How can I delete an item from a customer's order if it is out of stock and just charge him for the items I have? Currently, I have to contact the client and try to adjust over the phone.
rather than delete items that the customer has in basket that you find are out of stock. Which doesn't look good.
With a proper and well designed data base, you should address the shortage of items before the customer chooses. This may be more work short term, but will save you hours of phone calls and customer disappointment in the longterm, therefore money.
This is the solution, but not probably the one you would prefer to hear.......... because this goes back to the ancient ritual of stock taking of a bricks and mortar shop. So it is a time proven solution. A database being the modern equivalent (amongst it's many other uses).
What shopping cart are you using? If there is a means for you to use "stock management" then that will probably be your best approach as @Retired</a> suggested. I own both a brick/mortar and online stores so I'll agree that inventory management is a pain. However, in addition to having a customer who may be ill, over time you also run the risk of having your credit card processor change rates if you have to give refunds too often.
Depending on the cart, often times all it takes is a csv upload of stock levels and you've performed your maintenance. Also, you might be able to get by with just having to do spot checks on low-volume, high-profit type items to make sure they are available. Whatever you do, you will need to do some sort of stock check or inventory control to run your online store without huge headaches.
Hope this help,
In my case, it's often not an inventory issue. The customer makes a mistake on the order. Wrong item, too many, etc. Currently I adjust the subtotal, and manually strike a lone through the item on the printed invoice. I'm converting from QSC to online store, and I hope the newer software will handle this better.