How to set up product pre-ordering

In this article:

What is pre-ordering?

The benefits of pre-ordering

How can I use pre-ordering?

How to add products for pre-ordering

How to launch the product

What is pre-ordering?

Pre-ordering means that you offer a product in your store that is not currently in stock but will be available at a pre-determined date in the future. This gives your customers the chance to reserve an item in advance before it is officially available in your store. 

Pre-ordering can be useful in any product segment and makes the most sense for sellers that have an existing customer base they may be advertising to.

Note: Customers will reserve and purchase the item in your store prior to its release, so make sure you'll be able to deliver the product after these pre-orders are made.

To successfully create a pre-order product:

  • Create the placeholder product
  • Upload a 1-page pdf containing more information about the product and its release date
  • Title and/or description should include that it's a pre-order product (i.e., Product Name PRE-ORDER)
  • After you've completed the pre-order product upload, you may notify your customers with an e-mail update

The benefits of pre-ordering

There are a number of benefits for you as a seller in adding products to your store for pre-ordering. Some of the possible advantages are:

  • A guaranteed amount of sales and revenue during a specific time
  • Gain insight into the demand for your product on the market
  • Can serve as a marketing strategy to create buzz around a pre-released product and (potentially) your store in general
  • Can help prevent piracy (to some extent) 

Check out Sellfy's interview with Denis Berger in which he talks about pre-ordering as a strategy to fight piracy.

How can I use pre-ordering?

After reviewing the benefits of pre-ordering, you may want to know how you could use this with your own products. Here are some great examples:

  • Books & E-books - If you have a book that's ready to be sold and you're just finishing details, you can start collecting orders and send it out when it's ready!
  • Seasonal preset - If you're coming out with autumn, holiday, summer or other special presets, pre-ordering can help determine the level of interest in the item.
  • Exclusive limited-time items - If you're creating a special signed item or exclusive clothing design, you may want to create hype for the upcoming sales and limit the sales ahead of time. 

Pre-ordering can be used as creatively as you want. Then, offering a discount with your pre-order can help generate more orders at first to help cover your expenses.

How to add products for pre-ordering

Important! it's absolutely essential to point out that you're offering a Pre-order product making customers aware that they're buying a pre-released product that will be available only at a later date.

In order to set up a product for pre-order, you first need to create a so-called placeholder product. Essentially, to upload a placeholder product you need to follow the exact same steps as you would when uploading a new product to your store.

To upload a placeholder product:

  1. Navigate to Products
  2. Select Add new product
  3. Drag & drop a PDF file (information about the product and its release date)
  4. Add the product details (you can include the word Pre-order in the product name or description)
  5. Use the product description editor to highlight unique features, etc.
  6. Click Add media preview or Add image to edit your Product preview
  7. Click Save product

How to launch the product

Once your product is ready to be released there are two stages to successfully managing your product launch:

  1. Update the product file(s)
  2. Notify your customers about the launch with Sellfy's Email Marketing tool

Update the product file(s)

To update the placeholder product and replace the temporary file with the product file:

  1. Go to the Products section
  2. Select the placeholder product
  3. Upload the new file(s) just like you uploaded the original file(s)
  4. Delete the old file, if it's no longer necessary in the updated product version

Notify your customers about the launch

Note: you must select the Product Update campaign type to make sure only the customers that have pre-ordered the specific product will receive the update about the product launch and product itself.

You can notify your customers about the launch of your product with the Email Marketing feature. 

To send out the email about your product launch:

  1. Go to Marketing → Email marketing
  2. Click the Send new email button
  3. In the Campaign type drop-down list, select Product Update
  4. Select the product you've updated
  5. The recipient list is set to automatically include only the buyers of the selected product
  6. Enter email subject
  7. Enter email content
  8. Click on the Add download button checkbox below the email content editor to make sure your buyers receive the updated download link
  9. Finally, click Send emails (you can also send out a test email to yourself first

If you want to learn more about this topic, read this article 10 Effective Product Launch Ideas That Work on our blog.

Note: please make sure to include the download link in your email by clicking the Add download button, otherwise your customers will not receive the product link and won't be able to download their purchase.

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