In the last year, chances are, even as a retailer, you’ve found yourself in need of something only to find it’s out of stock or has a 7-day or more wait time for delivery. In our ‘I want it now’ culture, we often have no patience for this kind of result. A key learning for the retail industry in 2020 is that brand loyalty only gets you so far if you’re consistently failing to meet customer expectations.

Having in-stock product assortment is more important than ever as consumers now search for which retailer has the best availability. As reported by Digital Commerce 360, in 2020, traffic from organic search jumped to 51.7% from 39.0%. Having come up against out-of-stock notifications too many times, this dramatic shift to organic search seems to indicate that Google and other search engines have become critically important for starting a consumer’s buying journey.

There was also a significant decline in paid search traffic, to 4.2% of visits from 11.7% a year earlier. Two things are clear:

  1. When it comes to shopping digital channels, consumers want what they want, when they want it and whatever retailer can deliver, they win the sale.
  2. Having the ability to jump in and out of in-demand categories and quickly add product assortment without the expense of owning the inventory, is how retailers can set themselves apart and ensure when an item is searched, they have it.

Consumers Demand Product Availability

When consumers can’t find what they’re looking for or the item is out of stock, they go elsewhere and fast. Digital Commerce 360 reported that 58% of online shoppers checked online for product availability at a nearby store. In 2020, consumers turned to the best-known retailers—who also tended to have the most inventory. Retailers that were able to fulfill orders quickly without cancellations and keep inventory in stock and updated had the advantage.

With this in mind, the time is now for retailers to invest to protect the customer experience and meet new consumer expectations for choice and convenience. The more retailers are able to eliminate out-of-stocks and excessive wait times greater than 3-5 days for an order to arrive, the likelier consumers will do more of their purchasing through digital channels.

Top Retailers are Winning with Expanded Assortment

Big retail chains and Rithum partners such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s are all investing in offering greater selection and convenience to online shoppers. According to the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 Retailers Report, top growth in 2020 was concentrated among the biggest retailers to an extent that hasn’t been seen in recent years—the top 500 produced 46.7% growth. Shockingly, Amazon wasn’t even the top growth driver (up 41.4%): Walmart grew 79% and Best Buy grew 144%.

Rapidly Grow Assortment with Drop Ship

Rithum partners rely on our ecommerce expertise and powerful drop-ship capabilities to digitize their supply chain and rapidly expand assortment without the expense of owned inventory. This helps them to stay agile and resilient to keep pace with changing consumer behaviors. With Rithum, retailers gain valuable inventory visibility to keep things in stock and get items delivered to customers quickly. Our proven, tested platform sets retailers up for ecommerce success enabling them to sell, fulfill and deliver anything, anywhere.

Did you know?

  • The average retail drop-ship program through Rithum is $1.1 billion
  • Our network is 15,000 retailers, brands, distributors, suppliers strong and growing
  • The Rithum network averages a 99% fill rate of online orders
  • We annually process $30 billion in GMV for many of the world’s leading retailers and brands
  • Rithum delivers a proven 461% ROI and payback period of less than 3 months

To learn more about how retailers are growing their ecommerce business with Rithum, check out the Key Findings from the Top 1000 Retailers Report.