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3 Most Common Ways Stores Frustrate Mission-Driven Shoppers

It’s not easy to increase store conversion with certain shoppers. The browsers. The showroomers. The price averse. They don’t walk in intending to buy, so there’s not much that you as a merchant can do to prevent them from leaving empty-handed.

But how can you increase store conversion for mission-driven shoppers—i.e. those who walk in with intent to buy a specific product? Are the vast majority successfully finding and buying what they came for? Or do you need to look for ways to increase store conversion for this critical subset of shoppers.

Our data reveals that the majority of mission-driven shoppers experience in-store obstacles to purchase in most retail settings. CB4 has surveyed thousands of shoppers of apparel, grocery, and convenience stores. There’s one constant: tons of shoppers (48% in convenience stores, 81% in grocery stores, and 82% in apparel stores) have left without buying the product they came for.

When we asked shoppers why they were unable to make their intended purchase, they answered loud-and-clear. Selecting from a long list of problems like “line was too long,” “customer service was inadequate,” and more, they revealed the top 3 reasons they left without converting. If you want to increase store conversion, watch out for these pervasive threats in your stores.


Problem #1—What they want is out of stock.

The Scope:

In apparel stores, 42% of shoppers who left the store without buying what they intended did so because the store was out of stock in the product they wanted. In grocery stores, 36% of shoppers reported not making an intended purchase due to stock outages. In convenience stores, 30% of shoppers left empty-handed because of out-of-stocks.

The Culprit:

Vendor issues account for the vast majority of stock outages, according to proprietary CB4 data. In grocery and convenience stores where vendor-managed inventory is the norm, the prevalence of the problem decreases. But in apparel and other specialty retail stores, where retailers request stock and then wait for replenishment, shoppers often attribute obstacles to purchase to out-of-stocks. 

The Fix:

CB4 sends store managers alerts when sales of products that local customers want most are failing to match demand. Store managers investigate the culprit and, when they discover they don’t have sufficient stock available, take action. Depending on the retail setting, store managers elevate the issue to corporate or place an order with the vendor directly as the app helps them keep an eye on the product.


Problem #2—Your stores don’t carry what customers want.

The Scope:

In apparel stores, 37% of shoppers who left the store without buying what they intended did so because the store didn’t carry the product they wanted. In convenience stores, 32% of shoppers left because the store didn’t carry what they wanted. In grocery stores, the number dropped ever-so-slightly to 28%.

The Culprit:

Perhaps it’s due to an allocation problem—that the merchandisers and/or planners simply underestimated demand. Perhaps it’s linked to an emerging product that your buyers aren’t aware of. When your stores don’t carry what customers want, shoppers are liable to feel that your brand’s values don’t match their own and jump ship.

The Fix:

CB4 notifies store managers when a product isn’t selling to match demand in a store, and store managers communicate with buyers when they see sufficient units haven’t been allocated to their store. To avoid buying more units than necessary, which would potentially lead to excess stock, the software tells you exactly how many dollars could be recouped by adding more units.


Problem #3—Customers can’t find what they’re looking for.

The Scope:

In apparel stores, 36% of shoppers who left stores without making a purchase did so because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. In grocery stores, the number dips a bit to 91%. In convenience stores, the number drops to just 9%. 

The Culprit:

Incorrect or confusing signage is one typical culprit. Another is items left in the stockroom rather than being replenished on the floor. Sometimes customers can’t find what they want because the store doesn’t adhere to planogram and confuses the customer. All of these create a lot of in-store friction, and shoppers are left with the feeling that stores are, well, unshoppable.

The Fix:

With high turnover and many part-time employees, not everyone working in your stores will know exactly where every product goes and how to display it. That’s why CB4 sends simple, actionable insights to store managers. When it comes to product findability errors, 34% of the time, store managers report fixing issues related to visual presentation or visibility of a product, while 20% of the time, they report products have simply been left in the stockroom.


Store Conversion & CB4

A lot of things can happen in stores to stop customers from purchasing the products they came for. Being out of stock in the product, not offering the product they want, and not making the product they want findable they want are the top three reasons, according to 4,500 US-based brick-and-mortar shoppers. Good thing CB4 quickly resolves and fixes the costliest of these problems at every store in a chain.

For more information on the data we used to write this article check out:

CB4 helps retailers provide reliable in-store experience by ensuring availability for the products local shoppers want at each store in your chain. Check out this short video to see how it works. Or, give our Lost Sales Calculator a whirl to see how much your chain could be losing to the problems described in the article.

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