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Product Availability is THE Most Important Consideration

I got into a bit of a "discussion" with an independent retailer the other day about prices (as usual!). "You're too expensive on this, that & the other" When did customers ever tell you that you're too cheap? Experience has taught me that it's best to push back firmly in these circumstances. "Why do you keep coming here?" I replied. "Because I like your products and I can (nearly) always find what I want." Isn't that the point? No one can be cheapest for everything and good stock availability costs money & requires diligent inventory management. Of course we all try to be competitive & set our prices on a commercial basis that works for all.

We parted company on friendly terms but this exchange got me thinking. Taking into account all the key trading elements of price, service & choice - stock availability really is the number priority for all operators be they wholesalers or retailers. Range and choice are totally torpedoed by poor and unreliable in-stocks. Customers quickly lose faith and stop coming back if they can't find what they want. The other side to this is that customers will regularly come back if they can always rely on you. I've started to focus hard on availability recently and despite all the well dressed up stores and investment in fittings and fixtures it's scary to see some of the out of stock situations out there. The photo above being a live example. I didn't have to search hard to find this. We can debate for hours about prices and price-marking (as in my last linked in post) but stock availability is still the number one issue that needs to be addressed in our industry. You can't sell what you don't have.

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