Context: Apparel E-commerce

On my category page, should I advise my visitors that the product is out of stock on a roll-over product description or should I indicate it once my visitors arrive in the product page (then displaying similar products)?

Should I put these products at the end of my product list ? Completely remove it ? Let it where it is currently place?

Any rules or advices?



Here are the most common scenarios:

Inventory is out because it's no longer available by the producer // no longer offered by the business for whatever reason

Take these off the site completely. If you can't sell it anymore, don't put it on. Etsy.com takes products "off the shelf" once it's been purchased and not available.

Inventory is Out because it's on backorder

Give users the ability to either be notified or pre-order for when the inventory refreshes. Recommendations as you mentioned are also good but frame it as "Users also bought..." similar to Amazon so you can use this feature universally throughout your site.

  • Remove all references on your site, but keep the link online with links to relevant items, just in case other sites are linking to you. – David Mulder Mar 12 '14 at 16:31

With regards to showing it in the category page, if the product is temporarily out of stock, just show it to users with a greyed out image or an overlay which informs them at first glance that it is out of stock. I dont recommend doing an on hover overlay as you are expecting them to hover over it to discover that it is out stock and this option wont work in mobile devices as well. Here is an example of how flipkart handles it

enter image description here

This atleast informs the user that you can potentially have it in stock. That said, also provide an option for the user to be informed by you if you expect the product to re-stocked soon. Here is another example of how flipkart does it

enter image description here

If the product has been completely discontinued then just remove it from the search results so that users dont click on a product and find out they cant order it anymore.


If a product is discontinued do not remove it from the website. Retain the product detail page for the SEO benefits, but ensure that it's not a dead end. Make it clear that the product is out of stock, and wont be restocked - while suggesting similar products. Continue to reveal the product detail information. Regarding temporarily out of stock products, allow them to be purchased on a back order basis with clear up front messaging explaining when customers can expect to receive the product.


I like how one Slovak bookstore handles this. On all pages where the products are displayed (product pages, search result pages...) they display the availability of the book. There are various possibilities, which should cover all scenarios (sorry for the Slovak screenshot, they don't have an English version of the page):

  1. in stock, sent immediately
  2. in stock, order quickly
  3. we send it within 10 (or any number) days
  4. delivery may take more than 3 weeks
  5. sold out

enter image description here

Each of the statuses also has a tooltip on hover, which explains the situation, such as:

  1. This book can be dispatched right now! If you order by 13:00, you'll get it on the next business day
  2. We have this book in stock, but order quickly, we only have last few books. It will be usually delivered within 5 days
  3. We don't have this book in stock, but we can get it to you within 10 days.
  4. This book requires special order and may take more than 3 weeks to arrive. We don't recommend combining this book with other items.
  5. Sorry, but all books have been sold out and neither us nor publisher have this book. You may have luck in other shops or antique markets.

I really like the tooltips because they really explain the situation, so I know exactly what to expect.

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