I recently visited Futureshop.com to check out their HDTV offerings. It didn't take long to find a model that interested me:
However, something caught my eye: “Online Availability” appeared to be restricted to the Prairies. The local (BC) warehouse was out of stock:
“No problem”, I thought. “It might take a few days longer, but I can still get one.”
Wrong. Clicking through for details, it soon became clear that Future Shop will not transfer stock between regions:
I was frustrated and peeved. As a customer, I don't care where a product is warehoused. I just want to know if I can get it. I especially don't want to know if the product is in stock in a warehouse somewhere, but the retailer will refuse to ship it to me!
Ship between regions, advising customers that there might be a delay or added cost (if necessary). Then let customers decide whether they want to order.
Second best solution:
If shipping between regions is impractical, then look up customers' regions through their IP addresses and display only what is available in their local warehouses. Don't alienate customers by telling them, “Yes, we have this item in stock… but you can't have it.”
Future Shop, are you listening?