In this post, we’ll introduce you to WooCommerce Lead Time. This is our newest WordPress plugin at Barn2, and is available today! It's the only plugin which provides an easy way to add a lead time to the single product page in order to let customers know when the product will be sent. We’ll also step through some scenarios where you might need to display an estimated time on WooCommerce products.
Out of the box, WooCommerce lets you mark products as in stock, out of stock, or on backorder. However, it doesn’t allow you to add a lead time for out of stock products or those on backorder.
Ideally, this information should be displayed on the single product page so that customers can make an informed decision on whether they should place their order or wait for it to be back in stock.
Introducing WooCommerce Lead Time
Typically, before customers buy anything online, they check to see:
- If the product is in stock.
- The approximate date of arrival of their order.
- Expected delivery date and/or delivery time.
- Available shipping methods.
This is one of the most significant parts of the customer’s purchase user flow and influences their buying decision.
WooCommerce Lead Time is a lightweight plugin that allows you to display the estimated number of days it will take for a particular out of stock product to be available in your inventory. This makes it easy for customers to decide whether they should place an order right away or wait.
Introducing WooCommerce Lead Time: The only WordPress plugin that displays lead times on the product page. Help customers to make an informed decision.
On the flip side, if you don’t display the product lead time on your single product pages and instead simply post a Product out of stock status, customers might leave your website empty-handed or search for alternatives on Google. The key benefit of displaying the product lead time on single product pages is so that customers can make a decision before they reach the checkout page.
It’s also worth considering that although the default WooCommerce product statuses (in stock, out of stock, or on backorder) work for certain types of products, some online store owners might need a more flexible solution.
For example, if you sell made-to-order products that have long lead times then it’s a good idea to let customers know when the product will be ready instead of simply stating that it’s out of stock or on backorder.
Let’s say, for example, that an online store selling handmade carpets made to order may require a 6 week lead time. You’ll need to let customers see this preparation or processing time on the single product page. As a result, the customer can decide whether or not the time frame works for them.
Why you might need the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin
In order to manage your inventory effectively, maximize sales, and deliver a good customer experience, you need to make sure you’re updating the inventory status of your products on a regular basis. This will help you improve your online store’s user experience and increase the chances of customers making a purchase.
With the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin, you’ll be able to:
- Take customer orders.
- Make sure customers know when the product will be dispatched or back in stock.
It’s a good idea to display backorder information about products you don’t have enough of in stock so that customers know when they will be restocked in your inventory. As a result, you can give your customers the option to still place their WooCommerce order and have the product delivered to them when it’s back in stock or wait for it to be back in stock.
Similarly, displaying the lead time for products might also be useful to store owners who have products in stock but still have a lead time they would want to tell their customers about.
Scenario #1: Stores that sell made-to-order or handmade items
Lets say you run an online store that sells made-to-order goods or handmade items. There’s likely an estimated time before those products can be ordered. With the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin, you can easily display the lead time for each product on your site’s front-end regardless of its current status.
The goal is to let customers know how long it'll take the product to be restocked in the inventory. This way, potential customers will be in a better position to make an informed decision on whether they should place the order.
Here’s how Etsy displays a lead time notice Ready for dispatch in 1-2 weeks on its product page:
Scenario #2: Stores that don’t hold all items in stock
Some stores don’t hold all their items in stock and, instead, order on set dates. For example, Made.com does this with its furniture.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the order dates might vary per product. Factors like the supplier’s location and processing times typically influence expected order dates.
Scenario #3: For products that are out of stock
Fluctuations in product demand happen all the time. When product orders are high, you might need a way to let customers know when a popular product is expected to become available again. For example, if you sell t-shirts and a particular SKU is out of stock, you'd want customers to know when it will become available again.
With WooCommerce Lead Time, you could display a simple Out of stock | Available: August 31, 2019 message on the single product page.
Next, I'll reveal how these types of online stores can use WooCommerce Lead Time to effectively share information about their WooCommerce backorders and non-stock products.
How to add lead times to your WooCommerce Products
The WooCommerce Lead Time plugin provides two easy ways to display waiting times on the single product page.
Set a global lead time
The product lead time plugin settings page lets you:
- Choose which stock statuses the lead time notes will be displayed for For example, if you only want to display waiting times for products after they go out of stock or on backorder, then that's fine. To do this, simply disable the lead time for 'In stock' products.
- Set a prefix to appear before the lead time This gives you full flexibility, as you can add the label of 'lead time', 'handling time', available on:', 'processing time', ready for despatch in'...... whatever you like! You can also add whatever symbol you want between the prefix and lead time, or leave either field blank.
- Add a global lead time The global lead time, if set, will appear on all product pages. This is a good idea if you have the same waiting time for all products in your store. Alternatively, you can leave the global lead time blank and just set it for individual products. You can also have a global lead time and override it with a different handling time for specific products.
- Choose the lead time text color By default, the lead time text is a generic dark grey color. You can change this to anything you like. For example, you might want to set it to match the main body font in your theme; or you might want to make it more prominent by using red or green text.
Set lead times for individual WooCommerce products
In addition to the global settings, you can set lead times for individual products. This gives you even greater control.
- From the Edit product screen, scroll down to the Product data section and click on the Inventory tab.
- Set the Lead time as required. This might be the expected handling time, or the date when the product will be back in stock.
If you set the lead time prefix to 'Waiting time:' and the lead time to '3 months', customers will see a'Waiting time: 3 months' message on the single product page:
If you have enabled the option to manage stock for the product, then the waiting time note will appear after the stock availability text, on the same line. For example, it might be: 'On backorder | Waiting time: 3 months'.
Benefits of displaying a lead time
WooCommerce Lead Time is the ideal solution for stores that sell items that aren't always in stock for any reason. This might be because they’re made to order or simply because the store doesn’t hold all of their products in stock at all times.
Here are some of the key benefits of displaying handling times for WooCommerce products:
- Improves customer experience Displaying the lead time enables you to deliver enhanced customer experiences and simplify the purchasing user flow. In addition to this, it minimizes uncertainty about your WooCommerce backorders, increases transparency, and helps build trust with your customers.
- Customers can make informed decisions In an event where your stock runs out but will be available soon, you’ll still be able to share the approximate time of arrival of those products with your customers. This way, the customer can decide whether the estimated date works for them or not.
- Don’t have to call for product availability Displaying the estimated time directly on your product page also saves your customer service representatives from having to manually look up the lead time for individual products while a customer is on the phone with them. In other words, customers won’t have to call your support staff as they’ll be able to find out when the product will be available directly through your website.
Sharing the lead times of your products on your site allows you to reduce your cart abandonment rate, speed up the checkout process, and improve the customer’s buying experience.
By using the WooCommerce Lead Time plugin on your WooCommerce-based online store, you’ll be able to:
- Let customers know when the product will be back in stock before the reach the checkout page.
- Build trust with customers, increase transparency, and help them make informed purchasing decisions.
- Improve the customer experience your online store delivers.
- Allow customers to place orders for products that are currently out of stock or on backorder.
WooCommerce Lead Time is the only plugin out there that displays waiting times on the single product page.
Do you agree that displaying product lead times on your single product pages can help you deliver enhanced customer experiences? Let us know by commenting below.