How to use Pre-Orders for your eCommerce Store
Have you ever run out of cash for producing your products? Or maybe you ran out of products to sell? Or maybe, you've got a new product that's super innovative that you want to launch with a splash?
Offering pre-orders may be the right solution for your eCommerce store.
When used correctly, pre-orders can create excitement for your customers, and smooth your cash flow and backfill inventory issues.
What's a pre-order product?
A pre-order product is essentially offering something for sale on your website that is NOT currently in stock, but that you know will be in stock at a certain date.
Pre-orders have been used for years in the music business, and particularly in gaming. Want to pre-order that copy of Gears of War X?
It's also similar to the model you'd see used by crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Example of a pre-order page from NEEO
How does a pre-order work?
You promote the product. A customer goes online and purchases it. On the product typically it says clearly the ship date and details of how pre-orders work. For payment - this depends. Many retailers will pre-authorize the credit card on file, but that authorization is only valid for 5 days. We actually charge the payment method on file, mainly because it instills a level of commitment in the customer but we are bound by law to deliver within 30 days of that date.
Pre-orders can be an efficient way to grow your online business without taking on additional investment, and to test a market for a new product.
An example of a informational pre-order collection page from Killion
What information do I need on a pre-order product page?
Generally, I recommend making the product name have the word "pre-order" in it, so that on the order confirmation email and shipping notice this shows up as a reconfirmation to the customer.
I'd also add the pre-order ship date (estimated, or a range), and information or a link to more information on how pre-orders work.
The example below from Yuzefi has swapped the 'Add to cart' button with 'pre-order' which is a nice touch.
Have a listen to this week's blog cast where I discuss how I've used pre-orders in the past, tips of running an effective pre-order and how you can get started today using them in your online store.
As a recap, these are the 3 key elements to running a successful pre-order:
- Generate excitement and buzz cross-channel
- Make it clear on your product page when the product will ship
- Keep in continuous communication with pre-order customers
My preferred platform for running an eCommerce business is Shopify. It's excellent for managing inventory, generate revenue, and tracking analytics. If you have any questions on how to use Shopify for your eCommerce store, please drop me a note.
Like this blog? Share it with another eCommerce store owner. I'm super grateful for any and all shares.
Wishing you much abundance + retail bliss,
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