explorador - 3:13 pm on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)
How about showing the product as out of stock, but have a link with something like "sorry, we are out of blue round widgets, but would you like to look at red round widgets? <click here>"
That's a very nice idea.
Out of stock products could still bring you lots of traffic, and from there you can lead the clients to other products you still have. Why? Some times we can only find specs of old products on old e commerce pages, antiques or out of stock items. The bad thing is a lot of sellers remove those pages.
Take per example ARM computers, there are lots of them but is hard to find old models. If you need a replacement you will get a lot of "out of stock" pages, but mostly "sorry the page you are looking for blah blah". Some sites take advantage of this showing COMPATIBLE models or related products while still showing the out of stock item with all the specs.
In my own experience I've found this to be really useful, for documentation, specs, to find replacements, compatible models, models for parts, accesories and references, pictures, etc.
Perhaps you could also implement a "sign up" alert, allowing your users to receive a notification in case of any of those products coming to your inventory (or alternatives). This could be useful for you to measure how many people are still interested on getting that product.