Website on Demand

Pre Order vs Back In Stock

5 minutes read

Never EVER Stash Out-of-Stock Products on Your Shopify Store! 

Let me be clear: even the most successful Shopify stores with high traffic volume, have an average conversion rate of 2-4%. That fraction of people who make a purchase is gold. Correct?

Out-of-stock products have a huge potential for a lift in sales on your eCommerce store, presumably because they are your best sellers, new drops that went exceptionally fast, or a collection that is in high demand out of nowhere. Leaving products live in your catalog is recommended even when out of stock. Hiding those out-of-stock products means two things: loss of opportunities and a potential shift in your conversion rates.

Now what?

Let’s explore three solution options for your out-of-stock products.

  1. A Pre Order solution
  2. A Back In Stock solution
  3. A hybrid approach of both

There are pros and cons to all of the above, so let’s dive in!

Though each of them has significant advantages over each other, both Preorder and Back in Stock have serious drawbacks!

Preorder Now

Offering a PreOrder Solution

Preorder works in a way where you are constantly overselling out-of-stock products. The advantages far outweigh the cons.


  • The barriers to entry are low. This means that there is no more standing in line for your customers. Once customers order the products that are on pre-order, they are considered sold and in your sales pipeline.
  • Pre Order creates hype for your soon-to-launch/restocked products.
  • Increased traffic in your store. 
  • Gives you an SEO edge because you’re getting indexed by search engines earlier than your competitors
  • Helps you identify trends in your store
  • Provides a loyal customer base. People who pre-order products from your store usually are the ones with the strongest intent to go back and buy again.
  • Creates a sense of urgency to your customer via badges, preorder buttons, and labels.


  • One of the most obvious but annoying is the inevitable delivery delays that can cost your company customer service hassles. Customers want answers on when they can expect their orders and this is not always available with preorders.
  • The preorder process is not available in some countries and/or not available with certain payment methods.
  • Stores will need to be aware of the orders at all times to ensure that the inventory coming in equals the inventory going out.
  • Not enough flexibility and consideration from your customers. Your customer tends to expect nothing but the best. The pressure of avoiding under delivery in terms of quality and deadline. With the hype that it builds, you have to be sure you can deliver on the promises made during the preorder process. On top of that, it’s already paid so you have to deliver with a minimum of 0 shortcomings

More about Preorder

In conclusion

Pre Order is a strategy that Shopify stores should consider. Providing your customers the option to pre-order can be an enormous boost to your overall sales.

Pre Order can be a great way to consistently keep sales flowing into your Shopify store. Allowing preorders on your products does require a strategy to carry out without causing more headaches than the benefits it could bring to your eCommerce store so make sure you are ready for the onslaught of customer service questions, and an increase in sales.

Back In Stock

Back In Stock alerts or notifications for your customers is another option when your products go out of stock. This approach lets you replace the “Sold Out” button with a “Notify me when the product is available” call to action instead.

Unlike Pre-Order, your customers won’t be able to buy out-of-stock products but instead, get notified based on the options you provide either via email or an SMS message.

For context, if Pre-order is similar to having an overselling function, then back in stock is similar to a wishlist feature.


  • Analyzing product waitlists allows Shopify stores to collect data on what people want to buy from your store. The benefit of this is that it can help you scale at a lower risk.
  • Lowers inventory risks and overhead and allows stores more control over better inventory management.
  • Integration with EMS such as Klaviyo, MailChimp, etc.
  • Easier to scale, marketing-wise, over Pre-order since you can collect emails, and use those for future initiatives.
  • Opens huge opportunities for an SMS marketing campaign.
  • Reduces support tickets asking when a product should be available during pre-launch.
  • Generates engagement with potential and/or existing customers.
  • It shortens your marketing funnel. You get to quickly see and list down the people with a real intention of buying.


  • It will not generate instant income.
  • Depending on your Email/SMS marketing flows, wishlists are often forgotten about.
  • And if you maximize your email promotions and you have an opportunity to remind people of it properly, doing back in stock ensures that you have more than enough stock to deliver those products.
  • Falling in line is a common theme for the back in stock approach so expect hundreds, if not thousands, of customer service tickets during launch day.
  • Waitlist subscribers are a priority. Newcomers or walk-in customers usually come second.
  • Shows lack of commitment on both ends (merchant and customers). It creates an environment that if you’re interested, sign-up, but if not that’s fine too.
  • Pop-ups, sign-ups, and other promotional materials over an out of stock products are often a red flag for people.

In a nutshell

Back-in-stock notification is a great way to keep your customers hooked! While engaging with them via email/SMS campaigns at the same time.

This will help you build the foundation of your community which will scale your business to the top in the future. The easier you get those audiences interested in your niche, the more likely you’ll succeed faster than your competitors.

In line with this, you can further assess your inventory in which product you should allocate your budget the most. The most number of waitlist customers is your winning product- go big on that!

The Verdict

Pre-order and Back in stock notifications are both winners!

We’re not trying to say that one is better than the other. They are both great strategies for your eCommerce business. Although having them both in your business might seem like the most logical choice, it does require a lot of work and planning at the onset. 

Your thought process in choosing which method to use should focus on what your business needs at the current time. Timing is everything!

If you run a retail business and move at a very fast pace, maybe running a bit short in budget, then you might want to go with Pre-order. It will help you earn more from out-of-stock products so you could keep your business going.

A wholesale business that focuses more on delivering large numbers of orders? Established business and looking to capture more leads? Go for back in stock.

So, what are you waiting for? Gone are the days of hiding out-of-stock products or showing the Sold Out sign.

Happy Selling!

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