Did you find everything you were looking for?

by Mar 7, 2017Omnichannel, Retailers

Pay attention the next time you’re checking out at your local Target, Best Buy or grocery store. The question every cashier will undoubtedly ask you is “Did you find everything you were looking for?” It may seem like a throwaway question, like a precursor to a longer conversation or that they’re trying to find out if they’re out of a product or sale item.

But it’s much more useful than that. Retailers ask their cashiers to ask this question because they really want to know if there’s a gap in their products that they should fill. Maybe it is an item out of stock or one that might need include expanded sizes, but maybe it’s an item the company doesn’t carry in the first place that it should. Essentially, they’re asking, “What products are we missing that we should stock so you will come back again?”

 Did you find what you were looking for – online?

In the brick-and-mortar store, the customer is already there and will (usually) buy everything already in their cart, and go off and find that unfound item at another store after they leave. The retailer lost the sale on that item, but at least they bought a whole shopping cart of other merchandise.

Online customers are not so forgiving. That’s because if the customer doesn’t find their desired product, they assume you don’t have it and head to the endless shopping aisles of Amazon or Google to track it down, taking the rest of their shopping cart with them. The retailer don’t just lose out on the sale of that one item, they lose the whole order, and potentially the customer!

Online retailers never get to ask the question of “Did you find everything you were looking for?” but its importance is still there. Without consumer input to guide their online assortments, they will continue to see a rising rate of abandoned shopping carts.

Clues to finding out the answer

The problem is, retailers don’t realize a shopper has abandoned the cart until after they’re gone and never return, which makes it too late to impact that customer’s experience. But that doesn’t mean retailers still can’t figure out what the customer was looking for, and whether they could stock it to avoid repeating this same mistake with another customer.

In fact, there is already insight available that can help you find the patterns, partners and products you need.

  1. Website search analytics. Look at customers’ search histories to see if you’re not carrying an item, it’s out of stock or the customer is using different search terms. You can make the necessary adjustments by adding new items, ordering more inventory or tweaking an item’s attributes or description to include the new search terms.
  2. Supplier and vendor insight. Your trading partners already have an inside scoop on what’s trending and what’s expected, because they’re the ones supplying the products to multiple retailers. They use sell-through data to recommend products and identify opportunities to retailers. If you are providing them with Point-of-Sale (POS) data, expect them to offer data-driven recommendations based on what’s hot or not.
  3. Network to find popular products. Retail networks help retailers add new items to their product lineup in hours and days, not weeks and months. This lets retailers add new items in accelerated time to start winning sales while the competition is still onboarding the suppliers through time-intensive, manual processes.

SPS Commerce can help you answer the “Did you find everything you’re looking for?” question just by looking at the sales and inventory data already available. With our Retail Network of more than 65,000 retail organizations, we can help you understand your customers’ wants and connect you with net new capable and vetted suppliers ready to meet your assortment expansion goals in no time.

Wael Mohammed

Director of Product Management – Assortment, Sourcing, & Community at SPS Commerce
As director of product management for SPS Commerce, Wael Mohammed oversees the vision, strategy, and product development of SPS’s Sourcing and Assortment products. Before joining SPS Commerce, Mohammed served in various product management roles at Field Nation, NativeX, and Kroll Ontrack. Other than his startup experience, Wael also consulted at large corporations including Target, Datacard Group and Reliastar Financial. He started his career as a Software Design Engineer at IBM. Mohammed holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School and is currently a Masters’ of Data Science student at the University of Chicago.
Wael Mohammed

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