Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

Ecommerce Pre-Orders: How to Offer Pre-Orders to Your Customers

29th April 2024

Pre Orders Title Image

Pre-orders let customers purchase products before they are officially released. This strategy not only secures early sales and helps forecast demand, but also helps create a buzz of anticipation around new product launches. 

In this guide, we'll explore how you can leverage pre-orders to streamline your product launches and boost your sales. We’ll also look at how to set up pre-orders on ShopWired

Ready to tap into the power of pre-orders? 

Let's go!

What Are Pre-Orders? 

Pre-orders are transactions where customers commit to purchasing a product before it is available for general sale. This sales strategy allows consumers to reserve new or upcoming products ahead of their release date. In the world of ecommerce, pre-orders have become a common offering from businesses looking to capitalise on the launch of high-demand items.

Appeal of Pre-Orders

Early Access: Customers are given the opportunity to purchase or reserve new products before their official launch. This is especially common in industries like electronics, gaming, books and fashion, where new releases often generate significant anticipation.

Guaranteed Availability: By placing a pre-order, customers can ensure that they receive the product as soon as it becomes available, even in situations where stock may be limited.

Special Incentives: Businesses often offer incentives for pre-orders, such as discounted prices, special editions or additional perks (like bonus content in video games or early access to additional products). These incentives make pre-orders particularly attractive to consumers.

How Pre-Orders Work

Announcement and Promotion: A business announces a new product and opens it up for pre-order, often well in advance of the actual release date. This announcement is usually accompanied by detailed information about the product and any special pre-order benefits.

Customer Commitment: Customers place orders through the business’s store, committing to purchase the product. Payment can be required either at the time of ordering or upon the product’s release.

Fulfillment: Once the product is officially released, pre-ordered products are prioritised for shipment to customers who made the early commitment.

Pre-orders help businesses manage demand, predict sales volumes and build hype around product launches. They help businesses mitigate the risks associated with new product launches by providing a clearer forecast of initial sales and allowing for better inventory and supply chain management.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of offering pre-orders. 

Pre-Order Benefits: Businesses and Customers

For Businesses

Pre order Benefits

Improved Cash Flow: Pre-orders can improve cash flow by bringing in revenue before the product is physically available. This early injection of funds can help cover production and marketing costs.

Demand Forecasting: Pre-orders provide early indicators of product demand, helping businesses plan production volumes more accurately to minimise the risk of overproduction or underproduction.

Risk Reduction: By gauging customer interest through pre-orders, businesses can minimise the risks associated with launching new products. If pre-orders are lower than expected, adjustments can be made before committing to full-scale production.

Marketing Momentum: Launching pre-orders can generate buzz and excitement around a product before its official release. This buzz can be amplified through social media sharing, press releases and other promotional activities. 

Customer Commitment: Customers who place pre-orders are often among the most loyal and engaged. They can provide early feedback and become advocates for the brand.

For Customers

Guaranteed Product Availability: Customers can secure a product before it sells out, which is particularly appealing for high-demand items like limited editions or new technology releases.

Exclusive Offers: Pre-order customers often have access to special pricing, bonuses or exclusive content as an incentive to order early. This adds value to their purchase and enhances their buying experience.

Anticipation and Engagement: The act of pre-ordering can increase a customer's emotional investment in a product and the brand. The anticipation of waiting for a new product release can enhance the overall customer experience.

Early Access: Customers sometimes receive the product before it is available to the general public, giving them a sense of exclusivity and privilege.

By integrating pre-orders into your sales strategy, you can leverage these benefits to not only improve your business’s operational efficiency but also to enhance customer engagement and loyalty. In the next section, we’ll look at how you can set up pre-orders on ShopWired to maximise these advantages.

Setting Up Pre-Orders on ShopWired

ShopWired Logo

ShopWired’s Pre-Order app lets you easily set up products for pre-order, giving you a chance to make early sales and generate buzz before a product even hits the market. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to enable and use this feature:

   1. Install the Pre-Order App

Access the app through the ShopWired admin panel under APPs > Available APPs. Install the "Pre-order products" app. Once the app is installed, you'll be able to make products available for pre-order in the product creator/editor page. 

Pre-orders ShopWired product editor

   2. Configure Pre-Order Products

In the product editor, you can mark products as pre-order by ticking the box. You can also set 'ships-on' dates and optional 'release' dates. This determines when when products will ship to customers and when they'll be visible on your site.

ShopWired pre-orders ships-on date and release date

   3. Customer Checkout Process

Customers will need to create an account to place a pre-order; guest checkout is disabled for these transactions. Payments can be taken immediately via any payment processor, or set to be charged just before the product ships if you are using ShopWired Payments

At checkout, customers are informed of the date that they will receive delivery of their order (using the furthest away 'ships on' date, i.e. the platform assumes you dispatch all items in an order at the same time).

   4. Managing Pre-Orders

Pre-orders will appear in your orders list with a special status. You can manage these orders through the admin panel, where you can update statuses, manage shipping dates and communicate with customers.

ShopWired pre-orders ships on date

For more detailed guidance on ShopWired's pre-order feature, you can refer to the full documentation on the ShopWired help page.

Top Tips for Creating Compelling Pre-Orders

Creating a successful pre-order campaign involves more than just listing a product early. Here are some top tips to ensure your pre-orders generate excitement and drive sales:

1. Exciting Headlines

Craft headlines that grab attention with language that conveys the exclusivity and novelty of the product. Think about what makes your product unique and express that in a concise, intriguing manner. For example, instead of "Available for Pre-Order," try "Reserve Your Limited Edition [Product] Before It's Too Late!

2. Compelling Descriptions

Your product descriptions should tell a story that resonates with your target audience. Highlight unique features and the benefits of pre-ordering. Detail the problem it solves or the experience it offers that no other product does. Use vivid language to paint a picture of the product's impact on the customer's daily life or how it might make them feel special or ahead of the curve.

3. High-Quality Images

Use high-resolution images that showcase the product in the best light. Consider multiple angles and lifestyle shots that help customers visualise the product in use. If possible, include videos or interactive images that offer a 360-degree view.

4. Competitive Pricing

Set pre-order prices that offer value, possibly including a discount to reward early buyers. This not only incentivises customers to commit before the official launch but also makes them feel like they are getting a special deal for acting early. Clearly communicate the financial benefit of pre-ordering, such as saving a certain percentage off the expected retail price.

4. Exclusive Rewards and Bonuses 

Offer special bonuses or rewards exclusive to pre-order customers, like additional features, complementary products or future discounts. Make these rewards meaningful to your target demographic to enhance the perceived value of the pre-order offer.

By focusing on these elements, you can maximise the appeal of your pre-orders and ensure that customers are excited and willing to commit.

Marketing Your Pre-Order


Effective marketing can significantly amplify the reach and success of your pre-orders. Here are some top tips to ensure your pre-order marketing strategies grab attention and prompt action: 

1. Create Urgency

Use language that conveys the limited-time nature of the offer. Phrases like "limited availability" or "offer ends soon" can create a sense of urgency.

2. Leverage Email Marketing 

Send targeted emails to your subscriber list with compelling content that highlights the benefits of early ordering. Include strong calls-to-action that encourage immediate response.

3. Social Media Teasers 

Generate excitement by posting teasers on social media. Use countdowns, behind-the-scenes looks or customer testimonials to build anticipation and encourage shares and likes.

4. Exclusive Previews 

Offer sneak peeks or exclusive previews to your email subscribers or social media followers, giving them a reason to pre-order and feel part of an exclusive group.

5. Cross-Promotions

Partner with influencers or brands that align with your product to widen your reach and tap into their audiences.

These strategies can help create a compelling marketing campaign that ensures your pre-orders are successful and your product launch gains the momentum it needs.

Final Thought: Set Your Next Pre-order Campaign for Success

By following the guidelines for creating enticing pre-order listings and effectively marketing them, you can maximise early sales and build anticipation for new releases. As you implement these strategies, remember the importance of clear communication and delivering on promises to foster trust and loyalty among your customers. 

Let pre-orders open new opportunities for your business to thrive!

Pre-Order FAQs

1. When should I start offering pre-orders?

Start offering pre-orders as soon as you have finalised your product details and have a clear release date. This is often done weeks or months before the official launch to build anticipation and secure early sales.

    2.    How should I price my pre-order products?

Consider offering a discount or special pricing to incentivise early purchases. Ensure that the pricing reflects the value and exclusivity of pre-ordering while still being attractive to your customers.

    3.    How can I promote my pre-order campaign?

Use email marketing, social media and your website’s homepage to announce and promote your pre-order campaign. Highlight the benefits of pre-ordering, such as discounts or exclusive bonuses.

    4.    What should I include in my pre-order product descriptions?

Include detailed information about the product, its unique features and benefits. Clearly state that it is a pre-order, along with the expected shipping or release date, to manage customer expectations.

    5.    Can customers cancel their pre-orders?

Yes, you should allow customers to cancel their pre-orders before the product has shipped. Make sure to outline your cancellation policy clearly on the pre-order product page.

  6.    How do I set up pre-orders on ShopWired?

To set up pre-orders on ShopWired, access the admin panel and navigate to APPs > Available APPs. Install the “Pre-order products” app. In the product editor, mark products as pre-order, set ‘ships-on’ dates and optional ‘release’ dates. Customers will need to create an account to place a pre-order, and payments can be configured to be taken immediately or before shipping, depending on your payment gateway. 

    7.    How do I manage pre-orders once they are placed?

If you're using ShopWired, pre-orders will appear in your orders list with a special status. Manage these orders through your admin panel, where you can update statuses, manage shipping dates, and communicate with customers about any changes or updates.

    8.    What happens if there is a delay in the product release?

If there is a delay, promptly notify your customers and provide them with a new estimated shipping date. Offering an option to cancel the pre-order for a full refund can help maintain trust and customer satisfaction.

    9.    How do I handle payments for pre-orders?

Payments can be taken immediately or just before the product ships, depending on your payment gateway settings. Clearly communicate the payment process to your customers during checkout.

    10.    Can I offer pre-orders for in-store pickup?

Yes, if you have a physical store, you can offer in-store pickup for pre-orders. This option can be provided during the checkout process, allowing customers to choose their preferred delivery method.