Knowing how to properly remove products from your online store by modifying Product Status vs Product Visibility can make all the difference in the world between an orderly product catalog that is easy to use, and wading through a mess every time you want to find something or make a change. This is important stuff!
A. Product Status
Product Status controls whether a product is available for sale, regardless of visibility or price.
The 5 Product Status levels are as follows:
*Normal – The product is available for sale in the Online Store, and is also available for sale in orders placed in the Order Management System (OMS) through the internal ordering system.
*Backordered – The product is available for sale in the Online Store and the internal OMS ordering system, but is listed as on Backorder (or as specified at Layout / General Layout / Labels).
*Preordered – The product is available for sale in the Online Store and the internal OMS ordering system, but is accompanied by the message Preorder Now! (or as specified at Layout / General Layout / Labels).
*Sold Out – The product is listed in the Online Store and the internal OMS ordering system, but is not available for sale in either place. The add to cart button is removed and replaced with a Sold Out message (or as specified at Layout / General Layout / Labels). (Some merchants use the Sold Out setting for a while before removing the sold-out item from the store, to send a "snooze you lose" message).
*Discontinued – The product is completely removed from the Online Store and the internal ordering system and cannot be seen by customers in the online store or by employees in the back end ordering system.
So, note that products with any status other than Discontinued, will show up in your online store. The Discontinued status removes a product from the online store and your internal ordering system, regardless of the visibility setting.
B. Product Visibility
The Visibility field controls to whom a product is visible, both in the online store and in the OMS where you might be placing phone orders in the OMS internal ordering system. Product Visibility works as you set it, regardless of product status, except if product status is Discontinued, which takes precedence over visibility.
The 6 Product Visibility options are as follows:
*All - the product is visible to all customers.
*BtoC - the product is visible only in the BtoC Store.
*BtoB - the product is visible only in the BtoB Store.
*Internal - the product is visible only Internally (i.e. for orders placed from within the OMS through the internal ordering system).
*None - the product is never visible either online or in the OMS internal ordering system, and exists solely for organizational purposes (e.g. for inclusion in an Inventory Kit, or to make Product/Category pricing work for mix 'n match purposes); and
*Type - product visibility is restricted by Customer Type (Customers/Types).
C. When to use Product Status vs Product Visibility Settings to Remove Products from the Online Store:
There is only one circumstance in which you would use Product VISIBILITY to remove something from your online store – if you want to remove it from the online store but you still want it to be available in your OMS internal ordering system so that you can place orders for it (even though your customers can’t see or buy it online) through the OMS internal ordering system. In this case, you would leave the product STATUS as “Normal”, and set VISIBILITY to “Internal”. In all other cases, to remove a product from your online store, you would set the Product Status to Discontinued and not change visibility because it becomes irrelevant with a discontinued status.
So, if you run out of a product, or choose not to sell whatever remains, and you neither want your customers to be able to order it in the online store, AND you will not be placing any orders for it in your OMS internal ordering system, then set the Product Status to Discontinued and don’t make any changes to the product’s visibility setting.
If you fail to follow this rule, and you use visibility instead of status to remove products from your online store, your internal ordering system may quickly become unmanageable, especially if you use the internal ordering system.
Tip: When creating a product or managing product status, be sure to read the complete ? tooltip next to Product Status for details about the relationship between inventory and product status.