After launching a product, every eCommerce business waits for that one day when that product will start flying off the stockroom shelves. The closer they come to selling out the product, the more ecstatic it becomes for the marketing team.
It sounds so good. But what follows is not very cheering for the business owners.
The hype about the product is still sky-high, but the stocks are all gone. Your inability to meet your customers’ demands will lead to two things — a bad experience and lost sales. And if you don’t have a robust strategy to counter this, you might lose those customers forever.
After all, it’s an outcome of stockouts that the retail industry is losing $1.75 trillion annually. Irony. The faster you sell out your product, the quicker you become a contributor to this loss of $1.75 trillion.
But what if there was one strategy that could help you avoid a bad customer experience and not lose the sale? Ah, it just got interesting!
There is. With a back in stock strategy, you can manage the excitement for an out-of-stock bestseller and appeal to customers to buy it from you rather than some other eCommerce business.
A simple ‘Notify Me’ button can convey to customers that you are going to bring the product back. And, if it’s not urgent, most of the customers are going to wait. More so, you already sold out the product — there’s no question about the quality. A back in stock alert has the potential to bring back more than 50% of the lost sales to your site.
Different Industries That Need a Back in Stock Strategy
Now, those of you who think that back-in-stock strategies work only for certain industries — stop thinking that. The truth is that every eCommerce industry can recover a significant amount of lost sales by sending back-in-stock alerts.
Yes, it works better for some industries than others. But it’s still worth having a strategy that recovers even 20% of the lost sales. Especially, when you don’t have to put a lot of work into it.
For example, when fashion and apparel products go out of stock, people usually wait. It is because usually there’s no urgency, and trends in these industries don’t go away so soon. On the other hand, if we look at food and beverage or health and wellness products, people sometimes can’t afford to wait for the restock. A decent percentage of products in these industries are needed urgently. So, the back in stock alert will be more effective in the fashion and apparel industry in comparison with the health or food industry.
That said, let’s look at some of the examples of how eCommerce stores from different industries are already leveraging the back in stock strategy to recover their lost sales.
Health and Wellness
The human desire to be healthy is nothing new. And after the Covid-19 pandemic, people have made it one of their priorities. According to a survey, the global health and wellness industry is estimated to be somewhere around $1.5 trillion and is growing at an annual rate of 10% — quite a healthy figure.
With the distance maintaining factor during the pandemic, its eCommerce scene became the go-to option for the customers. People preferred to order medical products (as basic as a face mask) online. And due to the surge in demand, there were many instances of these masks going out of stock.
Now, the customers who wanted it urgently had only one option — to get it from somewhere else. But what about those who just wanted to order in advance? Even they would’ve purchased it from somewhere else. But results could’ve been entirely different if the store had that “Notify Me” button.
And here we are talking about masks that most people need urgently. There are many health and wellness products that people can easily wait for, e.g., nutritional supplements, chronic medicines (people order in advance), medical equipment, etc. If your customers trust your store, most of them are going to wait for you to bring that product.
PharmEasy, for example, is a well-established and trusted health and wellness eCommerce store. It has a wide range of products, and some of them run out of stock depending on the demand. But because customers trust this store, they wait for the product to be restocked. As a result of which, their number of lost sales due to stockout decreases significantly. If a health and wellness brand can use back in stock alerts for their benefit, brands from every industry can.
Fashion and Apparel
Over the past few years, the spending habits of customers have changed drastically. And the results are not very great for the fashion eCommerce industry. In 2021, almost 1900 fashion stores were shut down. And according to a report by WWD, the projected number for 2022 is very close to 10000 — almost five times.
This is not the right time for fashion store owners to lose even a single sale. But when your products go out of stock, you not only lose a sale but also form a bad image in customers’ minds which might stop them from coming to your site ever again.
Moreover, it’s not like the stores are shutting down because customers are not buying online from this industry. If anything, they are buying more than before. So what’s the reason? Well, it’s because the buyers have started prioritizing experience over anything.
When they come to your site and find a product out of stock, they want to know if it’ll ever be restocked. And when they don’t find a way to know that, they just leave disappointed and buy products from some other store.
Now, let’s consider that there are two stores that are selling the same shirt. A customer comes to Store1 and finds out that the product is out of stock. He then goes to Store2, but the product is not available here either. But Store2 has one that is different from Store1 — it has a “Notify Me” button right on the top. Customers who really want the product will sign up for it and will buy it when they receive the restock alert.
FashionNova is an eCommerce apparel store that has witnessed immense success of late. And their back in stock alert strategy has contributed significantly to it. As soon as a product goes out of stock, they switch the “Add to Cart” with the “Notify Me” button and give customers an option to either receive the alert via text or via email. You can also easily switch these buttons with an app like Appikon — Back in Stock Alerts for Shopify.
Moreover, they also have a back in stock page for every category that shows the recently restocked products. This page comes in handy to attract the customers by creating a FOMO around the product. Because a certain product went out of stock, customers think that it might go out of this. This is a perfect example of how the fashion and apparel industry can leverage back in stock strategy.
Beauty and Cosmetics
The beauty eCommerce industry is one of the best examples of how technology, when used to its potential, can help you scale quickly. Brands have leveraged AI, ML, and VR to introduce diagnosis, personalization, skin advice, virtual-try-on, and much more. It’s getting really competitive out there.
It is estimated that by the year 2023, the online revenue share of the beauty and cosmetic industry will be roughly 50%. And with an increasing number of beauty brands, it would be a terrible mistake to let customers leave your store without selling your product to them.
But isn’t this exactly what will happen if the product they want is out of stock and you don’t have a way to bring them back when you restock it? You might lose them forever. And the only way to avoid this from happening is by implementing a back in stock strategy.
Here’s how Purplle, an established beauty eCommerce brand, does it.
The first thing you can learn from them is that they don’t shy away and hide the product. They honestly put it out there that the product got sold out. Humans are hard-wired to think that products only get sold out when they are of good quality. This helps Purplle to convince the user to hit that Notify Me button.
After that, it’s all about how you approach them with your alerts. By reaching out to them unerringly, you can ensure that most of your customers who subscribed for the alert actually buy it.
The e-retail revenue of the electronics market has increased consistently over the past few years. In the United States alone, the numbers stood at $116 billion in 2020. The figures increased to $123.8 billion in the year 2021. And now, the projected figures for 2025 are $156.8 billion.
Long story short — the competition in the electronics eCommerce industry is getting tighter with each passing day.
Now, electronic items are something that is rarely needed on an urgent basis. People can always wait for it. So, if you’re known to deliver good quality products, then in case of a stockout, your customers are definitely going to wait for you to restock.
Boat is a well-known electronic brand in the D2C space, and they also have a back in stock strategy to recover lost sales. And they use it in quite a unique way. When customers browse through their category page, they come across various products that are out of stock. And the FOMO kicks in.
They tend to think that the product went out of stock because it was better than the other. So, instead of losing a sale, Boat uses the category to create FOMO and increase the demand for that sold-out product.
That said, Boat gives their customers an option to receive a notification on the channel of their choice. This helps increase the opening rate of the alert. A back in stock alert app like Appikon can help you set up multi channel alerts seamlessly, ensuring your customers don’t miss the alert you sent.
Food and Beverage
The food and beverage industry was not a big player in the eCommerce space. But with time, in 2019, it was worth 30 billion US Dollars. And when the pandemic happened, the growth of this industry sky-rocketed to an extent where you couldn’t ignore it. The figures for 2022 are projected to be around $80 billion, which is $15 billion in one year (from 2021).
The surge during the pandemic made it pretty clear that your product can go out of stock any day. And if you don’t have a back in stock strategy, it will be a delight for your competitors to see you go out of stock. All your customers will go to them to purchase product(s) as they don’t know if you’re ever going to restock them.
Heinz has been serving condiments for the past 150 years. And when a company has been there in the market for so long, they understand how it works. They know how important it is to recover the sales you lose because of a stockout. And if they find it useful, there’s no reason why other food and beverage businesses should not try it.
Ever since Covid, customers have preferred to buy their pet supplies online. It’s mainly because of convenience. This is an industry that’s also immune from the financial downturn — for obvious reasons. The online retail growth of this industry has outpaced eCommerce as a whole.
But there’s a problem. This is a dog-eat-dog world we are a part of. And in this industry, two brands (PETCO and PetSmart) account for almost 50% of the total industry revenue. Because there are so many companies and only half revenue to start with, the competition becomes quite immense. This means the margin of error for pet brands is thin as a wafer.
Heads Up For Tails is a pet supplies eCommerce brand that understands the importance of not losing a sale when the competition is so high. Their back in stock strategy is similar to Boat’s — Notify Me button on the category page of the store and multiple channel options to receive the alert. No wonder why this brand has been so successful in the past few years.
Do You Need a Back in Stock Strategy?
It should be quite obvious by now that you need a back in stock strategy for sure. But do you need it because you belong to a certain industry? No, you need it because every eCommerce business must have it.
When customers visit your store, just showing them that the product is out of stock doesn’t do much for you. On the other hand, you can capture their purchase intent by giving them an option to get notified when the product is restocked. This captured purchase intent further helps you in personalization and also in bringing back the customers.
Basically, you get a lot out of nothing.
With an app like Appikon — Back in Stock Alerts, you can seamlessly automate the complete back in stock process. Moreover, you can give your customers an option to receive the alert on the channel of their choice (SMS, Web Push, Email, or Messenger).
Feel free to reach out to us for any queries.