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Retail Faux Pas – The Out-of-Stock, Internet-only Specials Fail!

Posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Consumer Experience, Featured

I love shopping online!

I watch for specials of things I need and quickly scoop up the necessities; money, budget and floor space permitting.

In the course of this bargain hunting, I’m always looking for “the better cart” or the “better shopping experience,” allowing me to highlight the best, as well as the ‘not so best’ ecommerce experiences.

One of my pet peeves is the displaying of out-of-stock items with tantalizing pricing.

Buy this brand new Mercedes for only 10 bucks – if it actually was ever in stock I probably would!

Although I’ve never actually seen a Mercedes offered for a 10 spot, just so people don’t think I’m making this stuff up (as if!), here’s an example I saw today from my favorite home store Home Depot.

My discovery…

What’s this? An overstocked special! Only $13.25 for this magnificent 15″ Camelia Pot Planter!!

OMG I have to have a few for my budding Camellia collection!

ONLY $13.25 REDUCED FROM $52.98 – O-M-G!

Read on a little and surprise, surprise, this little gem of a bargain is Out of Stock online, but wait… it’s an Online Only deal with a lovely green check mark.

Camellia pot pricingDoes that mean it’s available online and I should ignore the Out of Stock exclamation?

What are my Camellias to do? What am I, the potential customer to do?


Find another perfect pot at a perfect price, I guess. The green checkmark is just a tease to excite my inner shopper, only to disappoint the same with a grey exclamation of unavailability.

It’s hard to believe it’s that difficult to configure a cart so that it DOESN’T SHOW OUT-OF-STOCK ITEMS in search results or category pages.

There’s probably a checkbox just waiting to be checked on a platform with a million checkboxes to configure. So please check away!

Finally… Mr. Home Depot… you DO KNOW Camellia has two Ls, correct?


About Grant Simmons

Grant Simmons+ is an Online Marketing Professional at The Search Agency driving product development & innovation as Sr Director, SEO and Social Product.

Grant has over 22 years experience in both traditional and digital marketing, working with such companies as; Paramount Studios, Countrywide Wholesale Lending, M&M/Mars, Disney, Napster, Warner Bros., UPS, SunAmerica, Red Bull, Young Presidents’ Organization, GE Plastics, Amgen and Fox Sports.

As an entrepreneur, Grant has been key to the successful branding, development and launch of several thriving and innovative Internet startups.

Described as an online marketing strategist, motivator, entrepreneur, idea machine, experienced bridge between marketing & technology, Grant prefers; father, sailor & innovator - though not necessarily in that order when there's a fair wind.

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4 Responses to “Retail Faux Pas – The Out-of-Stock, Internet-only Specials Fail!”

  1. Kevin Hill says:

    LOL.. The SEO guy probably got ahold of the title and used the more common misspelling.

    Camelia – 1,000,000 searches
    Camellia – 833,000 searches

    Good catch though Grant! And I hope your Camel(l)ia’s are warm and snug in your substitute pots!


  2. Kevin, my Camellia’s are feeling the love! Thanks for the comment.


  3. Don says:

    Not to be a stickler here, but in events such as these, you usually can ask for a rain-check on the sale price for the out of stock product. I’d rather have that opportunity of knowing about an incredible deal, than to never know because the product sold out quicker than expected (unless the offer is “while supplies last”). Perhaps a compromise would be to show sold out items at the end of the product list, or to categorize sold out items in a special section to keep the regular product list clean.


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