You’re missing out if you’re still hiding out-of-stock products on Shopify. The average eCommerce conversion rate hovers anywhere from 1-4 percent. Even for the most successful online brands, only a small fraction of people who visit their website actually make a purchase.
And if you hide out-of-stock products on Shopify? You’re lowering that conversion rate even further because the product you hid was probably the product the customer wanted to buy, mainly to be your bestseller.
So, what can you do to stop losing those potential sales without creating a bad customer experience? We’ll answer this question, teach you how to hide out-of-stock products, and what to do instead by using Back in Stock.
Table of Contents
- How to Hide Out-Of-Stock Inventory on Shopify (3 Options)
- What to Do Instead of Hiding Out-of-Stock Inventory
Stop Hiding Out-of-Stock Products on Shopify
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How to Hide Out-of-Stock Inventory on Shopify
Whether it’s a new store launch or a brand new product, you want your goods available to customers as soon as possible. However, this is easier said than done. Hiding out-of-stock inventory on your Shopify store can be difficult, especially if you do it manually. Here are a few ways to hide out-of-stock inventory on Shopify:
Option 1: Unpublish it
One of the easiest ways to hide a Shopify product is by unpublishing it from a sales channel. This requires manual effort.
Follow these steps to unpublish a Shopify product from a sales channel,
- Go to the product catalog.
- Open the details of a product.
- Click on Manage in the top-right corner of the Sales Channels and Apps section.
- Uncheck the sales channel.
- Click Done.
- Click Save.
At this point, the product is hidden from your store, and no one can purchase the item.
Option 2: Set as draft
Another manual option is to set the item as a draft so it’s no longer visible or purchasable on your channels.
Follow these steps to set a product to draft status:
- Go to the product catalog.
- Open details of a specific product.
- Find the Product status section in the top-right corner.
- Click on Active and change it to Draft.
- Click Save.
Now your product is hidden throughout your channels, and no customer can see or purchase it from your store.
Option 3: Set automatic collection rules
If you use automatic collections rules, there’s an option to display only in-stock products. With this method, there are no potential 404 errors as your product pages are accessible through direct links only, and there’s no manual labor involved.
Follow these steps to set automatic collection rules:
- In your Shopify store admin, click Products, then Collections.
- Select a collection.
- In the Conditions section, click Add another condition. If you don’t see any Conditions section, your collection isn’t automatic, and you won’t be able to continue with this method.
- Then, from the drop-down menu, select Inventory stock, is greater than, and 0.
- Click Save.
Your product is no longer visible on your collections page.
Option 4: Use Back in Stock
Instead of hiding your out-of-stock products, you can set up back-in-stock alerts. Back in Stock notifies your opted-in customers when your product is in stock again, persuading them to go back to your store to complete a purchase.
To set up Back in Stock notifications, follow these instructions:
- Install Back in Stock by visiting the Shopify App Store and clicking Add app.
- Next, go to the product page of your out-of-stock product and find the Email when available button next to the Add to cart button.
- Click on the button.
- Type in your email address to signup for a product notification.
Back in Stock can manually set it up if you don’t see the button. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the URL of the product page.
These are the four most common methods to hide your out-of-stock products. Let’s examine why you shouldn’t hide your inventory and what you should do instead.
What to Do Instead of Hiding Out-Of-Stock Inventory
Managing inventory is always a delicate balancing act. Too much stock can tie up valuable capital and lead to costly storage fees, while too little can result in lost sales opportunities. That’s why it’s important to strike the right balance when stocking your shelves. One way to do this is by hiding out-of-stock items from view. But what if we told you there was another way that brought you more leads and (potentially) more sales? There is, and it’s called Back in Stock.
Let’s look at why you should use Back in Stock alerts and review how other brands use them to stay engaged with their customers.
How Back in Stock Alerts Work
Instead of choosing whether to display or hide your out-of-stock products on Shopify, Back In Stock alerts let you replace the “Buy” button with a customizable message to “Notify me when the product is available.”
Back in Stock alerts for Shopify let customers get notified by text or email when a sold-out product is available, so there’s no need to hide popular items or push them to the bottom of your store’s page when they sell out.
You can change the button’s wording and style, so it blends seamlessly into your site. Then when you restock your inventory, Back In Stock will send your customer an email or text message letting them know they can complete their purchase.
Customers can choose to be notified by email or text message when the product is back in stock, and all of the forms and messages can be customized to fit your brand.
So, even though you’re not doing any work beyond your regular inventory tracking, you have an app moving the needle on your sales.
The NASH Collection, a lifestyle brand that embodies love for Nashville, uses Back In Stock alerts across their site and says, “I can’t tell you how excited I am to have installed this app. It’s tripled my online sales… easy!”
For any eCommerce store owner, tripling sales is a big win. So if you have any inventory that tends to sell out, setting up these alerts is a no-brainer.
Digging into Back In Stock analytics opens up a whole new data category for your analytics that can help you can lower inventory risks and overhead.
You know you can order big if a product has a massive waitlist. You can continue with smaller orders if another product has a short waitlist. If a product has no waitlist and isn’t moving? It’s probably time to think about discounting or discontinuing it.
Kim Kardashian West’s popular Skims shape & loungewear brand uses Back In Stock alerts to create product waitlists for sold-out colors and sizes.
Big fashion brands, like Kim Kardashian’s Skims, use Back in Stock alerts to create wishlists for out-of-stock items. Wishlists create a great customer experience, but they’re also a secret weapon for Shopify store owners.
K Beauty eCommerce store, Go Bloom & Glow, says waitlists are a crucial part of their inventory management strategy. “I know what products to stock up next… It also helps determine which products to discontinue selling by providing data on which product has the shortest waitlist or none.”
So, in addition to reducing missed sales, you’re getting valuable insight into the overall demand for your various products.
Now, let’s review how companies use Back in Stock instead of hiding their out-of-stock products.
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Case Study #1: Go Bloom & Glow
We conducted a case study with one of our users, Go Bloom & Glow. They are an online store in the Philippines offering 100% authentic Korean beauty products as their specialty. Launched in May 2017, they aim to help its customers discover the wonders of Korean beauty.
Why choose Back In Stock?
“In the beginning, when our company was first formed, many of our products were sold out, which resulted in customers asking when they would again become available. It was very tedious to keep track of the people who asked and inform them one by one through social media messaging. We searched the Shopify app store for an app capable of managing waitlists that also had the capability to inform customers when products were restocked. We came across Back In Stock and haven’t looked back.”
How do you use Back in Stock?
“Back in Stock has been a savior regarding inventory management. I know exactly which products to stock up on next which is crucial for our business. It also helps us determine which products should be discontinued by providing data on the shortest waitlist or none. It’s so convenient that our customers can just click on the ‘Notify me when available’ button on our website. When the product gets restocked, I don’t have to notify any customers on the waitlist. Back in Stock just automatically sends the email notifications. All I have to do is update the stock quantities, relax, and just wait for purchases from the waitlist to come in.”
Case Study #2: Kigurumi
Kigurumi has been selling fun, colorful, onesie pajamas for adults since 2011. Back In Stock spoke to the company to find out how an exciting hobby became a triumphant store, and how she uses Back in Stock to increase revenue.
How do you use Back in Stock?
“Back in Stock has made our workflow so much easier. This app has become a crucial part of the process of getting styles back in stock. Customers question all the time if we’re out of a product when it will be back in stock. It’s nice to tell them to join the waitlist on the website, and they’ll receive an email notification as soon as it becomes back in stock. I can’t fathom having to manage a list like that manually, sending out an email every time to each individual. I have done a bit of that manual process before I found this app, and it wasn’t easy or fun. Back in Stock is an unsung hero of our website. People get the back in the stock notification and they respond with “Oh, great, I’ve been waiting for this” then hop on the site right away to make the purchase. Just one or two sales pays for the app itself.”
After three years, what originally drove you to install Back in Stock on your store?
“When our store first went live, inventory management became a hurdle for our company. We saw more than half of our styles out of stock for far too long so we searched on the Shopify store and came across Back in Stock to manage our inventory. We chose this app because of the excellent reviews. Having a tool like Back in Stock is great. It’s so simple to notify our customers immediately whenever we get new stock and has become crucial to our sales.”
How do I continue selling out-of-stock products on Shopify?
Sign up for an account with Back In Stock. You will be able to capture customer data for sold out products. Once the products are in stock, you can send out a notification to those who signed up.
Can I manage my own account and upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time?
Of course! You will have the ability to adjust your account settings at any time. If your business is seasonal, you can ramp up your plan or downgrade any time. If you want to cancel, you can do so at any time from the app dashboard or from the Shopify store settings.
How long is the trial period?
Simply put, you can install a free account for 14 days. During your trial period, you will gain access to the Medium Plan and have 500 email notifications at your disposal!
Once the trial period is complete (or you exceed the 500 email quota), you will be prompted to choose a paid plan which fits your usage. If you do not select a plan, you will be placed on our free plan, which allows 5 email notifications each month.
Is an annual subscription available?
No, we only offer monthly plans at this time.
Can email templates be customized?
Totally! Back in Stock makes customization simple with settings right in the dashboard. You can also access the email template itself to make more in-depth changes.
We have more information on our email template here.
How and when are back-in-stock notifications sent out?
Once you update your stock levels, notification emails are typically sent out within one minute, usually just seconds after!
I have a theme already set up for my store, will Back in Stock work with it?
Back in Stock with most of the popular themes on Shopify, but if we do not have an integration for your installed theme, just email us at email@example.com. Our support team will create a new integration to work with your theme!
Can Back in Stock integrate with my mailing list?
Back in Stock has mailing list integrations available with Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, ConstantContact, and Klaviyo. We also have a Shopify Customers integration, this adds customers to your store mailing list and can connect with most Mailing lists.
Turn customer disappointment into delight
Customers aren’t interested in monitoring your site to see if the item they want to buy is restocked. If they can’t buy something from you, they move on fast. But they’ll also probably remember that experience, damaging customer loyalty.
A note of advice: Be clear about the expected return date. Your customers will appreciate the honesty and sincerity in your marketing communications.
Use Back in Stock notifications to increase sales, make better inventory decisions, and delight customers. It’s a no-brainer.