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Keywords:

  • Consumer behavior;
  • Product;
  • Retail stockouts;
  • Store loyalty

Studies of consumer response to stockouts typically capture intended behavior. After a stockout experience, consumers are asked what they intend to do. In contrast, this research measured both intended and actual behavior. Consumers were interviewed twice; once immediately following the stockout experience to gauge intended behavior and a second time 30 days later to ask what they had actually done in response to the stockout. Accordingly, the goals of this research are to (1) compare consumer actual and intended behavior in response to stockouts and (2) examine product characteristics, consumer characteristics and situational variables that may explain the consumer's response. Key results suggest that indicated behavior is a good indicator of actual behavior in situations where the consumer intends to quit the search and a rather poor indicator when the consumer intends to delay the search. Finally, of the several product characteristics, consumer characteristics and situational variables examined, store loyalty, pre-visit agenda and product uniqueness have shown most promise to help managers understand consumer actual and intended response to stockouts.