Accidently found a second big benefit of ebay’s new “out of stock” function

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ebays relatively new “Out Of Stock” feature enables sellers to keep their sales history when a product runs out of stock.

This feature is great news for sellers who sell multiples of the same items. There is no better social proof for a potential buyer than to see items has previously sold 5,10, 50 or a 100+ times already. This is the sales history.

Without the “Out of Stock” feature enabled, all sales history for a listing is lost forever when an item sells out. Before the out of stock feature was released, many sellers would use various tactics to keep the listing live when they ran out of stock until their next delivery arrived. The most popular strategy was to wind the price right up so nobody would purchase it, however this only works for a short term as it effects the “impression to sale” ratio.

So what is the second benefit of ebay’s out of stock feature?

Many sellers who sell multiple products like to list only small amounts at a time so it triggers ebay to display “Limited Quantity Available” on their listings and also makes buyers think an item is about to run out of stock.

This is exactly the same strategy as the airlines use to sell seats on planes. That is, if you ring your local travel agent to book say 4 seats to your favourite destination, they will look at their computer and see there are less than 10 seats available. So we all think, wow, I had better buy now!

Of course as soon as you do buy, the airlines instantly add more seats.

Many people use this same strategy on ebay using programs like Scarcity Manager however… with the new out of stock feature enabled, it takes it to a whole new level…


Creating scarcity works best when the amount available is the lowest i.e only 1 left and the amount previously sold high.

Example 50 sold but only 1 remaining!

When using a program like scarcity manager, the trick has always been to make sure the item never sells out as if it does sell out, scarcity manager cannot update the inventory fast enough to protect the sales history. It can take up to 30 mins for SM to update the inventory on ebay.

Because of this, we would always need to play it safe and have SM maintain a higher inventory on ebay i.e. 3

Now, we can go as low as 1 as when the item sells, the history is protected and as soon as you or SM add more stock, the listing goes live again with all the sales history!

This was worked, when somebody purchased all 3 of the 3 items we had listed on ebay and then to our amazement as soon as SM realised the sale, it updated the quantity and ebay relisted the item again. We thought we had lost all the sales history, as previously turning on the ‘out of stock’ function SM would not have been able to add more inventory as the listing would have “ended”.

To turn on ebay’s “Out Of Stock Function” Go to: My ebay > Site Preferences

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5 Responses to Accidently found a second big benefit of ebay’s new “out of stock” function

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for that Neil, I didn’t realise there was an option to tick. On multi listings, different sizes/ colours etc this was working automatically anyway, which was an advantage of using the multi listing format. Now it should work on all of them which is great.

  2. Anthony idle says:

    This is awesome news. Will adjust my available quantity as soon as I’ve turned on the feature. Assume only relevant to good till cancelled listings??
    Thanks Neil

  3. cameron scott says:

    I switched this on inside the manage the store when i was setting up the store fro memory

  4. Jocelyn Maniatakos says:

    To avoid any misunderstanding: If I have OOS option turned on (so I do not lose my sales history) if I then use Scarcity manager and have 3 listed, sell all 3 bringing inventory down to 0 does that mean scarcity manager automatically restocks?
    I do not want to lose my high selling listings!

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