Commerce Essentials

How to Manage Out of Stock Products Online and Still Make the Sale


Here’s an excerpt from Old Navy’s online store policy landing page.

As you add items to your shopping bag, we will display your bag in the right hand corner of your screen, including the brand, item name, quantity, and price per unit. We will automatically save the items in your shopping bag for 45 days; however, please note that we cannot guarantee inventory availability. You do not need to sign in to save or access your bag if you are using the same computer. If you are using a different computer, you will need to sign in to see your bag.

In our busy times, clothes shopping for myself and kids is valuable time spent elsewhere. For that reason, I love Old Navy’s online store. Yeah, Old Navy! Their site is intuitive in its usability and clean in its design. I create wishlists on Old Navy’s online site the same way I create my food shopping lists; as I realize I need (aka want) something, I throw it into the wishlist and let it sit until one of their awesome sales come along. So, I keep a running shopping cart at Old Navy continually adding items. All of this process is very convenient and time efficient. BUT. Yes, there is a BUT. Very often, when I am prepared to make the order, several of the items just aren’t in my shopping bag. As the products become sold out, they fall from the saved shopping cart.

THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING for 2 reasons: 1. I am not notified that this item is no longer present in my bag and often don’t notice its absence until after I make the order, and 2. Had I known the item was low in stock, I most likely would have made the purchase earlier.

This can easily be mitigated. Why not send an automated notification when there are X number of that item left in the store? If I got a notification that the must have Cookie Monster costume for my 3 year old’s birthday gift is low in stock, my actions as a consumer would change. I do not know why this is not common practice. An autoresponse of some sort is the solution. AbandonAid offers a tool for exactly this issue.  Segment your customers into different categories and decide who receives what message at what point. In an automated email, your customer can be made aware of a product they want and is running out. You have the ability to alter the behavior of your customers, and everybody benefits. It’s a win/win situation.

Don’t make me beg to buy your products! RIIGGGHHHHTTTTTT?!?!


This entry was posted in Online Shop Owners.