Making the decision to pre-launch your items on Shopify takes careful planning, but reaps many rewards that will lead your online store to further success.
When you pre-launch your items, you’re changing the order process from selling items once they’ve been produced and/or purchased and in stock, to generating interest ahead of time and in turn, only produce the amount that has already been sold.
This is a hugely beneficial business model that allows you to generate upfront revenue, test product demand, reduce production costs, avoid excess inventory, and increase sales.
There are a number of factors to consider when planning for a Shopify pre-launch. You’ll need to build momentum within your community to generate interest on the products and prepare the backend of your website to incorporate Shopify pre-order functions.
Continue reading for our five tips for pre-launching your products on Shopify. This selection of best practices will enable you to effectively plan and execute your Shopify pre-launch and manage your website before, during, and after your Shopify pre-order goes live.
Jump to section
- 1. Prepare Your Shopify Store
- 2. Create A Strong Community
- 3. Build Hype At Time of Launch
- 4. Manage Delivery Expectations
- 5. Prepare For Success
- Tips and advice
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Prepare Your Shopify Store
First and foremost, if you’re planning for a Shopify pre-launch, you will need to make sure that the back-end of your online store can support the function.
Setting up products for pre-order isn’t a built-in feature with Shopify yet, so you will need to add a Shopify pre-order app to enable the function. Using a Shopify pre-order app comes with a number of benefits, such as comprehensive set-up options and partial payment facilities, which will seamlessly integrate within your Shopify theme.
Try Pre-Order Manager for a high-rated Shopify pre-launch app. This app comes with a selection of beneficial features that have been designed to easily manage your Shopify pre-launch products. These include:
Pre-Order Discounts: Incentivize customers to buy and offer a discount on Pre-Order products. Setup is easy, simply select the products you’d like to enable discounts input any % or $ amount.
Partial Payments: Easy to set up and give you the option to accept any deposit amount up front, charging the remaining amount once the product ships.
Coming Soon Product Timer: Start marketing your best or newest products before stock arrives with a timer. Generate hype and clearly show customers when products are set to go on sale.
Stock Alerts & Waiting Lists: A widget that allows you to grow your mailing list and give customers the option to sign up for email alerts when products are back in stock.
Fully Customizable Design: Modify your text and design for all buttons and widgets. You can add a pre-order badge on product images on product and/or collection pages and customize the pre-order label text in the shopping cart and checkout pages.
With Pre-Order Manager, you can apply Shopify pre-launch products throughout your store, enable notifications for customers, manage your products within a simple dashboard, and more.
2. Create A Strong Community
Now that your online store is ready to go live with a Shopify pre-launch, it’s time to focus generating a buzz around your brand and create a strong community of customers who are ready to click that ‘pre-order now’ button.
Focusing on your brand awareness will give you the chance to generate more leads and build your upfront revenue to manufacture the products.
An article by Forbes featuring industry-insight into a pre-launch sales strategy found that creating a waitlist in advance allowed for one UK-based start-up to open pre-orders with 4,000 people already on their waiting list. This was a direct result result of building a community on social media and promoting the product during a one year build up, which proved to be hugely successful for their product launch.
An easy way to start promoting your planned Shopify pre-launch is with your existing customers. You can do this by adding the products to your website in advance and labelling them as ‘coming soon’.
What’s more, if you prepared your Shopify store with Pre-Orders, the app will do all the work for you. All you need to do is toggle on the ‘coming soon’ button in your existing settings and you can set a time when the product will be available for preorder before the start of your campaign.
See also: How to create a pre-order on Shopify
3. Build Hype At Time of Launch
A report by Scalefast (now ESW) that found 15% to 18% of all pre-orders are made on the first day. The report stated that “the most critical period for any product launch is the weeks and months leading up to the pre-order date — not the weeks and months following the pre-order launch.”
Building hype in the immediate run-up to your Shopify pre-launch is, therefore, a crucial time to generate interest and increase the sales for the launch date.
To ensure your community is prepared for the Shopify pre-launch date, utilise email marketing and send out regular updates in the immediate run-up. Another feature in Pre-Order Manager that can help facilitate this is ‘notify me’.
Add a ‘notify me’ button to the product page, where customers can subscribe to an email update that will inform them when the product is available for pre-order.
Make sure to build hype on social media channels too and direct traffic to your website, particularly during the critical run-up period.
4. Manage Delivery Expectations
When preparing your Shopify pre-order sales, it is important to provide clear information regarding the turnaround time, from pre-order to shipping, to manage customer expectations.
Update your T&Cs and shipping information pages to communicate the details, with precise information included in each product page to reflect the general process.
Transparency is key to customer retention, and this becomes more relevant when advanced payments come into play. When your customers know what to expect, from the initial payment to receiving their items, they will be more supportive and likely to return after you successfully deliver according to plan.
5. Prepare For Success
Last but not least, prepare for success from your Shopify pre-launch campaign. We tend to undermine our potential, especially when launching something new to us, but that can lead to being unprepared when the plan sets in motion.
Carry out some market research as you build your community. This will give you insight into how successful each product will do, such as whether certain variants are in particularly high demand, some products are more successful than others, and so on.
You’ll then generate an understanding of potential volumes ahead of the launch.
That said, when it comes to pre-ordering, there’s no harm in over-estimating the success. By that we mean, ensure your website can handle high volumes of traffic and that your order process is well-managed.
Shopify Pre-Order Manager has been designed for high volumes of pre-order sales that can be easily managed in an intuitive dashboard, where all of your orders are collated in a readable format.
You’ll be able to edit products individually or in bulk, and easily enable, disable, and set-up settings depending on individual product requirements.
Remember, even if you reach your Shopify pre-order limit, you can always activate the ‘notify me’ options to collect email addresses ahead of the next launch.
By preparing for success, you’re pre-emtimg potential issues and finding a solution before they arise. Shopify pre-order is proven to be a successful sales strategy, so there’s no reason why your online store won’t see that success.
Tips and advice
Introducing a Shopify pre-order model is a sustainable business practice with a number of benefits for your online store. By predicting product demand, you can control your inventory and avoid excess purchases and/or production, and increase sales.
Just remember to follow our five tips for pre-launching your products on Shopify and you’ll be prepared for all the successes a Shopify pre-launch can bring to your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
By default, pre-orders are not available in Shopify. However, you can create pre-orders using a Pre-Order app, like the Pre-Order Manager. Read our step-by-step guide to learn more about how to set up Shopify pre-order on specific products and your Shopify store will be ready for pre-launch in a few simple steps.
The best way to get customers engaging with your pre-orders is to offer additional incentives such as discounts or a lower upfront payment. If customers can get the products they want at a lower price, opting for a Pre-Order becomes much more appealing.
This is a good strategy for your first pre-order launch and will help to build a community for future product pre-orders.
This comes down to your business priorities and what features will help you the most during your pre-order planning stages.
Within the Shopify app store, check the star rating and how many ratings, view each demo, and make sure the interface looks manageable for you and your team. Keep a look out for a free trial period too, so you can test the app without any financial commitment.