Boost Holiday Retail Sales with Back-in-Stock SMS Alerts

With a proactive back in stock alert, you can increase sales, repeat store and website visits.

October 02 2018

Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated almost $40 billion in sales last year. These and other shopping dates are taking hold globally and extending the shipping dates each year. The entire holiday season sees a rush on popular items all over the world, with top-selling items often running out-of-stock as doting parents or friends rush 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.

With back in stock alerts you can:

  • Reach your customers without them installing any app.
  • Remind your customers about a sold-out item and recapture their interest.
  • Help increase sales.
  • Increase store and website visits.

Here are four ways you can use SMS as back in stock notifications to bring consumers back to your store this holiday season.

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 on 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.

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:
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:

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.

Allow customers to hold onto 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.

Example of sending back-in-stock SMS reminders and letting the customer reserve via keyword

Consumers appreciate being in control of how they communicate – so do offer 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 through chat apps such as Viber.

Not only do you reach them through their preferred mode of communication, but you also secure a contact point for future marketing.

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: but 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 which may cost less.
  • Suggest the item in a different style, color or brand, for example.
  • List items that other customers purchased instead of the first choice.

Follow up with a discount

If you won’t be able to get the item back in stock, send a discount code on another item in your shop. 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 some other incentive.

15% off “Best Christmas Cakes” cookbook through this link:
Black Friday Offer: 10% off any single item in the store through this link:
Just for you: Free shipping through this link if you purchase within the next 3 hours.

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 to the consumer. Sending back in stock alert messages through a platform like Infobip is a cost-effective yet impactful way to keep the channels open.

Help your shoppers pick up where they left off

Start sending back in stock alerts today!