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What to do with end of line or discontinued products

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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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