Never be Out of Stock Again!

The Importance of Stock Management

To be a profitable eBay seller, it is important for you to ensure that there is a steady flow of merchandise in and out of your eBay store.

Bear in mind though, if you stock too much of an item which you are unable to sell quickly, your money, which can be used for better purposes will be tied up in the unsold merchandise.

However, if you fail to stock up enough to keep up with demand, you’ll soon be out of stock. And being out of stock is a situation that can impact you severely.

We’ll explain why.

The impact of being Out of Stock for an eBay seller

The following chart explains the flow of consequences when you are out of stock.

What is eBay Defect Rate?

Your eBay defect rate consists of the number of defects you’ve had which is then divided by the number of non-defective transactions. If you had 4 defects after selling 100 items, your defect rate would be 4%.

Basically, a seller's transaction defect rate is the percentage of your total transactions that had a defect. We don't count more than one defect per transaction.

Why is eBay Defect Rate important?

Your eBay defect rate affects your performance as an eBay seller. If it is bad; you can expect search penalties, selling limitations, eBay store downgrades and even higher fees.

Keeping your defect rate as low as possible is one of the most important things you must do to succeed as an eBay seller.

Learn more about eBay Defect Rates

How to prevent Out of Stock situations

Always make sure your inventory is up to date and available to you at all times.
Use a reliable supplier who delivers on time.
If you know you are going to restock very soon, use the ‘Out-of-Stock’ option to keep your listing live.

Use eBay tools to prevent Out of Stock situations

1. Enable the Out-of-Stock (OOS) option

Free to use for all sellers, this useful option helps safeguard your hard-earned reputation by protecting you from getting a defect which is caused by being unable to fulfil a sale because you are out of stock.

This tool is also useful if you often have products that sell quickly and you plan to continue selling them when you receive more inventory.

The OOS option lets you keep the listing active even when all of the items are sold. This is ideal if you’re expecting to restock that item soon and you want to keep all the sales history on the listing.

Here’s how the OOS option works:

When your qualifying listing reaches a quantity of zero, we automatically hide it from all buyer’s searches.

In other words, when the OOS option is enabled, the listing will remain live even when all of the items are sold, but buyers will not find it via “search.”

Though hidden, these listings retain their purchase and search history, so that when you replenish your stock, they become available to buyers once again.

You can then edit your listing with the updated quantity once you’ve restocked, and the listing will be accessible to buyers via “search” as before

You can enable the Out-of-Stock option at: 

My eBay > Account > Site Preferences > Sell Your Item form and listings.

2. Select Good Til Cancelled (GTC)

With GTC, your listing will stay active until all of the items are sold or you choose to end it for whatever reason. The GTC could be right for you if you’re selling a large quantity of an item, or if you’re regularly restocking an item.

The main benefit is you can keep your GTC listing going until all products are sold without having to create a fresh listing again and again.

You will be charged a monthly insertion fee for the duration of the listing and, if you have paid for any listing upgrades such as a subtitle, these will be included in each renewed insertion fee.

Please specify the exact quantity of the item you have in stock.

In the Selling details section of the listing form > select Fixed price > enter the number of items you’re selling under Quantity.

You can decide whether buyers see exactly how many of that item you have left or a ballpark figure such as “More than 10”.

What else do you need to know about OOS and GTC?

1. Once you have activated the Out-of-Stock feature:


  • Any Good 'Til Cancelled listing with a quantity of zero for an entire 30-day billing period may qualify for an insertion fee credit at the end of that period.

  • We'll automatically end Good 'Til Cancelled listings that have a quantity of zero for the entire 30-day billing period over 3 consecutive 30-day billing periods.

2. When your new stock comes in, remember to update the quantity on your fixed price listings so they don't get hidden unnecessarily.

3. Please note that if a buyer is watching your listing, or has saved or bookmarked it; they can still find and view your listing. But they will see an alert-style message at the top of the listing to make them aware you're currently out of stock.

Having your listings on-site for longer increases your chances of making a sale. In addition, Good ‘Til Cancelled listings perform significantly better on external search engines such as Google, hence bringing greater traffic to the site and to sellers’ individual listings.

Now that you know how Out of Stock and Good Til Cancelled work, it’s time to get organised so you can maximise your sales and avoid defects.