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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.


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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.


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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
FYI Upgrade to the highest PHP version you can( PHP 5.5/5.6 or 7.1  and get big performance improvements for free)

But be aware php 5.5 is more strict about things.
UTF8-without BOM, no extra spaces allowed at the beginning or end of your php file, or your redirects wont work.
No double declarations of functions allowed - used to slip through the cracks ...

 

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:

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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.


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Just delete the product i would say normally.

But it depends what kind of items you sell.

I recently upgraded a shop where antique motor bike parts where sold, and some of these (used) parts are hard to find already on the internet.

So the owner wanted to keep the product just to inform the client it is not available anymore, as the shop owner get request from clients asking: "Do you have this part XXXX".

But what about a shop where sell laptops, mobile phones, tv's etc?
I think just to remove the product from your stock is better.

I would personally feel mislead when click a link in google and not see what i clicked. not just mislead, i even hate it and pisses me off.

You all know the way of regular paper-advertising, reading... buy this sofa and get a bike for free with t, or a tv etc***.

And in the bottom say's (*** as long as available)

And when go to the store, .......... "Sorry Sir... the free TV's are all out" .... and then ........ But...........
Especially THAT: BUT.....................

Completely turn myself inside into a vulcan. 

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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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@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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It all depend on your type of business.

You know yourself what you selling ( you should ), if the choice to offer your client a substitute of the landing product-page, thats 100% ok.

But......................

lol.... this more interesting and stirring the pot, and not thought about nor discussed.

What about the products listings when are already on the site?
What about the reviews if have any for "add to cart" 
What about "Best sellers"
What about "special products if was assigned"
What about, what about, what about.......................


It is going much far beyond "The primary" question. 

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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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