E-commerce customers are never under any pressure to complete a purchase. The buying process is rarely linear and while some customers buy what they want in a single session, others might take days, or even weeks to complete a purchase. Such a customer will come in, look at the products, and add an interesting one to their cart and then leave before paying. 

They might take the time away from your store to compare prices against other stores or just deal with everyday life before coming back hours or days later. The problem with long absences is that products in a customer’s cart might sell out before they return.

Let’s take Jonah as an example. He comes in, looks at sneakers, and is impressed with a certain pair so he adds it to his cart. He doesn’t have the money to pay for the sneakers but his paycheck would be coming in two days so he decides to wait. He comes in two days later only to find the sneakers have sold out when tries to pay.


What do you do?

The first thing you have to do is notify Jonah immediately the sneakers run out. This should be as a part of his account notifications. You could also send him an email.


What else can you do to salvage the sale?

In the case of a limited edition or discontinued product, the best you can do is recommend similar products and pray that Jonah picks one of them instead.

If a product is only temporarily out of stock, there is still hope of closing the sale. If the product has sold out but the manufacturer might bring out a new shipment in a day or two, you don’t even need to notify Jonah, you can just sell it, and then adjust the expected delivery date by a day or two. If a new shipment is not expected for more than a week, it’s best to notify Jonah and confirm if he’s comfortable with a longer wait time for delivery.