s a reason why limited edition runs often work. It’s popular, yet elusive at the same time.

However the majority of the time, items being labelled as out of stock can just cause frustration from customers, and a headache for brands if they aren’t holding the right amount of inventory.

Availability is key

Retail is seasonal, and making the most of peak trading is crucial to the success of your bottom line. When there’s bigger spikes in traffic, the lost revenue from the seasonal demand of items can be enormous.

It can also have expensive repercussions for retailers. Physical stores and online brands experience the problem of stock-outs differently.

A bespoke ecommerce platform can help brands when they do experience fast growth, helping them to engage customers across each and every touchpoint, and also help with product management to ensure that information is synced across your technology stack.

What industries have the biggest stock based issues?

Remarkable Commerce looked at social media sentiment and the number of tweets from thousands of consumers in the UK over the last six months, complaining about items being out of stock, to the brand’s Twitter and customer service Twitter accounts.

It looked at the tweets to 20 of the most popular brands in eight industries - 160 brands overall. The companies are all in different sectors in consumer ecommerce, ranging from sporting goods to jewellery, fashion to supermarkets and more.

The industries most at risk of stock-outs:



1. Supermarkets and grocery stores

117 items/store

2. Fashion

31 items/store

3. Home and Furniture

31 items/store

4. Consumer Electronics

24 items/store

5. Sport Goods

16 items/store

6. Health and Beauty

11 items/store

7. Luxury Goods

4 items/store

8. Jewellery

1 item/store

The research found that, on average, each supermarket had at least 117 complaints about items being out of stock - more than four times any other industry.

Despite many being fondly known for their Christmas adverts during this time of year, supermarkets will struggle to achieve festive cheer from their consumers if items they want are sold out, especially when food and drink is so important to people during the holiday season.

Recent research from Retail Insight that polled over 1,000 consumers found that nearly half (45%) of shoppers found that more items than usual were not available or missing from their online shopping orders.

Industry Stock Outages

By industry explained

Fashion and Garden

Fashion and garden came in second. Fashion is often synonymous with stock issues - ranging from the specific size being sold out, to the entire item range - especially when it becomes viral and popular on social media.

But with demands for new outfits for Christmas parties, markets and dinners, fashion retailers need to ensure that their inventory is properly managed to cater for demand.

The new year often also means new decor and fresh furniture for consumers, but it’s hard to turn the TV on towards the end of December without seeing an advert for a furniture sale. However, with huge lead times in the furniture space, and the cost of transportation increasing dramatically in the last two years, companies that can reduce the delivery time and have stock to hand are likely to build the best brand equity and consumer loyalty.

Store and web integrations

Brands can also take advantage of alternative fulfillment options too, such as store and web integrations to help the whole omnichannel experience. If a store has extra stock but the website is sold out of an item, the store can send stock back to the site - but this still counts towards store sales, complimenting the high street and the ecommerce offering.

Back in store reminders need to be acted on ASAP

One of Remarkable Commerce’s clients has had almost one million requests (938,934) for back-in-stock products in 2022. While this is just 3.5% of the average traffic for the year, 58% of this figure received a confirmation email when the item was back in stock. This suggests that over 392,000 requests were unable to be made - and customers could be heading elsewhere if the items aren’t bought back into the inventory fast enough.

Replatforming to Aid Growth

During a time where many businesses are aiming for substantial growth, if your digital store isn’t properly equipped to handle it, you may easily end up with many systems that don’t talk to each other. Not only is this not ideal for keeping on top of stock, but it also means more manual tasks, leaving more room for human error.

A poor website that doesn’t match your goals can not only cause a loss of sales, but also reduce customer satisfaction. This can impact profitability, and your brand reputation. It’s clear that supermarkets, fashion and home retailers need to prioritise inventory management to enhance the customer experience - and not leave it too late.

Read our whitepaper on how ecommerce replatforming can help you to realise your commercial gains and grow your business effectively, here:

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Report Methodology

Remarkable Commerce looked at social media sentiment and the number of tweets from thousands of consumers in the UK, complaining about items being out of stock, to the brand’s Twitter and customer service Twitter accounts.

It looked at 20 of the most popular brands in eight industries in the consumer e-commerce sector, such as sporting, jewellery, consumer electronics, fashion, supermarkets and more, analysing the tweets to 160 brands in total.