E-commerce customers don’t always make a purchase outright. They’ll add multiple items to their carts and forget about them for a while (see BP #142). The reasons behind this kind of behavior are numerous:
- Customers may be waiting on money before completing the purchase.
- Customers may be taking the time to compare products across multiple stores.
- Customers may not have entirely managed to convince themselves that they need certain products and will therefore take some time to see if they’ll warm up to those products.
- Customers may have forgotten they still have items in their cart, especially if they haven’t visited the store in a while.
Some of these products tend to run out. While a product like toilet paper will just get replenished when it runs out of stock, stuff like clothing is replaced by other designs once it sells out. Some other products like computers may be going out of production or getting replaced by more expensive models. This provides an opportunity to nudge customers towards completing a purchase by notifying them that a product in their cart is running out of stock.
Low stock notifications create a sense of urgency because people are more likely to buy a product if it’s scarce. It also serves as a wake-up call to users who had forgotten about all the items they have in their carts.
Low stock notifications can also be used to suggest cross-sells when a user clicks on them. If price was a limiting factor, for example, you can recommend alternative products that cost less.