Out-of-Stock Products: Selling on Shopify Tips

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By Staff Writer
Joel Taylor
Reviewed by Joel Taylor

Updated March 10, 2023.

Neon out of stock sign with neon shopping cart

It's not uncommon for Shopify merchants to sell out-of-stock products. In this article, we'll share a few tips on how to sell, hide, and manage out-of-stock items to keep your sales funnel flowing.

Why Would You Want to Sell Items When Out of Stock?

You might want to allow customers to purchase out-of-stock products for the following reasons:

  • Preorders are available for your products.
  • You have stock coming soon and want to keep selling until it arrives.
  • You want to sell first and then order supplies.
  • You are not tracking the exact inventory quantity in your Shopify store. If this is the case, you may want to use an app like Bestsellers reSort to better manage your inventory.

Can You Sell Items if You're Out of Stock?

When you sell out of an item, customers can't buy it until you update the inventory levels to add new stock. You can tweak the default to allow customers to purchase out-of-stock products from the inventory section.

Currently, Shopify does not allow overselling by default; however, follow these steps for new or existing products to have Shopify allow a purchase when out of stock.

Overselling New Products

When creating your product, tick the Track Inventory box under inventory—this is usually ticked by default. You'll notice another option to Continue selling when out of stock beneath that checkbox. When this box is ticked, the product will be available for overselling.

Overselling Existing Products

Existing products can be edited in bulk, allowing you to make a modification once and apply it to all existing products. Follow the steps below to allow for overselling of these specific products:

  1. Navigate to Products > All Products.
  2. Choose all of the products.
  3. Select Edit products.
  4. Once the spreadsheet opens, click Add fields and select Continue selling when out of stock.
  5. Tick the checkboxes next to any products you want to keep selling after they've sold out.

Hiding Out-of-Stock Items

Some of the ways you can hide your products that are temporarily out of stock are:

  1. Using automated collections.
  2. Hiding your out-of-stock products in your default catalog collection.
  3. Automatically hiding them by using apps, such as Egnition's Out-of-Stock Police or Bestsellers reSort.

1. How to Hide Out-of-Stock Products From Your Collections

You must activate inventory monitoring in your Shopify admin before you can hide out-of-stock products and variants from your collections. Inventory tracking automatically keeps track of the inventory level of each product you carry.


  1. Enable inventory tracking for your products.
  2. Change the automated collection conditions for each of your collections and include the following:
  3. For Products must match, select all conditions.
  4. For Inventory stock, select is greater than and enter 0.

Following these steps ensures that your automated collections do not contain any out-of-stock goods and that those goods are not visible to your consumers. After you receive inventory, any out-of-stock goods will reappear in your collections.

Pro Tip: If you set Products must match to any condition, this method for hiding out-of-stock products won't work.

2. How to Hide Out-of-Stock Products in Your Default Catalog Collection

Your store comes standard with a collection that displays all of your in-stock products at the URL {your-store}.myshopify.com/collections/all. It's easy to hide out-of-stock products from this collection.


  1. Take over your Catalog page by overriding it with your own automated collection.
  2. Set the collection's automated conditions to hide out-of-stock products.

3. How to Hide Out-of-Stock Products Using Out-of-Stock Police

Out-of-Stock Police provides intelligent ways of hiding out-of-stock products, saving you time and effort.

  • Push out-of-stock items to the bottom: The app organizes your collections by ensuring that out-of-stock products are never displayed as featured items.
  • Tag out-of-stock products: Create rules for smart collections, build reports, and plan restock dates better by tagging out-of-stock items automatically.
  • Instant notifications for Shopify inventory: Get notified via email when certain products reach low stock, are out of stock, or have just sold out.

Out-of-Stock Police

4.8/5(147 reviews)

Don't Unpublish Products to Hide Them

Although it may seem like a quick-fix solution, unpublishing out-of-stock products not only frustrates your customers with error pages but also negatively impacts your rankings and SEO.

Instead, you can follow strategies such as pushing out-of-stock items to the bottom of your collection, applying sold-out badges to your products, or using automated collection rules. Doing so will simplify the process of managing your out-of-stock inventory in Shopify.

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