Learn how to add preorder sales to your Shopify store, and why it makes sense to use an app.

Whether you’re a seasoned ecommerce pro or just starting your online retail journey, offering Shopify preorder sales on your store can make a huge impact on the profitability and efficiency of your business.

Earning revenue immediately before a product even launches is the key benefit of Shopify preorder sales. But it doesn’t stop there. They also gather valuable data about the product’s demand which will help you make important decisions regarding your inventory.

As a member of the Magical Apps team that brought you the Preorder Pro + Back in Stock app, I’ve helped build apps tailored for Shopify merchants. I’ve also worn the hat of a consumer, which has given me a unique perspective on the importance of effective preorder sale management for online stores.

I once pre-ordered the special, limited edition of the video game “Nier: Automata” from Square Enix. This allowed me to see how Square Enix efficiently managed product availability to gauge demand before the game’s release. The positive results of this were likely numerous for them, including not only improved cash flow but also reduced inventory risk. This would allow them to match inventory levels with actual demand. 

As a consumer, it also offered a better shopping experience for me, ensuring that I secured a highly sought-after product ahead of time and built anticipation for the launch day. It was a win-win for both sides.

Preorder sales actually exist as part of a wider range of activities related to the management of product availability These activities include preorder sales, coming soon labels, back-in-stock alerts, and other methods such as drafting and publishing products.

In this guide, I’ll be introducing you to the world of Shopify preorder sales and product availability management. We’ll explore what they are in more detail, how to manage product availability and add preorder sales to your Shopify store, and the common benefits of running preorders.

Now, let’s delve into how you can harness similar strategies to positively impact your Shopify business.

What are Shopify preorder sales?

Shopify preorder sales are a strategy that allows customers to pay for products before they are fully available for purchase. In doing so, they can secure the item ahead of the official launch.

Once the product is in stock, it is shipped to the customer.

What are the stages of preorder sales?

Let’s say for example you are launching a new smartphone on your Shopify website and you plan to enable preorders. The item will move through four stages of availability:

1. Draft Products

Drafting products, or adding items and setting them to Draft status, will hide products that are not currently available for sale, curbing any unwanted demand. 

The new smartphone will be added to Shopify with a product description, images, and a price, but will not be visible to site visitors.

2. Preview Products

The Preview stage brings these products out of Draft status so customers can browse and learn more. Customers can view the product page and will be informed that will be available at a later date.

In the case of the new smartphone, the previewed product page will generate excitement. During this stage, you can collect the email addresses of interested customers before the phone is available.

When you set up an email signup form for the new smartphone in this stage, customers can receive notifications when the phone becomes available to preorder. This will boost the likelihood of a successful “Active” stage once the product becomes available to preorder.

3. Active Products

Active products are available for sale or are available for preorder if not in stock. In this stage, you can set periods that allow preorders to remain active until a specific date, or until a certain amount of smartphones have been sold.

By allowing preorders, you’ll be able to gauge demand, improve cash flow, and generate anticipation for the smartphone release.

4. Closed Products

For Closed products, the preorder period has ended. Products can no longer be purchased or preordered.

Preorders happen when products are active, but other activities happen when products are drafted or in preview. Below, I’ll define some of the common activities during these stages of product availability:

What other types of product availability options exist?

Preorder sales are just one part of a larger approach to product availability. 

Product availability refers to the state of your products, indicating whether they are in stock, available for pre-order, coming soon, or temporarily out of stock. 

Managing product availability is essential for providing a seamless shopping experience to your customers.

Managing Inventory

Keeping track of your product stock levels is crucial to avoid overselling or disappointing customers with out-of-stock items. Shopify offers built-in inventory tracking to help you manage this seamlessly.

Publishing and Drafting Products

Publishing Products

When you publish a product, it becomes visible on your online store, allowing customers to browse and purchase it.

Drafting Products

Drafting products is useful when you want to prepare a product listing but aren’t ready to make it visible to the public. This is handy for future releases or product updates.

How to Add Shopify Preorder Sales on Your Shopify Store

Setting up preorders for your store does not have to be a difficult task. Although there are native ways to add preorder sales to Shopify, I recommend using an app. It is the best way to add Shopify preorder sales to your store.

Native Solutions for Preorders

Shopify states in their guide to preorders that in order to enable preorders, you will need to use an app from the Shopify App Store, and then manage these preorders from your Shopify admin.

Although this is their official stance, there is a way you can add preorder features to your store without using an app, however it comes with significant drawbacks.

You can simply oversell products on your website, meaning that customers can continue to purchase a item even when your inventory level for that item reaches zero.

However, you would need to make it very clear to customers that it is a preorder.

If you’d like to use this approach, Shopify experts in this forum have outlined how to do so:

For New Products

When creating a new product, in your inventory make sure “Track Inventory” is ticked. Underneath that checkbox, you’ll see another option to “Continue selling when out of stock”. 

Bulk Updates for Existing Products

  1. Go to Products > All Products
  2. Select all products.
  3. Click “Edit products”.
  4. Once the spreadsheet opens, click “Add fields” and select “Continue selling when out of stock”.
  5. You can then tick the checkboxes for all products you’d like to continue selling when sold out.

Overselling products comes with some drawbacks, however.

Firstly, you’ll have an ongoing inventory discrepancy, making inventory harder to manage.

Secondly, if you experience a sales surge, you might find yourself in hot water if you cannot keep up with the demand, leading to disappointed customers and increased refund fees.

And lastly, there is a high risk of customers being confused by this process. Shopify store sales by default will assume that you’re shipping the product immediately, so customers receive messaging or emails from your store that suggest the product is on its way when it’s not. Although this will likely lead to irate customers, there is an even greater risk of violating consumer protection laws, leading to costly legal fees.

App-Based Solutions

To access additional product availability tactics that can have a significant impact on your business’ bottom line and customer engagement, we highly recommend considering the usage of an app that can add functionality to your store that isn’t natively present on the Shopify platform.

This includes features such as the aforementioned preorders, back in stock alerts, and coming soon. Shopify themselves admits that they rely on apps for features such as preordering products.

One option we would recommend is the “Preorder Pro + Back in Stock” app. This app is a game-changer for Shopify merchants, offering a seamless way to handle pre-orders, back in stock alerts, and coming soon products. We can vouch for it because … we built it!

But you can also find numerous apps for preorders, apps for back in stock alerts, and more on the Shopify app store. We encourage you to explore the available options and decide which one will work best for your business.

Additional Built-In Shopify Functionality for Managing Product Availability

Aside from preorders, there are some native features within Shopify to help you manage product availability. These features are part of what make it a user-friendly platform for eCommerce entrepreneurs. Here’s a quick overview of the basics:

Product Status

In the product editor, you can set a product’s status as “Active” or “Draft” to control its visibility on your store and sales channels.

This is the obvious foundation for any merchant running their online store. Products should only be “Active” if you are actively promoting them in some way to your customers.

Inventory Tracking

Configure inventory settings for each product to automatically track stock levels and prevent overselling if you want to avoid this.

Variant Options

Use variants to offer different versions of a product (e.g., size or color) and track the inventory for each variant separately.

Now that you have an idea of how to manage preorders and product availability, let’s explore why it’s so important for your online store.

Why You Should Manage Product Availability on Your Online Store

Preorder sales can help you increase sales and profitability. But you probably know this already. 

However, did you know that Shopify preorder sales can also help you better manage your inventory? With preorders, you gain better foresight into customer demand, helping you make better decisions when it comes to restocking.

Preorder sales are more than just a money-maker. They directly impact your customers’ experience and your bottom line.

Here are the top benefits of setting up and running preorders on your Shopify store:

1. Increased Sales

Expanding the methods in which you make your products available by offering pre-orders allows you to secure sales before a product is available. This contributes to ensuring a consistent flow of income. Alternatively, back-in-stock alerts as a tactic can help you recapture potentially lost sales when out-of-stock items become available again.

2. Improved Customer Satisfaction

Avoid disappointing customers with out-of-stock items by offering them the option to receive a notification when products are back in stock. Or, clearly marking unavailable products as “Coming Soon” manages customer expectations, reducing frustration and impatience. Especially if you can also provide a precise available date or period.

3. Better Inventory Management

Offering preorders helps you forecast demand and manage inventory effectively. 

If you enable preorders on your Shopify store and get 30 orders, you’ll then be able to decide whether or not to extend the preorder period and adjust supply plans. Using a preorder app will also usually let you set limits on the number of preorders, helping you keep your grip on inventory levels.

Preorders help you prevent overstocking or understocking, which in turn helps you save on costs.

4. Enhanced Marketing

Labeling products as “Coming Soon” or offering pre-orders generates excitement and allows you to build anticipation through marketing campaigns. With such campaigns, you can gather email addresses from interested customers for future marketing efforts.

5. Competitive Edge

Offering pre-orders, back-in-stock alerts, and coming soon labels sets your store apart from competitors and demonstrates a customer-first approach dedicated to transparently communicating the status of your inventory and products.

6. Data-Driven Insights

The data generated by availability product management tools and apps on platforms like Shopify provide valuable insights into customer preferences and demand patterns.

Boost cash flow by easily adding preorder sales to your Shopify store. Gain customer insights and build hype.

Preorder Pro + Back in Stock App FAQs

Running into any trouble with the app? Take a look at answers to frequently asked questions about Preorder Pro + Back in Stock on Shopify, or contact the Magical Apps team.

General

  1. Why are some features not displaying correctly on my website? Your current website theme may not be compatible with the Pre-Order Sales App. Our Magical Apps support team can help you fix this issue.
  2. Why is my logo blurry on my email template? After you’ve uploaded your logo to the email template, save your settings and refresh the page.

Pre-Order Button

  1. Why am I seeing my “Pre-Order” button appear twice on the product page? This could be caused by another pre-order app still installed in your website theme. To avoid conflicts, try uninstalling any unused pre-order apps. This will allow for a clean integration of our pre-order functionality with your theme.
  2. Can I set pre-order automation to avoid manual activation? Yes, you can achieve this through your product settings. Head to the home dashboard and navigate to “Settings” on the right side for each product. Look for the option titled “Automatically enable pre-order” and activate it. This way, the pre-order function will automatically switch on whenever the inventory hits zero.

Collection Page Badges

  1. I have marked a product variant as “Coming Soon,” but the badge on my website displays it as “Pre-Order.” Why is this? To trigger the badges, you must enable the features of your main product, not its variants. If one variant is on “Pre-Order” and another is on “Coming Soon,” you can toggle between both badges on the main product.
  2. Why are my collection badges not shown properly? Your current website theme may not be compatible with the Pre-Order Sales App. Our Magical Apps support team can help you fix this issue.

Product Arrival Dates

  1. Do I have to set an arrival date for the product I want to showcase? No. Setting an arrival date or message is optional, but strongly recommended.
  2. Why is the available date not showing on the front end of my website? There are three possible reasons:
    1. Did you set the availability date for the specific variant you want to display or just the main product? Make sure to select the variant from the dropdown menu and set its availability date.
    2. Is the date format ({date}) still included in your settings page? If it’s been removed, the website won’t know how to display the date. Re-add the {date} format and save the changes.
    3. Double-check your chosen availability date. It should be a date in the future, not one that has already passed.

Pre-Order Quantity Limits

  1. Can I set “Pre-Order” quantity limits? On the right side of the dashboard, click the purple setting icon next to the product, then set pre-order quantity limits.

Mixed Cart & Pop-up Warnings

  1. My Mixed Cart and pop-up alerts are not displaying on my website. Why is that? This is because the theme you are currently using runs scripts that are not compatible with Shopify’s line-item property. Contact our Magical Apps support team to help you fix this issue.

Pre-Order Settings

  1. Can I set an end date so that my “Pre-Order” product automatically stops being displayed? Yes. This feature can be turned on at the bottom right-hand corner of your settings page. Select the date you want your product to stop being displayed.

Pre-Order Emails

  1. How do I use Pre-Order emails? From your ‘Pre-Order’ emails page, choose ‘Enable Emails’ in the top right-hand corner. From here, you can design your email template and set up automatic updates to send your customers. 
  2. Will emails be automatically sent out every time a customer purchases a Pre-Order product? Yes, emails are automatically sent out whenever a customer purchases a pre-order product. You can disable this feature if needed. Just head to the “Pre-Order emails” page and toggle off the “Enable Emails” option located in the top right corner.

Notify Me Settings

  1. Can I automatically turn on the “Notify Me” option for all products that are out of stock? This feature can be activated at the bottom right-hand corner of your ‘Notify Me’ settings.
  2. How can I notify customers that a product is back in stock if I have the “Notify Me” feature active? When you update your Shopify inventory and a product becomes available again, an automated email notification will be sent to all customers who signed up using the “Notify Me” feature.  You can even personalize the email content by designing your own template within the “Notify Me” settings page.  This page also lets you track all the emails sent to customers who used “Notify Me.”

Filtering Products

  1. How do I efficiently filter through thousands of products without relying solely on the search bar? Look to the right of the search bar for the “Select filter” dropdown menu. This tool lets you sort your products by various categories, including status, type, or vendor.

Bulk Settings

  1. I have hundreds of products, and it takes too long to modify each one manually. What can I do? Our app offers a  “Bulk Settings” feature to streamline the process.  Located on the left-hand side of the app dashboard, this powerful tool allows you to select and modify multiple products and variants at once. 

Managing product availability is more than just a behind-the-scenes task. It directly impacts your customers’ experience and your bottom line.

Compare the best Shopify preorders & back in stock alert apps

After extensive research and experimentation, I’ve uncovered four of the top options available. In this article, I explore their features, pros and cons, and how they cater to different merchant needs and preferences.

The 4 best Shopify Apps for preorders & back in stock alerts 

Explore the four best Shopify apps for preorders and back in stock alerts. Get a detailed overview of these apps, and what customers are saying about them.

The best preorder and back in stock alert Shopify apps:

  1. Preorder Pro + Back in Stock – Unique coming soon feature, but lacks SMS and push notifications
  2. PreOrder Globo | Back in Stock – Affordable with a clean interface, but can’t display back in stock on the homepage or collections
  3. Back In Stock ‑ Restock Rocket – Dedicated focus to back in stock alerts but expensive
  4. Notify! Back in Stock|PreOrder – Solid functionality but slightly subpar user interface

Conclusion

Managing product availability on your Shopify store is not just a technical detail; it’s a powerful strategy for boosting sales, enhancing customer satisfaction, and optimizing inventory control. Shopify’s built-in features are a great starting point to cover the basics of what is required to run an ecommerce business. 

But for a comprehensive solution that can unlock additional tactics such as preordering, back in stock alerts, or coming soon products, apps like “Preorder Pro + Back in Stock” that we developed here at Magical Apps or some of the other many apps on the Shopify app store are a must-have addition to your toolkit.

By understanding what product availability means and mastering the art of availability management, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the competitive ecommerce landscape and ensure the success of your online store. So, go ahead and start empowering your Shopify store with the right product availability strategies today!


Preorder Pro + Back in Stock

Everything you need to add pre-order, coming soon, and back in stock alerts to your shop.