Why Is Walmart Always Out Of Stock

When stores are out of stock of an item that is needed, it is a real bummer. More so when it is something that is needed urgently. However, while stores try to order and restock items to meet their customer’s demands, it is not always possible, and sometimes, things run out. So what happens if the one item needed is out of stock? Is there another way that Walmart can have it delivered?

Alternatively, shoppers can order the item online or can go to another store to buy it. If it is not available with those alternative options, then shoppers can go to a competitor to see if they have what they are looking for.

There are many reasons why something could be out of stock. Especially after the pandemic, there has been a strain on the global supply chain, and merchants have yet to be able to receive items in the same quantity as they used to before COVID-19 started. Surge in demand around the holidays, and stalled production of materials can also cause stocking issues.

It can also be a seasonal issue, like during the holiday when there is possibly a shortage of 5-foot Christmas trees or a shortage of flowers during Valentine’s Day.

What to do if Walmart is Out

There are plenty of options available for customers if Walmart is out of the product they are looking for. Unfortunately, out-of-stock items have been happening more often since the release of COVID-19 restrictions in early 2021 because of a surge in consumer demand. In addition, since more and more people are back to work, more disposable income can be spent on goods.

Since this is a new way of life, shoppers must make alternative plans to buy what they want. These are a few things they can do even if something is out of stock:

  1. Check for an alternative brand or color. Sometimes accepting a different brand or color does not mean that the item’s quality is compromised. Unless the item must be a specific color, this is an optimal solution to the problem.
  2. Call another store to confirm that it is in stock. Other stores will carry the same inventory and might have the item in stock. While it is not guaranteed, it is one of the better alternatives.
  3. If another store does not have the item in stock, search the Walmart website to place an order for shipping. Often, stores have limited inventory to make room for other items more in demand. However, the central warehouses have plenty in stock that can be delivered directly to the customer’s house.
  4. If nothing else works, visit a competitor who offers the same product for a similar price. While Walmart is known for having the best prices compared to most of its competitors, other vendors offer most of the same items.

Shoppers should consider looking online or calling the store to confirm the item is available before leaving their homes. Calling ahead can save time, and likely the item will be available online and can be delivered in a few days.

Potential Walmart Staffing Issues

As items run low on the shelves, Walmart associates are tasked with restocking those items housed in the back of the store. However, there have been national staffing issues, and it has also hit Walmart. While stores are trying to stay at full staff, they have yet to be able to, and it has caused a delay in putting stock out on the floor for customers to buy.

Walmart stores are massive and require a lot of manpower to keep stocked and ready for customers.

When Can a Restock be Expected?

According to Aisle of Shame, Walmart usually restocks within about two to three days. These restock include items that are in the back and also items that are present in local warehouses. Walmart’s website and mobile apps can let customers know when the item will return to the shelves. Additionally, the customer always has the option to call the store directly, but often checking online is faster.

While there is no strict restocking schedule, Walmart receives fresh produce and top-selling items daily. Other items can take a bit longer, especially if coming from another warehouse that is not local. However, those items can restock within three to five days, but a restock depends on the store.

Restocking items might take a bit longer if one store is slower than others. In cases like this, it might be best to order the item online or search for another local store if there is one.

Are Things Expected to Improve?

Unfortunately, the issue of keeping items on the shelves is more than just staffing and supply issues. Apart from those variables, Walmart as a business is hitting a slump. According to CNBC, Walmart shares have been in a downturn since the company had to cut its profit expectations.

A huge culprit to this loss of profits is inflation. Primarily since Walmart is dedicated to keeping prices low, it services customers that are lower income and, with inflation, have had to focus their spending on food and other essential goods in exchange for forfeiting purchasing “electronics and other discretionary categories.”

Inflation has hurt most retailers, and its effects are not limited to Walmart. Other stores, like Target and Amazon, have also declared losses after consumers hold back on spending to meet their basic needs. Consumers are buying less and leaving an overstock of inventory in warehouses of nonessential items.

In the United States, inflation has not spiked like this in the last 40 years, and salaries have not kept up, forcing consumers to pick and choose where they can afford to spend. Even where there is spending money, consumers spend it on experiences rather than discretionary spending.

The Takeaway

It can be an inconvenience when an item at Walmart is out of stock, especially if it is an item that is needed urgently. While some things can be done to find what is needed, many external influences impact its availability, like inflation.

As consumers, it would be a good practice to look online before heading to the store to ensure the item is in stock. If it is not in your local store, the items can be either found in another store or ordered online to come directly from the store’s warehouse.

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