Thanks for the replies.
Back-orders is one way but are customers actually informed they are back-orders on-screen? I’d prefer them to not know at all. Our type of products mean there could be a long time between ordering and delivering and there’s plenty of reasons why a sale wouldn’t actually happen. For those reasons, I much prefer stock subtraction to happen when we ship rather than when taking the order.
It’s also much better IMO for reporting. If you want to calculate what’s on the shelves, perhaps for the annual stock-take, why not count stock that actually is there?
Say for example you take stock on Jan 1st. It’s holiday season so orders are coming in but you haven’t sent them out. You had a 100 items in stock when you broke up for Christmas and Magento has been subtracting from it as and when orders came in. So by Jan 1st, your report says you only have 60 in stock but clearly, in the stock room you still have 100.
That’s why I want stock to reduce when we actually ship, when it’s physically leaving the building. Makes a lot more sense to me.
Also better in certain drop-ship scenarios where you don’t have stock in the first place.