That really depends on the type of item. If its something that I want now (gift, real need, etc.) then the quicker I know you don't have it, the quicker I can find it elsewhere. On the other hand, if its just a run of the mill purchase, and the site says it'll be in stock in a week, I might just want to see it.
I think making sure an "Out of Stock" notice appeared on the product page would be the best idea. I'd certainly want the product info anyhow, but just please make sure I don't find out it's out of stock a week after I order, when I'm sitting around wondering where my package is...
If I'm looking for something specific, ie, down to brand and model.. say componentry for something for example.. then sure, I would like to see that you do normally stock the product and that it is currently out of stock. Who knows how much further I might have to search to find the item again, so I'd rather know I can get it from you in a week if I need to, and it means I'm likely to bookmark your site.
If I'm looking for less specific things.. say a gift for someone (which usually implies a time limit as well), or if I'm impulse shopping for myself, then no, I really only want to see what I can get right now.
Id like to see out of stock on the item page, i see ooOo too often people let you add to cart and it says 'oops no more' also a good feature to have is to be notified when its carried again. If the plans are not to carry the product anymore whatsoever you can phase the page out.
It's easier to leave a temporarily out of stock item on the page than remove it and put it back later, and leaving it there with an out of stock notification doesn't disturb the keyword density of the page, if that's a consideration, which it sometimes is.
However, from my experience there are times someone will order something even if it's clearly marked in red text as being out of stock. I prefer leaving items because it shows the type of selection and could encourage return visits, but most likely the ability to place an order for it should be disabled.
For me, if the item if out of stock (inventory <= 0), the "Add to Cart" link is replaced with an "Out of Stock" text. If the item is permanently is out of stock, is it worth leaving the content on the web site for search engines primariily? The assumption is that page could be a gateway to a sale of an "In Stock" item? What has been your experience in this area?
I agree with the retention of the content with an out of stock notice. Another suggestion for what I'd like to see, though, is also an estimated date for having supply in stock, if such a date is easy to come by.
Hi, surprised to see this post pop up again. On our current site, if the item is out of stock, it is automatically pulled off the site during the nightly update. Once the item arrives, it goes back up again the day after we get it. We are currently considering an interesting option as far as this goes, we will know in the next week or so whether we do it or not. Once we decide I'll let those of you who are interested what the idea is. An estimated date is another one we have thought of, also an e-mail me(customer) when it comes in option.
[edited by: mahlon at 11:13 pm (utc) on Sep. 17, 2002]
In addition to the other great ideas here, I'd also love to see an "out of stock, but here's something comparable!" notice.
If something is out of stock, (unless your prices are absolutely KILLER) I'm going to another site and getting it there. But if you can convince me that item B is almost as good as item A, I might purchase it.
If I see "out of stock" I'm gone forever.
I can understand that Hawkgirl, but what if you were reserching the product and not purchasing right away? At least you would know that store "A" carries the item and my provide better service or price for when you are ready to purchase the item.
This is where our idea is interesting, I'll keep you posted on if we use it or not and what the idea is.:)
out of stock? oh dear. i'd much prefer to see sites / businesses maintaining their stock levels. if i want to purchase 2 items and the site i want to buy from only has one in stock then i'll go elsewhere and buy both. many other people do the same.
people won't mess around making 2 purchases when they can make one. they don't want to wait a week or 2 for you to get more stock in. they don't want to email you to find out when you'll have the stock when they can get it elsewhere right now. remember, if people are out shopping right now, they want to buy right now, and if you can't supply, someone else can.
Depends on the item. For example, if I were looking for something specific (say brake pads for my Ford), I would rather see out of stock than search your site for an extra 10 minutes before giving up. However, if I am looking for something non-specific (say a present for someone - I don't know what to get them) I would rather not have to trawl through a list of out of stock items to find the one I want, I may even see one I like at your site and buy it somewhere else because they have it in stock.
I have a similar problem. I am selling specific products - people know exactly what they want before they are even on the site. Having so many products on my site - the majority are out of stock. To stock just one of each item (and some require stocking 20 and more to be efficient) it would cost me £209776.71. I actually stock around £1000 worth. One thing I do is to put an estimate of delivery on the site, but I download a price list and stocklist from a supplier of mine and this is very useful to know if they have an item in stock or not.
What if you sell rare, hard to find items instead of retail pieces? Publishing descriptions of your completed sales could help buyers get a sense of what you deal in. If the buyers does decide to buy, make it easy -- group your listing by "in stock" and "out of stock".
A couple of our clients who have e-commerce sites have found it effective to put "temporarily out of stock" or "available in October" notices on...and then add the date when item is expected to be available. They still accept orders for the items...and ship when the items arrive.
Their customers seem to prefer knowing when the product will be shipped...and appreciate being able to order immediately. I probably should mention that none of the items that were "temporarily out of stock" were delayed in shipping by more than 2 months.