Suppose you are a customer looking for an e-Commerce website and you find a product that is right for you and fits your budget. You go to the product page and decide to buy the product, but it’s marked as unavailable. The frustration of that person could be enough to stop them from buying on your website again. So, how can a business avoid out-of-stock inventory?
Let’s take a look at why businesses have out-of-stock items, reasons they should not keep them visible, and ultimately, how to prevent stockouts.
Why do businesses go out of stock?
There are numerous programs to manage stock inventory on the website of an online shop, for example, Megaventory. However, out-of-stock items are still common in a lot of eShops, so how does that come about?
1. Inaccurate Inventory Management
It is very easy to get caught up in inaccuracies when working with stock management. Due to shipping disputes, returns, and stolen goods, retailers have found that the listing numbers they receive on paper (or on-screen) often don’t match those in their stores.
2. Wrong Estimation of Demand Growth Trend for a Product
Picture this: you make sales left, right and center. You’ve only looked at your stats for the last two weeks and scored up to 10%. You have also improved your overall income, and you are looking at your strongest month yet. What could be wrong?
You might have underestimated the needs of your customers and, as a result, you may face insufficient stock in the near future. This means that the following orders may be delayed or canceled.
On the flip side, if you didn’t take the time to analyze where the demand growth comes from this can lead to hasty decisions. So, you could order too much stock for the upcoming period.
3. Poor Employee Training
This is another reason why there are out-of-stock products. Poor management and communication problems harm the company’s operations.
Any misunderstanding between employees, managers, customers, and service providers can delay replenishment. If your operations/warehouse staff has not been trained to check the status of your stock and replenish it on time, likely, you are not doing your best.
5 Reasons why you should avoid out-of-stock items
Stock shortages can greatly affect your customer experience, and you should avoid them at all costs. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should avoid out-of-stock products:
1. Bad for SEO
Lack of stock is an inevitable part of running an e-commerce business. Careful planning and sales management can help you conduct research, but you also need to consider how you handle submitting unsolicited product pages to your website visitors and Googlebot.
Removing or deleting product pages for non-share is usually a good idea. Google will always have these pages in its tag. Users who click on these items in the SERPs will get a 404 “not found” page.
2. Avoiding Out-of-Stock Can Secure Potential Sales
Think about the cost of one customer to your online store. If you have insufficient information, not only does this prevent them from buying from you, but it means that they will turn to a competitor that has the product available. Hence, making sure to not have out-of-stock products on your website can secure sales for you.
3. Customer Loyalty
Stockouts not only decrease revenue but also reduce customer retention and loyalty. Most of the time, consumers are frustrated when they don’t get what they want. Of course, you don’t want to let customers down and make them stop considering your brand for future purchases.
4. Loss of Competitive Edge
The last thing you want is customers who were loyal to your brand, suddenly decide to pick your competitors because they can offer them products that you can’t. This means in the future, your company may not be worth the consideration, so your disappointed customers may forget about you because they’re getting what they need from other companies. To remain competitive, you need to handle stockouts correctly.
5. Redirection Error
Many e-commerce platforms create automatic redirects to a website’s home page or assigned product category page when they are out of stock. However, this may also create a negative experience as users expect to see a product page but end up on a category page.
This is not to say that the user will be able to access other relevant products on your website independently. It’s also important to know that a general redirect – or a redirect that doesn’t reach the same product/line – can be described as a weak 404 error.
How to Avoid Out-of-Stock Products
Display The Out of Stock Items Clearly
The phrase “out of stock” must accompany a return date. If you submit an estimate, update it when you pass that date. As an alternative, use the pre-order option.
Or Don’t Display Them At All
It’s simple and clear as daylight. You have the option to not display products that are out of stock or sold out. Most e-commerce stores have a real-time inventory management system, and store managers can avoid out-of-stock items by tracking them. This prevents customers from browsing your website and adding items to their cart only to find out they are out of stock.
Suggest Alternative Products
You should use your out-of-stock product page as an opportunity to recommend something else. It provides better insight for the user and also helps improve your conversion rate.
Increase Shipping Time to Avoid Out-of-Stock
There is another method that some online stores use for items that are temporarily out of stock. They increase the delivery time of the goods if they are sure that they will restock the goods soon. But as the owner of an online store, you must be very clear about the delivery and availability of the goods for the buyer. Do not delay the delivery of the goods for too long, as this leads to cancellations.
You can add pre-orders to your website in various ways, depending on the used eCommerce platform. With pay-now, pay-later or notification options customers can choose for themselves what happens when the product is in stock again which can be a powerful acquisition tool for companies.
Never Struggle with Out of Stock Items again
If you’re selling across multiple channels or manage a busy warehouse, you might experience stockouts, but with a little planning, you’ll be able to get through it without any serious consequences.
Take action to prevent stockouts by ensuring a smooth workflow and efficient communication, as well as administrating your website and taking accurate inventory.
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Ashlie Lee is a content writer by passion and profession. She started her journey with Motifcreatives. She primarily writes for guest post articles falling under various niches. The main area of her interest and expertise is web design & digital marketing. Her work has been published on many high-authority websites. She believes that writing is an effective way to communicate at better levels.