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The easiest way to lose online holiday shoppers is…

Out-of-stock merchandise is a sure-fire way to drive customers to competitor websites this holiday season.

Nearly 40% of online shoppers experienced an item being out-of-stock while shopping on a retailer’s site during the 2017 holiday season, an issue that influenced 80% of shoppers to visit another retailer’s website to purchase the product, according to the “Mirakl Holiday Season Shopping Survey,” from Mirakl.

According to data, 96% of respondents did at least a quarter of their holiday shopping online last year. This year, over one-third of shoppers plan to do more gift buying online. These shoppers are in search of the best prices and selection. They also want retailers to be a one-stop-shop, offer complementary lines, related products and a wide selection per category.

However, last year, some customers were disappointed. Nearly 40% of shoppers, including 45% of U.K. shoppers and 42% of U.S. shoppers, encountered a retailer’s website lacking a product or range of products that they expected.

Meanwhile, 55% of consumers (70% of Gen Z customers alone) have stopped shopping with a retailer because a competitor offered a better selection of products. And 86% said last year they checked prices on Amazon before completing the purchase elsewhere.

The fickle holiday shopper reveals how important product range and availability is, as well as the need to provide contingencies for popular products. Retailers can utilize an online marketplace strategy to close the assortment and availability gaps, without overhead, and can also drive more store traffic by letting customers ‘click and collect’ marketplace orders.

Additionally, marketplaces make it easy to test new products and brands at no risk. Marketplace sales also offer a higher profit margin than drop ship or owned-product sales, the study revealed.

“This research offers valuable insights into the benefits of a superior product selection and inventory as retailers approach their most important season,” said Adrien Nussenbaum, U.S. CEO and co-founder, Mirakl.

“The results make it clear that retailers must give their customers the choices they want in order to thrive amongst online competitors during the holidays,” Nussenbaum added. “We believe that the best way to do this is by leveraging a network of sellers to quickly and easily expand your product and services assortment – avoiding inventory and overhead costs.”
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