Shopify preorders are vital to the success of your online Shopify store. Not only can you generate buzz around your product, but you can create a sense of scarcity surrounding it, keeping customers coming back for more. So, are preorder campaigns necessary? 

The answer is a resounding yes. Let’s examine why by reviewing:

  • What is a Shopify preorder?
  • Features and benefits of setting up Shopify preorders
  • When to use Shopify preorders
  • Things to consider before setting up a Shopify preorder
  • How to use Back in Stock Shopify preorders
  • Tips for setting up a Shopify preorder campaign

Set up Shopify Preorders with Back in Stock

Allow customers to purchase out-of-stock products or upcoming releases with preorders.

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What is a Shopify preorder?

A preorder is a process by which an individual places an order for an item that hasn’t yet been released or isn’t currently in stock. Once available, the product is shipped to the customer. This guarantees the purchase of an item before it’s been restocked. 

hiut-denim-shopify-preorders

An example of a preorder. Hiut Denim Co. is a Shopify store.

Features and benefits of Shopify preorders

Like any tool that can help with your Shopify store, there are specific features and benefits of Shopify preorders. So, bring out your old Moleskine notebook, and let’s review.  

  • Build hype for your product’s launch date.

build-hype-shopify-preorders

Booksellers and video game companies capitalize on the preorder tactic and just like in our Harry Potter example, preorders build excitement around your new product. They not only create awareness, but also a feeling of scarcity and purchase urgency for your product.

  • Gain valuable customer feedback.

customer-feedback

Preorder customers give valuable feedback as they are the alpha- and beta-testers of the product. If your product preorder launch is successful, they are also the first to provide good reviews and spread the news about your product.

  • Improve inventory management.

    shopify-inventory-management

Have 500 orders been placed but you only have 250 items in stock? Time to order more, and quickly. Preorders require inventory organization, so they keep you disciplined and accountable when it comes to this area of your business. Without inventory management, your store will quickly fall apart, and customers will leave disgruntled and annoyed.

  • Enjoy guaranteed revenue.

    revenue-shopify

During the launch period, you will be flush with cash. Preorders guarantee a set amount of revenue during that initial time. Early on you’ll know how successful your product is and the amount of income generated.

  • Earn more and grow your business by starting the process early.

It’s complicated to run a physical goods shop as there are constantly moving parts. From overseas supplier logistics to packaging wait times, your process is probably time-consuming, at best.

But, when you offer preorders, you can take orders earlier in the procurement process which means more orders, improved cash flow, increased revenues, and, eventually, a higher profit.

  • Validate a new product offering before investing too much.

Though more often done with software, apply the minimum viable product (MVP) concept to products as well. To test and validate a product idea, you create new product image mock-ups without having to commit production and orders until you know if your preorder numbers can justify it. This way you get to see, for instance, which styles, designs, and colors work the best for a particular offering.

  • Limit your financial risk.

You already know that producing products requires mass capital, which you may or may not have at the ready. If you don’t, the nice thing about using Shopify preorders is that your cash builds up as customers place their advance orders, creating a nice little cushion for you. This could mean the difference between needing a high-interest business loan that ties up significant future capital or self-funding the purchase or mock-up of new products.

When to use Shopify preorders

when to use shopify preorders

Now that you understand what preorders are and why they can be so beneficial, you might be wondering about the best use cases for them.

While there are several, don’t make the mistake of launching a preorder campaign for every new product release, especially if it’s a small item or upgrade. The reason for this is preorder campaigns are meant to create excitement and buzz around something new, and you have a lot riding on that anticipation. Plus, they’re time and energy-consuming. The last thing you need is a failed release or a frustrated team, so be sure to reserve preorder efforts for products that are indeed worthy.

Here are a few cases where launching a Shopify preorder campaign could be a great business move.

Immediately monetizing an out-of-stock product

No more waiting around for your product to be back in stock to receive orders. Especially if it takes a while, you’re likely to lose your customers’ attention as they move on to a competitor’s shop for something similar and available.

When you use Shopify preorders, your customer sees an out-of-stock product on your store’s site and can do one of two things: request to be notified when the item is restocked, or place a preorder so they’re guaranteed to get that item later, without having to continuously check back for it themselves. It’s a win-win for both of you since they save time and hassle and you don’t lose a sale.

Releasing a new flagship product

Industries like gaming, electronics, and automotive often spend a lot of time and effort creating preorder campaigns, since first-day preorders account for a significant portion of total campaign sales.

You don’t need to sell cars or iPhones to take advantage of this, though. If you have a flagship product, consider a Shopify preorder campaign to create buzz before the release and make the most of that sales opportunity.

Discounting existing items with a limited-time promotion

Shopify preorders don’t need to be exclusively new items. If you have an excess amount of particular merchandise, have a sale to move your product. By offering a discount on preorders of these items, those who don’t want to miss out will have their chance to get in on the deal early.

Launching a new business or brand

If your eCommerce strategy is taking you to new heights and you’re branching off into a different business or brand, a preorder campaign can serve you well.

Fashion, for instance, used to operate on a seasonal calendar with over-produced products that would lead to massive season-end sales. In more recent years, however, the industry has embraced preordering to promote new merchandise. So, consumers have the chance to shop their favorite brands all year long while, at the same time, the companies understand the interest level in their new lines and brands. They can create scarcity and buzz around items, which increases sales.

Offering limited-edition product versions

Speaking of scarcity, when you offer limited-editions of products, many people develop a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and are tempted to impulse-buy, something that of course benefits eCommerce shops like yours. Plus, consumers appreciate knowing that they won’t have to stress to be first in line on day one of the product’s launch.

Things to consider before setting up Shopify preorders


Automate preordering

Back in Stock allows customers to purchase out-of-stock products, which may be those that have sold out or are upcoming releases. This automates the preordering process, making it easier for a customer to guarantee the purchase of an item even before it’s back in stock.

Pick your preorder method

Shopify outlines three preorder methods:

    • Pay now preorders. The customer pays now, you ship later. This is the most common method of preorder. Some benefits include guaranteed revenue and easy integration with Back in Stock. Back in Stock automatically takes the preorder when an item is out of stock. This also guarantees customer retention. 
    • Pay later preorders. The customer places an order but doesn’t pay until the product ships. Either the customer or the seller can back out of the preorder at any time. Some benefits include capturing orders, testing a product’s popularity, and flexibility for both customers and sellers to back out at any time.
    • Crowdfunding. Think “Kickstarter.” Kickstarter and other Crowdfunders allow brands to list pre-production products. The customer is only charged if a certain number of preorders are made. Some benefits include setting minimum sales targets, guaranteed revenue, gauging item popularity, and building an early fanbase for your company. 

Be sure to pick your preorder method wisely. Each method has pros and cons and you want to pick your method based on the type of sale you are running.

How to use Back in Stock Shopify preorders  

back-in-stock-inventory-alert

Back in Stock easily integrates with Shopify, taking preorders for customers while an item is out of stock. However, Back in Stock doesn’t preorder a product by default nor will it send customers notification for a preorder product with zero inventory. Not to worry, you can set this up in the Back in Stock app. 

  1. Once you are in your Back in Stock dashboard, choose Customize, then click the Product page button. 
  2. Click the Behavior tab. Then, select Show for preorder items. 
  3. Hit the Save button.

Customers can purchase items when sold out in the Shopify catalog. As mentioned above, by default, Back in Stock only notifies customers if inventory has at least 1 product or more. You can bypass this by following the method below.

  1. In your Back in Stock dashboard, choose Account, then Your details.
  2. Select Send notifications for preorder products.
  3. Click Save account details.

back-in-stock-preorders

Tips for setting up a Shopify preorder campaign

Listing preorder products is easy but, remember, you need to deliver. We have a few tips to help make this process easier.

  • Get your entire team involved. This isn’t a one-person job. You need an entire team of creatives to assist with copywriting, photography, product and brand alignment, etc. As they say, there is no “I” in “team”.
  • Drive awareness by building a marketing campaign.
  • Advertise, advertise, advertise. Use any and all forms of social media: Facebook, GoogleAds, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc., and target each of your posts to fit the personas of the platform.
  • Use your existing clients. Whether you use a CRM or simply have an email list, using your existing database can boost sales and awareness of the product. After all, these are customers who have already shopped at your store before; they’ll be interested in knowing more! Schedule email blasts when preorders are open, and regular follow-up emails to remind them of launch dates. Pro-tip: Give existing customers the first opportunity to purchase an item for preorder. They’ll feel special.
  • Content marketing. Have a new product you’re looking to sell? The best way to create a buzz around it is to dedicate your content to this product in the lead-up to its launch date. Write blog posts about the product, and create social media posts about the product with FAQs.
  • Spread the word online. Facebook groups and Shopify forums are great places to start. This is an opportunity to get personal. One in three customers prefers personalized advertisements. Take the time to answer specific questions without sounding overly promotional or transactional. If you have case studies, this is a perfect opportunity to share them with the community. Get to know Shopify customers and invest in relationships with your community.

Shopify preorders FAQs

  • Is there a preorder option on Shopify?
    Indeed, there is. The way to do it is by using a preorder application like Back in Stock. This includes the features to set up notifications for out-of-stock items when they are restocked as well as easily set up a preorder button. It’s as easy as going into your dashboard and checking a box. 
  • How do I set up a preorder on Shopify?
    The only way to do this is by using an integrated app. Simply log in to your Back in Stock dashboard, choose Customize, click the Product page button, and select Show for preorder items. Once you save, your store is set up for preorders.
  • What does preorder mean?
    Preorders allow customers to purchase a product before it’s been released, or purchase a product that needs to be restocked before it’s been restocked. The order is paid ahead of time and ships once it’s either been officially released or is back in stock.
  • How long should preorders take?
    It’s good practice to offer preorders anywhere from a week up to two months in advance. Some book sales have preorders of 6 months, but these are one-of-a-kind items. Unless your item is rare or one-of-a-kind, cut the wait time down to a couple of months lest you lose customer interest.

Preorders are an easy way to guarantee revenue, build hype, and promote your brand. No matter what stage your business is in, when used properly, this marketing technique is invaluable. 

Set up Shopify Preorders with Back in Stock

Allow customers to purchase out-of-stock products or upcoming releases with preorders.

14-day Free Trial.

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