can we talk about ta-tas?

This one’s all about a common pitfall I see retailers and e-comm folks run into. I love me some product descriptions, but a phenomenal funnel and amazing product descriptions won’t save you from this particular fail…


Not too long ago, I got served a pretty awesome ad on Facebook (how often can you truthfully say that?):



Now this ad has some killer things working in its favor:

1) A testimonial from a buyer (presumably) grabbed my attention off the bat. Her quote speaks to specific pain points the target is likely to have experienced. The full testimonial reads:

“For as long as I can remember, at the end of the work day, all I can think about is how I want to get home and take off the torture contraption biting into my ribs. Underwire, no underwire, it never mattered…. For the past 2 days, I’ve come home and pretty much forgotten I’ve spent a day in a bra…” – Taryn

2) It’s an interesting interactive quiz (as opposed to an annoying fill-in-the-blank one)

This image alone demonstrates the company knows their stuff – these are common problems the end user experiences. Plus, I’m digging the implication that after I take this quiz, their recommendation will solve all my problems.

3) They kicked in an irresistible offer – one of the biggest pains in the ass with online clothing and undergarment shopping is the fit. And one of the biggest fears of the end user is not being able to return something that’s clearly been worn – because the only way you’re going to really find out if this thing works is to take it on a full-day test drive.

So cool… I get to try it for a month for around $3? Not bad…

I click and take the quiz.

And here’s where things take a not-so-great turn…

I make it all the way to the end and give them my email address so I can see this glorious miracle bra recommendation.




They’ve incorporated my own size and shape into their “prescription”.

Except… they’re out of stock in their recommendation!

I decide to give ’em a second chance:



OK, they wisely decided to offer me an alternative to their recommendation.

They may yet make a sale off me…



Yes, you read that correctly.


I’ll spare you the images of me double-checking to see if my size was available…

It wasn’t.

And here’s the thing…

I initially took this quiz a few weeks ago.

I retook it this morning.

They’re STILL out of stock.

This is a danger zone a lot of retailers and e-commerce businesses fall into without realizing it – a literal lost sale.

This is proof that you can do everything right in your funnel and drive a TON of new potential buyers to your site…

…and STILL lose the sale due to something totally within your control.

To me, they made this purchase a complete no-brainer…

  • Killer $3 try-it-for-a-month offer
  • Custom-recommended fit based on my specific size and problems

I was pretty much sold.

In fact, my credit card was out.

And they recommended a sold-out product.

Not only that, their BACKUP recommendations were also sold out.

This is totally wasted ad spend.

And I put my credit card AWAY.

What’s the likelihood that I’ll get it back out again, given I’ve gone twice and seen sold out messages both times?

Now, there are a few ways to solve this particular snafu while still attracting great prospects:

  1. Stop running the ad until you’re in stock. 

    Pro: you won’t be attracting great prospects only to disappoint them when they’re ready to buy. You also won’t be wasting money on an effective ad that won’t convert due to stock issues.Con: if you’re only out of stock in a few sizes, you may lose business.

  2. Offer something to get the prospect to sign up for the in-stock notification……because an acknowledgment goes a long way to mitigating frustration. People just want to feel heard and understood when they’re frustrated. Were this my site, I might tweak the result copy to read:

    “We’re sorry! This bra is extremely popular and we’re currently out of stock. We’d love for you to try it, so please sign up for notification list below and you’ll be the first to know when we’ve got it in stock. Plus, we’d like to offer you 10% off for the inconvenience.”

    Pro: you potentially salvage the sale AND find out who your super hot prospects are so you can market more effectively to them in the future.

    Con: minor hit to your margin with the blanket % off. But a sale with a % off is better than no sale in my book!

  3. Add alternative recommendations to this page… 

    …rather than forcing them to click through to the next page. More importantly, MAKE SURE THOSE OPTIONS ARE IN STOCK.Pro: potentially salvage the sale by getting the prospect to try another option.Con: ??? I’m not really sure there’s a con to adding similar or complementary items to the results page. This is literally the same principle at work behind the products in the check-out line, specifically chosen because of their appeal to impulse buyers.

So that’s the bra saga in a (rather lengthy) nutshell.


Have you ever been sucked in by the marketing only to get frustrated with the actual buying process? Tell me your buying horror stories in the comments below.




If you’re an aspiring freelancer who’s working up the courage to leave the day job… good news! I’m sharing all the things I WISH I’d known before making the leap so that hopefully your journey goes a little more smoothly than mine.


  1. Pete on September 19, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Great post Angie!

    How many times have I sat in front of my screen cursing (aloud!) this kind of catch-22 frustrate-athon on ecommerce sites.

    And train/plane bookings.

    And hotels.

    And… gah!

    You’re dead on with the “sign up to be notified when…” idea too, that’s the best way to turn a sucky experience into good customer service, stop losing a sale to the competition AND get an email lead.

    More companies should do this.

    PS – I love the fact these bras are advertised as “24/7”. Makes me picture another bra chilling on the couch on a Saturday, smoking a cigarette like “no way lady, it’s the weekend. I’m off the clock.”

    Yeah, I’m silly.

  2. Angie on September 19, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Pete – I know, right?

    The frustration from this one just made me shop elsewhere. The quiz popped up at the right time, as it was something I will soon need.

    It’s a damn shame that such a wonderfully executed funnel ended in such a big fail.

    And the experience itself simply encouraged me to visit other retailers (who are serving me much less interesting/effective re-targeting ads, but are getting the sale).

    And LOL @ the off-the-clock bra.

    I’m not totally sure why they’d name one 24/7 – no woman in her right mind would ever wear one that long, no matter how comfortable it is. I think your vision’s more accurate than their implication.

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