There's hardly any eCommerce store that doesn't face the stockout issue. However, how these stores tackle this out-of-stock situation is what defines their success. You can minimize the risk of stockouts by consistent analysis and better inventory planning, but there's no way to predict when it might happen. This is where back-in-stock alerts come into the picture.When you integrate your eCommerce store with a back-in-store alert, you give your customers an option to get notified when a specific product is restocked. This ensures that your customers don't leave your store unsatisfied. And because only genuinely interested customers subscribe to get notified of the stock update, you get to build an effective email list. We have already discussed the benefits of back-in-stock alerts in one of our blogs (read here).Now one thing that you need to understand about back-in-stock alerts is that they only work when your customers receive them on the right channel and at the right time. These alerts are of no use if customers don't even land their eyes on the notification.In this blog, we are going to provide you with five steps that'll help you choose the right channel to notify your customers about the product availability. Read on.
How To Choose the Right Channel for Your Restock Alerts
Understanding Different Channels
There are various channels to notify customers when a product is back in stock. These channel options cater to different preferences of the customers for receiving the notification. For example, there might be customers who are not willing to share their phone numbers but feel comfortable sharing email addresses or any other preference.Here are four major communication channels that you can start with:
As far as eCommerce businesses are concerned, there's no channel better than Emails for personalization. Because of the personalization, the shoppers who subscribe to a store's email engage significantly more with the brand. This means the chances of the alert getting ignored minimizes.Moreover, a HubSpot study claims that around 99% of people check their email at least once a day. That's a lot of guaranteed views for every mail you send. This is what makes emails a reliable channel for back-in-stock alerts.
Since the beginning of the technology era, marketers have relied heavily on SMS services to keep in touch with their customers. One of its biggest advantages is that it doesn't require the internet to send or receive these SMS. You can provide your customers with the option to receive back-in-the-stock alerts on their mobile devices. On restocking, they'll receive a text message from the shopper's side via their mobile carrier.If you have a local customer base, SMS is an efficient platform for you. SMS is mobile-specific and delivers the updates instantly, which only makes the sweet sweeter. Around 80% of the smartphone users are eCommerce customers, meaning a majority of customers are hooked to their mobile phones. This makes the engagement rate of SMS alerts 6-8 times higher than that of email alerts.
3. Web Push
Web push notification has been around for quite some time now. It was launched by Google in early 2015. And ever since its launch, we have witnessed a whole new phase in the marketing area. These type of notifications pops up directly on customers' screen, making them one of the reliable channels for instantaneous stock updates.Web push notifications are, generally, very short messages that are quick to read, accompanied by a robust CTA that can take your customer directly to the product page. There are times when customers might not be willing to share their contact information like mobile numbers and email addresses - this is where this channel comes into the picture. Customers find this option to be more secure.
4. Facebook Messenger
Every month 1.3 billion individuals use Facebook Messenger. This channel offers a huge user base, which is one of the primary reasons why most of the Shopify stores are going all-in to utilize this platform to its full potential.You can automate sending back-in-stock messages to them on Facebook Messenger to ensure that you are not left behind in this race of generating maximum sales. One of the best things about sending notifications on Messenger is that you can make those messages interactive, which increases the chance of customers actually going to the product page and taking the right action.
Analyzing Customer Preference
These were four of the most popular channels for back-in-stock alerts. Now that we know what's what, it's time to move on to the next step — identifying the channels that the majority of customers prefer. Why is it so important to pick the channel of customers' choice, you might ask. Well, it's simply because when people have options of their choice available, they'll surely subscribe without any hesitance.There are several ways to analyze what channel your customers prefer. To start with, you can just track how they are subscribing to your alerts and notifications. You can keep a check on the information that they provide while signing up on your eCommerce store.For example, if you have kept the phone number field optional (which you should), some will provide it, and some individuals will just ignore it. And if they have ignored it, you can conclude that they prefer emails over text messages. So the information that your potential customers provide plays a massive role in determining the channel you should go with.For the customers who have previously purchased from you, you can analyze the data provided while checking out. After you have analyzed what channel your customers prefer, you should prioritize that specific channel for appealing to a broader set of audiences.
Comparing Channels Performance
Now, you've analyzed what your customers prefer, but it can't be your only measure to picking the right channel. It's not necessary that your customers' preferences will always be the best option for your business. It is essential to back those preferences with robust performance analysis.You should do deep research on how various channels perform for different metrics and what features they offer. For instance, in emails, you can send a high amount of information compared to other channels, and more information implies a better personalization opportunity. However, there's also a chance that your mail might get lost in the stack of emails. SMS, on the other hand, boasts the highest opening rate.Moreover, you should also look forward to the channels your competitors are using. What's working for them, more often than not, will work for you, too, if the implementation is up to the mark. After comparing the channels for industrial benchmarks and metrics like deliverability, open rate, click-through rate, etc., you'll have a prioritized list of channels that will make the task of picking the right channel easier for you.
Running A/B Tests
After all the comparisons, it's time now to actually test what the actual response from channels looks like. You can run A/B tests to find out which channel resonates the most with your brand and audience. The best way to start A/B testing is by formulating a hypothesis.After running the tests, compare how different channels are performing with respect to the hypothesis you've set. Looking at the result, rank them in order of their performance. Then you can compare this list with the list of channels that your customers prefer. After this comparison, you'll be able to find the one channel that stands tall on two parameters --- your customers want it, and it aligns with your brand requirements.There are, however, certain things that you need to keep in mind while running A/B tests. If you have to check a lot of variables for determining the efficiency of the channels, it is essential that you test one at a time. If you check visual content sharability at the same time as click-through rate, you'll make it challenging for yourself you determine which variable contributed to the increase in sales.
Before sticking to one channel, you can run a survey on your eCommerce site, and social media handle asking your existing customers how they'd like to be notified when the product comes back in store. It will help you identify all the channels that your customers expect from you. Now, the channels where a little to no audience is present can be ignored upfront. On the other hand, the channels that most people use can be one of your top choices.While asking your customers how they'd like to be notified, you can gather their details of the platform they prefer. If they prefer email, get their email address. Capture their mobile number if they prefer the SMS channel. This will ensure that you have a solid collection of customers' contact information even before you've launched the back-in-store option.
Ready to Stop Losing Customers?
Picking the right channel for your back-in-stock alerts helps you prioritize a channel that most of your customers want and has the ability to produce efficient results. However, it is not written anywhere that you should stick to just one channel for notifying your customers.The best practice is to provide your customers with as many channels as possible to send the restock alerts. Once you have put multiple channels out there, it will be dependent on customers to decide the channel they want to receive the alert on. And because different people have different preferences, the availability of multiple channels will allow you to cater to most of them.Fortunately, you can rely on just one app to take care of all your alert channels (email, Whatsapp, web push, Messenger, etc.).Using Appikon's back-in-stock app, you can notify your customers on the channel of their choice so that they can reach the product page sooner than others. This app comes with many advanced features and complete customization options, which makes it a one-stop solution for back-in-stock alerts.