Spurious stock levels - online stores

  hba4345 05:37 17 May 2006

Has anyone else been frustrated by an e-mail from an online store stating that the product you have just ordered is not in stock, when the website clearly indicates that they are in stock?
I recently tried to buy a graphics card and received such an e-mail from 2 different on-line stores. They were both apologetic, and one even tried to search for the product I had ordered elsewhere, but days after I had been told there was no stock my web searches were still hitting thier sites, and they were still showing the card I wanted as being in stock.
I was a little concerned as I ended up needlessly sending my card details in an attempt to buy something they didn't have and was just wondering how widespread this is.

  wiz-king 05:59 17 May 2006

on how much money they have spent on the back-end part of the website.
If you have enough money you can have a system that will track stock movements almost instantly, but you have to integrate the whole company system from ordering incoming supplies to dispatches to customers and it will be expensive. Most companies will take the option of daily or weekly website updates. Having several branches further complicates the problems as the stock may be scattered around the branches and need to be dispatched from any one of them.
The company that I work for has to make this decision soon and it is a hard one to make, I want to go for daily stock updates, my MD would like to run live stock but doesn't like the cost of integrating the stock/accounts system to the website that was designed and run by a different company.

Unless you have a lot of money to spend on the back-end systems you will never have a good stock indication on the public bit of the system. Even the best system get thrown by human error sometimes, it only take a store-man to put the stock in the wrong bin or enter it wrongly on the computer and it could be months before it is found!

  wee eddie 08:42 17 May 2006

Even using an instant response stock control system.

In the time between your deciding to purchase a product which is in stock, completing all the forms and your Card details.

Any number of other people could have done the same thing and have done the job milliseconds faster.

Suddenly - No stock!

  hba4345 13:11 17 May 2006

Yeah, I guess there's many possible reasons behind it, it's just that having it happen twice by two different stores made me wonder if it was a common occurance. I haven't bought many things over the net and am just dipping into the accumulated knowledge of the forum to satisfy a curiosity.

  oresome 14:24 17 May 2006

A cynic would suggest that if a business has system that can't correctly identify the stock level, it won't show zero stock to the public, for fear of losing possible sales.

  johndrew 15:05 17 May 2006

Whiist I agree with you to some extent, there are stores (eg Maplins) that do show zero stock and expected replenishment dates/days. Such actions don`t seem to affect their standing.

I recently had an experience where my order was delayed 10 days because of a `backorder situation`. At the time of ordering most items were shown in stock and could have been delivered leaving only a couple of items outstanding. I object to suppliers bragging of two and three day deliveries - and charging handsomely for them - when they fail to match their words.

  Danoh 21:17 17 May 2006

I've had 2 items (out of 11) which stayed on "back order" for so long that when the items came into stock and the vendor tried to process them, it was past the expiry date on my credit card used to order originally!

When I have been aware that a particular product was not available anywhere, but certain vendors who kept claiming they had them (until you try to order) simply ended up on my "black list"!

  hba4345 06:03 18 May 2006

I'll close this out now, it's obvious that this is something that happens fairly frequently and is just one of those things. I read Danoh's reply with interest though, I will have to double check that my orders have been cancelled as I would hate to get charged for two graphics cards if both stores got re-stocked!

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