Advanced inventory controls for your back-in-stock alerts
Its been exciting to watch how successful our Back in Stock Product Alerts app has been for e-commerce merchants to make the most of customer demand on their out-of-stock products. At its core, the app addresses a fairly simple need – allowing your customers to sign up for restock alerts on products that are currently out of stock, and automatically notifying them when those products are back in stock. Across the several thousand stores that use the app, we’ve seen some pretty fantastic results for those automatic back-in-stock alerts – and the best part is the alerts are completely automated, and merchants don’t have to do a thing once the triggers are set up.
While the app does a great job of that core scenario, we’ve been getting a lot of feedback asking for more fine-grained control from an inventory standpoint on when to trigger the alerts and how to optimize the volume of alerts that get sent. We are super excited to let you know that we’ve added a number of capabilities to address the numerous feature requests we’ve received from merchants using the app. Some of these are fairly sophisticated scenarios and assume significance when you are dealing with high customer volumes but they can help significantly enhance the experience for your customers while still maximizing value for you. Here’s a quick list of the capabilities we’ve added.
Allow customers to sign-up for restock alerts on select products
Merchants frequently have situations where they know they are not going to restock certain products. In such cases, allowing users to sign up for alerts might not be very useful. More importantly, it can be damaging from a customer experience perspective because you are indirectly setting expectations that they are going to hear from you when the product is restocked, and that is never going to happen in this case. To support this capability, you can now set up a custom tag in the app, add that tag to those products that you want the app to exclude, and the Notify Me button from the app will automatically get deactivated on the page thereby preventing customers from signing up. You can add your custom tag via the Swym Dashboard (Apps -> Back In Stock Product Alerts -> Engagement Features -> Disable on selected products), and then add that custom tag to the products that you want the app to exclude. Note that the app will use a default swym-disabled tag if you prefer not to add to your own custom tag – simply add swym-disabled as a tag to those products, and the Notify Me alert button will not show up on those product pages (More details here)
Send restock alerts only when a minimum quantity of stock is available
For a popular product that’s out-of-stock, it is not uncommon to have 1000s of customers signing up to be notified when that product is restocked. If there is a single return of that particular product from a customer who had previously purchased, that return can trigger an automatic restock notification that gets sent to all those customers waiting even though only one item is in stock. Given the likelihood of that item getting purchased pretty quickly, these alerts are going to frustrate a lot of those customers because the product is going to be out-of-stock by the time they come back to the site. To address this, the app now allows you to configure a minimum stock threshold both site-wide and at a product-level.
- Site-level threshold – Using the Swym Dashboard, (Apps -> In Stock Alerts -> Engagement Features -> Min Stock Threshold) you can configure a minimum threshold quantity for all products on your site. Once set, automatic restock alerts will be triggered only if at least that many items are in stock
- Product-level threshold – You might have some products that are restocked in the 100s or 1000s because of their demand, and some other products might be restocked in much smaller volumes. In such circumstances where your product inventory is varied, a site-wide minimum stock threshold might not suffice.
On the Premium and Enterprise plans of the app, you can configure those minimum stock thresholds at a product level. On the Min Stock Threshold screen, you should see additional options to add custom tags and associate a threshold value for each tag. Once a custom tag is created, all you’ll need to do is add these custom tags to those products for which you are looking to configure that specific threshold value.
Overriding the configured minimum threshold for specific products
When these product-level thresholds are defined, you also have the ability to override that minimum threshold by manually triggering a restock email on a given product. Let’s say you have a high threshold value defined for a product assuming you are going to restock at least that many, but then plans change and you end up restocking a lot less. Since the threshold is in place, those restock alerts won’t automatically get sent. In such an event, you can trigger the restock alerts manually via the Dashboard and that’ll override any threshold values that were previously configured for that particular product.
Send restock alerts in multiple batches
For your most popular products, it is not uncommon to see a lot more customer demand than the quantity of stock you are able to restock at any given point in time. In those instances, you might have thousands of customers waiting on a restock alert but only have 25 items to restock in that batch. When those 25 items are restocked, the default behavior of the app would be to notify all those customers in one shot – and given only 25 items are available for purchase, the vast majority of those restock alerts will result in a frustrating experience for those customers that couldn’t purchase the item because it had sold out already. To help address this, you can now configure the app to send those restock alerts in batches by choosing one of the following options:
- Send ‘n’ alerts for every item in stock – if you have 3 items in stock and ‘n’ is set to 5, configure the app to limit the first batch to just 15 (3 times 5) alerts. For subsequent batches, the app will determine how many messages to send based on how many items are left in stock until the item is out of stock again.
- Send m alerts in each batch – if this option is chosen, the app will send a fixed number of m alerts in each batch until the product is sold out
- Automatically determine batch size – Let the app automatically determine the optimal size of each batch to maximize conversions based on the number of items left in stock and expected conversion rates based on historical data
In addition to choosing one of the above options, you can also specify the wait time between batches (defaults to 60 minutes), and the order in which to notify customers (Newest customers that signed up to receive these alerts vs the oldest). Please note that this option to send your alerts in batches is supported only on our Enterprise plan. You can configure these options via the Swym Dashboard (Apps -> Back In Stock Product Alerts -> Marketing Features -> Send alerts in batches)
As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on whether these features are useful, and if there are ways to make these even more useful for you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
The Swym Back In Stock Product Alerts app is available for Shopify, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce and Magento platforms.