The constant change in styles and technology, as well as the arrival and departure of manufacturers, is a daily occurrence in the world of eCommerce. This ongoing cycle can pose a question for store owners about what to do with discontinued products – leave their pages active or delete them. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but there are some things to consider before making a decision.
If the items were popular, best sellers that have been around for a while, and you feel shoppers will still be looking for them for the foreseeable future, it probably makes sense to leave them active in your store, but remove the ability for them to be ordered.
You may also want to move them from their original category(s) and into a “discontinued” item category that’s not part of your store’s navigation. This allows you to continue to have the product active and searchable in your store and any links to the item in search engines or other sites remain active. We also suggest modifying the item description to say the item has been discontinued and provide your shoppers with alternative products to try to capture a sale.
If you don’t want to clutter your store up with a lot of discontinued items, you can simply delete them. However, you may want to create 301 redirects from the discontinued item to a similar one, or a relevant category. This will allow you to keep any SEO value the pages may have had.
What is a 301 redirect?
A 301 redirect is a type of HTTP response status code used to permanently redirect one URL to another. This is typically done when a web page or website has been moved to a new location and you want to direct users and search engines to the new address. The 301 redirect informs search engines that the page has been permanently moved, which helps to maintain the page’s link equity and transfer the ranking power to the new URL. This helps to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct location and that there is minimal impact on the website’s SEO.
Depending on your eCommerce platform, creating 301 redirects is a simple process. You simply enter the URL you want to redirect and the URL of the page you want it redirected to. If you have a large number of products to redirect, your platform may allow you to upload redirects in bulk.
For questions about creating or managing redirects in Turbify, BigCommerce, or Shopify stores, feel free to contact us!
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at email@example.com.