Publications

Desperately Seeking Shelf Availability:  An Examination of the Extent, Causes, and Efforts to Reduce Retail Out-of-Stocks
Corsten, Daniel and Thomas W. Gruen (2003), “Desperately Seeking Shelf Availability:  An Examination of the Extent, Causes, and Efforts to Reduce Retail Out-of-Stocks,”International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, November/December. *Selected for Emerald Literati Club Award for Excellence 2004. (PDF available here)

With all the hype around efficient consumer response (ECR) and the brave new world of technologies, one would believe that retail out-of-stocks have gone down over the last ten years. That is wrong. Retailers have been struggling with considerable out-of-stocks for decades – with little evidence of improvement. A similar wrong belief is that shoppers are also still unwilling to accept low service levels. In fact, increasingly, consumers switch brands when they do not find the brand they wanted. But retailers must be wary, because the results of our research show that increasingly shoppers switch stores quickly and may never come back. So, who is to blame? The supply chain. And where to tackle it? On the shop floor. Over the past two years, we have conducted a major, worldwide study of the extent, causes, and consumer responses to out-of-stocks in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. In this article, we report these findings and provide insight to solving this chronic industry problem.

Hunting down sales-killing stockouts
Ehrenthal, J. C. (2010). Den Umsatzkillern auf der Spur (Hunting down sales-killing stockouts): Wie sich Regallücken gezielt reduzieren lassen – erfolgreiche Konzepte aus der Praxis. In Ilg, Markus (2010): Erfolgreicher handeln (pp. 74-75). Schwerte: Mu:VS and more.

Ehrenthal, J. C., & Jaronicki, K. (2010). Wachstum durch Innovation in der Retail-Supply Chain: Absatzorientierte Warenverfügbarkeit. In Der Schweizer Handel 2010: mit Innovationen wachsen (pp. 142-148). Aachen: Shaker. – ISBN 978-3-8322-8755-9. (German available from http://www.amazon.de/shops/irmgdl)

Providing on-shelf availability as desired by your customers
Ehrenthal, J., & Hofstetter, J. S. (2010). Warenverfügbarkeit, wie es Kunden verlangen (Providing on-shelf availability as desired by your customers): Konsequente Ausrichtung der Retail Supply Chain auf Konsumentenbedürfnisse. Netzwerk Logistik, 2(2), 24-26. (Available from publisher (vnl.at oder so))

Seven Eleven replenishes intraday to meet time-of-day demand
Ehrenthal, J., & Stölzle, W. (2010). Seven Eleven füllt Regale nach Uhrzeit (Seven Eleven replenishes intraday to meet time-of-day demand): Sortiment wird mehrmals täglich aktueller Nachfrage angepasst – Absatzorientiertes Warenverfügbarkeitskonzept. Lebensmittel Zeitung, 10(41), 47. (Available from publisher http://www.lebensmittelzeitung.net/)

Retail customers love on-shelf availability
Ehrenthal, J., & Stölzle, W. (2010). Käufer lieben volle Regale (Retail customers love on-shelf availability). Deutsche Logistik-Zeitung (DVZ), 125, 8. (Available from publisher http://www.dvz.de/)

Uncovering retail sales patterns
Ehrenthal, J., & Jaronicki, K. (2010). L’évolution de la demande, décodée (Uncovering retail sales patterns). Alimenta – Fachzeitschrift für die Lebensmittelwirtschaft / Publication du secteur alimentaire, 17, 21. (Available from publisher http://www.alimentaonline.ch/)

Unravelling the mystery of intraday demand
Ehrenthal, J., & Jaronicki, K. (2010). Das Geheimnis des Nachfrageverlaufs (Unravelling the mystery of intraday demand). Alimenta – Fachzeitschrift für die Lebensmittelwirtschaft / Publication du secteur alimentaire, 17, 18-21. (Available from publisher http://www.dvz.de/)

Begone, empty shopping baskets
Ehrenthal, J., & Jaronicki, K. (2010). Nie mehr leere Einkaufskörbe (Begone, empty shopping baskets). dispo, 9(41), 16-17. (Available from publisher http://www.industrieweb.at/logistik)

Reducing out-of-stocks
Ehrenthal, J. (2009). Diminuer les trous dans les étalages (Reducing out-of-stocks). Alimenta – Fachzeitschrift für die Lebensmittelwirtschaft / Publication du secteur alimentaire, 23, 15. (Available from publisher http://www.dvz.de/)

Say good-bye to your stockouts
Ehrenthal, J., & Bechter, S. (2009). Lücken geschlossen (Say good-bye to your stockouts). Logistik Heute, 12, 24-25. (Available from publisher www.logistik-heute.de/)

Ehrenthal, J. (2009). Dauerhaft weniger Lücken im Regal. Alimenta – Fachzeitschrift für die Lebensmittelwirtschaft / Publication du secteur alimentaire, 23, 13-15. (Available from publisher http://www.dvz.de/)

Out of Stock, in Empirical Generalizations about Marketing Impact
Gruen, Thomas W., Daniel Corsten, and Sundar Bharadwaj (2009),  Out of Stock, in Empirical Generalizations about Marketing Impact, Dominique M. Hanssens, Editor, Marketing Science Institute, Cambridge, MA, 2009. (Available from Amazon.com here)

Empirical Generalizations about Marketing Impact: What We Have Learned from Academic Research surveys academic research to determine what we know about the impact of marketing activities on product and company performance. With over 80 contributions from leading marketing scholars, it summarizes current knowledge about the impact of marketing spending in 16 topic areas.

Improve OOS Methods at the Shelf
Gruen, Thomas W. and Daniel Corsten (2006), “Improve OOS Methods at the Shelf,” ERI Journal, 2 (3), May/June 42-43; reprinted in Retail Technology Quarterly, July 2006, 35a.

On Shelf Availability: An Examination of the Extent, the Causes, and the Efforts to Address Retail Out-of-Stocks
Corsten, Daniel and Thomas W. Gruen (2005), “On Shelf Availability: An Examination of the Extent, the Causes, and the Efforts to Address Retail Out-of-Stocks,” in Consumer Driven Electronic Transformation: Applying New Technologies to Enthuse Consumers and Transform the Supply Chain, Doukidis, Georgios J.; Vrechopoulos, Adam P. (Eds.), Springer Press. (PDF available here)

Several trade associations such as the Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Food Marketing Institute, and joint trade-industry bodies such as ECR Europe or ECR Asia have sponsored and/or released major reports on out-of-stocks (OOS) in the past few years. All of this attention to OOS points to one thing: availability of products to the customer is the new battleground in the fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG) industry. Moreover, our research shows that 75 percent of the responsibility for OOS rests at the store level, but our research also found that improved availability will be found through retailers and suppliers working together. In an era where retail competition is so fierce than ever, retailers continue to search for ways to enhance performance. In our view, retailers are not spending enough attention to examining their own shelves, where according to our research retailers can boost earnings per share up to five percent by addressing their OOS issues. After all, where else can a retailer find so much potential revenue without spending to attract new customers? In the pages that follow, we summarize and elaborate on the findings of our OOS research project.

Stock-Outs Cause Walkouts
Corsten, Daniel and Thomas W. Gruen (2004), “Stock-Outs Cause Walkouts,” Harvard Business Review, May, 26-28 (PDF download available at http://hbr.org/2004/05/stock-outs-cause-walkouts/ar/pr)

Retailers find stock-outs annoying, just like everybody else. But they live with gaps in their inventory because they figure the fix is more expensive than the problem. After all, they tell themselves, when customers can’t find the products they’re after, they’ll usually substitute similar items for the missing ones. Maybe some profit will be lost in the swap, but that’s a marginal cost of doing business. Right?

Out-of-Stocks: Unraveling the Gordian Knot
Corsten, Daniel and Thomas W. Gruen (2003), “Out-of-Stocks: Unraveling the Gordian Knot,” Elsevier Food International 6 (3), September, pp. 40-45.

Retail Out-of-Stocks Under Scrutiny
Gruen, Thomas W. and Daniel Corsten (2003), “Retail Out-of-Stocks Under Scrutiny,” Executive Outlook, 3 (2), 8-19.

Rising to the Challenge of Out-Of-Stocks
Gruen, Thomas W. and Daniel Corsten (2002), “Rising to the Challenge of Out-Of-Stocks,” ECR Journal, The International Commerce Review, 2 (2), Fall, 45-58. *Reprinted in full in 3rd International ECR Research Symposium handbook, September 2003, pp. 35-41. (PDF available here)

Retailers have been struggling with out-of-stocks for decades – with little evidence of improvement. Just what causes the problem? How big is it? And could we, at last, be able to tackle it?

Posted in Research