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How promoting Shopify products based on availability can lead to more sales

Reading time: 5 minutes Updated: December 20, 2017
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This past week I was out shopping for a couple of more items to give to my kids for Christmas.

My son likes video games, but I couldn’t make up my mind between two different video games.

In this case, I think he would have probably like either one of them.

So which of these two games did I end up choosing?

I ended up buying the game that was almost sold out.

The one that was almost sold out stood out to me as a better option.

Why is this?

If I didn’t act fast, perhaps this game wouldn’t be there the next time I came around.

And given two equally good choices, the one that had less available gave me another indicator that this game was more popular.

The availability of your Shopify products can provide an additional motivator for your customers to choose one product over another.

So in today’s post, I’d like to cover a few simple ways you can promote your Shopify products based on their availability to help you convert more sales.

We’ll discuss:

  • Promoting in stock products
  • Promoting low stock products
  • Promoting out of stock products

Promoting in stock products

A Shopify product is considered in stock if it has one or more items available.

So why would you want to promote your in stock products?

Shoppers are more likely to buy when they see a product is in stock because they know it is available immediately.

You can strengthen this message by adding badges or messaging such as Ships Today or Available Now.

For customers where time is of the essence, fast shipping times could be a big motivating factor.

This is especially true if your Shopify store carries a mix of in stock and drop ship items since drop ship items typically take a lot longer to ship.

Promoting low stock products

A Shopify product is considered to have low stock if it may sell out in the near future.

How can promoting low stock products help you make more sales?

Promoting your low stock items can help you sell more thanks to the scarcity effect.

If a product might sell out, a customer is more likely to buy for fear of missing out.

You can reenforce this message by displaying badges on these products such as Less than 10 left or Hurry - almost gone!.

The actual inventory threshold used to consider an item as low stock may vary based on how fast the item sells (also known as the sales velocity).

For example, if an item only sells a few per week, you might consider it to be low stock when there are less than 10 or 20 left.

But if an item sells 100+ an hour, you may want to show the low stock indicator when it gets to 500 or 1000 available.

Promoting out of stock products

An out of stock Shopify product is one where you have no actual inventory available.

There are two types of out of stock products on Shopify:

  • Out of stock products that CAN still be purchased
  • Out of stock products that CAN NOT be purchased

Each of these requires a different strategy which we’ll discuss below.

Out of stock products that CAN still be purchased

What types of products would typically be both out of stock and still available for purchase?

One common scenario is if you have drop ship items for sale.

Drop ship products might not have any actual inventory quantity stored in Shopify.

When a drop ship order comes in to Shopify, it would then be sent off to another supplier to fulfill the order.

As a result, drop ship orders will typically result in a longer time before they are delivered to the customer.

So why would you want to promote these types of products?

Promoting your out of stock products that can be purchased makes it clear they are both available and may take longer.

By promoting the fact the products are not in stock but still can be purchased, you can capture more sales from customers that are not in a hurry.

You can use badges or text such as Ships in 7 to 10 days to indicate the increased shipping times.

Making the increased shipping times clear up front should reduce the number of customers that end up surprised and asking for a refund.

Out of stock products that CAN NOT be purchased

An out of stock product that can’t be purchased occurs when you sell out of all available inventory for a product.

So why might you want to still promote out of stock products if they can’t be purchased?

Promoting out of stock products that can’t be purchased gives you a chance to capture a future sales lead.

For example, you can allow customers to subscribe to be notified when a product goes back in stock.

This let’s you have a built-in list of qualified customer leads ready for whenever these products come back in stock.

This can also be a great way to help you prioritize how you reorder your product by focusing on the most requested items first.

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Let’s recap what we discussed about promoting your Shopify products based on available inventory.

You can promote your in stock products based on the fact they are available instantly.

You can promote your low stock products using scarcity so customers are more likely to buy before missing out.

You can promote your out of stock products that are available for purchase to make it clear these items are still available, with possibly slightly longer shipping times.

And finally, you can promote your out of stock products that can’t be purchased to capture future sales leads and gain insights into future product demand.