Why Wait Until It’s In Stock? Take Pre-orders Now!

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
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Wouldn’t it be great to start taking orders now (and even partial or full payment!) for items that you may not have in stock or ready for sale until several months from now? Some industries offer pre-orders as a matter of course – from wine to electronics to action figures to video games to comic books and more, these merchants have long utilized pre-orders for spot-on inventory management, as well as in some cases to actually pre-fund their inventory purchase or manufacturing efforts.
Think about it – if you are ordering inventory from the manufacturer for resale, pre-orders would be a great way to avoid over-ordering. If you are the manufacturer, pre-orders would be a great way to know how much to produce, or perhaps how many units to package in certain package sizes. But pre-orders can cause you some headaches if your software is not set up to accommodate them. Did you know that your Nexternal order management system allows you to take headache-free pre-orders?
First of all, if some of your products are available now (current inventory) and some are available later (pre-orders), and if a customer orders both in a single order, then your system will need to *know* that the shipment will ship in two boxes at different times, and it will need to calculate shipping charges accordingly. That’s no problem in Nexternal, because you can tie the current inventory and the pre-orders to separate shipping tables. Doing so separates the two shipments into separate boxes, and allows you to print two distinct shipping labels at two different times, with a simple click of a button – no tinkering required. Plus, because Nexternal natively integrates with UPS, FedEx, USPS and GSO (and also allows you to enter any custom shipping rates you wish), the system properly calculates the total shipping on the two packages so that there is an accurate quote when the order is placed.
Second, Nexternal doesn’t force the credit card to be charged when the order is placed – so while you can set your system to authorize the card for a minimal amount to ensure that the card is valid, you are in control of when the funds are actually collected. If you wish, you can charge the card now for the current products and related shipping, and charge the card later for the pre-orders and related shipping. Or, as some merchants do, with the appropriate disclosures about timing on your website, you can immediately collect some or all of the payment for the pre-orders and related shipping. All now, or some now and some later – up to you, as you are totally in control of that.
In addition, you can set Nexternal to display in your online store that a product is available on a pre-order basis, and also have the pre-order notice display in the cart, on the final invoice page, and on the order confirmation email, so there will be no customer confusion about what is current and what is shipping later.
After reading this we hope you’re excited to start offering pre-orders – we think it’s a great idea! Just give your Nexternal account manager a call and we’ll help you get it all set up – it won’t take long. Before taking it live, if you plan to charge credit cards up front either in part or in full on pre-orders, be sure to speak with your accounting department to ensure that they are ready to accept these payments, as they need to be accounted for in an appropriate manner, differently than revenue you might receive for immediately-shipped goods.
Happy Pre-selling!

Pamela is a Senior Account Manager at Nexternal and works in the Napa Valley office. She is passionate about helping her clients succeed. With 20 years' experience in the wine industry spearheading business development and marketing for various wineries including her own, plus previous years practicing general business law, Pamela is well qualified to provide the service and guidance to her clients that sets Nexternal apart from other eCommerce providers.