Actionable Optimisation

Actionable Optimisation #38 – Allow Customers to Pre-Order Out of Stock Products

 February 2, 2021

By  Will

Improve Conversion Rates & Retention by Allowing Customers to Pre-Order Out of Stock Products

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While out of stock notifications are a fantastic way to bring someone back to purchase, there is another way that works for certain types of products as well.

And that is simply allowing customers to buy anyway, while being transparent and laying out the conditions clearly.

I spent days searching for a new bookshelf recently, and when I finally found one that was the right dimensions and style, it was out of stock.

What was particularly frustrating was that despite setting up restock notification, I still missed out weeks later, and to make matters worse, missed out on the price drop that was inexplicably live during the period when the product was out of stock.

Given the type of purchase this is, I would happily have paid straight away knowing that I could be waiting 2-3 weeks for the product to turn up, but I was aware of that and happy to do it instead of checking in again and again (it’ll be interesting to see if I get a 2nd restock notification)

Now of course this won’t work for anything; with a lot of clothing, or lower value purchases that are maybe a bit more impulse or even just easy to find an alternative for, you’re going to struggle to convince someone to pay upfront for something that could be weeks away.

Payment options such as Klarna make that even more unlikely as in a lot of cases the customer is looking to try the product and possibly return it before any money is even spent.

But when a customer has done their research, searched high and low, and finally found the product that fits their needs, why not just let them buy it if they’re happy to wait?

38. Pre-order out of stock


Will is a Customer Journey Marketing consultant, specialising in CRO, CRM and Customer Experience. Will has over 7 years experience working across a range of consumer facing businesses and has worked for huge brands such as MyVoucherCodes, Europcar, JackpotJoy, Virgin Games and Virgin Bet.


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