As any e-commerce brand knows, the success of any holiday shopping season starts long before Black Friday. Retailers should prepare ahead of time with a solid sales strategy that includes inventory management. Stocking the right amount of items is critical to avoid overstocking, especially during peak trading times. But what happens when supplies get out of their control?
If this sounds familiar, that’s because you’re in good company. In fact, according to the institute Supply chain management75% of businesses surveyed experienced supply chain issues Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 44% of 57% of respondents expect longer lead times for orders from Chinese suppliers.
Concerns about the supply chain
Consumers are worried about the supply chain. Take a look at these stats Oracle: released in September 2021. These statistics reflect consumer behavior and perspectives on current supply chain issues;
- 81 percent of people are willing to pay a premium for smooth and timely delivery of their products.
- 84 percent say delays will cause them to cancel their order, and 80 percent say delays or shortages will even cause them to stop buying from the brand altogether.
- 58 percent of people will stop buying a product after 1-3 delays or interruptions.
- Most people (91 percent) understand that supply chains are complex, but 94 percent want more support from brands to help ease their concerns.
- People want brands to provide more regular updates on shipment status (63 percent), be more transparent about inventory (59 percent) and potential supply chain issues (54 percent), and offer refunds (56 percent) or discounts (52 percent) on products. are postponed or cancelled.
- 76 percent of people would trust and be more willing to buy (78 percent) from a company if they knew it was using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to manage its supply chain.
There’s a lot at stake this holiday season, especially when consumers want and expect products inside 2-3 days if possible when shopping online. It is possible that problems may occur. Retailers must be proactive in keeping customers informed of what is happening with their orders. This includes the causes of inventory shortages, the efforts being made to resolve them, and how long customers will have to wait for product to be available.
With this in mind, Trinity put together a few ways to keep customers in the loop on supply chain issues. Let’s begin.
Explain the problem (briefly)
Communicate how the supply chain directly impacts your brand. No need to get into supply chain management. It’s easy to see why your brand is struggling. (And don’t forget to mention that these failures aren’t specific to your business.) While many people out there know is a supply chain issue many still don’t know about why? Take a moment to explain that H&M does below.
Explain what you do to keep products in stock as much as possible
Let customers know what’s going on behind the scenes to get your product into your customers’ hands as quickly as possible. This gives your brand an opportunity to let consumers know how seriously you take this issue. And it also helps drive brand loyalty. See an example of how Riot communicates with customers about delays in product availability.
Provide direction on what steps should be taken to reduce wait times
Helping to direct users will help them stay on your site. For example, LLBean: provides consumer recommendations that can help customers navigate long shipping times. Use this information to give buyers an idea of what kind of delays you’re experiencing. It also gives them an idea of what you propose to do in the meantime.
Temporarily unavailable or out-of-stock products won’t keep users from taking the next step, and they’re likely to visit a competitor’s site instead. Agreed Baymard Institute, “a product listed as ‘out of stock’ when it is simply temporarily unavailable leads to abandonment as users look elsewhere to purchase the product.” To avoid this, for products that simply run out, consider the “out of stock” language and instead provide the “Estimated Delivery Date” language. Below is an example of a good implementation of this principle Lego.com. They allow you to place back orders while giving you a shipping date in the future.
By the way, if you haven’t already, make sure to put an “estimated delivery date” on your guy’s box, because it can: increase cart conversion up to 12%.
Always give users the next step, even when something is out of stock. Be sure to add language around the additional options. For example, look Target The “Explore More” section that is displayed when the user taps the head. To get your customer to change direction, give them a next step by considering other, similar things.
Similar to #1 above (adding language to your website about supply chain issues), consider sending an email before the holiday explaining why items may be out of stock. This is also a good opportunity to encourage shoppers to perhaps shop earlier than usual to help even out demand. Take a look at the example sent to this email LLBean: clients explain their current problems;
When a product is temporarily unavailable, a very useful addition is the ability for users to be notified when it is back in stock. This brings the user back to your site. It also creates another point of contact for communication and can include the urgency of a purchase. For example: Good news! The photo frame is back in stock, but it may take a while. Return to stock email emails convert at a significantly high rate (65.32%) according to Barillion. If you need a primer on automated customizations like stock emails, be sure to check out our free guide, “Automated Personalization to Explode E-Commerce” here.
Here’s another example of how H&M uses this feature to send custom notifications to customers when their item is back in stock.
The supply chain will continue to struggle during the busiest time of the year. Make sure you are prepared to succeed as much as possible by communicating clearly with customers and providing options for them in less than ideal situations. By doing this, you alleviate user dead ends and give them alternatives instead of just navigating away from your page. As always, be sure go out with any question. Happy holiday!