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  • Writer's pictureHarshil Adesara

Step-by-step guide for Shopify: Hide Out of Stock products (and why you should NEVER do that!)

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Are you tired of constantly updating your Shopify store to hide out-of-stock products and struggling to maintain a good customer experience? And how can you achieve this without causing confusion and frustration for your customers?

In this blog post, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide for Shopify: hide out of stock products, and share 5 easy ways in which you can make this happen. We’ll also explore alternative solutions and tips for effective inventory management.

We'll also share a few reasons why you should NOT hide sold out products and give you an alternate approach for handling sold out products.

So, let’s dive in and discover how you can make this happen!

Key Takeaways

  • We give you 5 easy ways in which you can hide sold out products in Shopify

  • A strategy to hide out-of-stock products in Shopify can help avoid customer disappointment, but is a risky option.

  • We also recommend alternative solutions such as back-in-stock alerts and preorder options to maintain a positive customer experience without hiding products.

Why Hide sold out Products in Shopify?

Managing inventory stock of out of stock products in a Shopify store

Managing inventory effectively is critical for any online store. Out of stock products can lead to customer dissatisfaction, as they might not make a purchase if the one product they like is out of stock. That's when hiding out-of-stock products becomes necessary. Hiding out-of-stock items can help avoid customer disappointment, maintain your store’s credibility, and prevent potential frustration.

However, please remember that merely hiding out-of-stock products will not necessarily improve customer experience, and can have some downsides too. We'll share a bit more about that as we move forward.

Step-by-Step Guide to Hiding Out-of-Stock Products in Shopify

A step-by-step guide to hiding out-of-stock products in an online store

To manage out-of-stock items effectively, you need to enable inventory tracking in your Shopify store admin. In this section, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide to hiding out-of-stock products in Shopify using various methods, such as:

  • Unpublishing

  • Setting product status to draft

  • Using automatic collection rules

  • Using third-party apps

  • Using Shopify Flow

Let’s explore these methods in detail, to help improve the user experience on your online store.

Method 1: Unpublishing Out-of-Stock Products

Unpublishing out-of-stock products from sales channels is the simplest method to hide them from your store. Removing a product from a specific sales channel makes it invisible on your store and unavailable for purchase. However, this method can cause SEO issues, as hiding out-of-stock products can lead to broken links on product pages, negatively impacting your store’s search engine ranking.

Another drawback of this method is that the product will be excluded from site search, making it difficult for customers to find and purchase the product once it’s back in stock. While this strategy is swift and straightforward, you must consider the potential SEO implications.

Method 2: Setting Product Status to Draft

Another method to hide out-of-stock products on Shopify is by setting the product status to draft. This will make the product invisible and unbuyable across all channels, making it an easy way to hide out-of-stock items.

To set a product status to draft and hide sold out items, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Products and select the sold-out product you wish to hide.

  2. Locate the Publishing section on the right side and click Manage.

  3. Uncheck all boxes in the popup window.

  4. Click Save.

It's pretty easy, but this method has its own disadvantages too. When a product status is set to draft, the product is not viewable and is not accessible through any channels. This means that customers won’t be able to find the product even if they have a direct link to it, potentially causing confusion and frustration. Additionally, unpublishing out-of-stock products may lead to the same SEO issues as the previous method of unpublishing out of stock products.

Method 3: Using Automatic Collection Rules

Using automatic collection rules is another option for hiding sold out products in Shopify. Setting automatic collection rules ensures that sold out products aren’t displayed on the collection page, but become visible once new products are added to the inventory location. The primary benefits of this method are the lack of potential 404 errors and the absence of manual labor.

However, this method is not compatible with manual collections and does not extend to site search. In spite of these limitations, using automatic collection rules can be a valuable solution for stores with large product catalogs and frequent inventory updates. To implement this method, go ahead and set automatic collection rules that hide sold out products.

Method 4: Using Third-Party Apps

Third-party apps like Stoclean and Matrixify can help automate hiding out-of-stock products.

Stoclean is a no code app that provides merchants with the ability to hide, delete, and reintroduce their products to their stores, and can help increase sales by adding special tags for newly added items.

Matrixify, on the other hand, is a bulk product editor that facilitates hiding out-of-stock products through bulk data exports. These apps offer various features and pricing plans to accommodate different business needs.

Integrating third-party apps can help automate the process of hiding out-of-stock products and free up your bandwidth to focus on business growth.

Method 5: Using Shopify Flow

Shopify Flow, available in the Shopify App Store, is an automation app developed by Shopify. It allows users to create automated workflows with the help of IF, THEN, and OTHERWISE rules. By using Shopify Flow, you can construct workflows that automatically hide out-of-stock products, providing a personalized and automated solution for your store.

However, it’s important to note that Shopify Flow may have some limitations, and it might not be suitable for all businesses. To figure out if Shopify Flow is the right solution for you, research its features and capabilities carefully before you go ahead and use it for your store.

Understanding Shopify Flow’s benefits and limitations will help you determine if it’s the right method for hiding out-of-stock products in your Shopify store.

Hiding Specific Variants of Out-of-Stock Products

Hiding specific variants of out-of-stock products in an online store

You can hide out-of-stock product variants on Shopify by either modifying the theme code or using product customization apps.

Modifying the Theme in your Shopify store

To hide sold out variants on Shopify, you'll need to modify your theme code. Here's a general guide on how you can do it:

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Themes.

  2. Select the theme you want to edit, click "Actions", and then click "Edit code".

  3. In the Layout section, click on your "theme.liquid" file to open it in the online code editor.

  4. Find the product variant section in your code. This will typically be located in a file called "product-template.liquid" or something similar.

  5. You'll need to add a conditional statement that checks if a variant's inventory quantity is less than or equal to zero. If it is, you can add a CSS class that changes the style of the variant to appear greyed out.

  6. Save your changes.

Please note that modifying your theme code can affect the functionality of your website. If you're not comfortable with editing code, consider hiring a Shopify Expert or reach out to Shopify Support.

Using Product customization Apps

Alternatively, you can use product customization apps like Product Options and Customizer to create and manage unlimited product options and hide out-of-stock variants using powerful conditional logic. Paid plans for Product Options and Customizer start at $19.99 per month, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to enhance their product management capabilities.

Counter View: Why you should NEVER Hide Out-of-Stock Products

Negative impact of shopify hide out of stock strategy.

At first glance, hiding out-of-stock products may seem helpful, but it's important to consider the potential drawbacks. Hiding out-of-stock products can negatively impact the overall customer experience.

Negative SEO

If not implemented well, hiding out-of-stock products can have adverse effects on your store’s SEO, as search engines may be unable to index the sold out products, making it hard for customers to find the product they’re searching for.

Customer perception of product range and variety

There's another problem: customer perception. When customers see sold out products, at least they see the product range and variety your store offers, even if those specific items are not currently available.

This provides an opportunity for customers to explore other available items, knowing that your store stocks a wide range of products they might be interested in. Hiding these products might build a negative perception: that your store does not have a wide variety of products.

Summary

Rather than hiding out-of-stock products, consider alternative solutions to keep customers engaged with your store.

Implementing back-in-stock alerts, recommended products, and pre-order options are potential strategies that can enhance your store’s functionality and improve the overall user experience without causing confusion and frustration for your customers.

Alternative Solutions to Hiding Out-of-Stock Products

Alternate ways of managing out of stock products

Rather than hiding out-of-stock products on your Shopify store, consider implementing alternative solutions to keep your customers informed and engaged.

Back in stock alerts

Back-in-stock alerts, for example, can help you generate more leads and sales by notifying customers when an out-of-stock item becomes available again. Apps like Back in stock Alerts by Peppyduck can automate this process of sending notifications to inform your customers about product availability.

Recommendations and pre-orders

Other alternative solutions include showcasing recommended products and offering pre-order options for out-of-stock items. By providing customers with alternative product choices and the option to pre-order, you can enhance your store’s functionality and improve the overall user experience without hiding out-of-stock products.

These strategies can help you enhance your customer experience and keep your store running smoothly.

Tips for Effective Inventory Management

Managing inventory for your online store

Successful online businesses require effective inventory management, which ensures easy accessibility to product quantity and availability.

Forecast inventory stock and monitor stock levels

To ensure effective inventory management on Shopify, consider strategies such as forecasting demand, setting reorder points, and monitoring stock levels. By keeping a close eye on your select inventory stock and making data-driven decisions, you can prevent stockouts and maintain customer satisfaction.

Enable inventory tracking

In addition to this, we highly recommend enabling inventory tracking within Shopify to manage out-of-stock items effectively. Enabling inventory tracking in your Shopify store admin can help you gauge the availability of products and ensure that your store is always stocked with the items your customers want.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Troubleshooting common issues with out-of-stock products in a Shopify store

When addressing out-of-stock products and managing inventory on Shopify, you may run into some issues. Potential issues include possible 404 errors, SEO implications, and lost sales opportunities. To troubleshoot these issues, ensure that you don't unpublish your products, and use highly recommended third party apps when necessary.

With effective inventory management strategies, such as monitoring stock levels, establishing automated notifications, and utilizing inventory forecasting, you can address and resolve common issues related to hiding out-of-stock products and inventory management on Shopify. These strategies can help you maintain customer satisfaction and keep your store running smoothly.

Integrating Stock Alerts with Your Marketing Strategy

Integrating stock alerts with your marketing strategy in a Shopify store

Integrating stock alerts into your marketing strategy can be effective in keeping shoppers informed and engaged with your Shopify store. By providing customers with timely and relevant information about product availability, you can improve the overall user experience on your store.

There are several third-party applications available to track Shopify inventory and automate stock alerts. It's a good idea to make these Apps an important part of your marketing strategy, and ensure that your customers remain informed about product availability and continue to engage with your store. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and ultimately more sales for your business.

Summary

In conclusion, hiding out-of-stock products on your Shopify store may seem like a quick solution to maintain customer satisfaction, but it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks and explore alternative solutions.

By implementing back-in-stock alerts, recommended products, pre-order options, and effective inventory management strategies, you can enhance your store’s functionality and improve the overall user experience without causing confusion and frustration for your customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about hiding out of stock items

How do I hide out of stock items on Shopify?

Hiding out-of-stock products from your Shopify store is simple: navigate to the Collections section of the Products menu, choose the collection to automate, and edit the conditions so that the inventory stock is greater than 0. Alternatively, you can unpublish, set as a draft, or use an inventory management app to hide out of stock products.

Why is my product showing as out of stock on Shopify?

It may be that your product is out of stock on Shopify due to incorrect location settings. If a product at one location fulfilling online orders has an inventory stock of zero or below, and another location with available inventory doesn't fulfill online orders, then the product will display as out of stock on the online store.

How do I hide unavailable product variants in Shopify?

To hide out of stock product variants in Shopify, log in to your Shopify store, navigate to the Products page, select the product, scroll down to the Variants section, and click Edit on the variant you want to hide. Additionally, edit the code of the theme to limit the available variant options.

What are the potential drawbacks of hiding out-of-stock products on Shopify?

Hiding out-of-stock products on Shopify can create customer confusion and frustration, reduce trust in the store, and negatively affect SEO and the overall customer experience. It is important to ensure that out-of-stock products are clearly marked as such, so customers know what is available and what is not. This will help to avoid any confusion and frustration, and will also help to maintain trust in the store.

What alternative solutions can I implement instead of hiding out-of-stock products?

Instead of hiding out-of-stock products, consider implementing back-in-stock alerts, showcasing recommended products, and offering pre-order options.

How do I GREY out sold out variants on Shopify?

You can do this by either modifying the theme code or using product customization apps. By using custom code in your Shopify theme, you can prevent the variant from displaying in the selector if it’s out-of-stock. This can be a useful solution for stores where sold out variants never come back.


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