Pre-orders allow your customer to reserve an item from your store before it's officially available. More suppliers and retailers are seeing the benefits of taking pre-orders online as they give a good idea of what the demand is and get a guaranteed number of sales.
If pre-orders are not handled professionally, they can potentially damage your store's reputation. Here's what you should consider before doing one.
- Pre-orders mean a guaranteed and certain amount of sales and revenue within an estimated time period.
- It can also serve as a survey for demand in a target market, such as what quantity is required to fulfill the demands.
- As a marketing initiative, It's a great technique to market pre-released products as it can create hype and make your store popular.
- For suppliers, they don’t have to worry about unsold stock.
- As with any promotion, pre-orders can't be the complete strategy to run a business. The guaranteed sales and quantity alone isn't enough to maintain revenue.
- The control over the turnaround time of the product is in the hands of your manufacturer. If there are any delays or cancellations from your supplier, your business is the one that ends up losing clients and credibility. That's why it's very important that you know the precise date of release and availability in your stock before setting the date in your store.
- Pre-orders don't work well for sellers on Amazon or eBay. You will need to maintain stock, and these platforms have a strict policy for quick shipping. If there are delays and you get negative feedback or ratings, you run the risk of losing your account.
Convinced pre-orders are right for you? Here are some tips on how to successfully manage one!
Market your pre-orders well on social media
Pre-orders can be the perfect promotion for your social media channels. Your online pre-order campaign should create excitement around your item and get more eyeballs to your website, so consider setting paid advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms to entice your target audience.
Communication is key
While you're marketing your pre-order on social media, don't forget to inform your current customers by sending an email to your subscriber list!
It's also very important to maintain communication with everyone as you're taking pre-orders online. Since you don't have the item on-hand, you need to prepare for unforeseen situations such as production or shipping delays. Anytime there is an update, be sure to communicate this via email and social media.
Other useful marketing information you could share:
- The number of items available for pre-order
- The exact or estimated shipping date
- Any terms and conditions that apply
- The timeline for cancellation, if allowed at all
- How payments will be accepted
Pre-order payment strategy
Having a clear, simple way to accept payments will help your pre-order run smoothly. There are two methods to collect money for pre-orders:
- Take the orders and ask for payment when the product is in stock. The only issue with this method is that the customer can change their mind and cancel their order.
- Authorize the credit card details and automatically charge it once the item ships.
You could also request a full payment in advance, but this method is not popular as many customers are uncomfortable doing this. Still, it may work for items that are considered valuable or unique.
Keep the timelines short
Pre-orders work best if the customer doesn't have to wait too long. A week to two months is considered a good timeline for most products. Once you start pushing three months to a year, customers run the risk of losing interest or forgetting about the order.
Pre-orders, when done well, can be a profitable promotion for your eCommerce store. Have you ever run a pre-order campaign for your store? Leave us your tips in the comments below!