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This is How We Quadrupled the Revenue from the Back-In-Stock Notifications
How did we increase the Back In Stock Email Notification revenue by 300%?
What is the Back in Stock Email Notification?
A e-commerce "Back In Stock Notification Notification" refers to an email that's sent to customers who have expressed interest in a product that was previously out of stock. Once the product becomes available again, these customers are notified, prompting them to complete their purchase.
Typically, for a customer to receive the notification, five things need to happen.
the customer has to visit the product page of the item and select their size.
the customer has to select a size of the item (GIF)
the size they are interested in needs to be out of stock when the customer is viewing the product (GIF)
the customer has to submit a form with their e-mail address (GIF)
the item needs to be re-stocked. When the product is re-stocked that is when the automation is triggered to send an email notification.
Because these notifications are for products the customer has expressed interest in, they tend to have good click-through rates and drive incremental revenue. Additionally it provides an excellent reminder for customers who have not visited the website for a while. This is a commonly implemented use-case that can be seen described by Bloomreach here , or as seen this dedicated Shopify Plug-In for Back In Stock.
However, in this form, the use-case is often underwhelming as it only sends notifications to a very small audience. A small audience size even with great click-through rates will rarely generate much revenue. As a result it doesn’t often bring enough revenue to be mentioned often by Email & SMS Marketing Managers in e-commerce.
How did we get 4x times as much revenue from the Scenario?
The standard Back In Stock automation has two major issues. The first is that for a customer to even be able to sign up for a notification, the item has to be out of stock. Most product views by customers are on products that are in stock as can be seen on the example below. This means in most instances the customer does not even have the opportunity to sign up for the notification. The second major issue are the two extra clicks needed, for a customer to sign up. Both of these greatly reduce the potential audience size for the when an item does come back to stock.
To “fix” these issues, we used selecting the size of a product as an additional lever to create a secondary “Extended” Back In Stock audience on top of the existing “Requested” customers who submit the form to notify them about a product that is out of stock.
That means when for example Product A - Medium is restocked there are now 2 audiences that will be sent notifications to:
[when the item is restocked] the “Requested” Audience → customers who signed up for the notification via the banner on the out-of-stock product page for when Product A - Medium comes back to stock.
[after 48 hours from the initial restock] the “Extended” Audience →
customers who have selected Product A - Medium in the last 90 days AND
have not purchased the Product A - Medium AND
they have shared their email at some point AND
they did not opt-out of automated notification emails from you.
Because the Requested audience is much smaller but has a high intent to purchase the item, they receive the notification 2 days in advance of the extended audience. If the item is still in stock after 48 hours it can continue sending notifications to the Extended group, which is much larger but has only a medium intent to purchase the item. This is to give priority to buy the item to users who requested to be notified.
As you can see on the results from a few weeks of the campaign below, the Extended audience brings in 4x the amount of revenue.
Why is selecting size an appropriate trigger?
Selecting a size is a key predictor of a customer’s interest in a product. In Fashion e-shops in particular, selecting a size is quite similar to adding an item to a cart. Typically, only 25-40% of users who have viewed a product also select a size in fashion e-commerce. That is still a much higher number than just the 1-2% of users have viewed a product also ask to be notified when it is back in stock. (see example funnel below)
So selecting a size is similar to adding to cart, by being rare enough to signal a customer’s interest in an item; but being common enough to build a sizeable audience over time. Additionally it has the added benefit of not having to be out of stock to “build up the audience size”. This is particularly true for products that are more often in stock than not.
We used the Bloomreach Engagement BigQuery module to make this possible. Bloomreach Engagement’s CDP provided the selected_size, purchase_item and the sign_up events all within the same 360 customer view. Shopify provided the hourly inventory count for each item in the catalogue. In BigQuery’s SQL we set up the triggering logic (which customers are eligible to receive a notification today?) And then to actually send the emails there is an automated import of the trigger events into Bloomreach Scenarios from BigQuery.
Note: If you are not a fashion company other “customer affinity” logic can be used to expand the Back In Stock audience. For example if a customer has viewed the same product 3 or more times over last 90 days, that could be a good replacement for “selecting a size” in creating your own Extended Back In Stock automation. Adding to cart could also work.
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