The ultimate disappointment for a customer is viewing the product page of an item they really want, and finding it’s not available. Recently, I came across several sites that take a unique approach with handling out-of-stock or discontinued items.
Example #1: Lancome-USA
Makeup retailer Lancome offers an extremely innovative “Since you liked… Now you’ll Love” feature to satisfy customers looking for discontinued makeup. This is a great sale-saver for picky customers looking for that perfect color.
Example #2: BPAV
It’s not uncommon for customers to land on the product page of an out-of-stock item either through the site navigation or directly from a search engine. If an item on your site is only temporarily out, a great way to save the sale (and capture an opt-in email addy) is letting customer request to be emailed when it’s re-stocked. BPAV.com does this nicely with their “Notify Me When It’s Back in Stock” feature.
Example #3: Threadless
Displaying “Old” items on a separate product listings page can have it’s advantages. Customers may want to compare new items to old ones, or maybe they need information on a product they already own. Threadless displays sold out or retired t-shirts separately and allows customers to request the design to be re-printed. Very innovative if you ask me.
In addition, Threadless also emphasizes urgency for in-stock items by showing a inventory level indicator on every product page. Messages like “A few in-stock” or “Only 2 Left” help turn browsers into buyers.
I believe eCommerce sites that innovate with useful and brand building features such as these will continue to thrive. Seen any other creative eCommerce site functions lately? Be sure to leave a comment.