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14steve14

What to do with end of line or discontinued products

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This may be in the wrong place, if so hopefully someone will move it.

I have a shop with over 4000 products listed. Some of those products are now discontinued and wont be replaced.  Some of them have been on the site for years, and may have links to them in the search engines. Should I delete them off the site and forget all about it, or should I do something else. Some of them also have an equivalent item from another supplier.

My thoughts are to
1. Manually keep the product pages, but to put a notice at the top of the page that the product is no longer stocked. Then direct the customer to click a button on the page that will take them to the main or sub category that the products were in. That button is already on product pages.
2. Create a redirect somehow that will redirect any customer to the replacement items of the main category. My thoughts are that this may cause confusion unless there is a message as to why the redirection.
3. Move all the discontinued products to their own discontinued category, set the stock levels to zero, show the product and remove the add to cart button. My store checks stock and removes out of stock items from the site until they are back in stock. (May be this should be changed to).
4. Just remove the product and forget all about it.

What do others do, or what do others suggest their clients do.

Are there any good addons available. I had a look and there are some that will show a product as discontinued but all need core code changes which I dont really want to do. May be I should have thought of this before Gary finished his 28 days of code.


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2 minutes ago, 14steve14 said:

Are there any good addons available. I had a look and there are some that will show a product as discontinued but all need core code changes which I dont really want to do. May be I should have thought of this before Gary finished his 28 days of code.

I'm still coding some bonuses, and this might be one if we can think of a way to code it "simple" but also "useable"..

Caveats

It's important(ish) that when a URL is in the search engines...that URL stays as it is.

With that in mind

1.  new admin page where you can make "redirects", eg;  
Blue Widget -> Purple Wodget
Red Doofer -> Pink Doofus

2.  content module for product_info, this grabs the redirect and
outputs a message "discontinued but we recommend..."

So, if they end up on the "Blue Widget" page, they see;
 

<div class="alert alert-danger">
  <p class="lead">This product is discontinued...</p>
  <p>We recommend our <a href="abc.com/product_info.php?products_id=123">Purple Wodget</a> instead...</p>
</div>

That is workable and simple...

And, no core code changes...


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I sort of hoped that you would come up with something. You seem to make everything sound simple.

I recently stopped selling a range of tools by one supplier and this sort of got me to thinking about all those 404s being reported in webmaster tools or what ever its called today. A search on line came up with lots of ideas, but nothing really definite, hence my question.

I currently have your 'out of stock' module, that I have installed on the site, but have not got turned on. I also have your 'View complete range' button on the product pages so something could be done with what I have, but it would be nice to have something that works a lot better.

On you this years 28 days of code I didnt seem to receive a copy of the files for bonus day two. Could you send another copy. Cheers.


REMEMBER BACKUP, BACKUP AND BACKUP

Before installing the official version of oscommerce first look at a responsive version here

It's very easy to over complicate what are simple things in life

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My thought is, always, to try to keep things as simple as possible.  Doing things that way...gets a useable "thing", but that thing because it is quite simple is usually also easy to further change.  makes sense, no?

Do you think the above (simple!) "redirect" idea could be useable for you ?

 

Will send on bonus imminently.


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Redirects with a message to say something that can be changed would be great. A way of creating a redirect sounds really easy to.

After looking at some of the other addons, this all seems too simple.


REMEMBER BACKUP, BACKUP AND BACKUP

Before installing the official version of oscommerce first look at a responsive version here

It's very easy to over complicate what are simple things in life

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39 minutes ago, 14steve14 said:

Redirects with a message to say something that can be changed would be great. A way of creating a redirect sounds really easy to.

After looking at some of the other addons, this all seems too simple.

Simple is good.  Please check your email inbox...get back to me (by email)...


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57 minutes ago, burt said:

My thought is, always, to try to keep things as simple as possible.  Doing things that way...gets a useable "thing", but that thing because it is quite simple is usually also easy to further change.  makes sense, no?

Do you think the above (simple!) "redirect" idea could be useable for you ?

 

Will send on bonus imminently.

@burt I have gergelys redirect installed and use it a lot. Mostly for discontinued items. When the last one sells of something I set up a redirect to an appropriate product or category. I also set up a 301 for SEO. 

I'm really interested in what you come up with especially with edge and PHP 7 in mind.


I am not a professional webmaster or PHP coder by background or training but I will try to help as best I can.

I remember what it was like when I first started with osC. It can be overwhelming.

However, I strongly recommend considering hiring a professional for extensive site modifications, site cleaning, etc.

There are several good pros here on osCommerce. Look around, you'll figure out who they are.

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1 minute ago, altoid said:

@burt I have gergelys redirect installed and use it a lot. Mostly for discontinued items. When the last one sells of something I set up a redirect to an appropriate product or category. I also set up a 301 for SEO. 

I'm really interested in what you come up with especially with edge and PHP 7 in mind.

Ah I had forgotten about Gergely's thing.  When using that, would you not (eventually) lose the [old] entry from the search engine listing ?


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Eventually yes over time as I understand it with a 301. I do that by choice to avoid a long term page or product not found. Once set up it stays there until you remove it. His mod let's you set whatever code you want too.

By default the mod throws a 302, which you can review in a log and the change to 301, delete or whatever.


I am not a professional webmaster or PHP coder by background or training but I will try to help as best I can.

I remember what it was like when I first started with osC. It can be overwhelming.

However, I strongly recommend considering hiring a professional for extensive site modifications, site cleaning, etc.

There are several good pros here on osCommerce. Look around, you'll figure out who they are.

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I just have a thumbbar category with an extra manufacturer filter and the first not in stock piece customized to distinguish temporarily not in stock vs completely sold out.

Google hj3460 and you should find an example it in the listings (at least it is pretty high up on my google search)


KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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I saw this as an issue a long time ago and have modified how I handle it over time.  I have products that can be gone for a while but come back, so I modified the notification to show a link to be notified by email when back in stock.  There's an addon that handles some of this to when a stock level is put back in, an email is sent to the notification list with a link to the product.

For items that are gone and not coming back I give a "410 Gone" header and a message for the consumer to see.  Sometimes, I'll add a redirect in .htaccess from one product to another.  


I'm not really a dog.

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I would be careful about actually redirecting to another product. A customer might not be looking carefully, and ends up ordering a Purple Wodget when they had been intending to purchase a Blue Widget. I think it would be sufficient to go to the old page, and have a very distinct "No longer available" notice, with links to one or more suggested replacements. That might be done with a new "redirect" routine that adds the notice at the top of the product page, or just manually coded into the discontinued product's HTML description.


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Posted (edited)

I never use gone products. What happening when customer wants to buy one left shoe from a pair? Disappointing. Site listing product with price but never can buy.
There are two cases of reason why products gone.
1. not produced
2. sold out or merchant dont want to sell

When customer not finds product then wants to look another site to find it so we have less chance to catch.

So shop owner could do better policy what is the best in own business. I think not on my site be where customer would be disappointed. Go to my competitors site first and next go to me.
Competitors listing on the top but I will sell the product.
 

Edited by tgely

:blink:
osCommerce based shop owner with minimal design and focused on background works. When the less is more.
Email managment with tracking pixel, package managment for shipping, stock management, warehouse managment with bar code reader, parcel shops management on 3000 pickup points without local store.

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22 minutes ago, MrPhil said:

I would be careful about actually redirecting to another product. A customer might not be looking carefully, and ends up ordering a Purple Wodget when they had been intending to purchase a Blue Widget. I think it would be sufficient to go to the old page, and have a very distinct "No longer available" notice, with links to one or more suggested replacements. That might be done with a new "redirect" routine that adds the notice at the top of the product page, or just manually coded into the discontinued product's HTML description.

100% agree.


This is a signature that appears on all my posts.  
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Quote

with links to one or more suggested replacements

I would advice to never delete a product - in my experience the old / inactive /  discontinued products do very well for mr G (why? short HTML? I have never had a clue ..). We use the discontinued product to point to suggested alternatives.

We have a modularized product_info.php for Discontinued produsts (for which we use an extra product status : Eg 0 = inactive  / 1 = active /- 2 = discontinued). The modularized page we can also use to show attachments for the discontinued product - because that's often why customers use the discontinued model in their serach in the first place. And we can point to alternative categories or products of the manufacturer ...

So al lot of possibilties!

 

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2 hours ago, MrPhil said:

I would be careful about actually redirecting to another product. A customer might not be looking carefully, and ends up ordering a Purple Wodget when they had been intending to purchase a Blue Widget. I think it would be sufficient to go to the old page, and have a very distinct "No longer available" notice, with links to one or more suggested replacements. That might be done with a new "redirect" routine that adds the notice at the top of the product page, or just manually coded into the discontinued product's HTML description.

What Gary has coded allows the store owner to chose a similar product from another manufacturer and it puts the link in to a button in the discontinued warning message. If the customer reads it he can click the link and will see the recommended product. There is also the usual cross sells on the product that may interest the customer.

If a product is just deleted I take it Google will eventually stop trying to look for it, but what about deleting the product and SEO. Is that affected. When a product goes out of stock and is no longer visible Google records it as a 404 or something and that gets corrected when the item is back in stock. If a customer searches in Google and clicks on a link that goes nowhere it really annoys, but the same would happen if the product was removed and still searchable in Google.

I am also thinking of creating a new discontinued category that is not visable on the site but will still allow products to kept there.

Its funny how everyone has a different opinion and there seems to be nothing that is the right way to do it. Its the same with a quick search on Google. So many different ways, but nothing 100% positive and correct. Google says keep them on the site.


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It's very easy to over complicate what are simple things in life

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@azpro

2 hours ago, azpro said:

I would advice to never delete a product - in my experience the old / inactive /  discontinued products do very well for mr G (why? short HTML? I have never had a clue ..). We use the discontinued product to point to suggested alternatives.

We have a modularized product_info.php for Discontinued produsts (for which we use an extra product status : Eg 0 = inactive  / 1 = active /- 2 = discontinued). The modularized page we can also use to show attachments for the discontinued product - because that's often why customers use the discontinued model in their serach in the first place. And we can point to alternative categories or products of the manufacturer ...

Have you made available your modularized product_info.php code? I'd love to see how you do this :cool:

Malcolm


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@wHiTeHaT you are my man as I mentioned before. Somebody sold gone products but I want to sell lives. :thumbsup:


:blink:
osCommerce based shop owner with minimal design and focused on background works. When the less is more.
Email managment with tracking pixel, package managment for shipping, stock management, warehouse managment with bar code reader, parcel shops management on 3000 pickup points without local store.

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In my case, there are items that are gone because I can't get them anymore.  For bestsellers, I modified mine so out of stock items don't show on bestsellers.

 


I'm not really a dog.

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Posted (edited)

I mentioned this to Burt the other day and he didn't realize bestsellers show out of stock items.  He's going to hotfix this on his next round.  I have Google showing my bestsellers in some snippets for searches, so it's handy to only show in stock items.  Google updated within a day on this.

I've done a lot of head scratching over time.  Worried I would wear out a bald spot.

Edited by John W

I'm not really a dog.

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4 hours ago, MrPhil said:

I would be careful about actually redirecting to another product. A customer might not be looking carefully, and ends up ordering a Purple Wodget when they had been intending to purchase a Blue Widget. I think it would be sufficient to go to the old page, and have a very distinct "No longer available" notice, with links to one or more suggested replacements. That might be done with a new "redirect" routine that adds the notice at the top of the product page, or just manually coded into the discontinued product's HTML description.

Back when Gergely was developing this we discussed that. He came up with a handy message stack that shows a nice clear  message that after the redirect clearly alerts the customer such and such is not available but here is something you may wish to consider.


I am not a professional webmaster or PHP coder by background or training but I will try to help as best I can.

I remember what it was like when I first started with osC. It can be overwhelming.

However, I strongly recommend considering hiring a professional for extensive site modifications, site cleaning, etc.

There are several good pros here on osCommerce. Look around, you'll figure out who they are.

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5 hours ago, MrPhil said:

I would be careful about actually redirecting to another product. A customer might not be looking carefully, and ends up ordering a Purple Wodget when they had been intending to purchase a Blue Widget. I think it would be sufficient to go to the old page, and have a very distinct "No longer available" notice, with links to one or more suggested replacements. That might be done with a new "redirect" routine that adds the notice at the top of the product page, or just manually coded into the discontinued product's HTML description.

Actually using Gergely's add on, my redirects from an defunct product are to the category of that product, with the message stack telling customer product is not available but here are similar items to consider.  I think it's user friendly and effective.


I am not a professional webmaster or PHP coder by background or training but I will try to help as best I can.

I remember what it was like when I first started with osC. It can be overwhelming.

However, I strongly recommend considering hiring a professional for extensive site modifications, site cleaning, etc.

There are several good pros here on osCommerce. Look around, you'll figure out who they are.

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Posted (edited)

It all depends on your business ...

* If you sell one-of-a-kind, hand-made items (jewelry, paintings, sculpture, quilts, etc), then it is beneficial to show what you have made / sold in the past, even if that item is no longer available. Not only does it showcase what you have/can do, it may generate interest for customers to commission you to make something new.

* If you sell items like used books, antiques, used clothing, etc., then it may, or may not, be beneficial to show what you had in the past. It may generate traffic from search results, but its hard to say if that will generate any additional business.

* If you sell a commodity item, and that item has been discontinued, but a replacement (or similar) item is available, then keeping the old item can be very useful. Searches can bring customers to your store, where you can then offer the newer products.

That all said, I do not think an automatic redirect is the best answer. If something is no longer available, just say so. If an alternative is available, offer it as a suggestion.

(just my 2 cents)

Edited by ArtcoInc

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2 hours ago, altoid said:

Back when Gergely was developing this we discussed that. He came up with a handy message stack that shows a nice clear  message that after the redirect clearly alerts the customer such and such is not available but here is something you may wish to consider.

You will have customers who are not paying close enough attention, or think that Purple Wodget is just a new name for Blue Widget. Therefore, I think it's risky to actually go (redirect) to another product's page. You are going to get complaints that you shipped the wrong product, or even legal action if a Purple Wodget is more expensive than the Blue Widget they had intended to buy. I think it's safest to stay on the Blue Widget page (can't order one), and offer links to other product pages, such as Purple Wodgets. Besides, you could potentially offer several alternative products (as links), rather than forcing just one.

Another thought: what happens to Search Engine rankings if you auto-redirected to Purple Wodgets? Any penalties for "duplicate content" with Blue Widgets? Will Blue Widgets disappear from results?


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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, MrPhil said:

You will have customers who are not paying close enough attention, or think that Purple Wodget is just a new name for Blue Widget. Therefore, I think it's risky to actually go (redirect) to another product's page. You are going to get complaints that you shipped the wrong product, or even legal action if a Purple Wodget is more expensive than the Blue Widget they had intended to buy. I think it's safest to stay on the Blue Widget page (can't order one), and offer links to other product pages, such as Purple Wodgets. Besides, you could potentially offer several alternative products (as links), rather than forcing just one.

Another thought: what happens to Search Engine rankings if you auto-redirected to Purple Wodgets? Any penalties for "duplicate content" with Blue Widgets? Will Blue Widgets disappear from results?

In thinking that over, and actually looking at what I do on site, it turns out my redirects for defunct items go to the category pages rather than another product for the vast majority of the time. On rare occasion, where there is virtually an identical product I may consider redirecting to that.

So when redirecting to the category page, it seems very understandable and user friendly for the customer in and of itself.  That coupled with the message stack, seems to be good.

It's my understanding when using a 301 the search engine process that by removing the previous product from index when redirected to another by the 301.  In webmaster tools I do not see any duplicate content other than product and product reviews dupes.

Edited by altoid

I am not a professional webmaster or PHP coder by background or training but I will try to help as best I can.

I remember what it was like when I first started with osC. It can be overwhelming.

However, I strongly recommend considering hiring a professional for extensive site modifications, site cleaning, etc.

There are several good pros here on osCommerce. Look around, you'll figure out who they are.

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