Posted September 2023
2 min read
Over the last few years, several factors have reshaped what customers expect from their online shopping experience. We’ve seen massive growth, a rise in operational costs, supply chain disruptions, and a shift to a preference for best in class technologies.
These days consumers have countless shopping options. If a product they want isn't available, it’s pretty easy to check out another seller - a tough pill to swallow considering we saw an increase of 250% in out-of-stock messages between January 2020 and October 2020.
Despite this increase, consumer tolerance for this has lowered. The way we see it, online retailers now have an opportunity to get creative with their sales strategy to not just meet consumer expectations but exceed them.
In a pre-pandemic world, when a product wasn’t in stock, customers had a few options; they could either check back later or enter their details to join a 'waitlist' for a notification. The waitlist approach generally produces a conversion rate of 8% to 15%. There had to be a better way.
The Distinction Between Waitlists and Presales
Presales involve accepting a customer's order for a product before it is physically available for fulfilment. This guarantees the customer that the product they want will be theirs once it's ready to ship. Merchants choose to charge full, partial, or no payment upfront, with the remaining costs settled later, and the expected timeline clearly communicated at the checkout. It’s a strategy commonly used to build hype for product launches or to sustain sales momentum when an in-demand product is waiting on stock replenishment.
Our data tells us that products made available for presale have a 47% higher conversion rate than those that are not.
Waitlists, on the other hand, encourage customers to submit their details (usually email address or phone number) to receive notifications when an item is in stock and ready for purchase. This strategy is often associated with 'drop culture,' where customers sign up to be the first to know about new product releases or to be alerted when previously sold-out items have been restocked.