It takes considerable effort to get people to visit your ecommerce store, and even more to persuade them to make a purchase. As customers close in on the finish line, you need to make sure your strategy for conversion optimization has all the bases covered.
When products are sold-out, even the best laid plans can crumble. Popular products and seasonal offers can be hard to keep a steady stock of, which can leave you empty-handed when the demand grows.
Many ecommerce businesses lose out here, as a combination of short-sighted marketing and a lack of ecommerce personalization ends up sending the customers for the exit door, frustrated and disappointed.
But here’s the thing:
Sold-out products do not mean you have to lose customers. In fact, it can present your business with a golden opportunity to boost customer engagement.
Fulfill the Minimum Expectations
Think about your own experiences of online shopping. No doubt you will have encountered an out-of-stock notice somewhere. What happens next can have a major impact on whether you return to that store again.
There are a range of ways ecommerce businesses can handle this situation. Many of them make a huge mistake by simply redirecting the customer to the homepage. In eCommerce, this is the equivalent of telling customers to get out of your store because the item they want isn’t here. Not very good for future business.
Other mistakes include using hard-to-read print, 404 error pages and contradicting messaging. When a product is sold-out, ecommerce companies shouldn’t confuse the customer.
Take the opportunity to exceed their expectations. Make the process crystal clear and easy to follow. At the very least, when you have out-of-stock items, abide by the following guidelines:
- Show that the item is sold-out by using bold, red font.
- Present the customer with the option of buying similar products.
- Don’t remove the item and use error pages instead.
- Avoid using a redirect link to the homepage.
- Be consistent with your messaging, making sure products are listed as being both “out of stock” and “in stock”.
When customers run into roadblocks, it can negatively impact upon their online shopping experience. Through some clever ecommerce personalization, your business can improve the user experience, and even turn a possible lost sale into a loyal customer, who comes back time and time again.
How to Convert Customers Before They Leave Your Ecommerce Store
Making it obvious that an item is sold-out is the very least you can do for your customers. After that, you can do so much more. Rather than letting them leave empty-handed, these conversion optimization methods can take your ecommerce store to the next level.
- Quick Enquiry Form
In ecommerce, many online stores lack the option to converse about sold-out products. As a result, when a product is out-of-stock, most people will go to a competing store to see if it is available there. By adding the option to contact the support team, your business can improve the customer’s experience and give them vital information on when the items will be available again. This enhances customer satisfaction and may be enough to retain their business.
- Pre-Order Page
When products are sold-out, 68% of ecommerce sites don’t provide customers with the option of pre-ordering. For the most part, this drives customers away to rival sites. Your business can avoid this dead end by extending delivery dates on temporarily out of stock products. Rather than simply telling people the item is out-of-stock, allow them to preorder. Many people will be happy to wait, and your bottom line will reap the long-term benefits of such a simple tweak.
- Landing Page
Sending customers to a 404 page that indicates a broken link isn’t a great idea. A better alternative is to seize this great marketing opportunity by using some creative copywriting to stir up interest in related products. A dedicated landing page that injects your brand voice while explaining the short supply of your incredible product is more user-friendly and can also build appreciation of the product, telling customers why it’s worth waiting for. With some ecommerce personalization, you can also display some related products that they may be interested in.
- Email Sign-Up
Go one step further than just showing an out-of-stock notice by trying to capture their email address. By letting them know you will notify them when their desired products are back in stock, you can entice customers to join your mailing list. You may not make a sale now, but by generating leads in this way, you can nurture them for future promotions.
Get Ahead of The Problem to Drive Conversions
According to research by GT Nexus, 65% of people that are disappointed by stock options will leave an ecommerce store to buy from somewhere else. That’s a huge amount of lost sales.
To remain competitive, let alone successful, it is imperative that ecommerce sites change their mindset on sold-out products. They should not be viewed as a hole in the fence that needs to be hidden or patched over. Instead, look at them as a new opportunity to get your customer through the sales funnel.
To truly enhance conversion optimization on your ecommerce store, look to anticipate stock problems ahead of time. One way of doing this is to enable users to filter out products that have low availability. Segmentify does a great job of this with a stock filter, which enables ecommerce stores to provide their customers with added search functionality. They can decide to exclude products with a low stock count, saving themselves the chance of any sold-out troubles.
This will improve the user experience and is likely to aid conversions and customer loyalty in the long run. Another benefit is that you can show items with a low stock count, thus instilling a sense of ecommerce urgency, which may prompt sales of those items.
In the end, with a creative spin and touch of ecommerce personalization, sold-out products can be the perfect springboard to generate more leads and boost your conversion rate. As the stock count plummets, don’t get coy, get clever.