A reason to bounce
“Email Me” buttons or waitlists are ineffective for out-of-stock products, because users will just go shop somewhere else.
Let them buy anyway
Allow instead users to purchase temporarily out-of-stock products, warn them, and increase the delivery time. Also prominently display product alternatives.
For discontinued or deprecated products, do not allow them to buy it, and focus solely on promoting product alternatives.
Results and thoughts from members
Below is the impressive result that one of the members of my Ecom Convert group got over a few days by allowing back orders on his store:
I’ve been wondering if I should hide out of stock products or not. Up until recently, I was not displaying out-of-stock products on my shop pages, and if someone had a direct link, you could view the product but not purchase it.
I figured I might as well test whether I could make some more money on backordered products, so I switched to displaying the products as ‘On Backorder’ with an estimated in-stock date. Surprisingly, I’ve had about $30,000 in sales in the last few days from products that aren’t even in stock.
With each of these customers, I called them on the phone before processing payment to make sure they understood that it may be quite a while (~2 months) before they receive the product, and they all said that was totally fine.
Just some food for thought for those who have OOS products right now.
Another member had a different perspective on this, worth noting:
We just place text at the top of the item page. Nothing fancy but it works and lets them know that we care enough to take the time on our site. ‘We expect this item to Back in Stock shortly. Often we have a comparable product that we can quickly help you find, so please give us a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you’d prefer this item only, please enter your email address in the box where it says ‘Notify me when this item is back in stock!’ and as soon as this item is made orderable on our site, you’ll get an email from us!’