It’s easy to assume all where to buy (WTB) tools are the same. They all display where your product is available, and display pricing and stock information from retailers, right?
Most WTB tools retrieve pricing and stock information from retailers’ websites, but a lot of them only do it on specific days of the week, or at set intervals (such as every 5 days). That’s a recipe for disaster. One of the biggest things that sets our Where to Buy tool apart is that we fetch and update stock and pricing information several times per day.
Here’s why that’s so important.
The danger of periodic data refreshes
When your WTB tool only refreshes stock and pricing information periodically, your customers can only trust it periodically. The greatest risk with WTB tools that update stock and pricing information on specific days of the week or intervals is that you’re going to hand customers outdated information.
The whole point of displaying stock information is to help your customers see where they can buy your product right now. So what happens when a retailer runs out of stock right after your WTB tool pulls stock information? Or on the flip side, if they get additional stock? Your website will still say they do or don’t have your product in stock, even when that hasn’t been true for days.
Your customers aren’t going to be happy, and you’ll lose sales.
Outdated information frustrates customers
Imagine you’re ready to buy a product, and you’re using the brand’s website to see where it’s available. You see that it’s in stock at your local Target. So you get in your car, on the bus, or on your bike, and you head to the store. You walk to the correct section but can’t find the product anywhere. You ask for help. You insist the item is in stock—you show the store employee that the brand’s website says it’s in stock right now. The sales associate checks with a manager to make you feel better. But it’s not in stock. And it hasn’t been for days. Seeing your frustration, the associate points you to several alternatives and swears they’re just as good, perhaps even highlights flaws in the product you originally wanted to make you feel better about getting something else.
And just like that, the original brand became the source of your frustration, and they lost an easy sale to a competitor.
Only your most fiercely loyal customers will continue searching for your product from store to store. They already went through the trouble of physically going to the store. So most consumers will choose the most convenient option: buying a competing product they can have right now, so they don’t leave the store without getting what they need.
If your WTB tool doesn’t regularly refresh your stock and pricing information, you drastically increase the likelihood of this situation. Once you’ve told your customers that your product is in stock somewhere, they’re probably not going to call the store to confirm you’re telling the truth before they head out the door.
Every sale increases the risk of outdated info
Are you going to schedule sales around your data refreshes? If you aren’t, then every time you put your products on sale, you’re going to have a lot of customers who don’t see your sale price for the first few days, and then expect your product to still be on sale days after your sale has ended.
In the first situation, it makes for a pleasant surprise if they click through to a retailer’s website–but displaying the sale price increases the number of people who click through in the first place.
And in the second situation, your outdated information once again becomes a source of frustration to your customers–and they’ll direct that frustration at you, the brand that gave them the wrong price.
Outdated info hurts your marketing campaigns
Think about it: you’re investing time and money into ads, emails, social media posts, and other marketing campaigns to drive consumers to your website. But when they get there and make a commitment to convert (going to a local store with the intent to buy your product), there’s no way for them to convert. And you’ve just convinced them why they need a solution in your product category. So now they’re buying a competing product.
In other words, when your WTB tool doesn’t refresh regularly, you’re literally paying to send a percentage of customers to your competitors.
Don’t pay for bad tools
Not all WTB solutions are the same. But if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to overlook huge problems like outdated data. We’ve identified 23 essential features you need your WTB tool to have in order to increase sales, get better insights, and maximize the value of your tool.
Want to see what they are?
Download our free checklist.