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4 Ways to Boost Holiday Retail Sales with Back-in-Stock SMS Alerts

Here's how you can use SMS to increase sales both in-store and online this shopping season

October 02 2018

Last year's shopping season generated $45 billion in online salesThis 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 an 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 them 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 they also bring the offline and online together which is a critical factor when trying to deliver a good customer experience.

2. 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 prompt them to complete their purchase.

Example of sending back in stock SMS alerts to customersConsumers 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.

Find out how personalized Viber messages helped ShoeBeDo experience a 4x increase in orders and how an RCS campaign helped Club Comex increase their revenue by 115%.

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. It's also important to 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 item 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 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 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 retailer used SMS to improve their business

Read Case Study