Best Practices to turn out-of-stock products on sales opportunities


3 ways to turn out-of-stock products into sales and prevent losing customers

Stock-out, oversell, sold out, unavailable, out of stock… Many names, same problem: you can’t sell what you don’t have. So, out-of-stock causes lost sales. Besides, it’s such a let-down for your customers. Here you will find some best practices to turn out-of-stock products on sales opportunities. 

What are the Effects of Out-of-Stock products?

Not being able to sell when a customer wants to buy is only one major problem of stockouts. There are many negative effects of going out of stock. Here are a few:

  • Lost sales
  • Lost customers
  • Negative customer reviews
  • Damaged brand and reputation
  • Slow or declining business growth

However, all is not lost. There are some ways to take advantage of out-of-stock. Find how to turn out-of-stock products on sales opportunities.

How can you improve customer experience when a product is out-of-stock?

1. Notify customers when product is back in stock

If a user is interested in a product and wants to make a purchase, it’s more likely for them to look for the item elsewhere if it’s not available at the time. However, if you replace the “Out-of-Stock” or “Coming soon” button with a “Notify Me” button, you increase your chances that the user will actually choose to make the purchase and wait until the stock is replenished. 

Some online retailers offer Back In Stock emails. It’s simple: all customers have to do is enter your email address, and you’ll automatically receive alerts when the product is restocked.

But, although big retailers like H&M, Nike, Asos or Zalando tend to do a great job with their on-site email system, you should beware of the downside of on-site emails. Probably you will become buried beneath a mound of email advertisements or in spam folder.


H&M sends an in stock alert by email when the item is available again.

2. Suggest visually similar products

Nothing makes online shopping more disappointing than getting excited about a product, only to discover it’s out of stock. Or, maybe it’s available, but your size or preferred colour ​is out-of-stock. To compensate for the missing product, display visually similar products. There is a good chance that another product with a slight difference might also be useful and purchased. 

So, Similar Product Recommendation is one of the best solutions to decrease shopping cart abandonment. By suggesting similar (and available) products to shoppers, you are solving out-of-stock problems automatically and helping shoppers find alternative products that really match their needs seamlessly in real-time. Remember, your customer is ready for shopping – credit card in hand! 

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ZARA solves out-of-stock problems by displaying similar items. Adding the “Similar Product” button is simply a brilliant solution.

3. Improve searchability of products

We are in the era of one-click discovery fashion (visual search), but there are still many customers that use text search. So, it’s important to set up next-generation tagging solutions that enable you to simplify and enhance product discovery on your online store.

Automating the product tagging process, you save time and costs, and improve efficiency in catalog management – from product upload and right categorization to SEO and product ranking.

The auto-tagging based on visual features is helping to index the products better leading to more accurate searches on the site. The more relevant tags a product image has, the greater probability it has to appear in specific search results from shoppers. 

In conclusion, not always is possible to prevent out-of-stock inventory. Por example, the problems of distribution of raw materials plus the shipping crisis are disrupting supply chains of the fashion industry. Don’t wait to have out-of-stock products to find solutions. Remember, out-of-stock products may be a sales opportunity. Wanna talk?

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