If a product isn't in stock, then customers want to know the back in stock date. By the end of this article, you’ll walk away armed with the knowledge of how to set up back in stock notifications in WooCommerce and provide clear information to customers.
As an online store owner, it’s important to let your customers know when WooCommerce out of stock products will be available again, and give them an opportunity to buy from you when the product becomes available. If you don’t do this, customers will be more likely to buy from your competitors and you could miss out on sales.
For example, if you’re facing stock issues on some products due to the Coronavirus lockdown, you’ll want to let customers know when the new stock is expected to be available again.
Don’t worry, by the end of this FREE guide you’ll walk away knowing EXACTLY how to:
- Enable backorders in WooCommerce so customers can still place orders.
- Clearly display the WooCommerce back in stock date on product pages.
- Allow customers to enter their email address and join a waitlist to be sent a notification email when the product is back in stock.
- Take a hybrid approach which involves enabling backorders and setting up a waitlist.
And the best part? At the end of this article, we’ll show you how to automate the whole process so that customers can either (1) order out of stock products immediately after making an informed decision on whether to wait or (2) allow them to receive a product back in stock email when the product is available.
2 ways to deal with out of stock products
If you sell products through your e-commerce store, you’ll probably run into scenarios where some products are temporarily out of stock. The good news is that there are two ways to handle out of stock products in WooCommerce while delivering a good user experience:
- Enable backordersYou can enable backorders on your WooCommerce store so that customers can still place orders for out of stock products. In addition, you can display the WooCommerce back in stock date when the product (for a simple product or variable product) directly on the single product page.
- Join a WooCommerce waiting listAllow customers to enter their email addresses directly on the single product page to join a waitlist. This way, they can be notified when the product is back in stock.
Advice on setting up back in stock notifications in WooCommerce
Now, you might be wondering how you should deal with out of stock items. We explored two different implementations earlier and now we'll help you choose the best solution for your e-commerce store.
Enabling backorders in WooCommerce is generally best because the customer places the order and pays straight away. So, there’s no risk that you’ll lose the sale to a competitor. This also works for variable products i.e. WooCommerce product variations.
The second option – using an “email when back in stock” plugin – means that the customer doesn’t know how long they’ll be waiting. In this scenario, they could be more likely to buy elsewhere while they’re waiting to receive a stock alert i.e. a back in stock notification from your WooCommerce store.
That said, the 'joining a waitlist' option is best if you have major stock problems. For example, if you can’t display reliable information about when the product will be back in stock. In this sort of scenario, you’re better off taking the customer’s email address and hoping that it’s not too late to secure the sale when you do receive stock again.
How to set up back in stock notifications in WooCommerce (in 2 different ways)
Here, we’ll explain how you can set up back in stock notifications in WooCommerce in two different ways.
Method #1: Enable backorders
The easiest way to add more information to WooCommerce backorder notices on your online store is by using the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin. Its Notify customer option lets you display a backorder notice or WooCommerce back in stock date on the single product page as soon as a product goes out of stock. However, customers can still place their orders.
Here’s how you can set this up in WooCommerce:
- Get the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin and install and activate it to your WordPress site.
- Go to the product you’d like to enable backorders on and scroll down to the Product data section.
- Click on the Inventory tab.
- Set the product Stock status to On backorder using the dropdown.
- Use the Lead time option to let customers know when the product is expected to be back in stock. You can use this option to set a separate lead time message for specific products, for example by adding the WooCommerce back in stock date. There's no need to use a shortcode.
- Click the Publish button to continue.
The single product page should look something like this on the front-end:
You can modify the lead time text that appears before the product-specific message for all of your products on the plugin settings page i.e. WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Lead time from the WordPress backend. All you have to do is enter the text you’d like to have displayed on the front-end in the Lead time prefix field.
With backorders, customers can add the product to their cart and proceed to the checkout page - even if the product is out of stock. The clearly displayed WooCommerce back in stock date tells the customer what to expect, while still capturing the sale for you.
Method #2: Set up a waitlist
The WooCommerce Waitlist add-on lets you automatically notify customers when a product becomes available for purchase again. It replaces the add to cart button on single product pages and the shop page with a waiting list button.
All you have to do is install the WooCommerce Waitlist add-on on your WordPress website and activate it. It will automatically replace the add to cart buttons with Join waitlist buttons on the front-end for products that are out of stock.
Customers can then enter their email address to be notified whenever the product is back in stock. On the backend, you can see the email addresses of everyone that has joined the waitlist for a product. To do this, head over to the Product data section and click on the Waitlists tab.
From here, you can send a product back in stock email notification (i.e. a stock alert) to all users on the waitlist to let them know the product is back in stock. You can also manually add or remove people from the waitlist. In addition to this, you can use the export waitlist option to get a CSV file of everyone on the email subscription list.
Can I use both solutions together?
Yes, both plugins work nicely together! So, you can use both the enable backorder and waitlist solution together on your WooCommerce store to handle out of stock products.
From a technical standpoint, you can enable the “email when back in stock” feature from the WooCommerce Waitlist plugin and display expected times for products to be back in stock using the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin.
The add to cart button is replaced with a Join waitlist button on the front-end and the lead time text appears after the Out of stock - Join the waitlist to be emailed when this product becomes available text that’s added by the WooCommerce Waitlist plugin.
Once you’re done setting this up, it’ll look something like this on the front-end:
Want to set up back in stock notifications in WooCommerce in less than 5 minutes?
As an online store owner, you should have a solution in case you run into an out of stock product scenario. The way we see it, there are two easy ways of handling this:
- You can enable backorders in WooCommerce so customers can still place orders and you don’t miss out on their sale. When you do this, it's essential to use WooCommerce Lead Time to display a clear WooCommerce back in stock date.
- Alternatively, you can give customers the option to enter their email address and join a waitlist to be sent a stock alert when the product is back in stock.
Whichever option you ultimately decide to go with will prevent you from losing sales due to stock issues. The best part is that there’s absolutely no technical knowledge required and you don’t have to mess around with custom PHP or HTML code on your store.
Instead, you get a:
- Plug-and-play setup for the plugin.
- In-depth documentation (absolutely no way to get it wrong).
- Technical support is available if you need any help.
- 30-day money-back guarantee. Love it or get a full refund, 0 risk!
Get the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin today to start getting orders today!