A survey by the IHL Group, based in Franklin, Tennessee, found customers often say the store is OOS even when the retailer thinks the store is in-stock. This is because the customer has a broader definition of OOS than the retailer does.
- The shelf is empty. Even when you attend to your point-of-sale and inventory level data—as you should be doing frequently—you might miss the fact that items to fill in the empty shelves have not made it from your receiving or storage area onto those shelves.
- The merchandise is on a shelf, but not easily available to the customer. It could be on a high perch, which puts it out of sight, or in a locked cabinet, which puts it out of reach, when there aren't store staff right there to help.
- The customer is looking for an item with characteristics you're not tracking. They want a specific pattern on the skirt or a smaller quantity in each package. Your recordkeeping systems indicate you have the item, but unless your staff are talking with the shoppers, you won't realize that in the customer's view, you're OOS.