When you have the hype around a product, it's important to strategically capitalize on it so you can turn demand into sales. A pre-order strategy can help you do just that, by monetizing demand and keeping customers engaged until the product is ready to ship. In this post, we'll explore how pre-orders work and how you can implement a successful pre-order strategy to convert hype into sales. Whether you're launching a new product line or managing demand for hot out-of-stock products, a waitlist strategy can help you sell more and keep customers happy by selling earlier.

Why Pre-orders Work

Pre-orders are a simple and effective way to convert demand for products that are not yet ready to ship or are so popular that they are temporarily out of stock. By offering customers the opportunity to pre-order your products, you can offer them a unique customer experience while at the same time accessing sales earlier for your business.

In an eCommerce world where being first to have something is the hottest trend, pre-orders are a great way to build a new type of relationship with your customers. But, this customer experience needs to be approached with care. Building trust with your customers while they wait for their pre-order is key to a successful waitlist strategy so that your customers will continue to pre-order with you again and again. When brands successfully build a positive customer experience around pre-orders, a waitlist strategy can drive significant new revenue line for eCommerce.

With the right tools and strategies in place, you can ensure that shoppers feel in control and supported throughout the process. And when customers trust your pre-order experience, they’ll keep coming back for more.

When to Use Pre-orders for Hyped Demand

Pre-orders are a useful tactic in a variety of situations to boost sales and convert  demand. Some common scenarios where waitlists might be helpful include:

  • Launching a new product line or collection: Lean into a “be first to have it” merchandising strategy for new products with pre-order. This can accelerate sales around a launch and help new products stand-out. Added benefit? You can even sell a significant portion of a PO (or all of it!) before it reaches the warehouse, reducing storage costs and helping plan fulfillment processes more effectively.
  • Converting demand for hot, out-of-stock products: If you have a product that is particularly popular or hard to get, a waitlist can help you avoid lost sales due to stock shortages. No need to show a customer a “Notify me” when back in stock – pre-sell from a PO that is on the way.
  • Getting cash in, sooner: Pre-paid pre-orders can help you access cash earlier and fund the production of even more hyped products. Just make sure your pre-order operations are FTC compliant when selling to US customers.

By exploring the various ways that pre-orders can help you convert hyped demand, you can find the solution that best fits your business and helps you exceed sales targets by simply selling earlier.

How to Implement a Pre-order Strategy

The most important part of making your pre-order operations successful is to recognize that the pre-order flow, both for your internal teams but also your customers, is fundamentally different than an in-stock order. Implementing a pre-order strategy is easy to do with the right tools that can optimize for the nuances of a pre-order – both operationally and for your customer. Here are some key steps to follow:

  • Understand how your downstream fulfillment processes deals with pre-orders: Sometimes 3PLs and warehouse partners don’t support pre-orders, and only want to deal with online orders once stock arrives. Knowing this upfront will help you avoid pain from choosing the wrong tools and solutions to operationalize your pre-orders. There are pre-order solutions that send pre-orders straight downstream vs hold them outside until stock arrives, and the best option will be tailored to your fulfillment processes.
  • Integrate your pre-order solution into your store: Make sure your pre-order solution integrates easily with your existing eCommerce platform so your frontend store can seamlessly flip the right products to pre-order at the right time. Consider enlisting the help of a developer or technical team to ensure a smooth integration process and avoid any disruptions to your business.
  • Communicate clearly with your customers: Make sure your customers understand how the pre-order process works, and that your pre-order solution gives you an easy way to communicate updates while your customer waits for their pre-order. Dedicated email flows and self-service portals to keep customers informed and in control is the best way to build trust with your customers and make it worth the wait.

With a pre-order strategy that is operationally easy for your internal teams and builds transparency and trust with your customers, you’ll be able to rely on pre-orders as a key way to drive more sales, earlier for your brand.

Purple Dot is Here to Help

At Purple Dot, we’ve helped over 400 top brands get their pre-order strategy off the ground and live into the world. With two different integration options – our self-serve app and platform solutions – we can help determine the best way to operationalize a pre-order strategy for your brand. We partner alongside you to ensure your pre-order strategy is loved by both your internal teams and your customers.

Whether you're launching a new product line or dealing with out-of-stock on your most popular products, drop us a line to see how we can help.  Don't let hype or demand go to waste - keep your eCommerce business constantly selling with a pre-order strategy.