Best Practices For Out-of-stock Email Notification

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Out-of-stock email notification can be seen as a timely solution for online businesses every time there is an unexpected stockout. No matter how serious the event’s consequences are, this email alert can be a key to retain customers and rescue the revenue. In this article, we’ll give some common practices for out-of-stock email notifications that help maintain business growth, including when customers have placed an order and when they haven’t.


When your customers have made an order, but the product is out of stock

1. Apologize sincerely for the stockout

Once businesses cause any inconvenience for customers, it will affect the business image. But if customers feel the sincerity of the merchant’s apology, they will be sympathetic towards the merchant. Apologies shouldn’t be long-winded. Write politely as much as possible, show your regret and responsibility for the inconvenience.

By making a sincere apology, Little Dudes and Divas, a fashion brand, has gained their customers’ sympathy: “Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience.”

2. Notify customers of when it’s back-in-stock

Businesses can also send stockout emails accompanied by a state to notify customers as soon as the product is back in stock. In addition, considering bonuses for out-of-stock items can encourage customers to continue buying despite having to wait. A small discount or free shipping is a plus point to keep customers satisfied. Otherwise, give them a discount code or free shipping code for the next purchase. 

3. Offer a refund

For customers who have paid in advance but don’t want to wait any longer, offer them a refund. Make clear how and when people can get the refund. Thus, customers will know that the business highly appreciates credibility and always puts customers’ benefits first. Therefore, they will come back in the future. One more time, offering them a discount or free shipping for the next order will make them stay with the business. 

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When your customers want to buy a product, but it’s out of stock

4. Setup product page to register for back-in-stock notifications

When customers surf on the product page to find the item they are interested in, it’s a letdown to realize that it’s out of stock. In this case, set up the product page so that customers can easily register to get notifications of the restocked product by providing their email address if they wish. Businesses can send email notifications to customers as that product is back-in-stock. Don’t forget, the notifications need to be sent as soon as possible.

5. Send waitlist notification email

Unlocking the power of waitlist notification is a good way online businesses should apply to keep customers happy. Let customers add the out-of-stock product to their waitlist, and then send them a waitlist notification email. Note that the item they are seeking has been added to the waitlist, and when the item is restocked, they can continue to order. 

Forever21, a fashion retailer, sent emails after their customers added an out-of-stock product to the waitlist. The email was simple and got to the point: “We’re received your waitlist request and will buzz you as soon as it’s back in stock!”. Furthermore, they enclosed the notification with a product recommendation for their customers.

6. Recommend similar products

As mentioned in Forever21’s case, product recommendation is another effective way. Offering some related products makes more sense than just asking shoppers to wait. Enclosing a link to these products sometimes can lead customers to purchase that product if they don’t want to wait for too long. Another key is that, if shoppers don’t actually want to purchase their intended item, this similar product list can be helpful for them and might be preferred to the stockout one. Fortunately, when customers have found what they want, they won’t come to competitors.

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By offering related products, Forever21 made their customers came back to the site and made purchases. 

7. Recommend backorder 

Backorder recommendation isn’t a bad choice and even better than other ways. Offer customers to place a backorder and deliver it when the product restocks. The pros of backorder are that businesses won’t lose revenue and customers won’t leave the store to buy from other competitors, customers can save their time as they needn’t take many steps to purchase the product. In this way, however, the merchants should try to manage the back-in-stock date to ensure customers don’t have to wait too long. BackOrder has helped many eCommerce businesses with out-of-stock issues and increased their customers’ experience.



Stockout email notification is one of the keys for online businesses when facing a stockout problem. Take advantage of this tool to keep your customers’ interest and stay with your brand.

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