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I'm dealing with a large database of roughly 70k products. Products regularly go Out Of Stock and In Stock, however, once and a while some of the products in my store will become Discontinued.

Disabling a product that is discontinued will result in a inaccessible page, deleting the product is the same.

I've thought of 2 possible ways to deal with this but wanted some input as I do not know if these are viable or would affect the installation negatively:

  1. Create a 3rd Option Discontinued allowing the page to still be loaded and displaying this status as apposed to Out Of Stock

  2. Creating a YES / NO attribute Discontinued and simply modify my template to reflect this.

What would be the best way to address a discontinued product scenario?

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We are using another approach.

A discontinued product is reduced to visibility catalog only (effectively removing "search"). On a second step we remove all catalog bindings. This way the product is not found with searching and catalog browsing does not show it either.

The big advantage is that the product is still working when called by direct url which is important for us in terms of SEO, wishlist etc.

It is quite easy to check for this on a product page, e.g. to show a discontinued-sign instead of an add-to-basket button.

  • Great approach, I would optionally add some crosssell products to the page as an option to buy instead of the discontinued product – Sander Mangel Mar 30 '14 at 9:24
  • Seconded - we do exactly the same on a number of stores. Additionally, we use a flag for discontinued AND check the stock level. Thus, you can pre-determine when an items sells out, it should be marked as discontinued, but if you get stock back in, it re-activates. – Douglas Radburn Mar 30 '14 at 9:48
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I agree with above solution. We are facing to this problem for many years and can not find good solution for it, but we find this way suddenly and I want to speak more about this solution to clearly describe the procedure for others here .

Discontinue products are always a trouble for online stores. From the viewpoint of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), high number of out of stock products is not good, exactly if the customer land directly on out of stock page. This confuses the visitors and has bad effect on customer’s experience. In other hand, from the viewpoint of SEO, each product’s URL provides a link for crawl to reach your website and high number of URL is helpful, so keeping out of stock pages could be useful. Also if you disable the product, it gets error 404 (Not Found) on google, it is bad for your SEO. There is a Discontinued option for each product on Magento and this let you to redirect the product, but as you know redirect the URL slow your site and high number of redirection is not suggested. What is the Solution? I have found a simple solution on our website. Follow as below:

  1. Don’t set its “Status” as “Disabled”. Product should be “Enabled” to keep its URL and prevent “Error 404”
  2. Set the “Visibility” of product as “Catalogue”. This help you to hide your discontinue product from customer search. But still this product is visible in your category.
  3. To hide this product from your website, don’t set any “Categories” for your product. By this way, no visitor sees your discontinued product on your website and your product hides from site search too.
  4. For visitors who may directly land on your discontinued product from search engine, you can set a banner or write a sentence like this “This product is discontinued, Please continue your online shopping by Click Here” and guide your visitors to similar product or proper page.

As a sample, you can search “Mug” keyword in our website and see SKU: SSF500 is not shown on our website search and it is not exist in our Mug category too, but its URL is available and if anybody land on its page, we guide him to similar product.

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