How to manage end of line / discontinued products in Magento

Store owners often have to deal with the issue of out of stock or discontinued products.  These products can either be disabled or hidden.  This knowledgebase discusses the advantages and disadvantages of disabling vs. hiding a product in Magento and provides instructions for each option.

Disabling a product is common however the disadvantage is that, unless a URL rerwite is added, the product page URL will display a 404 error.  Setting a product to disabled is not the best option, especially if it's a high traffic page linked from blog posts, Facebook, Pinterest etc.

Hiding a product is the recommended option for managing out of stock or discontinued products.  Hiding a product means that it will not appear on the front end of you site, e.g. in a categroy or in search results, but it will still have a working product page.  The benefit of this is that the product URL will not return a 404 error and visitors can be directed to an alternative product.

How to disable a product in Magento:
1. Go to Catalog > Manage Products > search for relevant product > edit
2. In the General tab change the status field to Disabled
3. Click save

Magento product status

Note that if you have a multi store you may need to set the status on the website level depending on your configuration.  A reindix and/or clearing of the cache may be necessary to see the changes on the front end.

How to hide a product in Magento:
1. Go to System > Configuration
2. Go to Catalog (left hand menu) > Inventory
3. Expand Stock Options and  change the Display Out of Stock Products setting to No
4. Click Save configuration

Magento hide out of stock product setting

Note that if you have a multi store you may need to set the status on the website level depending on your configuration.  A reindix and/or clearing of the cache may be necessary to see the changes on the front end.

Generally, there is no need to delete products in Magento.  Keeping the product hidden outweighs the potential risks of deleting it.
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