Back in Stock: A Comprehensive Guide for Business Owners


Running a business is exciting, especially when your products sell like hotcakes. It's a clear sign that your customers love what you're offering. However, what happens when the item they're after goes out of stock? This can be a frustrating experience, causing many to turn to other businesses for their needs.

Impact of stock-out events

Before we dive into the creation of back-in-stock email flows, let's first understand the impact of stock-out situations. According to a study by Retail Drive, out-of-stock events lead to an annual sales loss of around $1 trillion. This makes it crucial for businesses to implement strategies to minimize the impact of these events.

Causes of stock-out events

There are several reasons why products go out of stock. Let’s go over a few of them:

1. Viral products

Congratulations, your product is a massive hit! But with great popularity comes great demand, and often, the supply fails to keep up.

Solution: Increase the inventory of these popular items to match the soaring demand.

2. Less inventory by design

Sometimes, the demand for certain items may exceed your predictions, leading to stock-outs.

Solution: Review your inventory strategy and consider stocking more items that frequently sell out.

3. Inventory mismanagement

A glitch in your inventory management system can also result in stock-outs.

Solution: Regularly review your inventory management and accounting to identify and fix potential loopholes.

Common solutions to prevent stock-out events

1. Set up low inventory alerts

Low inventory alerts notify you when a product's quantity dips below a certain threshold.

Tip: Set up these alerts via email, Slack, SMS, etc., per your procurement lead time.

Example of those implementing this strategy:

When products run low, customers are notified to 'Grab it before it's gone!'.

2. Provide pre-order opportunities

Allowing buyers to pre-order out-of-stock items can ensure sales conversion as soon as the items are back in stock.

Tip: Be transparent with customers and provide an estimated product availability date on the product page.

Example of those implementing this strategy.

Bubble Tea Club offers customers the option to pre-order sold-out products with a clearly stated expected arrival date.

Bubble Tea Club

3. Offer alternatives

If a product is out of stock, offer buyers similar products they might be interested in.

Tip: Personalized suggestions or discounts can make this offer more attractive to buyers.

Example of those implementing this strategy.

When the Allen Solly Bag is out of stock on Myntra, it suggests the next best bag option to keep buyers engaged.

Allen Solly Bag

4. Implement back-in-stock alerts

An engaging back-in-stock alert can help you recover a significant portion of stocked-out sales. Up to 50% of stocked-out sales can be recovered with this strategy. Provide an easy option for customers to subscribe to notifications when the product is back in stock. This can be especially useful for guest profiles.

Tip: Set up SMS, email, and push notification alerts.

Example of brands implementing this strategy.

Beanie features a "Notify Me" call-to-action for currently out-of-stock products. Beanie Crafting a compelling back-in-stock notification can significantly boost your sales recovery efforts. Research suggests that implementing such alerts can help recapture up to 50% of lost sales due to stockouts. Yet, the challenge lies in creating one cost-effectively and ensuring it reaches customers reliably. How can you construct such a system without incurring excessive costs and through a dependable channel?

The answer is Back in Stock Email flow.

What is a back-in-stock email flow?

A back-in-stock email flow is a strategy that involves sending automated emails to customers who express interest in an out-of-stock product. The purpose of these emails is to notify them when the product is available again for purchase.


This strategy is an excellent way to re-engage customers and recover lost sales. It also demonstrates to your customers that you value their interests and are committed to providing them with the products they desire.

The purpose of a back-in-stock email flow

The primary goals of implementing a back-in-stock email flow are:

  • To inform customers and prospects about the restock

  • To rekindle their interest

  • To motivate them to make a purchase

Usually, this workflow includes 2-3 emails over about three days.

How to implement this flow

Setting up your back-in-stock email flow involves a few key steps:

  1. Identify the out-of-stock products that are most popular or in demand.

  2. Use software or tools to track customers interested in these products.

  3. Set up an automated email sequence to notify these customers when the product is back in stock.

  4. Monitor the results and adjust your strategy as needed.

How to use an email marketing platform to implement this flow?

You can use an email marketing platform like Mailmodo to implement your back-in-stock email flow. With its intuitive pre-build automation and advanced contact management, you can easily set up automated email sequences, create attractive email templates, and manage your campaigns effectively.

Understanding the 'Sold-out' effect

Ever noticed how, when shopping online or in-store, the sight of a "sold out" sign or tag can have a peculiar impact on your buying decision? It might seem like an inconvenience or disappointment at first, but recent research indicates that, when used strategically, sold-out products can amplify the perceived value of the remaining stock, driving more sales.

Why does the 'Sold-out' effect work?

The 'sold-out' effect works due to three main principles:

1. The Perception of Quality: The study found that when customers see items labeled as "sold out," they often perceive them as high-quality products. This perception extends to the other products available in the store, whether online or physical. The notion here is that if others have bought the product to the extent of selling out, it must be good. This form of social proof can enhance the appeal of your remaining products.

2. The Balance of Quantity: Interestingly, the relationship between the number of sold-out options and the likelihood of purchase follows a ∩ shaped curve. A few sold-out options can effectively increase sales, but the effect can backfire if there are too many. For instance, in an experiment involving a USB cable with multiple color options, the likelihood of purchase increased when 50% of the options were sold out but decreased when 66.7% of options were unavailable.

3. The Influence of Buying Purpose: The negative effect of excessive sold-out options becomes weaker when people shop for others, such as when buying a gift. Finding the exact option is not as important in such cases, making them more tolerant of sold-out options.

Leveraging the 'Sold-out' effect: practical steps

To leverage the 'sold-out' effect effectively, consider the following steps:

1. Monitor sold-out products: Track the proportion of sold-out products displayed in your store.

2. Display out-of-stock products: Instead of removing out-of-stock items from the display, continue showing them to leverage the 'sold-out' effect.

3. Manage inventory: If a significant proportion of your inventory is sold out, consider identifying its reason and fixing the issue.

4. Consider product attributes: The 'sold-out' effect may not apply if products with the same attributes (e.g., brand or price) are sold out.

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Out-of-stock situations can be frustrating for both businesses and customers. However, a well-implemented back-in-stock email flow can turn these challenges into opportunities. Notifying customers when their desired product is available again improves customer satisfaction and recaptures lost sales.

Remember, the key to a successful back-in-stock email flow is a prompt, clear, and personalized strategy. With the right strategy and tools, you can minimize the impact of stock-out situations and keep your customers returning for more.

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