In this tutorial we will show you why you should NEVER delete products that are out of stock, out of stock or simply no longer sold in your eCommerce.
Reasons to REMOVE a Product from your eCommerce
A classic mistake made by many entrepreneurs who have an online store, is to delete products from their eCommerce, when one of these 4 situations occurs:
- The product is discontinued and will no longer be available.
- The product is out of stock and they will not have it for a while.
- The product is no longer sold because it is bad
- The product is no longer sold due to low margin
There are probably more, but these are the main reasons I have found that eCommerce managers have decided to eliminate these products. Many of you may be wondering what’s wrong with that. After all, for one reason or another, that product will no longer be sold, so it shouldn’t affect us. That’s not entirely true, at least indirectly. Also this post about niche markets on the Internet can help you.
Why not DELETE Products from an eCommerce? 🛒
The main reason for not deleting them is for ranking on Google. We must think that each product has its own URL, and for Google it is just another content of our website. If we delete it, we will automatically eliminate it completely from Google. But despite that, someone might insist: “But what’s wrong with that? After all, we don’t have that product for sale, so what good does it do us if it’s indexed in Google?
The answer is easy: So that they can find us!
That’s right: That discontinued or out-of-stock product will no longer be sold, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a substitute, complementary or similar product! Maybe we have an equivalent or even better alternative. But of course… If they don’t find us in the first place…. How are we going to present the alternative?
But be careful, because there is a second reason for not deleting these products. It is nothing more and nothing less than 404 errors. Besides, let’s think about all those links from other websites to that product, they will be broken links! That’s how we appreciate someone talking about us and linking our website? All that strength and “Google juice” that they can transmit to us, will disappear!
A large number of 404 errors can affect our positioning, and the level of trust that Google has of us, especially because this number will continue to increase more and more, and proportionally end up being much higher than the number of indexed pages. That is to say, that not even deleting products, there will be a moment in which there will be more deleted products than products for sale, and therefore, more 404 errors than indexed pages. This will undoubtedly penalize us.
So What do we do? 🧧
The short answer is easy: Let’s not delete them. The longer answer is, obviously, it depends. And what does it depend on? Well, on those causes that have led to the product no longer being sold. Depending on that, we will proceed in one way or another. Let’s take a look:
📟 The product is discontinued and will no longer be available
Sometimes the reason is beyond our control. The supplier simply stops selling the product, and they will no longer serve it to us. There is nothing to do, it’s over. Obviously we will not be able to sell it, but at least we can inform our customer of the situation. We can tell him not to keep looking, that the supplier has stopped making the product, and therefore there won’t be any more anywhere. But let’s not stop there! It is not enough just to inform him, what we must do is to propose an alternative.
If it was a cleaning product, we can tell him that instead of that one, we now have another one that fulfills the same purpose. Or if it is a book, we can suggest other books by the same author. Imagination to the power, let’s have a little imagination! The idea, at the end of the day, is not to leave the customer in a dead end. We must always have a CTA. If it’s not “buy”, let it be “look” at another product. But let’s not “abandon” with a simple “out of stock”.
🎛 The product is out of stock and will not be available for some time
In some cases, the product is simply temporarily out of stock. If so, removing it or even hiding it is a very bad move, as we are losing potential sales. What we must do is, once again, inform: Tell the customer that the product is out of stock but that it will be available again soon. If we want to go a step further, there are some plugins like Waiting List in WooCommerce that allow us to automatically notify the customer when the product is available again.
🪔 The product is no longer sold due to poor quality
Once again: Inform and give alternatives. If we decide to remove a product from our catalog because it is bad, and because it does not meet expectations, we must tell: Say that we have withdrawn it because it did not meet our quality level, and that we only bet on the best. And obviously, we must also provide an alternative. That similar, substitute, equivalent, or even better product. And we tell them why we have chosen that one, how it is better, and all that is necessary.
🛡 Product is no longer sold due to low profit margin
A last option is to stop selling because we have no margin, or even lose money. In this case we will have to look for an alternative from another supplier, introduce it in our catalog, and give the customer the option. In this case, the reason for the visit is not usually explained, since it is a strategic decision of the company, so it is simply advisable to highlight the characteristics and attributes of this alternative product, above the one we are no longer selling.
🛍 Don’t delete the product but don’t display it
And we finish with one last important point: Do not remove the product from the store, it does not mean that we have to have it visible in it. It is not feasible to show a product catalog if a large part of it is not for sale, because it would annoy the visitor a lot, and would have a very bad user experience, entering and leaving products that he discovers that he can not buy. So, what we should do is to hide the product from the catalog. This can be done in many ways, but in the case of WooCommerce is very easy, just go to the “Visibility” section we have in the sidebar, and choose the “Hidden” option.
In this way, the product still exists for Google, for those who have the direct link to it, and for the rest of the webs that had it linked, but visitors do not see it in the catalog, because it would be a nuisance for them, to see products that they can not buy. Obviously, you should not hide the products that are temporarily out of stock, you can have them visible, because as we have seen we can get visitors to ask us to warn them, or even to buy it in advance in a pre-sale. So as a conclusion, we should never delete products from an eCommerce, for positioning reasons, and loss of sales opportunities.
The best strategy is to hide the products from the catalog (keeping the content and URLs for Google and external links), inform visitors of the situation, and offer an equivalent alternative.
If you are interested in this type of online business, then I am going to share with you several posts I have written that I know can help you in your online projects;
Get your First Followers on Twitter
Delete unused Shortcodes
Tutorial Modify Robots txt