Inaccurate inventory data has consequences.
Here’s a real life example from the human consumer writing this post:
One afternoon I’m working away and develop a craving for gummy candy that is so unbelievably distracting I know I need to get some or I won’t complete a single thing for the rest of the day. I can’t be the only marketer who has experienced this complete mental takeover (and if I am, please keep that to yourself).
I visit my favorite candy’s website. Great news: they have a store locator on their site and the retailer right down the street is listed as an option. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the brand’s store locator uses inventory data that is only updated every two weeks. You can see where this is going.
I show up, there are no gummies to be found because some other remote worker must have faced the same sugar-induced brain block and already bought out the shelf. Chaos ensues. (Read: I left and I was sad.)
Now, this whole ordeal occurred because I was already craving the candy and sought it out, only to be disappointed by an inaccurate store locator. But imagine if I had been targeted with an ad for that candy, then developed a need for it, clicked through the ad, and attempted to purchase via click-and-collect.
That brand just wasted valuable marketing dollars sending me to an out-of-stock page, and now I’m frustrated because I didn’t want candy, then I absolutely needed it, and now I can’t get it (or get any work done - yes, we’re back in this scenario). Depending on the day, that might even lead me to go as far as buying a competitor brand’s candy out of desperation/petty spite.
When it comes to retail ecommerce, inaccurate inventory data - whether in-store or on the digital shelf - is one of the biggest drivers of customer dissatisfaction. It’s where carts get abandoned and long-term loyalty gets lost.
The last few years have brought on several inventory management challenges, and they certainly haven’t gone unnoticed by shoppers - particularly at grocery. In a recent survey, 46% of respondents said they noticed more missing items in their click-and-collect grocery orders, and another 46% stating they’d experienced increased item swaps and substitutions. Another study surveying retail associates revealed that 43% of customer frustrations and complaints come from out-of-stocks, and 39% of customers have left a store without making a purchase for the same reason.
Running out of stock is an expensive problem for retailers, but the real impact falls on the brands selling their products through retail:
If you’re a brand marketing in a conventional fashion, is half of your spend being wasted sending customers to an out-of-stock retail location?
Or worse: did marketing with unknown or inaccurate inventory data end up driving shoppers to a competitor?
Direct-to-consumer brands typically know when inventory is available for sales, but it’s not as straightforward when selling through other channels (e.g. retail/retail ecommerce).
Retailers stocking products can change rapidly, the exact date and time a retailer updates their inventory is hard to predict, and brands working with distributors (e.g. beer, wine, and spirit brands) may not even be aware of the full list of locations carrying their SKUs.
It doesn’t make sense for a CPG to run marketing campaigns for an audience whose closest retailer is out of stock. It makes even less sense to include those out-of-stock locations on store locators and other where-to-buy tools. But, up until now, it’s been nearly impossible for brands alone to manage these variants.
Most CPG brands rely on point-of-sale data that’s two or more weeks old. So, by the time you know a product is OOS, you’ve already wasted 14+ marketing day’s worth of spend on an audience that couldn’t convert if they tried. Hitting broken or out-of-stock links pushes a high-intent customer back a step in a purchase funnel and reduces consumer confidence in your brand. Now you have to work twice as hard to win them back in the future, assuming you haven’t already lost them long-term to a competitor.
Fortunately, solutions now exist to enable real-time inventory scanning for brands, ensuring that another dollar is never wasted on out-of-stock campaigns.
Meet: Pear Commerce.
Pear is the retail ecommerce platform that connects CPGs to retailers, converting shoppable media into actionable insights that fuel performance marketing.
Every product on the Pear platform - including shoppable landing pages, store locators, PDPs, and direct to cart links - enables shoppability with daily inventory scanning. Marketing teams gain access to the exact moment products become available at retailers so they can plan campaign launches (or pauses) and target by in-stock locations accordingly.
Plus, the Pear dashboard returns actionable insights that unlock performance marketing capabilities previously exclusive to direct-to-consumer brands:
With Pear, you can stop wasting marketing dollars on inaccurate inventory data and start building seamless paths to purchase at retail ecommerce, gain greater shopper trust, and earn long-term loyalty with consumers.
Curious how your brand can leverage Pear to fuel growth through retail? Get in touch with our team →
Five years ago, retail ecommerce didn’t exist. Today, supporting the channel is table stakes for consumer packaged goods brands.
This playbook is designed to guide CPG brands from the stages of awareness to purchase at retail. Whether you’re interested in retail ecommerce as a new channel opportunity or looking to level up existing efforts, The Retail Ecommerce Playbook covers tools, tips, and examples to help your brand succeed.