What Does "In Stock" Really Mean?


Ever been told something is “in-stock” only to find out it’s not actually in the store, the city, or country for that matter? In stock doesn’t always mean it’s on the shelf and ready to go. Having an understanding of what the possibilities are when you hear these words will offer a better expectation of overall timing. Whether building a new home, renovating or decorating there are many decisions to be made based on style, colour, size and often whether or not an item is in stock or not. We prefer to work as far ahead as possible, however in an effort to keep a project moving decisions are often made based on timing which varies from store to store and supplier to supplier. Tile, carpet, fabric, furniture, lighting, to name a few, are all items where stock levels and availability will vary.

So what does ‘in stock’ really mean? 

‘In Stock’ in the store or nearby warehouse

Many stores and suppliers carry popular items in stock and ready to go. These items are typically displayed with several on a shelf and available to purchase immediately. If you’re unsure of stock, ask a salesperson for the quantity, size and colour you require. Smaller items can be picked up and purchased that day. Larger items such as furniture may come from a warehouse and require delivery. Depending on availability, arrangements can be made as soon as the next day. 

What Does "In Stock" Really Mean?, Calgary Interior Designer, Nyla Free Designs

“In Stock” with a minimum order required

The selected item could be available, packaged and ready to ship, however some companies will not ship product without a minimum order or value of goods in an effort to manage shipping costs. In this case, the timing of the product shipping is at the mercy of other orders therefore presenting a potential delay in arrival. Confirmation from the supplier on the expected departure is required and following up regularly also necessary in order to stay on top of delivery dates.

What Does "In Stock" Really Mean?, Calgary Interior Designer, Nyla Free Designs

‘In Stock’ in another city

Depending on the store or supplier there may be locations in other cities that carry more or different stock. If a salesperson indicates that this item is available at another location, find out which location and how long it will take to ship. Often this process can take one to two weeks. 

What Does "In Stock" Really Mean?, Calgary Interior Designer, Nyla Free Designs

‘In Stock’ in another country

The perfect piece may have been found online or through a supplier where stock levels ship from another country. Hearing that an item is in stock is always good news, however in this case the estimated time of arrival, or “ETA”, is certainly longer than the above options. Ordering between the US and Canada, although neighbouring countries, is a process longer than one would expect. Crossing the border is not always an easy feat with many variables at hand. With duty, brokerage and shipping paperwork, consider upwards of three to four weeks for an ‘in stock’ item to arrive depending on size and method of transport.

What Does "In Stock" Really Mean?, Calgary Interior Designer, Nyla Free Designs

Items that are best suited to the design of the space are well worth the wait, however sometimes a stocked item is critical to the timing of the project. Last minute decisions need to be made for a variety of reasons when the clock is ticking towards installation. We work with trusted suppliers who often “jump to the pump” for us in moving product as quickly as possible should we encounter a time crunch.

We work to mitigate as many delays as possible, however understanding what “in stock” potentially means, helps to avoid disappointment.