Popular products in online stores frequently sell out. However, how they communicate this to a customer on their website may have an impact on their search engine optimization (SEO), sales and customer experience, and, ultimately, customer conversion.
Most online stores leave out-of-stock products unpublished or unaltered on the product description page when the product sells out. You don't have to lose customers just because a product is sold out or out of stock. Rather, it is a chance to engage shoppers and convert them into customers - even when they're unable to purchase the exact item that led them to your store.
Here are some tips on how to handle or manage your online shopfront for out-of-stock products:
1. Don't remove the page with the product
It is not a good practice for an E-commerce store that serves a diverse range of customers to hide or remove descriptions on out-of-stock products. When a product page is removed or unpublished because it is sold out, shoppers will receive a 404 error message when they click on it because the page is no longer available. This will have an effect on your search engine optimisation.
Furthermore, this can have an impact on your website ranking. For example, suppose you ran an ad campaign with a "Learn More" link that leads back to your online store. Taking down out-of-stock products causes a "404 Error" message to be displayed to potential customers, which is bad for your site's SEO and lowers the site's ranking.
2. Show that the Product is Sold Out
When a product is sold out, display it prominently on the product description page so that customers visiting your shopfront to look for that product are aware that it is no longer available.
Some online stores usually add a low count to products when the product is not available. Stating that 1 or 2 items of that product are still available when it is not, does not tell a lot about the integrity of your brand, especially when customers go ahead with the purchase and don't receive the item when due, as a result of the unavailability of the specific product.
This can lead to a negative review which may affect your sales as some shoppers read reviews before they make purchases.
3. Recommend products similar to the sold-out product
There are instances when we click on a link to a page to buy a thing, only to decide not to buy it because we found a similar or related product that we loved more.
Rather than simply displaying a "sold-out" or "out-of-stock" badge, additionally presenting related products will keep a buyer on your website longer, allowing them to look at other items.
If your website doesn't have this feature, don't worry, you can utilise a solution like Lykdat's Smart Recommendations solution to identify and display items similar to the products. This will help you convert shoppers who would have gone to other sites into potential customers.
4. Enable pre-orders or back-in-stock notifications.
Provide customers with a pre-order option rather than merely advertising a sold-out product. You'll be astonished to learn that some shoppers are willing to wait until you've restocked a product.
Asking customers to fill out email notification forms to notify them when the product becomes available is also another way of engaging your customers. The emails can be generated and built into a mailing list that can also be used for sales and announcing product launches.
By adding the pre-order and email notification options, you have been able to keep a customer on your website rather than losing them because of the unavailability of a product.
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