Have You Optimized Temporary “Out Of Stock” Product Pages?

Temporary Out of stock products are basically products which have depleted in your inventory. These products can’t be sold until you replenish the inventory back in stock. These type of products are different from discontinued products. Out of stock products are popular when the product is either seasonal or unavailable due to lack of sourcing from the supplier.

How Temporary Out Of Stock Products affect your site?

Since these products can’t be sold there is no much benefit a user receives when she lands on this page. Which also means you are not making any revenue of these pages.

Out of stock products is one issue most e-commerce businesses run in to. Many websites deal with this issue incorrectly leading to loss of traffic, loss of customers and even worse loss of brand reputation.

Bad User Experience – When the user lands on a page which has out of stock products she might face disappointment. When the out of stock product is not communicated the customer might end up reading all the product details and only discover the product to be out of stock during checkout. This will lead to customer frustration.

The user might end up closing your site and visiting your competition to find the same product. This can lead to loss of potential customers for your business.

SEO – When users land on a product page which is out of stock they will want to leave the page immediately. This would mean they hit the back button and click on your competition’s link. This behaviour in SEO industry terms is called short clicks. This basically tells Google that the user didn’t find what he or she was looking for on that page.

Out of stock product pages have high bounce rates, low session duration and overall engagement. These metrics impact the dwell time of your site in a negative way. A poor dwell time can decrease the page ranking and traffic.

Dealing with these issues inappropriately can complicate this issue further.

  • 404 Page – Few e-commerce sites blatantly throw a 404 as soon as the products are out of stock. This leads to loss of search engine traffic and user ambiguity.
  • Redirect – Few webmasters redirect the out of stock product page to a category page or a relevant product page without notifying the user. This can make the user feel perplexed why he or she is not been shown the original product page.

Temporary Out Of Stock Product Pages Best Practices

Out of stock product pages is something an e-commerce business cannot avoid. At the same time, they can create problems to your business top line. So we have to look into what we can do to improve these pages in such a way that it delivers a good user experience and adds revenue to your business at the same time.

Communicate that the product is out of stock

If a certain product goes out of stock your product page should communicate it. Lack of proper communication can make the customer read the fine print and then realize that the product is out of stock on the checkout page. This can lead to customer frustration.

There are 2 areas within your website that you need to communicate “Out of Stock” prominently.

Product Page – You need to mention “out of stock” on the product page. There are three great ways you can do this

  • You can do this by using a tag on the product image which says “out of stock”
  • You can mention ‘Availability’ as “Out of Stock” in red or any way which makes the text stand out.
  • You can grey out or disable the “Buy Now” button on the out of stock product page. You can mention “Out of stock” in the button text to notify users fo the same.

Category Page – A user who is navigating through your site doesn’t want to visit a page and then realize that it is out of stock. This can make her move back and forth between multiple pages. To work around this issue you need to mention if a particular product is out of stock in the category or search page.

BellRoy greys out unavailable products on the category page.

It then shows a pop-up window for people who want to be notified when the product is available again.

Ask customers to Get Notified when the product is available again

A great way to capture user’s interest is by capturing his or interest in the form of an email. Display an email box and ask users if they like to be notified when the product is back in stock. This helps them get back and finish the purchase.

Drive customers to relevant products or pages

Quite often we go to retail or online store with a product in mind but end up buying an alternative or something completely different. Your online store can leverage this fact and suggest users high targeted options on the out of stock product page.

Ideally, you want to show users products which are relevant to the category, brand, price range of the out of stock product to increase the chances of engagement and conversions.

Keep Learning

How to Optimize Out of Stock Product Pages – ConversionXL

How to manage Out of Stock Products for SEO – Goinflow

How to Deal with Temporarily Out-of-Stock Pages (and Actually Win Sales)

After working 7+ years as a digital marketer for startups and large enterprises I quit my job to start EcommerceYogi. Here I share the exact same tactics which I have used to drive millions of users per month to e-commerce stores. Follow me on Linkedin and Twitter to stay connected.