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Shopify: Continue selling when out of stock

Shopify Continue selling when out of stock

When Shopify merchants temporarily run out of certain items, many of them continue to advertise and actively s the sold-out product. In fact, there are applications and certain hacks store owners use to optimize this process, making it easier to conceal and regulate to keep things in circulation.

Table of Contents

I. Why Would You Sell Items You Don't Have?

II. Does Shopify Allow you to Sell Out of Stock Items?

1. Selling Out of Stock New Items

2. Items Already Available In Your Online Store

III. Can You Conceal Sold Out Items from Public View?

1. Hiding Out of Stock Products from Collections

2. What About My Default Collections?

3. Using an Application to Hide Out of Stock Products

4. Don't Completely Remove Items from Your Online Store

IV. Easy Ways to Navigate Out of Stock Products On Shopify

1. Use a Sold Out Badge

2. Leverage Automated Collections

3. Use Pre-Orders or Notify When Out of Stock Products Arrive

4. Give Customers In-Stock Products as Alternative Options

5. Double Check Your Online Store Marketing

6. Perfect Your Inventory Forecasting

7. ABC Inventory Analyzing

V. Out of Stock Items Aren't the End of the World

Why Would You Sell Items You Don't Have?

As crazy as it sounds, there are actually numerous reasons why any Shopify store owner would choose to sell items that aren't currently in stock:

  • Customers still pre-order, especially if the item is coming soon

  • Fill orders - sell first, then deliver the product

  • It could be a mistake from not properly tracking your inventory

Does Shopify Allow You to Sell Out-of-Stock Items?

When an item is listed as "0" in your inventory levels, customers can't make a purchase until the levels are updated to an available figure. You can alter the default inventory number and give customers access to these items again.

At the present moment, overselling doesn't happen automatically without a little change in settings. Luckily, following these steps makes the process pretty simple.

Selling Out-of-Stock New Items

When you add a new item to your store, select the option to "Track Inventory" - although this is normally checked already. If you look beneath the "Track Inventory" box, there's another option to "Continue Selling When Out-of-Stock." After selecting this option, this specific product will remain available for sale for your customers even after inventory reaches 0.

Items Already Available In Your Store

Items regularly up for sale in your store have the option to change the status in quantity, allowing you to change the setting but apply it to every product in your inventory. The following steps make the process easy to understand:

  • Click "Products," then "All Products."

  • Choose "Edit Products" to open a spreadsheet.

  • Select the "Add Fields" command on the spreadsheet.

  • Choose "Continue selling when out of stock."

  • Select the checkboxes next to the products you'd like to continue selling after they hit 0

Can You Conceal Sold Out Items from Public View?

Understandably, if an item says "Sold Out" or "0 available," it doesn't look very attractive to a potential customer. Fortunately, these products and statuses can be concealed. On the Collections tab, you'll need to manually hide them using automated collections.

Alternatively, you can download an application that handles inventory tasks. What if you just want to hide these products from your default collections?

Hiding Out of Stock Products from Collections

Inventory monitoring must be activated before you're able to conceal sold-out items or versions of these items from your collections. You're able to do an inventory count on every product you carry on an automatic basis.

How it's Done

  • Turn On Inventory Tracking

  • Change the Conditions of Your Collections to the Following Parameters:

  • Products Must Match = ALL CONDITIONS

  • Inventory Stock = IS GREATER THAN 0

By adhering to these easy-to-follow steps, you'll have control over whether your collections make any sold-out products visible to shoppers. However, after you get new stock in, the numbers will update, and your collections will reflect the changes.

What About My Default Collections?

Any Shopify store automatically contains a collection that presents ALL of your available items together. These can be hidden as well.

How It's Done

  • Override your catalog page with your own automated collection that you design

  • Set the automated conditions to automatically hide out-of-stock items

You can also accomplish hiding these items by using an application.

Using an Application to Hide Out of Stock Products

Using an application that manages your inventory allows you to manage your sold-out products stress-free without manually altering any settings. These AI-powered inventory-focused apps give you simple, accurate ways to control your inventory, so you don't have to remove them from your store completely.

Don't Completely Remove Items from Your Store

Sometimes the quickest way might seem to simply delete or unpublish an item; this only gives your customers more of a headache when they navigate to certain products and receive error messages.

However, the most damaging part of deleting items in your store is the negative impact it has on your search engine rankings and SEO scores.

To avoid any penalties or negative repercussions, use the following hacks for managing sold-out items on your Shopify retail site.

Easy Ways to Navigate Out of Stock Products On Shopify

Use a Sold Out Badge

It is as simple as editing your image in Canva and adding Sold Out or just editing product page to say SOLD OUT. Some themes automatically do this for you, but the Image Edit is an extra way of communicating that you are actually sold out.

Leverage Automated Collections

With auto-collections, you can choose to only make products visible that you have on hand. You can also move sold-out items from your collections - but this requires an application. Certain programs can be used to move sold-out items to the bottom of your collections list, which is more appropriate than having them near the top.

Use Pre-Orders Or Notify When Out of Stock Products Arrive

When inventory levels reach zero, your customers should still have some means of showing their desire to buy. You can accomplish this by using pre-orders or catching email addresses to send back in stock notifications regarding the return of the item to your inventory.

You can easily utilize pre-orders by checking "Continue Selling When Out of Stock" under the "Inventory" section. This means customers can continue with business as usual even after you're out of stock on a particular item.

It's worth noting if a product has multiple versions (colors, sizes, etc.), you'll need to handle each item individually. This is only possible when you select "Track Quantity." If you don't, it will act the same as when "Continue Selling When Out of Stock" is checked on default mode - but the inventory won't be counted to keep you updated.

If customers are purchasing items that aren't immediately in your inventory, it's a good idea to tell them that they're on backorder. Update them regularly regarding the tracking of the item and how long until it's set to arrive. This can be done manually, or you can opt to use an app that makes the process much easier.

Give Your Customers In-Stock Options

Using the page containing the out-of-stock item, you can display similar products or have some type of value for your customers that you have plenty of stock of. This is a great way to keep your customers satisfied and an opportunity to move certain items out of your inventory or showcase alternative products.

Most themes have an option for displaying similar or related items - all you need to do is fill in the details regarding the product. The one pitfall of this method is that it can't decipher between items you have on-hand and items sold out. The easiest way is to make a slight adjustment in the details of the product.

Double Check Your Marketing Efforts

This may sound ridiculous, but it's not a bad idea to double-check your marketing campaigns. You'd be shocked at how many Shopify store owners deploy live campaigns, paying for clicks going to products they don't even have on hand. You can still keep the campaigns turned on but use the idea of the alternative products to fill in for the items you don't have in your inventory.

Don't forget to keep an eye on ALL sales channels, especially when you're getting close to an out of stock situation. Certain applications can monitor the inventory level of a certain item, and you can adjust accordingly when you need to order supplies. Once you know there's more stock coming, you can revert back to the item that was originally out of stock.

Get More Efficient at Inventory Level Forecasting

If you've noticed that you're having issues with running out of certain items regularly, it's time to start better predicting your inventory numbers. Perfecting this method allows you to order in a precise way, leading to out-of-stock items receiving new inventory shipments the day of or the day before they sell out.

Email alerts that remind you when a product is low or hits a certain number are useful in these situations. You can use applications that allow you to choose the level you'd like the alert sent.

Even without an application, you'll still have a decent update on what's in your inventory. The basic function allows you to view outgoing, incoming, and sold-out items and even set custom numbers and import or export goods to other stores or areas.

ABC Inventory Analyzing

This method helps you how to keep a tight grip on your product management system, which includes inventory levels. You'll know when to re-order certain items, how long an item can stay sold out, and which items you have back-stock of. This strategy uses three separate categories:

  • A-Grade: These are your bread and butter products. Typically, these makeup about 80% of all your total profits. You never want to run out of these items - and even keep a backup inventory for when business picks up.

  • B-Grade: Your inventory consists of about 15% of B-Grade items. These may fluctuate to other levels, but you should always try and keep them in stock and order new products as soon as you feel they're hitting dangerously low levels.

  • C-Grade: These items account for about 5% of your total revenue. It's okay if they sell out sometimes because they're not integral to your daily incoming money.

Leveraging the power of the ABC method is easier than you think. Go to your store's admin portion and select Analytics, Reports, then Inventory. Choose ABC analysis by product.

Sold-Out Items Aren't the End of the World

At the end of the day, having an item sell out isn't the end of the world; it certainly doesn't have to spell disaster. In fact, all you need is a little bit of ingenuity to navigate these situations, and your revenue shouldn't dip to any noticeable lows because of it.

Assuming you use one of the methods above, you should be able to ride the wave without too much damage. However, don't make a habit of it. You don't want customers seeing certain items sold-out on a regular basis or having to select alternative items - this eventually leaves your store with an unprofessional appearance and will cause your revenue to take a downturn.

Sources: Digismoothie | Shopify 1, 2, | Easy Ship

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