There were several suggestions on how to deal with the issue, including never letting my inventory drop below 1 (which I find somehow a bit dishonest). The one best solution, I think, is one that I have been debating about with myself for a while.
I could, I believe, with a simple click of a check box, keep inventory active even when out of stock. This should mean that they would still get uploaded to Google, and would definitely mean that they would show up in any search within my store.
So, you may ask, why haven't I done this already? The reasons are many-fold:
- The biggest impediment is that, since I use only photos from my own "virtual collection" of Magic cards, if I have never owned a card before, I have no image to go with that listing. This is particularly a problem with foils, as I am nowhere NEAR close to finishing off my collection of those. As I explained in this post about potentially trading with me, I am fairly close to completing my virtual collection of non-foil Magic (my current needs list can be found here). So a giant hurdle I need to overcome is what to do with the listings I don't have pictures for yet. Do I make a "image forthcoming" placeholder for these? Do I raid images from magiccards.info or Gatherer? I'm not sure what to do for these.
- There are many stores out there (I suppose it would be unprofessional of me to name them) that list every possible card, even if they're out of stock. Most of these somehow tell you right away [like it will say "Quantity in Stock: 0" or something like that) but on some you can't even find out until you try to put the item in your shopping cart. Fortunately mine would show Quantity: 0, but not until you got to the listing. So if someone Google searches for something & sees my listing, then clicks on it only to find out I'm out of stock - would there be hard feelings, like they were somehow tricked into my store?
- Searches of my store (theoretically) would take longer. If I normally don't have a card in foil, only regular, then when you search for it you only get one hit. But if everything is active you'll be guaranteed at least two hits for any card since they started making foils. That's more stuff to filter through looking for what you want.
- Second biggest headache: I have trouble enough as it is keeping up with the current prices for what I DO have in stock - if I keep everything active I need to keep track of prices of stuff I don't even have available (or mislead folks if I just don't keep up with them). Perhaps I just have a policy that an out of stock item has a price of $0?