How a packet of muesli can be worth $1,500 for global brands

Pretend for a moment that your company owns a very popular muesli brand that is sold globally online, via hundreds of resellers.

How much is an individual packet worth, would you say?
$2? $3? Something like that, right?

Well, that’s only part of the picture.

Let’s say Stephen, a 32-year-old modern big-city dad, goes online to do some grocery shopping for his family while watching Netflix after his kids have gone to bed.

He does this every Tuesday night, and it’s usually a quick task since he – like most people – puts pretty much the same groceries in the basket every week. The same bread, the same yoghurt, the same fruit, the same pasta, the same cookies, the same salad… and the same muesli – your company’s brand of muesli.

However, on this particular day your muesli brand is out of stock.

“Oh well, I’ll try this one instead,” he thinks, and places a competing brand in the basket.

Fast forward to breakfast time two days later and the new muesli is a hit. Both his kids love the different crispy taste and ask their dad to buy this muesli from now on.


Your brand has been ditched. And unfortunately for you, it might hurt for a long time. What if Stephen has been buying your muesli every week for years, 50 packets a year. Now that revenue will go to another company, not yours. We know Stephen shows loyalty to brands loved by his family; what if he keeps choosing your competitor for the next ten years?

So, let’s do the maths. We’re looking at $3 of lost sales value per packet, 50 times a year, for ten years. That means the real cost of your brand is out of stock at this one reseller adds up to $1,500. And that’s just for one customer. Of course, there might be other people placing a substitute brand in their shopping baskets until your item is in stock again.

Just one SKU and one customer might seem like a small problem, but identifying and fixing those out-of-stock situations in your indirect sales channels can make a big difference to your business in the long run.

Originally published Sep. 10, 2019, updated Oct. 20, 2020
Joakim Gavelin
Joakim Gavelin
CEO, Detail Online

Joakim has spent 25 years in merchandising and conducting audits in physical stores, and for the last 5 years he has been applying the same principles online. The tactics include promotion, presentation, visibility, stock situation, position on shelf, share of shelf etc., which all affect conversion in e-commerce.

E-commerce Auditing Guide

Discover the most important parameters of ecommerce auditing and get practical advice on how to monitor your product visibility in online reseller channels.
I want my copy now