Stockouts are a common issue for many Shopify stores. These stockouts lead to fewer sales opportunities for the merchant, losing out on acquiring new customers interested in the unavailable products. But, managing and reducing stockouts isn’t as easy as it sounds. With fluctuating product demands and changing interests, out of stock management is a time-consuming priority for merchants. By setting up a process to identify potential stockouts and manage out of stocks better, you can cater to your shoppers better and recover sales that would be lost due to stockouts. In this guide, we’ll help you set up out-of-stock management tactics, the ways you can lower stockouts, and alternative solutions you can set up to lower the sales loss you face during stockouts.
The Problem with Stockouts
As an online store, you can’t afford to lose interested shoppers due to stockouts. Shoppers will browse your store, find the product they are looking for, only to find it out of stock. When this happens, they end up abandoning your Shopify store altogether and shop from your competitors instead.With stockouts, you aren’t just losing a sale. You lose out on ever capturing that potential customer again. Stockouts increase negative experiences, with interested customers choosing to shop from your competitors instead. In fact, in 2011, it was found that stockouts cost a $25 billion loss in sales. This number has only increased in the past years, with newer stores cropping up online and with more brands for shoppers to choose from.But, why do stockouts arise in the first place? One way to reduce stockouts on your Shopify store is understanding why you face out of stock products and managing them better.
What Causes Stockouts?
1. Lack of inventory planning
Many merchants don’t do data-driven and thorough inventory planning. Due to this, they find themselves facing stockouts This is also an issue during sales when products are highly visible on the storefront or are marketed for the sale. Product demand for specific products also increases during festivities and celebrations. You can plan your inventory based on traffic surges, sales, and marketing campaigns to ensure that your products don’t run out during these pivotal moments.
2. Underestimating product demand
Oftentimes, merchants underestimate the demand for a product. This is commonly seen with newly launched or featured products.By monitoring this demand, understanding traffic levels on your store, and predicting demand during sale periods or festivities, you can lower and manage stockouts.
3. Late supplier delivery
One reason for stockouts is the late delivery of the warehouse stock. When you’re manufacturing or getting your supply to your warehouse, you may find these deliveries delayed, Due to this, you would have to wait to update your stock on your Shopify store. If a product has been sold out prior to the supplier delivery, you will be left with an out of stock product until the delivery is complete.
4. Quality issues or defects
You may have to return a stock that comes in for a specific product due to defects or quality issues. Reordering a new stock for the product will take a longer time and if you’ve run out of your existing stock, you will be left stocked out for that specific product until the new stock arrives.While stockouts are a huge issue, when it comes to quality problems, it’s best to wait for a new stock to come in than sell the low quality/defective products on your Shopify store.
3 Out of Stock Management Tactics for Your Shopify Store
1. Recapture interested shoppers with Back in Stock Alerts
Before you start optimizing your inventory and understanding how your products sell, you need an alternative during stockouts. This is where back in stock alerts help. The back in stock automation adds a subscription form on your Shopify store’s product page so that shoppers interested in the unavailable product can subscribe to be notified about the product via email, SMS, Facebook Messenger, or web push. Once you’ve stocked up the item, the shopper receives a message automatically, letting them know they can purchase the item. The shopper will then successfully come back to the store and get the item.By setting up back in stock alerts, you can give shoppers an opportunity to receive an update about the product’s stock. This easy and positive experience will ensure that you don’t lose your shoppers to stockouts on your Shopify store and lower any negative experience they may have had.Further Reading: High-Converting Back-in-Stock Email Examples And Why They WorkYou can set up the back in stock automation on your Shopify store with the Back in Stock - Restock Alerts app. The app integrates with top marketing apps to connect your preferred communication channels and works with apps like Wiser to display personalized recommendations.
3. Use your analytics to understand product demand
Your store’s data can tell you a lot about how your products are selling and the trend in sales on your Shopify store. Shopify analytics apps like RevTap are perfect for this. The app identifies product segments like ‘Top-Selling Products’ and ‘Low on Stock Products’. You can monitor these segments on a weekly basis to identify products that need to be stocked up immediately and order new stocks accordingly. With such a data-driven process in place, you’ll be able to minimize stockouts.
3. Plan your sales and marketing campaigns and stock up early on
When planning your marketing campaigns or store sales, you also need to add inventory checks to your tasklist. So, when planning your monthly marketing schedule, you can add reminders to check the stock for the product being promoted a few days prior to the promotion. For storewide sales, you can check stocks a week prior to launch and order new stocks accordingly. This system is also helpful during festivities. For instance, nearer to the holiday, you’re sure to put together a ‘Christmas Collection’. When doing so, you can also stock up more inventory than usual. This way, you will be able to cater to the surge in Christmas shoppers
Reduce loss of sales due to stockouts using Back in Stock Alerts
We hope this guide to out of stock management helped you understand ways you might face stockouts on your Shopify store and ways you can reduce stockouts.While you can minimize stock-outs, there will always be times when certain products sell out faster. While you can’t avoid such cases, you can set up alternatives to reduce the loss of sales due to stockouts. The Back in Stock app helps you capture interested shoppers during stockouts and bring them back to purchase when the item is back in stock.With such seamless automation in place, you can recapture sales and ensure fewer losses despite the stockout. Top eCommerce brands like Tesla and Amazon have also set up successful out of stock management tactics like back in stock automations that send alerts about the product’s stock update to their shoppers.