When you enable inventory tracking, statuses automatically change when certain events happen (such as selling out).
We do a lot of business where customers place "special orders" (less popular items we do not stock but will order from the manufacturer if a customer wants it). We also take pre-orders on items announced by the manufacturer but will not be available for a while.
While we have created those custom product statuses and they behave as designed (set same as "back order" in our case), what we have found is that the system will change the status from the custom status to "back order" once a customer places an order on that item.
It would be very useful to have the choice of making custom product statuses "stick" when desired and not changed by inventory tracking. Yes, I can think of a couple different ways to trick the system into acting the way we want it to, but with thousands of products, many of which are not stocking items, we can't give most individual items that level of time/attention.
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