“Out of stock” this tiny phrase could be considered a customer and seller’s worst fear. For customers, they’re missing out on a new experience and for sellers, well, they’re missing out on profits. There’s a way to get around that business-nightmare phrase and satisfy both parties. The answer to that would be pre-orders.
The what & how of pre-orders
Pre-orders are exactly what they sound like: ordering before an item becomes actually available to the public. Customers benefit from this strategy by securing whatever item they need before its launch, thus ensuring that they’ll get it and avoid the launch day rush. Another perk for pre-ordering is that it allows customers to pay half the amount at the time of pre-orders and the rest later, or for companies like Amazon, it only withdraws your money when the item is shipped. For businesses, pre-orders allow them to assess the supply-demand ratio for their products and also ensure that they have enough stock post-launch.
The domino effect
A pre-order strategy doesn’t just happen overnight; it takes careful planning. Procrastination is never a friend to marketing. So, it’s important to look at the bigger picture before launching your product. Consider your pre-launch, launch, and post-launch strategies and make sure they align. Remember that a strong plan is the first piece of domino that will get everything moving. Once it’s set in motion, everything else will fall into place.
No, not the life and death one but the product life cycle. A product life cycle is the period of time between when a product is first introduced to consumers and when it is removed from the market. There are four stages; introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. It all starts with ‘hello’. First impression does matter, so the way you manage your product way before the actual launch date is essential to have a successful pre-order campaign. Raising awareness about your brand and/or product beforehand will keep your customers on their toes just waiting to hit the ‘checkout’ button.
Make some noise
Have you ever heard of the book Station Eleven? No? It’s an amazing book that will surely stand the test of time, but it’s not as popular as Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. That was until it turned into an HBO miniseries, and then it became a hit. The point is no one will buy your product if they’ve never heard of you. Generating buzz through several mediums generally raises the awareness level of your brand and consequently your product. Using social media or digital influencers effectively starts with a strong marketing strategy.
Timing is everything
It’s ideal to start taking pre-orders 4-6 months ahead of the actual launch. Like I said, no one wants to run into that “out of stock” phase. And if we learn anything from the Sony PS5 pre-order fiasco is that you really don’t want that empty inventory to rule over you.
If everything goes well and you managed to create a mind-blowing pre-order strategy, you better be ready for an influx of high-demand post-launch. If you’re not ready for new or potential customers, you might just lose them forever. So, before you shoot for the stars, ask yourself; can your website handle increased traffic or will it crash and ruin the whole thing? Is your customer service team ready to answer all the inquiries they will get? Does your sales team have everything they need to get those numbers up?
In the end, the customer only looks out for themselves. So, you need to give them a reason to purchase your product ahead of the launch. Word of mouth will be your best marketing strategy for your product and your brand.