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5 Ultimate Tips to Handle Out of Stock Situation Without Affecting Sales

Rashi Sood

Content Writer @ Shiprocket

December 20, 2021

5 min read

For anyone running an eCommerce business, there are many challenges faced on a day-to-day basis. From payment troubles to handling inventory, from getting orders to shipping them, one can face many problems despite having a robust platform working for them.

Out of Stock

One such issue faced commonly by many eCommerce businesses is selling out their inventories no matter how prepared they are. Such situations can be challenging to handle and may lead to declining sales.

How an inventory shortage is communicated to the buyers on your eCommerce website impacts the experience of shoppers, search engine optimization, and sales. For example, what if a customer comes to your product listing ready to buy only to find that the product is not in stock. This kind of situation would increase your bounce rate, which would affect the ranking of your website and hurt your sales.

There are ways to deal with a temporary out-of-stock situation that can get things back on track for your website. Let’s see five ultimate tips to help you handle situations when products on your website go out of stock.

Out of Stock

Let Your Customers Know if the Product is Unavailable Permanently or Temporarily

Every out-of-stock product falls into two categories: one that is currently not available for sale and one that is discontinued that has been. For the product in question, you should indicate the category in which the product falls. Indicating this will let the customers know if the product will be back or not.

If the product is not available temporarily, instead of removing the page, you can let the customers add the out-of-stock products to their wishlist and inform them once the product is back in stock. Keeping the product page enables you to maintain the SEO benefits for that page, thus driving future sales.

Offer Alternative to That Product

In the context of out-of-stock products, your product pages can offer alternatives to buyers based on their preferences and behaviors. Since you already know what your customers are looking for, showing them products relevant to their needs will help you drive sales.

Redirecting buyers from the product page to the home page is not generally considered a good practice and might inflate your bounce rate and add extra steps for the buyers to purchase other products from your store. The best practice is to ensure that your customers move forward on your website.

Keep Your Customers Informed About the Product’s Return

Seize the opportunity to add customers to your mailing list for products that are temporarily out of stock. Instead of redirecting customers onto a different page on your website, you can ask them to fill in their email addresses and notify them when the product is back in stock.

Asking for customers’ email IDs will help you expand your subscriber’s list and drive future sales. By using their inbox as a promotional tool, you can ensure that they come back and make a purchase.

Out-of-stock pages can lead to more than a 58% decline in sales or end up in customers buying from competitors’ websites. Email marketing comes in helping potential customers a chance to reach back to your website once the product comes back.

Limit the Visibility of Out Of Stock Products

One way to deal with an out-of-stock product is to push them at the end of the page or bottom of the search. Once the visibility is limited, it will ensure fewer clickings on the listing, thus maintaining the SEO benefits of websites. This “out of sight, out of mind” approach can help you drive your sales for other products on your eCommerce store.

Making these changes on an everyday basis by tracking your inventory can be difficult. You can use various software to ensure that your inventory is constantly updated. It will give you a chance to be ahead of things, especially when a product is out of stock.

Employ a Pre-Orders Strategy for Your Store

For out-of-stock items that will soon be available for sale, you can employ the strategy of pre-orders. Using such a strategy will help you capture your customers’ attention and leave them coming back for their eyeing products.

Offering a pre-order option will keep your customers on the website so that they can keep a tab on the product’s availability. You can give your customers a ‘Notify Me’ button to help them stay updated about the product’s availability. Clear and effective communication with the customers will ensure your customer’s loyalty.

Final Thoughts

Having your buyers land on your out of stock is more boon than bane. It gives you an advantage of creating a shopping experience for your customers from your situation of disadvantage. An out-of-stock product doesn’t necessarily have to result in low sales or increased bounce rate; the situation can be used to strongarm the website and other marketing channels.

Instead of deleting or modifying the product page, the out-of-stock page can be used to redirect customers onto other pages on your eCommerce website. You can also notify the customers when the product is back in stock by joining the email list.

Strategies such as pre-orders, longer shipping time, email marketing, and more can help you drive your sales. These strategies will repurpose the out-of-stock product pages to drive conversion and engagement.

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