Understanding Inventory Status

What is inventory status?

Inventory status, or inventory state, indicates the current availability of a product within Shopify's inventory management system. Shopify categorizes products into various states, each representing different levels of stock availability.

The theme then displays an inventory transfer notice based on this information through a product block available on product templates and featured product sections, helping communicate stock levels effectively to potential customers.

There are two components to this inventory status product block:

  1. Low inventory

  2. Inventory transfer notice.

There are a number of different variables at play that go into deciding when the low inventory message appears and when the inventory transfer notice appears.

Let's go through the important concepts:

Inventory tracking

When creating a new product or editing a product in the Shopify admin, there is an option to Track quantity.

When a product's quantity is being tracked, a product can eventually be Out of stock (OOS) so the product page should clearly communicate this information to customers.

If this option is disabled, we are not tracking inventory so there's no need to display information related to pending transfers to your locations. Also, there's no need to display a message for low inventory since a low inventory threshold doesn't apply here.

For all products where inventory is not tracked, you should expect to see an In stock status.

Out of Stock Products

If a product is out of stock, there is an option to enable Continue selling when out of stock. With this option enabled, we display Backordered, shipping soon as the inventory status. In other words, we are re-stocking soon but customers are still able to buy the product.

Low Inventory

For products that are in stock, if a low inventory threshold has been met, we will display a low inventory message. The Inventory status product block must also be enabled for this message to appear.

The low inventory threshold on the product page is currently set at 6 so if the current variant only has 5 products on hand, the condition is met and the Low stock inventory message is displayed.

Incoming inventory

Incoming inventory refers to when a product has an inventory transfer pending. You can learn more about how to create inventory transfers. By default, the Inventory status product block's setting to show this incoming inventory notice is enabled. The incoming inventory notice only applies to products where the inventory is being tracked.

If a variant is out of stock and there is a pending inventory transfer, then it will be displayed on the product page through one of these statuses:

  • Back in stock {{ date }}

  • Backordered, shipping soon

Back in stock

When a product has an incoming transfer and the transfer includes a date, the status will indicate this.

Backordered, shipping soon

Backordered, shipping soon will show for out of stock variants with pending inventory transfers or if Continue selling when out of stock is enabled.

Out of stock product with Continue selling when out of stock disabled and a pending inventory transfer.

Please take note of the icon here. The color of the icon is only green if Continue selling when out of stock is enabled. Otherwise, the icon resembles the low inventory state.

Unavailable variants

Unavailable variants shouldn't have any status shown. The product can't be described as being In stock because this particular variant doesn't exist.

Show variant as In Stock instead of Backordered, shipping soon

If you would prefer to have an alternative status shown for out of stock variants with Continue selling when out of stock enabled, we have a solution. In this scenario, instead of the Backordered, shipping soon status, you can display the variant as In stock.

Simply go into the theme.js file and search for this piece of code:

// Override to display in stock message for sold out variants with policy set to continue
// Must be set to true in order to display in stock message for sold out variants
const inStockForOOSAndContinueSelling = false;

Update this variable to be set to true and save the editor.

const inStockForOOSAndContinueSelling = true

In summary, effectively displaying inventory status on your Shopify store plays a crucial role in customer experience and operational efficiency. Understanding and utilizing the inventory status product block, alongside customizing stock messages and inventory tracking settings, can significantly enhance the shopping experience, reduce confusion, and potentially increase sales.