How to manage out of stock products in WooCommerce

In this post I’ll show you how to manage out of stock products in WooCommerce. This offers an effective approach to avoid customer frustrations and lost sales to competitors.

If you run an online store that ships physical goods you’ll more than likely come across products that have sold out. For the majority of stores it’s inevitable and almost unavoidable. For both shoppers and store owners this can prove to be an annoyance, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several ways to manage out of stock products in WooCOmmerce.

1. Hide of stock products

This is obviously the most logical, but it’s only a bandaid solution. To enable this option head to WooCommerce >>


What this does is hides the products from the shop, category and search results pages, but they are still visible on the individual product page. This helps the shop browser type of visitor who likes to look through available products, but what about direct product page visitors? For example, from Google. So if a visitor comes from Google, Facebook or another social network they will still see the out of stock product and the disappointment that comes with it.

2. Back in stock notifier

The WooCommerce back in stock notifier plugin offers a fantastic solution for shoppers to be notified when a product comes back in stock. It places a simple signup form near the price and when you change the stock status your customers are notified.

I like this approach, and is something I’d strongly recommend for anyone who sells 100% unique products, but not everyone will be in a situation where they are the sole seller of a product. In fact, chances are there will be hundreds or thousands of retailers selling the same thing, and that’s not including the titans Amazon and eBay. While a customer may fill in the form they might also keep searching and buy it elsewhere without having to wait.

The other problem with this approach is that a customer may lose interest and no longer be interested when it comes back in stock.

3. Out of stock display for WooCommerce

This is our own plugin and is designed to capture a sale while the customer is interested in buying. Instead of delaying the sale and potentially losing it, it shows related products while the shopper has cash in their hand. Think of it as a department store that has cleared out of one product but is surrounded by shelves and racks full of similar products. Sure, one brand of a toaster may be gone, but you can see that there are another 30 brands available in the surrounding shelves. By default WooCommerce doesn’t do this, but our plugin does. It also works seamlessly with the above two methods.

How to manage out of stock products in WooCommerce
How a typical WooCommerce store looks when a product is sold out


A representation of how the product page looks with our plugin activated in a real world scenario.

As you can see by the examples above, if you were greeted with an empty wall in a grocery store you’d depart quicker than you entered. But when you make things visible it’s clear that there are some very good and similar choices available. You can view our demos by clicking this link

What our plugin does is displays related products (or upsell products in the pro version) is a number of locations to catch buyers attention. Instead of being greeted with an out of stock notice and disabled add to cart button, shoppers are greeted with your personal message and a selection of similar products. This gives them a better opportunity to click through to something similar.

How does this compare to the inbuilt linked products? It actually uses linked products to work. In fact, if you buy the pro version you can use the more targeted logic of upsells.

WooCommerce typically displays linked products below the description. This works well for products that are in stock, but not so well for products that are out of stock. The vast majority of buyers will never read a product description, and if a product is not available there’s even less chance that they will read a description of a product that they can’t buy. Our plugin places the linked products where they can be seen when a page loads, leading to more sales and higher profits (upsells)

By utilising the three methods above you can substantially improve buyer experience and also increase your store conversions and profits.

Get the pro version of Out of stock display for WooCOmmerce and enable upsell logic and more display options to help get more sales.


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