25 June 2018
A few months ago, I realized just how much I valued “back in stock” notifications. I had heard about a product (probably a game–I can’t remember exactly), and it wasn’t available, but the online store where I was trying to buy it had a “back in stock” notification option. I clicked on it, entered my e-mail, and entered a tranquil state of knowing it was one less thing I had to remember.
Of course, this wasn’t the first time I’d used a back in stock notification. But this occasion was different because it finally occurred to me that I run a business with a webstore and should totally offer this too. Sometimes it takes me a while to realize these things.
So I contacted our web developer, Dave Hewer, and he worked his coding magic on Shopify. If you now visit our webstore and see something is unavailable, instead of offering no options, it looks like this:
When you enter your e-mail, I get a notification in my inbox. When the product is back in stock (September for Viticulture), I’ll send a single e-mail notification to everyone who requested it.
After observing the results of this (I’ve received around 1000 back-in-stock notification requests at this point), I think there are several key benefits:
- People prefer not to feel helpless. The back-in-stock notification provides that option.
- I like to know when something is out of stock. I usually have a big-picture idea of when something is going out of stock. But I typically try to maintain a small webstore supply, even between printings. Often when I get the out-of-stock notification, I talk to my shipping helpers to see if it’s actually out of stock or if we have other spare copies we could sell.
- It’s creates a win-win situation when the reprint arrives. These customers get to know right away when the product is available again, and while only some of them may buy it directly from Stonemaier Games, it inevitable results in some direct sales.
Is it a perfect system? Not quite. I wish the notifications populated a spreadsheet with the e-mails (I have to go through the e-mail notifications and copy-paste the e-mail addresses one by one). And the back-in-stock message isn’t customizable on a per-product basis, so I can’t include the estimate back-in-stock date (I could potentially put it in the product title, though).
Do you like back-in-stock notifications? Do you use them as a consumer or a creator?
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