This blog was last updated on 7 November 2019.
Throughout the entire holiday season, retailers all over the world see a rush on popular items, with top-selling items often running out-of-stock as doting parents or friends hurry to pick up the hottest gifts of the year.
Holiday season or otherwise, customers get incredibly frustrated when the item they’re looking for is out of stock; but it doesn’t necessarily have to mean lost sales or loyalty.
As a retailer, sending back in stock SMS alerts will help you:
- Reach your customers without them installing any app
- Remind your customers about a sold-out item and recapture their interest
- Increase sales
- Increase store and website visits
Here are four ways you can use SMS to send back in stock notifications that will bring your customers back to your store and website this holiday season.
1. Send a back in stock SMS alert as the item hits your warehouse
As soon as your new shipment arrives, and the item is back in stock, an SMS can be sent to customers waiting for that item. The product availability reminder must be specific and concise, with a call to action, to encourage your customer to pick up where they left.
Here are three simple examples:
- Great News! “The Fingerling interactive toys” are back in stock. You can purchase in store tomorrow from 9 am onwards.
- “The Fingerling interactive toys” are about to hit the shelves again. Click on the link to purchase yours before they’re all gone: https://bit.ly/2sQk2D5
- Hi “First Name”. “The Fingerling interactive toys” are back in stock. Click the link to order. Pick up in store or ship to your home: https://bit.ly/2sQk2D5
These messages not only remind the customer that they were looking for this item and that you are thinking of them by sending them an availability alert but also bring the offline and online together, a critical factor to deliver a good customer experience.
2. Allow customers to hold on to the item with an SMS reply
Just in case the customer isn’t able to immediately click on the link to purchase the item, you can send a message with the option to hold the item for a period that works for your business. The customer can reply to this message with a keyword, for example, the word “RESERVE”, to hold the item. If the customer does not act on your message, do a follow up the next day explaining that the item is running out of stock and urge purchase ASAP.
Consumers appreciate being in control of how they communicate – so try offering them the option to choose their channel of choice for reminder messages. Personalization is critical in customer engagement – in some cases, a carefully designed email will do the trick, while some customers prefer image-rich communication through chat apps or Rich Communication Services (RCS).
Not only do you reach them through their preferred mode of communication, but you also secure a contact point for future marketing.
3. Send an SMS message with links to purchase other items you carry
If you cannot get the out of stock items in time for holiday delivery, let your customer know and use the opportunity to flag alternative items that you do have in stock that might address their needs. Be very specific with your suggestions for other options.
- Suggest items under the same brand, a competitor, or previous versions.
- Suggest the same or similar items in a different style, color, or brand.
- List items that other customers purchased instead of the first choice.
4. Follow up with a discount
If you won’t be able to get the item back in stock, send a discount code for another item in your store. You can tie the discount code into the alternatives that you suggested in the previous SMS or you can offer a blanket discount code or another incentive.
- Receive 15% off the “Best Christmas Cakes” cookbook through this link: https://bit.ly/2sQk2D5
- Black Friday Offer: 10% off any item in our stores through this link: https://bit.ly/2sQk2D5
- Just for you: Free shipping through this link if you purchase within the next 3 hours. https://bit.ly/2sQk2D5
The holiday surge is crucial to boosting sales and hitting targets. Inventory management is a challenge and should you go out-of-stock, it is even more important to stay connected with your customers. Sending back in stock alert messages through a platform like Infobip is a cost-effective yet impactful way to keep the channels open.
Find out how this retailers used SMS to improve their business