Author Topic: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?  (Read 1131 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Caveman

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Respect: +5
Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« on: February 18, 2017, 08:54:21 PM »
0
Apologies if this doesn't belong under Product Discussion, but it seemed like the logical category to me.

Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"? Why aren't products removed from the website when they are no longer available?

When I look for a product online I'm thinking, "I have a fist full of cash I don't want. Who wants to sell me stuff?" I don't care what a store used to have in stock (sometimes years ago). I want to know what I can spend money on today.

Not picking on Trainworx, per se—many online stores are guilty of this—but their website is what I was looking at immediately before asking this question so I'm going to use them as an example. It seems that almost everything on their website was sold out. There was very little that was actually for sale.

In a previous life I owned a heavy truck repair business. I've been entertaining thoughts of modeling my truck repair business and I like the photos I've seen of Trainworx' N scale trucks and trailers. Two of my big accounts were Roadway Express and PIE. I serviced all the vehicles that were located at, or traveling through, all their Orange County, California terminals. Their equipment would be natural for my model. Yellow Freight and ABF were some of the other big companies I did work for. Everything I looked at on Trainworx' website that fit the 1980s era was sold out. Many pages had every single item on that page sold out.

After I left the heavy truck repair field I went into writing software. You know those cool paint color matching machines at Home Depot that scan something and tell you what color of Behr paint to buy to match it? I wrote that software. The weight and balance software for the C-25 (Air Force One) and C-32 (Air Force Two) aircraft? I wrote that. The [heavily redacted] at the Space Warfare Center? I wrote that too. In other words, I know a lot about writing software. I know it would be a simple job to eliminate products not for sale from a store's website listings. So why don't they?

If something is temporarily out-of-stock and can be back-ordered, they should indicate that. As it is now, the assumption I make is that they no longer sell the product I'm looking for and I never check back to see if it is for sale again. When I'm looking to by a specific item, if the first web page I go to has most things marked "sold out" I don't bother with looking at a second page. I leave that website and go to their competitors' websites and they lose any possible sales they might have made to me.

Can anyone explain this to me? I'm sure I can't be the only one that feels this way.

— Chuck

Edit: Fixed a typo.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 11:55:01 AM by Caveman »

flight2000

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 681
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +24
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2017, 09:34:28 PM »
0
If it's a retail shop, I agree.  I would prefer to see what is available, but most are very small Mom and Pop type operations that may not have a clue how to write code other than what the person that they bought the software from showed them.  Just my guess.  The larger shops pull the stuff that is out of stock, usually within 24 hours from what I've seen (i.e. modeltrainstuff.com).

For a company like Trainworx, I'm actually happy they leave it up because it shows what the manufacturer has produced.  I don't view them as a retailer as such, so will use his website to see what has been made in the past and what I can start to try and track down if I want something.  Atlas has theirs built the same way with past products, but will say their IT department is probably a little more robust than Trainworx is. 

Cheers,
Brian
I've never met a covered hopper I didn't like.... :)

Caveman

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Respect: +5
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2017, 09:59:26 PM »
0
Thanks for the reply.

I'm retired now and want to stay that way, but maybe I could offer consulting for mom-and-pop shop websites—either on a volunteer basis or in exchange for that new boxcar that was just released or something like that. (I'm sure none of them could pay $100/hr + expenses for a consultant.)

As for the manufacturers, I do like the images and other information on their past models, but it would be nice to have it in a Gallery or Archive section separate from the products currently produced and/or for sale. Using Trainworx as an example again, I was impressed with the close-up photos I've seen of their N scale products. That's what got me to go to their website to begin with. Close-up photography shows much more detail than I can see with my eyes.

And just to be clear, my complaint is with the websites, not the products.

— Chuck

jpwisc

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 820
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +586
    • Skally Line Blog
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2017, 10:03:55 PM »
0
Trainworx is planning on restocking the parts line. It will sell out fast (like it did the first time) so I recommend getting on their email list so you stand a decent chance of finding out when they restock.
Karl
CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline.

Caveman

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Respect: +5
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2017, 04:46:24 AM »
0
Trainworx is planning on restocking the parts line. It will sell out fast (like it did the first time) so I recommend getting on their email list so you stand a decent chance of finding out when they restock.

Good idea. I'm on their list now.

ljudice

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2983
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +122
    • NS/CR Camp Car Models
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2017, 09:02:30 PM »
+1

Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"? Why aren't products removed from the website when they are no longer available?


Most small/medium retail sites are built in either open source cart software (like Presta),  Wordpress/WooCommerce or a cloud based SAS solution like Volusion (MB Kleins).

The option to hide out of stock items exists in all of them.  Some sites do not turn on stock control.  And many sites are likely managed by people given the store manager function who are not trained or lack the privilege to tweak their sites.

It's a mess out there for sure...

- Lou

 

narrowminded

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1525
  • Respect: +466
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2017, 09:27:44 PM »
0
There are many times when I used the websites as an information source, such as what different road names and numbers were available in a particular model, whether or not the site had them available.  For those purposes I'm glad they leave the lists up even if they are clearly archive at some point.  It may also be my relatively new re-entry into the scene which makes that information useful to me but might just be clutter to someone with decades submerged in the hobby.  If I see something I really like, even old, I now have at least a head start to do a search for used or old stock. 

Now, would it be nice if they had an update or projected restock date?  Sure.  But as has been said, most of these are smaller operations and just how much effort can you invest in a five or ten piece item that sells for $5 and that's been discounted to a near painful level.  Or do you just not carry those small volume pieces?  Well that brings on another whole level of wrath and lamentations about how we can't get those great things.  Apparently things that us and five other people find so great and necessary.  I'm happy to just have a site that's easy to navigate, easy to narrow a search when I DO know what I want, and really like it when so many details and options ARE available.  Just another view.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 09:29:20 PM by narrowminded »
Mark G.

peteski

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 20503
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +1817
    • Coming (not so) soon...
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2017, 11:31:22 PM »
0
I also like the fact that some online retailers keep the out of stock times still visible because I use them as a reference (both as to what was produced in the past and what was the MSRP and also the street price).   The other thing is that some out of stock items are out of stock temporarily - they will might be restocked soon.

There are few online resources which have a decent record of a lot of models (like Spookshow's cyclopedia or the Trovestar), but I still often go to the online retailer's sites for research.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17666
  • Respect: +2022
    • Conrail 1285
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 01:07:54 PM »
0
Personally, I like it when manufacturers leave old stuff up that's no longer available, as long as it's appropriately marked.

It forms a sort of reference for "what was made when". For example, you can tell which production run an Atlas locomotive is from just by googling it.
https://www.google.com/search?q=conrail+1928+b23-7&oq=conrail+1928+b23-7&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64l2.8021j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=conrail+1928+b23-7+atlas

http://www.atlasrr.com/NLoco/nb237.htm


tom mann

  • Administrator
  • Crew
  • *****
  • Posts: 10644
  • Representing The Railwire on The Railwire
  • Respect: +700
    • http://www.chicagoswitching.com
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 04:43:56 PM »
0
We are living in the age where the amount that is made is only a few more than the pre-orders. I mean, that makes sense; but if you're not in the pre-order loop you'll miss out on a lot.

thomasjmdavis

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1835
  • Respect: +244
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2017, 06:46:34 PM »
0
We are living in the age where the amount that is made is only a few more than the pre-orders. I mean, that makes sense; but if you're not in the pre-order loop you'll miss out on a lot.
Well...yes, but there should be a law requiring manufactures to make a caboose at the same time they make the locomotive, so you don't have to wait a decade for someone else to get around to it.  Or that the coach green baggage car they produce this year should be the same color as the coach green coach that they ran 2 years ago.  And we need an industry standard for what color ACL Purple and CN#11 Green actually are.

But back on topic.... I do not like a page full of "out of stock" listings, but that is radically superior to the websites that make it look like they have everything, and only tell you that 3/4 of your order is backordered indefinitely, after they process the credit card payment. You don't see that nearly so often as we used to, thankfully.

For purposes of identifying used equipment and finding old part numbers, I very much appreciate manufactures who archive old model listings, and even better, old parts lists and drawings.
Tom D.

Some things are better left unsaid. Which I generally realize right after I have said them.

djconway

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 320
  • Respect: +19
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2017, 09:40:49 AM »
0
We are living in the age where the amount that is made is only a few more than the pre-orders. I mean, that makes sense; but if you're not in the pre-order loop you'll miss out on a lot.

One of the MAJOR problems with this make to pre~order manafacturer in models is that if you pull the trigger as soon as the model is announced you miss out. (Unless you are like me and wait a few years for it to show up on the train show circuit.)

Shipsure

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1481
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +598
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 10:19:19 AM »
0
I agree with Ed.  For me, it's good to see what paint schemes were available before I fire up the ALPS printer.  I had a few of those Athearn Repops of Scale Trains Evans Box and had some specific schemes in mind for my layout and found out during my search that one, they were out of stock and two, had been done.  Switch over to Amazon, and I found them for a few dollars less than retail..all good. 

Joe


Personally, I like it when manufacturers leave old stuff up that's no longer available, as long as it's appropriately marked.

It forms a sort of reference for "what was made when". For example, you can tell which production run an Atlas locomotive is from just by googling it.
https://www.google.com/search?q=conrail+1928+b23-7&oq=conrail+1928+b23-7&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64l2.8021j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=conrail+1928+b23-7+atlas

http://www.atlasrr.com/NLoco/nb237.htm

Denver Road Doug

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2120
  • Respect: +27
    • Mockingbird Industrial
Re: Why are so many products on websites marked "SOLD OUT"?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 12:21:37 PM »
+1
In simplistic terms....model railroad companies aren't Amazon.

Other points...
1. You're viewing Trainworx as if they are a retailer when in fact their primary purpose is manufacturing/importing (really great) products.  In this case, their "catalog" is generating more interest in their products and potentially creating demand for more runs if an item is in particular demand.
2. In model railroading, products rarely sit on shelves for long.   Companies in this industry cannot afford to warehouse items.   They make enough to fill orders and that's pretty much all.   If you want something, you better be quick on the trigger and have a trusted shop that will deliver for you.
3. It's easy to say "oooh building websites and updating inventory is easy", but reality is often very different from easy.   And, erring on the side of being out of an item showing as in-stock is the way to go, versus showing out of stock on an item you have 50 of and are missing orders.

Keep in mind, most things you demand to be "fixed" or "improved" are probably gonna cost you money in terms of employee hours spent staying on top of things...and subsequently passing those costs on to the customer.    I think most of us feel it's not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.