Thursday, December 10, 2015

Accept the OOS Redirection Exception

A number of consumer behavior researchers would recommend that if your shopper learns you’re out-of-stock (OOS) on a specific item the shopper has an emotional investment in purchasing, you should prepare to steer the shopper toward a wholly different product category than the one they came in for. The objective is to avoid a customer feeling they’re settling for second best.
     But studies at University of California-Riverside and Nanjing University find an exception to this general rule for shoppers who have a certain sequence of attitudes during the transaction:
  • They learn the desired item is OOS principally because of high demand for the item
  • They come to believe others have more expertise than they do about important item features in that category
  • They come to believe that the item is in high demand because of those features
     In these circumstances, the shopper will be pleased with an in-stock item which has those features, whether or not the item is in the same product category as the OOS item. The shopper is less likely to feel they’ve settled for an inferior choice and more likely to conclude they’ve made a useful discovery.
     Because these attitudes arise during the transaction, you might be able to influence them:
  • If the item is OOS because you didn’t place a timely order, the supplier had production problems, or there were shipping delays, you could explain this as a failure to anticipate the high demand rather than as a logistical problem.
  • By demonstrating your own expertise about your store’s products, you build the shopper’s trust that you know what the important features in the particular item category are.
     You’ll be keeping the OOS from turning to your disadvantage. Research findings from Indiana University-Bloomington, University of British Columbia, and Northwestern University provide other tips:
  • Loyal customers who encounter an OOS become more likely to come to your store promptly when sales on other high-demand items are announced. Coach your store staff to sincerely empathize with the shopper and tell the shopper when the next shipments are due.
  • For consumers who purchase a particular item at regular intervals, encountering an OOS repeatedly will lead the consumer to reconsider item preferences. When an item is OOS in your store, use signage to suggest an alternative which you do currently have in stock.
  • To lessen negative feelings, offer alternatives to an OOS item at a range of price points.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Steer Shoppers Away from Settling
Turn Out-of-Stocks to Your Advantage

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