Use Pre-orders to Measure Demand, Create Money

In April 2019, keen gamers could book a copy of”Trover Saves the Universe” for PlayStation 4. The game is the brainchild of Justin Roiland, co-creator of the favorite, animated sitcom”Rick and Morty.” “Trover Saves the Universe” won’t be published until May 31, 2019, but Squanch Games is selling it on several retail websites as a pre-order.

Many video games, such as”Trover Saves the Universe,” are offered well ahead of the launch dates.

Pre-orders for Ecommerce?

Pre-orders have double advantages for product makers like Squanch Games and for retailers selling online or in a brick-and-mortar shop.

First, pre-orders can be a great indicator of demand. When”Trover Saves the Universe” was declared on March 26, 2019, it was a hit. The quantity and velocity of pre-orders might have influenced the number of copies of the game were created.

If it looked like the game would sell out before it came, the company could begin another production run.

Similarly, in December 2018, Tom Fischer, the creator of Fiber Sports, desired to know whether his company’s product, HOPLite Skate Armor, which protects against foot injuries in baseball, really had a market. So he opened the merchandise for pre-orders while it was still in the prototype stage. Skate Armor obtained a positive review on YouTube, and a substantial number of pre-orders were put. Fischer is currently using the information collected during the pre-orders to encourage investors.

Fiber Sports accepted pre-orders for HOPLite Skate Armor at the model phase so the corporation could gauge demand.

Second, pre-orders may also generate money before a product’s release.

Envision a U.S.-based, direct-to-consumer brand selling bikes. Nearly all the bikes in the world are produced in Asia, so this company needs to design, order, and ship its goods months ahead of time. What is more, the business could be spending $100,000 or more to have cycles created.

As opposed to waiting until the bicycles are in its U.S. warehouse to begin earning a return on its investment, the company could start selling pre-orders the moment a delivery container leaves port in Taiwan.

If a company is selling its own branded merchandise — like HOPLite Skate Armor or a bike — or retailing a video game such as”Trover Saves the Universe,” it can use pre-orders to begin making sales long before the item is in stock, and possibly before the company should pay its suppliers.

A Pre-order Marketing Plan

Pre-orders aren’t necessarily simple, however. Just because an ecommerce company can promote a product beforehand, doesn’t necessarily mean it will promote that item.

Rather, the company will want to put at least as much effort into promoting and marketing pre-orders as it does into selling goods in stock. Let us consider three possible situations.

1. Another thing on the shelf. For many online retailers, a pre-order is another thing on the virtual shelf. Returning to”Trover Saves the Universe,” GameStop, Newegg, and Walmart probably marketed it in precisely the identical fashion as other video game releases.

They’ve a marketing recipe that could include onsite merchandising, pay-per-click advertising, and email marketing.

Your ecommerce company could do so, too. To market pre-orders, you can follow the identical advertising patterns your company would use for an in stock item.

2. Branded products with public relations. Sometimes the best way to promote a product for pre-order is using a public relations effort. Squanch Games, by way of instance, created a media kit. The kit contained a press release describing the match, screen captures from the match, video, as well as several versions of a game preview with and without foul language.

This is an example of the screen captures included in the “Trover Saves the Universe” press kit. Your company’s media kit may include several product pictures.

An ecommerce company selling its own branded goods as pre-orders can do the same. Again the things to include in a press kit could be:

  • A press release describing the item,
  • Pictures of the item,
  • Connected lifestyle pictures,
  • Video,
  • Anything else that would be helpful to some journalist or influencer.

Once created, the press release should be distributed.

  • Send the discharge right to key journalists and influencers.
  • Publish the media release via PR Newswire and PR Web.
  • Send the release to leading books in the business.

Lastly, send prototypes or advance copies of a product to paid reviewers.

3. Branded products without public relations. Regrettably, public relations will not work for each pre-order campaign. In these instances, an ecommerce company can use advertising, email, and articles marketing to familiarize its clients with the item and the reasons it’s worthy of a pre-order.

Customer Communications

Ecommerce pre-orders require more client communication than does the sale of an in-stock product.

Consider again the example of a direct-to-consumer bicycle manufacturer new. If this company began to sell pre-orders after a shipment of bicycles was in a container leaving port in Taiwan, it may be 30 days or longer before those bikes can be fulfilled.

That’s a long time to await something that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The company could communicate with clients, to reassure.

  • The moment the pre-order is set, send an order confirmation email with an estimated shipping date.
  • Three days after the order is placed, call the client and provide an update.
  • When the gratification is taking longer than anticipated, send a followup email message.
  • Per week before the product ships, email the client . Include links to the owner’s manual or assembly instructions.
  • Once the product ships, send a notification with the tracking info.

Then imagine a writer selling pre-orders of his own publication. This writer might sell the pre-orders on his ecommerce website or on Amazon. Here again is a list of possible client communications.

  • Send an email order confirmation whenever the pre-order is set.
  • Three days after the purchase, send a thank you email and explain why the writer wanted to write the book.
  • Weekly, send an email upgrade. Include a sample from the book if possible.
  • Send a note whenever the author is interviewed about the book.
  • Once the book is sent, send a notification together with the digital edition.

In a nutshell, when you build a last-minute effort, plan client communications. If possible, use email automation.


Pre-orders create satisfaction spikes. Imagine That You’re Tom Fischer from Fiber Sports. You’ve been taking pre-orders to your HOPLite Skate Armor, and presently a tractor-trailer is backing up to your warehouse with 10,000 units, all which will need to be processed and sent.

The surge in imports could hamper satisfaction operations for smaller ecommerce companies. You want to plan.

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As pre-orders begin to roll in, estimate how many hours it takes your warehouse staff to meet those orders. It may require overtime. Or maybe you opt to bring in temporary help.

You might even search for shipping alternatives. Should your company, for instance, divert some or all these pre-orders to a third-party satisfaction business?

Pre-order into In-stock

The last step to a pre-order campaign would be to transition the product from pre-order to in-stock.

This may involve asking clients for testimonials, modifying your advertising campaign, and finish pre-order email automation. You might want to update your ecommerce website, and, based on early sales, set a follow-up purchase.

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