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Understanding consumer response to out-of-stock

Vitamins and supplements Retail

The Stable is a commerce agency headquartered in Minneapolis, USA. The Stable’s client, a major brand in the vitamins and supplements category, required an investigation into two key areas of consumer insights, with the overall goal to reduce lost sales: 

  1.   Exploring shoppers’ current perceptions and expectations regarding product availability at the category level and by brand, across 7 key retailers
  2.   Understanding how shoppers think, feel, and behave when they encounter a visual out-of-stock

The Stable utilised the Glow platform to gather in-depth consumer feedback that bolstered their category understanding.


The challenge: Navigating supply chain challenges

As with many brands through recent years, the vitamin brand client had been navigating supply chain challenges, leading to out-of-stock issues for certain products at specific retailers. 

Product availability is of high importance to shoppers, and a lack of availability can lead to ongoing issues with brand perception and purchase behaviour. The Stable’s research revealed that product availability is now consumers’ highest shopping concern. 


The solution: Data to minimise out-of-stock impacts

How shoppers respond to out-of-stocks has been speculated about, but data has traditionally been sparse. Using the Glow platform, The Stable was able to undertake a category behaviour and understanding survey, equipping their vitamin client with insight into how shoppers respond when their products are out of stock. 

This research allowed the brand to adjust their marketing, supply chain and sales strategies and tactics to minimise the impact of out-of-stocks.

The Glow platform allowed a detailed, granular level of data to be collected which meant that The Stable could aggregate the data and analyse behaviour at a retailer and brand level, revealing powerful insights into shopping differences. 


The outcome: Insights for operations, marketing, and retailers

The consumer insights gathered by The Stable addressed one of the biggest challenges in the world of commerce this year: how to manage supply chain and out-of-stock issues, and what impacts these issues have on shoppers. While this research directly answered questions for their vitamin brand client, it also provided broader shopping intelligence given this is a business challenge currently occurring in many categories.

The Stable’s vitamin client quickly put the data to use across the business. The operations team has been able to use the insights to adapt to supply chain issues whilst marketing have used it to inform communications regarding stock disruptions.

Most importantly, the research has been used to educate and influence buyers at various retailers about the best way to adjust their product assortment to minimise supply chain disruptions. 

The data gathered through the Glow platform helped to alleviate the company’s sense of uncertainty about how out-of-stocks impact the brand, their shoppers, and their bottom line. The research provided the confidence to know how to deal with these issues and powerful currency for improving their relationship with tier retail partners. 

"Glow allowed us to quickly collect and analyze quality data, which enabled us to effectively address one of the most pressing business issues for one of our biggest clients in a timely manner. The Glow team's expertise and experience helped us optimize the survey and the sample both prior to launch and after it was in the field. Our confidence that we can deliver for our clients is bolstered by knowing we have the Glow team behind us."

To learn more about using consumer insights to help your business grow, book an intro with our research experts.