Is there anything more frustrating than having customers clamoring for a product you normally carry, and having to turn them away? Inventory supply does not always match demand, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted. For example, the powersports industry saw an unprecedented boom during 2020, due to people looking for fun, socially distant outdoor activities.
While high demand may seem like a good thing for your dealership, it can become a problem. You may fear that you’ll lose customers who can’t buy what they want, or that you’ll be unable to move what inventory you do have. Learn how to keep these customers interested so they become fans of your dealership and buy from you when stock returns.
5 tips for responding when a product is out of stock
When inventory is low, it’s not the time to stay quiet! Instead, seize the power of social media to nurture your customer relationships. How you respond to inquiries about unavailable products can make or break a customer relationship.
1. Stay positive
First, stay positive by saying something like, “So many of you loved this product that we’re temporarily out of stock! We’re working on getting this item back as soon as we can.” Don’t forget to thank them for their interest.
2. Offer alternative products and services
Whenever possible, steer shoppers to other products and services. A customer may find a similar product they like even better, and they may end up spending more money with you than expected. If a substitute product is not available, attempt to help customers with products they already own. For example, sell them accessories to upgrade a vehicle. If your dealership provides service, explain how you can keep their current vehicle running smoothly until they’re able to buy a new one.
3. Keep information current
Keep your website as up-to-date as possible so your customers stay informed. Don’t remove items that are out of stock; just make a note. You don’t want to make your customers think that the item is permanently gone or that it was never there to begin with. Suggest that they follow you on social media so they can stay in the know.
4. Communicate frequently
Communicate with your customers, using your website, social media channels, and email. Let them know about how long they can expect to wait for an item to be back in stock. If possible, let them sign up for an email notification when the item is restocked. Consider setting up a reservation system for when inventory is available again to reward your loyal customers who have been waiting. A small discount or free gift shows appreciation, too.
5. Build Excitement
The upside of low inventory is, it makes your products seem that much more desirable! Build on the buzz to show why a product is so in demand and let customers dream of the day when they finally get that item they truly want.
Lean into social media when inventory is low
Stay active on social media in times of high demand and low inventory. Social media isn’t just for selling products or advertising sales — it’s a two-way conversation. Give customers a reason to follow you on social media, visit your website, or recommend you to others. You can do this by providing value.
Social media benefits your dealership in many ways other than boosting sales:
- Builds brand loyalty. If people like your dealership Facebook page and other social channels, they’ll become fans or followers.
- Increases sales prospects. The more active and engaged you are online, the more potential customers you’re able to move into your pipeline.
- Builds trust. Show the faces behind your dealership and give a sense of your company culture to demonstrate your credibility.
- Gets people in the door for other reasons. You can promote events or educational opportunities designed to help customers get the most out of their products.
- Shows appreciation for your customers. A simple shoutout in a Facebook post or Instagram story can make your customers feel good about supporting you and recommending you to friends.
Managing an effective social media marketing strategy requires some planning and maintenance, but there are ways to make it more efficient.
Automate your social media for efficient communication
Maintaining a consistent social media presence for your dealership can be a challenge, especially if you’re short on time. That’s why many retailers automate their social media content with ThumbStopper.
ThumbStopper delivers high-quality, content from the brands you carry, straight to your feed. With ThumbStopper, you don’t have to worry about brainstorming content. While you can always mix in your own personalized posts when inspiration strikes, we take care of all the heavy lifting for you.
Best of all, ThumbStopper helps you post consistently, keeping your business on your customers’ minds during tough times when inventory is low. Learn more about how ThumbStopper’s tools for retailers can help you