Consumers are expecting a more transparent e-commerce experience when it comes to inventory. Fifty-eight of consumers say it is important for inventory status to be visible online and more than half want to receive back-in-stock alerts. This has led many retailers to expose information that was relegated to checkout pages or buried in the back end of retailer sites. Brands can also use this to their advantage and create a sense of urgency for buyers considering buying items that are low in stock.

Everlane and Tory Burch are examples of brands that leverage inventory status to drive conversion. Everlane lists expected restock dates for sold out products, and Tory Burch displays stock levels for each size to drive urgency and drive conversion.

Missed opportunities in inventory transparency often occur in integrating in-store and online stock. By listing item availability in nearby stores, brands can capture shoppers deterred by shipping costs or wait times and reduce sunk costs of returns by encouraging users to try on and pick up items at a nearby store. Home Depot provides a good example for inventory integration that complements a wider omnichannel strategy. The retailer lists precise in-store inventory numbers across its site, which has led increased in-store pickup of heavier items with higher shipping costs.

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