For two years running we’ve asked the British public what frustrates them most about their shopping experience. After asking over 4000 UK adults, our survey says… “instant view of stock.” (YouGov, 2018 & 2019)

Really? Stock visibility? Not in-store tech, or beacons or wi-fi? Yes, really, consumers want real time accurate visibility of stock.

It sounds so basic but it’s true, in fact, Cybertill founder and CEO Ian Tomlinson recently stated in the Telegraph that “The future of retail depends on meeting your customers’ basic needs now”. Retailers who dismiss the fundamental aspects of omnichannel retail services in favour of future ‘gimmicky’ technology, may not be around for the future of retail.

Stats don’t lie

Getting into the nitty gritty of the stats, in 2018 we asked the public, when thinking about shopping in physical shops, in general, how frustrated, if at all, do you think you would be if you experienced the following whilst shopping? An item is marked ‘in-stock’ online on their website, but not available when you go to find it in-store:in-store stock

  • 50% of respondents said they would be very frustrated
  • 37% of respondents said they would be fairly frustrated

Looks like multi-location inventory management is on the to-do list for retailers.

Fast-forward 12 months to 2019 and we asked people again to think about shopping in-store, and which, if any, would you use if available in physical retail stores in the future? The answer – real time stock availability (i.e. up-to-date details displayed near the item on whether the product is available in that store or a nearby store e.g. stock numbers displayed on a small screen above the item etc.)

real-time stock

  • 44% of respondents said they would use this
  • This was equally split between men (44%) and women (45%)
  • Interestingly, 59% of Gen Z respondents said they would use this above all other services

Once again, it looks like real-time inventory management needs to be addressed, and if its not already, it needs to be bumped up that to-do list quickly.

Take the bait and listen to consumers

Many retailers have got it right, thinking of the big players, H&M, Argos and Dunelm are fantastic at providing a real-time view of stock on their websites that is available in-store. But what about smaller and more specialist retailers with limited budgets? They too can offer consumers real-time stock availability, all they need is a retail and inventory management system that gives them this functionality.

angling active real time stockA great example is Cybertill customer Angling Active. Based in Stirling, Angling Active is a family run business that has been running for 20 years, with two stores, online ecommerce website and a mail order business, the company has so much confidence in its stock, they even have a page dedicated to ‘live stock control’ on its website.

Angling Active manage to integrate its online and in-store offering by integrating its website via a SOAP link into the EPoS in-store which means when an item is marked as “in stock” on the website, customers can be confident that the item is available and ready to ship. Integrating into its store room from the website provides real-time stock availability 24 hours a day, with no overnight or time delay polling. It’s as easy as that. This could be why they have over 5000 reviews on Trustpilot, and 95% of which are excellent, with 0% poor and 0% bad – it says it all really.

Clarity around click and collect

fhinds-click-and-collectA major benefit to real-time inventory management, specifically across multiple locations is that retailers can really fine-tune their click and collect offering. Take national jeweller F. Hinds as an example, they don’t hold too much stock, imagine how expensive it would be if they did! What they do offer is the ability to click and collect or click and reserve an item online and advise what date the item will be available to collect in-store – it even tells you what time you can pick it up from!

Sometimes customers are in a hurry and they don’t have time to wait, imagine being given the option to check real-time stock in other stores close by. F. Hinds once again excel at providing online shoppers with the ability to visit another store to view or buy the item sooner, providing customers with complete confidence when shopping with them.



It’s easier than you think to give consumers what they want: real-time visibility of stock. Have a look at the RetailStore platform brochure to find out more.



The research

Statistics in this blog were taken from the following:
Online YouGov Survey on behalf of Cybertill ‘Future Shopping’, completed by 2083 adults between 6th – 7th March 2019. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Online YouGov Survey on behalf of Cybertill ‘Online/in-store shopping’, completed by 2004 adults between 11th – 12th April 2019. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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