Do 'out of stock' strategies work to increase sales?

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Profile picture for user Ángela de la Vieja

Ángela de la Vieja

Placing products with the label 'out of stock' is one of the booming actions to increase the conversion of some e-commerce. The objective is the key: using the principle of urgency, nothing better than telling the customer that the product they are thinking of acquiring is almost out of stock. But does this out of stock strategy really work to boost sales?

The reality is that yes. The out of stock is a growing strategy thanks to the good results it achieves, especially in certain sectors, such as the sale of electronic products or fast fashion. However, it is essential to know how to carry it out correctly to achieve the expected objectives.

One of the main reasons why this type of strategy does not work in many e-commerce is that it is not applied to the correct products. The first thing that must be taken into account, if it is wanted to be proven effective, is the urgency of the consumer and how to create this, therefore using basic products, that can easily be acquired in other e-commerce, will not work.

This said, it is safer to use exclusive products from the e-commerce catalogue or unique brand products.

On the other hand, it is important to know under what conditions it should be applied, especially when it refers to the temporality of the depleted units. While a product simply labelled as 'out of stock' can carry out a customer's search for other options in stores outside of our website, if we place them as 'temporarily out of stock` it keeps up the hope that they will be replenished in a short space of time. In fact, this is the key moment to request a potential customer´s email address that we can send an alert to when this product becomes available. Is there a simpler way to capture leads and identify them according to their interests?

The 'out of stock' as an indicator of interest

Following the wake of the lead capture, the "out of stock" strategy is a tool that can be key in detecting purchase trends and analysing the interest aroused by certain products. How to know if a new product will achieve the expected sales? Measuring the interest generated through the possibility of reserving or the number of clients requesting notifications when they become available again.

Regardless of the prices market studies that are used before launching a product, this is an alternative to discussion groups as an experimental tool to analyse whether their presentation is appropriate or the price is as expected.

And if the product stock has actually been exhausted? So, the first thing is to look for is the option to replace them as soon as possible - to prevent, it is always advisable to use an intelligence catalogue tool that allows you to manage the ecommerce stock correctly; the second is to carry out the same plan  of action as prior to a planned strategy: not to eliminate the product card, not to redirect to other pages to escape the hole or show unfinished information about the time foreseen to restore the offer.

In any case, it is essential to optimize each of the steps taken in the conversion, for example, take advantage of the moment to make an up-sale or cross sale indicating options to purchase similar or related products.

In addition, including the 'out of stock' strategy study in the monitoring of the competition allows to take advantage of the moments, in which the rest of the electronic commerce have hung the “out of stock” poster in some of their products, to boost the sales of our online store. Comparing the availability of products in the e-commerce catalogue is vital to be able to make the right decisions in the pricing strategy.

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