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More Than Half Of Shoppers Frequently Find Preferred Consumer Electronics Items Out-of-stock Online During The Pandemic

Lucidworks surveyed shoppers to understand how the pandemic has impacted online shopping and how shoppers respond to recommendations and inventory-based notifications for consumer electronics products

Lucidworks, the provider of next-generation AI-powered search applications and the pioneer of the Connected Experience Cloud, surveyed consumers in the U.S. and U.K. who shop online for consumer electronics. More than half of respondents reported finding preferred consumer electronics products out-of-stock frequently or at every visit when shopping online. Shoppers say that the amount of research they do before purchasing is one of the reasons they won’t opt for a substitute. However, feelings are mixed as nearly 20% of shoppers will look for a substitute on the same site if their preferred retailer doesn’t have the exact product they’re looking for. Retailer recommendations must understand a shopper’s intent, predict inventory availability, and promote the most relevant products and content to keep shoppers engaged.

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Out-of-Stock Isn’t a Deal Breaker for Customer Loyalty
When consumers were asked if there was a consumer electronics item they’d never substitute, nearly 90% of respondents named at least one item that they would never buy an alternative for, expressing preferences based on taste, accessibility with other devices, and price ranges that are non-negotiable. In an earlier survey, we found that the majority of shoppers (61%) like to do research every time or often via reviews on the brand’s website where they’ll be purchasing from. If your recommendation strategy is product-only, you could be losing shoppers to other websites during their research phase. Make it easy to find reviews, how-to content and FAQs to keep shoppers engaged while they wait for restocks.

Low-in-Stock Notifications Accelerate Path to Purchase
Nearly a third of shoppers say that they rarely buy a substitute if they came with a specific electronics item in mind. Retailers that connect inventory and consumer communications can keep shoppers in the loop with product availability so they’re not surprised by an “out-of-stock” message. 62% of shoppers say that knowing an electronics item is low-in-stock impacts their purchase decision and 85% of those shoppers say they’re more likely to buy. When items come back in-stock, nine in ten shoppers said they want to be notified, with 78% preferring email notifications and 44% preferring texts.

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Smarter Search Sells Substitutes When Preferred Items Are Unavailable
Only about 20% of shoppers say that consumer electronics retailers are making recommendations online every time an item they want is unavailable. More than two-thirds of respondents say they sometimes see recommendations, but not always. 12% of respondents said they usually end up on a “no results” page when an item they’re looking for is out-of-stock. Retailers that invest in semantic vector search technology can learn from shopper behavior to associate product searches with similar items so that shoppers never end up on a “no results” page. Regardless of how much the supply chain and product availability fluctuates, smarter search provides shoppers with relevant recommendations, not dead ends.

Other key findings in the survey include:

  • 70% of online shoppers prefer to have online purchases delivered (versus picking up in-store).
  • 40% of U.K. shoppers say “I know what I want, I’ll rarely buy a substitute” compared to only 25% of U.S. shoppers who say the same.
  • 62% of shoppers will go elsewhere if their preferred consumer electronics retailer doesn’t have what they want.
  • The most common reasons that shoppers won’t buy a substitute for a consumer electronics product are that it doesn’t match their taste or it’s outside of their price range.

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