Out-of-Stock vs. Sold Out in Your Shopify Store: What Is the Difference?

Out-of-stock and sold-out items in Shopify are made unavailable by default, but this doesn't mean that you can't continue to sell them.

Rob Elgar - Writer for Egnition
By Rob Elgar
Head and shoulders photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Updated July 21, 2023.

Not having stock of an item can put a stop to your store's income stream and potentially create a backlog of problems. However, while "out-of-stock" and "sold out" are similar, the slight difference can be used strategically in your Shopify store:

  • Out-of-stock refers to items that are temporarily unavailable but stock will be replenished soon.
  • Sold out refers to items that are no longer available and won't be back in circulation, including discontinued items or items with a limited run because they were tied to a specific event.

In both cases, Shopify will make items unavailable for purchase by default because the inventory level has reached zero. Luckily, you have the option to continue selling when an item is out of stock in Shopify.

Can You Sell Out-of-Stock Items in Shopify?

Even when an item's inventory level is zero, you may still want the item to be available for sale. This could be for several reasons, including:

  • The item is available for pre-order.
  • Your stock will be in soon.
  • You want to base your inventory order on accumulated sales.

To sell out-of-stock items, you can set them up for pre-orders in Shopify or change their availability status in the inventory section. If you choose to enable pre-ordering, you can either use code to create page templates or use a third-party app.

Manage Your Out-of-Stock Items With an Egnition App

Out-of-Stock Police


Overall rating

Out-of-Stock Police Shopify App Banner

Smart Management for Out-of-Stock Products

Visit Site

Free trial


7 days

Free plan





Reasonable fixed pricing structure

Customer service



Out-of-Stock Police helps you easily manage your out-of-stock items by automatically tagging them and pushing them down your product lists, giving your store a cleaner look. View product and collection statistics while you receive email notifications when stock is running low or depleted. Finally, you can increase your organic traffic and boost your SEO because the app ensures your out-of-stock items are still indexed.

Out-of-Stock Police

4.8/5(155 reviews)

» Check out this Out-of-Stock Police review to learn more

Don't Know what Shopify is?

Start your own online eCommerce business using Shopify platform. Shopify gives you all the tools needed to make the journey easier, faster and more profitable.

Frequent Releases

We work tirelessly to deliver more value to your business. Our roadmap is largely based on the questions you ask. We listen and we deliver as often as we can.

24/7/365 apps support

You can reach out to us via a dedicated support icon in the apps. We're always there. Or simply send us an email with your questions at support@egnition.io

Pin It on Pinterest