How to Set Up Pre-Orders on Shopify

7 minute read

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If you're looking for a way to boost sales on your Shopify store, offering pre-orders could be the answer. Pre-orders allow customers to buy items before they are officially released, giving them the chance to be among the first to receive the product. In this article, we'll explain how to set up pre-orders on Shopify, including the benefits and limitations, as well as options for automated and manual management.

Understanding Pre-Orders on Shopify

Before diving into the setup process, it's important to understand what pre-orders are and how they work on Shopify. Pre-orders are essentially advanced orders that customers place on items that have not yet been released or are temporarily out of stock. When you enable pre-orders on your Shopify store, customers can purchase a product in advance, and their payment is authorized, but they won't receive the item until it becomes available.

Benefits of Offering Pre-Orders

By offering pre-orders, you can gauge customer interest in products and have a better idea of how much stock to order. Pre-orders also provide an early revenue stream, so you can use that revenue to gauge demand and make more informed business decisions. Additionally, pre-orders can be a good way to build hype and generate buzz around new product releases.

One of the biggest benefits of offering pre-orders is that it allows you to test the market before investing in a large inventory. By offering pre-orders, you can gauge demand for a product and make sure that there is enough interest to justify ordering a large quantity. This can help you avoid overstocking and wasting money on inventory that won't sell.

Another benefit of offering pre-orders is that it allows you to generate revenue before the product is even released. This can help you cover the costs of production and marketing, and can also give you a better idea of how much revenue you can expect once the product is released.

Pre-Order Limitations and Considerations

While pre-orders can be a great way to increase sales, there are a few limitations and considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, Shopify's pre-order system does not allow for partial shipments. If a customer orders a pre-order item along with in-stock items, all items in the order will be shipped once the pre-order item becomes available. This can be frustrating for customers who are eager to receive their in-stock items, so it's important to communicate this clearly on your website and in your order confirmation emails.

Another limitation of pre-orders is that they require a significant amount of planning and preparation. You need to make sure that you have enough inventory to fulfill pre-orders, and that you have a system in place for managing and tracking pre-orders. This can be time-consuming and may require additional staff or resources.

Finally, it's important to keep customers informed about pre-order timelines and expected release dates to prevent disappointment or frustration. Make sure that you have a clear timeline for when the product will be released, and communicate this clearly on your website and in your order confirmation emails. You may also want to consider sending regular updates to customers who have placed pre-orders to keep them informed about the status of their order.

Preparing Your Shopify Store for Pre-Orders

Pre-orders can be a great way to generate buzz and excitement for a new product launch, while also providing valuable insights into demand and inventory levels. Now that you understand the basics of pre-orders and the benefits and limitations, let's dive into how to set it up on your Shopify store.

Updating Product Descriptions and Images

The first step in setting up pre-orders is updating the descriptions and images of your products to indicate that they are available for pre-order. This is your chance to build excitement and anticipation for the new product. You can add a label or tag to the product title, such as "Pre-Order Now," or include a note in the product description that highlights the key features and benefits of the new product.

Make sure to also update the product images to showcase the new product and any special features or details. Consider adding images that show the product from different angles or in different settings, to give customers a better idea of what to expect.

Setting Up Pre-Order Pricing and Inventory

Next, you'll need to set up pre-order pricing and inventory levels. When you create a new product or edit an existing one, you can enable the pre-order option and set the pre-order price. This is the price that customers will pay when they place their pre-order.

You can also set the expected release date, which will be displayed on the product page. This is an important piece of information for customers, as it lets them know when they can expect to receive their pre-order. Make sure to be realistic with your expected release date, as you don't want to disappoint customers by pushing back the release date.

Inventory levels should be set to zero, as you don't want to oversell the item. This means that customers can place a pre-order for the product, but they won't receive it until it is back in stock.

Creating Pre-Order Specific Shipping Options

When setting up pre-orders, you may want to create separate shipping options for pre-order items. This can help to streamline the shipping process and ensure that customers receive their pre-orders in a timely manner.

For example, you could offer free shipping on pre-order items or charge a flat rate for all pre-orders. Alternatively, you could provide customers with the option to choose between standard shipping or expedited shipping for their pre-order. This gives customers more control over their shipping options and can help to increase customer satisfaction.

Overall, setting up pre-orders on your Shopify store can be a great way to generate buzz and excitement for a new product launch, while also providing valuable insights into demand and inventory levels. By following these steps, you can ensure that your pre-order process runs smoothly and that your customers are satisfied with their pre-order experience.

Implementing Pre-Orders Using Shopify Apps

You can also use Shopify apps to automate the pre-order process on your store. There are many pre-order apps available on the Shopify app store, such as Pre-Order Manager, which allows you to create custom pre-order messages and convert out-of-stock products into pre-orders. You can also use the Back in Stock app, which sends notifications to customers when an out-of-stock product becomes available again for purchase.

Top Shopify Pre-Order Apps

Some of the top Shopify pre-order apps include:

  • Pre-Order Manager
  • Back in Stock
  • Pre-Order NOW - Pre-Order Manager
  • Pre-Order Pro by SpurIT

Installing and Configuring Your Chosen App

Once you've chosen a pre-order app, you can install and configure it to your liking. Most pre-order apps have detailed instructions that guide you through the setup process.

Customizing the Pre-Order Button and User Experience

You can also customize the pre-order button and user experience to make it clear that the product is available for pre-order. This includes changing the text of the pre-order button and adding custom messaging on the product page to let customers know that the item is not yet available for immediate shipment.

Managing Pre-Orders Manually on Shopify

If you prefer to manage pre-orders manually, you can create a pre-order product variant and adjust your inventory and fulfillment settings manually.

Creating a Pre-Order Product Variant

The first step in manual pre-order management is creating a pre-order product variant. To do this, you'll need to create a new product or edit an existing one and add a pre-order variant. Set the price and expected release date, and ensure that the inventory level is set to zero.

Adjusting Inventory and Fulfillment Settings

Next, you'll need to adjust your inventory and fulfillment settings to account for pre-orders. You can create a separate inventory tracking system for pre-order items, or allocate a percentage of your overall inventory to pre-orders to ensure that you're not overselling. When the pre-order items become available, you can update the inventory levels and fulfillment settings as needed to fulfill the orders.

Communicating Pre-Order Status to Customers

Finally, it's important to communicate pre-order status to customers to keep them informed and manage expectations. You can send automated emails when the pre-order is placed, and follow up with updates on the expected release date or any delays that may occur. Provide customers with a clear timeline for when they can expect to receive their pre-order item, and be transparent about any issues that may arise.


Pre-orders can be a valuable sales tactic for Shopify stores, but they require careful planning and execution. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can set up pre-orders on your Shopify store and provide customers with the option to purchase items in advance. Whether you choose to manage pre-orders manually or automate the process using an app, be sure to communicate clearly with customers and provide updates on the status of their pre-orders. With the right strategy in place, pre-orders can help boost sales and build excitement around upcoming product releases.

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