Getting traffic to your ecommerce store isn’t easy. It takes time, effort and focus to keep driving potential customers to your site. So, what happens when you’ve put in all the hard work, only for your customer to arrive on an item that’s sold out?
Firstly – don’t panic! There are many reasons why you might not have a particular product in stock, from logistical issues to seasonal pressures or deepening your knowledge of your businesses supply and demand.
No matter how well you plan, at some stage you will find that a product you normally offer isn’t in stock when your customer wants it, and you need ways to make sure you can still convert those customers and keep their interest in your services.
Sold out Doesn’t Have to Mean Losing the Customer
Customers are going to feel disappointed when they land on a product and it is sold out. However with the right message you can still nurture those customers and get them to buy.
It can take as little as 6 seconds for a customer to form an impression of your service, so you want to ensure it’s a good one, even if they land on a sold out product page. You can achieve this by creating a sold out page that’s still attractive. This means letting the customer know the item isn’t in and offering them something to mitigate the disappointment / irritation they might be feeling to find their product they wanted is unavailable.
There are a few steps you can take to keep your customer interested when they land on a ‘sold out’ section of your online shop:
- Be Upfront
It’s irritating to land on a product page and see the item you want isn’t there. It’s far more irritating if the online store isn’t honest about the situation. Be upfront and make it clear the item is out of stock, offering an apology if needed. If you have positive information to share about when the item is going to be back in then make sure to make that available.
- Provide a Customer Friendly way to Pre-order
If you know that you will be getting stock in quickly for your sold out item then it can be worth offering your customers the chance to pre-order the item. This option typically works better when you can give customers a time-frame for when the item will be available.
For products that have a longer lead time (weeks not days) a good alternative to letting them pre-order is to offer to email the customer the moment the item is back in stock. You can also offer them a monthly newsletter and ask them to enter their email address to receive a notification.
This can be helpful for email list building so you can continue to nurture the client.
3. Suggest alternative products
Some customers could still be tempted to buy if you offer them a great alternative to the sold out product. This is where you knowledge of your products really comes into its own, as well as your ability to present different products in a great light. Match products that have similar benefits and features and are in the same price brackets, and offer an alternative.
Clear and bright product visuals with interesting and informative descriptions can work wonders here by enticing your customer to investigate something a little different. In some cases they might decide to buy an alternative product.
- Make an Offer
If you want to keep your customer’s interest and make sure you convert them, then one option can be to offer a discount code or coupon that offers them money off the product when it comes back into stock, or allows them to apply a discount to another purchase made on your site.
This can help to create loyalty and build trust, and help your customer to feel as though they are being cared for and valued. You could offer to email a money-off voucher to a customer, to be used on the item when it comes back into stock. This could also be an advantage to you as you add them to your email list.