I am looking for some input on seasonal product management best practices. I would be interested in hearing the pros and cons and advice and critiques from those more experienced than I. I will keep this as brief and succinct as possible.
I am an online candy store with a considerable amount of seasonal products. I have four main holidays each with hundreds of products specific to that holiday. (Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, and Easter) It has been my practice up to this point to deactivate all selling channels for each seasonal product as it sells out for the season. My thinking was that it helped maintain a frustration free website for the user (i.e. searching for "Reese's" and not having to sort through multiple results that will be sold out until next year many of which are likely irrelevant to that search term 9-10 months out of the year). I also deselect the option to "track quantity" so that the seasonal items don't show up on my inventory reports all year long. When next years stock arrives I simply reactivate the selling channels and re-select the option to track quantity.
I appreciate any input. I am sincerely looking to learn.
If you plan to restock the same product next season, it's generally not the best approach to deactivate the product and return the 404 pages. This is even more important if that seasonal product gets traffic or has substantial positions in Google.
Check this blog that talks about seasonal products in Point #5
Also, check this very nice summary of key points pertaining Seasonal Seo for eCommerce
I am with @Nick_Marketing I would not hide the products because just like Nick said, you will lose the SEO juice from those products. What I would do is just push your out of stock products to the end of your collections so that way they are not showing on the front pages. One way you can do that is with PushLast.com. It will help maintain the SEO and help keep your store looking clean like you mentioned.
Hope that helps.
**Disclaimer, I am associated with Pushlast**