Optimising an e-commerce website is no simple task, but, if you want to improve your brand reach, rank higher than your competition on Google and bring in more sales, then it’s a must. If you are missing out on clicks to your website then you are missing out on conversions, and with an e-commerce website, this means potentially missing out on sales, returning customers and recommendations.

If a consumer needs a product then, more and more frequently, they will likely turn to search engines like Google and begin making comparisons between websites to find the best deal. So, what happens when a consumer is looking for a product that you sell on your e-commerce website, they type a search query into Google, find your product listing and click through, but it’s out of stock?

Whilst it’s not ideal that the product is out of stock, there are steps that you can take to make this experience less frustrating for the customer. If you handle out of stock products optimally you may even be able to successfully turn the situation around and still make a sale.

Make Sure the Page Still Exists

The most important thing is that you must make sure that the page still exists. Every click that brings a customer to your website should provide an experience that will not leave them frustrated. If they do become frustrated, then they are very likely to leave the website, which will negatively influence your bounce rate

If a consumer follows a link, from Google, social media, or elsewhere on the internet that results in them landing on a 404 page, it is almost guaranteed to cause instant frustration. Plus, if you remove a product, then put it back, remove it again and then put it back again, it can take Google a long time to catch up with the signals that you are sending.

Communicate Clear Information

It is also key to ensure that you continue to provide value to your search visitors by communicating clearly with them. Display the status of the stock clearly.

Add a notice to the page describing why a product is out of stock. For example, “Due to unexpected increased demand for this product, we are temporarily out of stock”. Try to let the customer know when it will become available again, with an estimated date.

You can use even use product schema to set options such as InStock, OutOfStock, and SoldOut, which Google will display in the product’s organic search result.

Provide Alternatives

You can also solve the problem of a product’s unavailability, be it temporary or permanent, by providing alternatives. Such as an option of buying or reserving the product before it is in stock again. Or, if you don’t plan on stocking that particular product again, you could try offering a similar product in its place.

The best way to provide alternative products on an e-commerce site is to make sure that your product listing contains all available product variables such as size/colour/type etc, rather than listing them independently. Then, when one of these variables becomes unavailable, the consumer is still left with other choices on the page.

Displaying “related products” on a product page is another simple way of providing alternatives for the consumer which might still result in a sale.

Are you happy with your website’s performance? Is your digital agency slow to respond or failing to deliver results? Then contact Silkstream today.