We are setting up with two new suppliers for an ecom site, and will be starting with stocking the most popular items per various methods of research (competitor best-selling sort filters, etc). There will be a significant number of items from these mfrs that we won't stock initially due to capital and warehouse constraints.
I've considered setting them ALL up as out-of-stock products in order to gauge demand via our back-in-stock notifier and wishlist apps and gradually stocking additional products based on these metrics, or setting them to pre-order with a notice that they'll ship with a longer lead time to allow us to scramble to order the items in.
However I'm concerned about the optics and SEO impacts of having a large number of chronically OOS products. Does anyone have suggestions or best-practice recommendations (articles or anecdote) on other ways we might be able to gauge demand for growing our selection empirically?