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A company called Lucidworks, which describes itself as connecting "experiences throughout the entire user journey to meet customer and employee intent in the moment," making it easier "for customers to capture user signals and create personalized search, browse, and discovery experience" (whatever that all means), is out with a survey of online shoppers in the US and UK, concluding that "nearly 60% of shoppers experience a preferred item frequently or almost always being out-of-stock online."

In turn, Lucidworks offers three suggestions to keep these shoppers loyal even to the online stores that they find lacking:

1.  "Make relevant recommendations. Shoppers are open to substitutes for a large portion of their groceries."

2.  "Alert shoppers when their preferred items are low-in-stock and back in stock. They’re ready to buy."

3.  "Ensure shoppers can find the items you do have. Smart search and filtering boosts average order value."

KC's View:

It was a few months ago, when supply chain issues started getting serious and many stores were suffering from severe out of stocks, that I recommended something here that sounds similar to what these folks are recommending - explain to people why items are not available, and take their names, email addresses and phone numbers so that when the item comes in, they can be notified (and even have a few SKUs put aside for them).

I was referring to bricks-and-mortar stores, but I think the practice ought to be pout into place whether the store is physical or digital.  Of course, I got a lot of pushback from folks who thought this was a radical idea that demonstrated how little I know about retail.  Now that an actual software company has done an actual survey and recommended something in the same vein - as opposed to me just having the idea out of the clear blue sky - maybe people in the industry will take it seriously.