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Depot Systems sp z o.o

Why showing “out-of-stock” alert on your e-commerce website isn’t the best idea

Quite often e-commerce websites may invoke a small panic in their shoppers. For example, after a process of choosing a color, size, and maybe even a few more attributes, they find out that the product they need is out of stock. We all know how frustrating it may be, because we spent some time customizing our search, and then we were faced with this alert “Out of stock” or “Sold out”.

Of course, you want to inform your shoppers about your inventory state, but you don’t want them to panic or feel frustrated afterward, right?

Here are the three main tips on how to inform your clients about inventory changes as delicate, as possible:

1. Reduce out-of-stock alerts, when it’s possible

Have you ever felt as if another driver stole your parking spot or were upset when someone else nabbed the last sweater that you had your eye on? If so, you experienced psychological ownership. You can feel psychological ownership over pretty much anything that doesn’t belong to you, from the last chocolate truffle in a display case to the dream home you found on Zillow and even intangible things like ideas

A shopper can easily get excited about a pair of shoes or a shirt, but then in a few hours, they can discover that the item is no longer available. Online shopping is not a real-time shopping in the supermarket, where you can grab the last jam jar and then put a separator bar on a conveyor belt between your items and person’s behind you.

The worst thing you can do is to delete the page from the website, so users will face an error.

What you can do is place an alert that item is “Temporarily out of stock” and add a wonderful remove-frustration button “Notify me when it’s back”. Rather than shut down shoppers’ hopes of buying the item, you show them that you actually care about their need in this product.

This is a much better approach, cause if your customers really want the item, they will use this button rather than settle for something else or choose another site.

2) Allow pre-ordering
Another good option is to turn your “sold out” button into a “Pre-order” button. For example, if you’re using Shopify, you may want to install a Globo Pre-Order app, or if your online shop is powered by WordPress, there is a variety of plugins (like YITH Pre-Order for WooCommerce) that allow you to deal with pre-order easily.

It is also a good practice to provide customers with real ETA, and not over-promising.

3) No false hopes

If delivery or production time is extended (for instance, due to the coronavirus pandemic), don’t bury such alerts and don’t try to present it in very optimistic messaging. Clearly inform your customers, that delivery can be delayed, otherwise, your business’ social media will reflect the frustration of your customers and may even ruin your reputation.

Summing up, try not to put your clients in a situation, where they’re unhappy and frustrated by the site that raises barriers at every turn. And keep your alerts simple and honest.
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