You can’t stop the surge, but you can stay ahead of it.

How to avoid out of stocks in periods of increased demand

Recent research by Zebra Technologies shows that the pressure for retailers to avoid out of stocks has never been higher. In Zebra’s 2020 Global Shopper Study, a remarkable 39 percent of retail shoppers reported leaving a store without purchasing anything.

Why? At least one item they wanted or needed was out of stock – or at least not on the shelf. Retailers simply cannot afford to alienate such a huge portion of their customer base.

Though it has never been more challenging to accurately predict demand, it is possible – and essential. Accommodating heightened demand is about knowing how to use the inventory and other resources you have on hand to sustain the increase in sales by any means necessary.

So, how do you improve your ability to accommodate unexpected demand surges?

It all starts with leveraging technology, such as prescriptive analytics, which analyse data and increase visibility over inventory to help retailers understand:

  1. When surges in demand are likely to happen

  2. What resources you have available at any given time

  3. When, where, and how to deploy those resources

Prescriptive analytics enable retailers to deploy “patterns” (algorithms) that identify very specific data behaviours, which indicate opportunities for inventory optimisation and inform appropriate action. Discover your:

  • Most popular out-of-stock items

  • Stores with slower-than-average rates of sales

  • Most popular “buy online, pick up in store” items

  • Phantom inventory

Learn more about optimising your inventory and creating an exceptional customer experience by downloading Zebra’s 2020 Shopper Vision Study.