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How to Add Sold Out on Shopify: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Running a successful Shopify store means constantly juggling inventory and ensuring customers can find the products they want. But what happens when a popular item sells out? Losing potential sales and frustrating customers is not an option. So, how can you manage sold-out products effectively and keep your customers happy? In this blog post, we’ll explore various strategies, including how to add sold out on Shopify and help you handle out-of-stock items on your Shopify store.

Key Takeaways

  • Add a “Sold Out” Badge to Products to inform customers of availability and enhance their browsing experience.

  • Use third-party badge apps, back-in-stock apps, preorders and inventory tracking tools for effective management of out of stock items.

  • Show product recommendations, adjust campaigns for in stock alternatives or pause them until the product is available again.

Adding a "Sold Out" Badge to your out of stock products

Adding a “Sold Out” badge on out-of-stock products is a great way to inform customers of the product’s availability and avoid any confusion. This can be done through custom CSS or third-party badge apps.

Either method will enable you to differentiate between sold-out and available items, providing your customers with a smoother browsing experience.

Showing a Sold out badge on a sold out product
Image credit: German Products International

Custom CSS Method

With the custom CSS method, you target a special HTML class for sold-out products, and thus modify the “Sold Out” badge’s appearance. This will make it very easy to keep customers updated of sold out item availability.

This approach is a simple yet effective way to manage out of stock items, including out of stock products, and maintain customer interest.

Update the HTML class for an out of stock product. Learn how to put sold out on Shopify.

Third-Party Badge Apps

As an alternative, third-party badge apps can be utilized to incorporate “Sold Out” badges into your products. These apps, such as Sami Product Labels, Deco Badges and BSS Product Labels, provide customizable options for designing and displaying badges, making it easy to indicate product availability and attract customer attention.

These apps help you manage out of stock products without sacrificing your online store’s visual appeal.

Badge Apps to show an out of stock product

Managing Out-of-Stock Items in Collections

Beyond adding “Sold Out” badges, you can also manage out-of-stock items in collections by either moving them to the end or hiding them. Both approaches have their pros and cons, but the primary goal is let customers easily find products that are in-stock while still allowing customers to express interest in sold-out items.

A shopify store with out of stock items

Moving Sold Out Items to the End

A common strategy is to move sold-out items to the bottom of collections, ensuring that in-stock products gain more visibility among customers. You can do this by:

  • Using apps like the “Push Down & Hide Out of Stock” app from the Shopify app store

  • Employing a sorting method that places out-of-stock items at the bottom of the collection

This approach can help maintain customer interest while prioritizing available products for purchase.

A word of caution though: You must remember that this is a very risky approach. There are times when your bestsellers are among the out of stock products, and if customers don't see them, they might have a negative perception of the product range in your online store.

Hiding Sold Out Items from Collections

An alternative option involves hiding sold-out items from collections without unpublishing them, thus avoiding non-existent pages and 404 errors. You can do this by setting the item as a draft, implementing automatic collection rules, or using third-party apps like Nada.

This approach can help maintain a clean and organized online store, but this option is riskier than the previous option of moving out of stock products to the end. Hiding sold-out items entirely can lead to customers abandoning your store entirely because they are likely to develop a negative perception of your product range and variety.

Using Back-in-Stock Notifications for your Shopify Store

When a product is temporarily out of stock, back in stock alerts serve as an effective tool to keep customers informed and engaged. By implementing these alerts, you can avoid losing potential sales and enhance customer satisfaction as customers are notified when new stock comes back again.

Various apps such as Back in stock Alerts by PD are available on the Shopify App Store and offer back-in-stock features, a topic we will dig into further.

Install back-in-stock apps from your shopify admin.

Benefits of Back-in-Stock alerts

These notifications have many advantages, such as recapturing lost sales, sustaining customer engagement, and creating social proof. They help customers stay connected to the out of stock product, increasing the likelihood of them purchasing it when it’s back in stock.

By keeping customers informed, you can improve their overall shopping experience and build trust in your brand. If you want to know more, you can see our expert guide on How to Choose a Back in Stock Shopify App for Your Store.

Top Shopify Apps

A number of Shopify apps, including Back in Stock by PD, Back in Stock Notifier, and Swym Back in Stock alerts, offer back in stock alerts. These apps enable customers to opt-in for notifications when out of stock products are restocked and provide customizable messaging options compatible with many Shopify themes.

These apps let you manage of out-of-stock items effectively while keeping customers engaged and informed.

Offering Pre-Orders for your Online Store

Another method to retain customer interest and secure sales, even when a product is temporarily unavailable, is by offering pre-orders for sold-out products. Pre-orders allow customers to reserve their purchase before the product is back in stock, ensuring they don’t miss out on popular items.

We’ll cover the setup of pre-orders on your Shopify store and the management of customer expectations during the pre-order process.

Enable pre-orders for a sold out product

Setting Up Pre-Orders

Setting up pre-orders on Shopify is relatively straightforward. You can easily enable pre-orders for your products. Go to the product details “Inventory” section and check the “Continue selling when out of stock” box.

Additionally, you can create a pre-order sales page or payment page and establish a customer onboarding process to ensure a smooth pre-order experience. By offering pre-orders, you can capture potential sales even when a product is temporarily out of stock.

Managing Customer Expectations

When you offer pre-orders, it is super-important to manage customer expectations through clear communication regarding pre-order timelines and availability. Being transparent with customers about the expected delivery date and potential delays can help maintain customer trust and satisfaction.

Additionally, providing regular updates on the status of their pre-order can keep customers engaged and informed throughout the process.

Showcasing In-Stock Alternatives

It's always a great idea to display in-stock alternatives to sold-out products. By showcasing similar items that are available for purchase, you can maintain customer interest and increase the likelihood of a sale.

Here are some suggestions on customizing the "related products" section on your online store and using product recommendations to suggest in-stock alternatives.

Showcase in-stock alternatives

Customizing Related Products Section

Most Shopify themes let you customize the related products section, and highlight relevant in-stock items to customers browsing sold-out products. By showing available alternatives, you can encourage customers to continue browsing and potentially make a purchase.

Customizing the related products section is a simple yet effective way to manage out-of-stock items and maintain customer interest in your store.

Leveraging Product Recommendations

Product recommendations are a great way to suggest similar items that are in stock. This encourages customers to explore your store further. By pointing out in-stock alternatives, you keep customers interested and boost your chances of making a sale.

Overall, using product recommendations is a powerful tool for managing out-of-stock items while keeping customers engaged and informed.

Monitoring and Forecasting Inventory Levels

For a successful Shopify store, it’s super important to prevent stockouts and maintain a well-organized inventory. By monitoring and forecasting inventory levels through your Shopify account, you can make better inventory decisions and ensure your customers can find the products they want.

We’ll cover some inventory tracking tools and forecasting techniques that can help you manage your inventory more effectively.

Inventory tracking tools enabled

Inventory Tracking Tools

For Shopify store owners, inventory tracking tools like the Out-of-Stock Police app, Stocky app, and Stocky Pro app can assist in monitoring inventory levels and providing stock alerts when stock runs low. By using the Shopify store admin dashboard, you can easily manage these apps and stay on top of your inventory status.

These tools can help you make better inventory decisions and ensure that your store’s inventory stock is at the right level.

Inventory Forecasting Techniques

Techniques like moving average, exponential smoothing, and time series analysis can help with a more accurate prediction of stock levels and replenishment needs. By using these techniques, you can optimize your inventory costs, prevent stockouts, and ensure that your customers can always find the products that they want.

Using Back-in-Stock Apps for Inventory Forecasting

Back-in-stock apps can play a crucial role in inventory forecasting. These apps track product demand by keeping a record of customer requests for out-of-stock items. This data can be used to predict future demand trends, allowing you to optimize your inventory levels.

Accurate forecasting ensures you have sufficient stock to meet customer demand, thereby reducing the chances of items selling out. Apps like Back in Stock by PD not only keep your customers informed but also provide valuable insights for effective inventory management.

Forecast inventory using back in stock apps

Addressing Marketing Campaigns for Out-of-Stock Items

To avoid wasted ad expenditure and enhance overall campaign performance, you must adjust marketing campaigns targeting out-of-stock items. In this section, we’ll discuss how to identify affected campaigns and adjust them to focus on in-stock alternatives or pause them until the product is back in stock.

Identifying Affected Campaigns

Identifying marketing campaigns that promote sold-out products is an important step. It requires a review of the status column in your advertising account and data analysis from various sources.

Monitoring external factors and evaluating the impact of modifications made to your campaigns can also help you identify affected campaigns and make necessary adjustments.

Adjusting Campaigns for In-Stock Alternatives

Once you identify the affected campaigns, they can be modified to concentrate on in-stock alternatives or be paused until the product is back in stock. Decreasing bids for out-of-stock items, constructing campaign templates for in-stock products, and directing subscribers to available products can help you optimize your marketing campaigns and ensure you’re targeting the right products for your customers.

Taking these steps ensures that your campaigns remain up-to-date.

Managing sold out items thoughtfully is a great strategy


In conclusion, managing sold-out products on your Shopify store is a crucial aspect of running a successful online business. By implementing strategies such as adding “Sold Out” badges, adjusting how collection display products, using back in stock alerts, offering pre-orders, showcasing in-stock alternatives, and monitoring inventory levels, you can effectively handle out-of-stock items and maximize potential sales.

With the right tools and techniques in place, you can maintain customer interest and satisfaction while ensuring that your store remains well-stocked and ready for business.

questions about a sold out item on Shopify

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I add a sold out badge on Shopify?

Log in to your Shopify store admin and click on Online Store, then Themes in the side menu to go to the theme editor. From there, click Customize to display a label when a product is ’sold out’ or ‘on sale’.

How do I move a product to a sold out state on Shopify?

To move a product to a sold out state on Shopify, log in to the Dashboard, select “Products” and choose the product you wish to update. Scroll down to “Inventory”, click on the number under the “Available” column and enter 0 to show no products are available.

In addition to this, go to Settings > Locations, tick ‘Fulfill online order from this location’ and view inventory to ensure the correct quantity is assigned to the location before saving the changes.

How does continue selling when out of stock work on Shopify?

By ticking the “Continue selling when out of stock” option in the Inventory section of a product, customers can purchase items even if they are out of stock. This setting can be adjusted for existing products in bulk, allowing you to make the change once for all products.

What are some effective ways to manage sold-out products on Shopify?

Using “Sold Out” badges, adjusting collection displays, implementing back-in-stock alerts, offering pre-orders, highlighting in-stock alternatives, and monitoring inventory levels can help you manage sold-out products on Shopify.

These strategies can help you ensure that customers are aware of the availability of products and can reduce the frustration of customers when they find that a product is sold out. Additionally, these strategies can help reduce the amount of time that a product is sold out for, as well as the amount of time it takes to sell a product.

What are the benefits of using back-in-stock alerts?

Back-in-stock notifications from Apps such as Back in stock alerts by Peppyduck enable businesses to regain lost sales, maintain customer engagement, and create social proof for their products.

These notifications can be used to alert customers when a product they have previously expressed interest in, is back in stock. This ensures that customers don’t miss out on the opportunity to purchase the item that they were interested in.


Try Back in Stock WhatsApp Alerts for your Shopify store

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