A Quick Guide to Setting Up Pre-Orders on Shopify

Are you using pre-orders to help your cash flow and validate your products on Shopify? If not, then you should consider adding pre-orders to your lineup.

Pre-orders can do a lot for your online business. They can help you generate hype for an upcoming release, validate an idea for a product, and more.

If you’re a fan of video games, then you’re all too familiar with the pre-order business model. The video game industry is notorious for taking pre-orders for games that aren’t out yet.

But they aren’t the only businesses that can benefit from pre-orders. You can offer pre-orders for just about any type of product. That means you can provide pre-orders on your Shopify store, no matter what it is that you sell. Stay tuned for a quick guide to setting up pre-orders on Shopify.

What Are Pre-Orders?

A pre-order is a monetary purchase of an item that isn’t available yet. Once the product comes out, it automatically ships to the customer. Pre-ordering will also guarantee the customer a copy of the product upon its release. For this reason, pre-orders are popular for items that will fly off the shelves.

That’s only one reason to use a pre-order, though. There are many different types of pre-orders, and they all have their uses. Let’s consider two examples to visualize this.

A startup needs cash for its first run of products. To generate this revenue, they offer pre-orders. The idea is that the cash flow will provide the capital they need to manufacture the products. That’s why a pre-order is beneficial here.

Conversely, an established brand is aiming to release a variation of an old favorite. An example would be a video game publisher releasing a hotly anticipated sequel. The demand and funding are already there, but pre-orders are still desirable.

Not only do they add instant revenue for a product yet to be released, but it helps customers too. By pre-ordering, they’re able to avoid the game selling out before they can get their hands on a copy.

Everyone from startups to large companies can benefit from pre-orders when done right. In these two examples, drastically different companies both saw value from pre-orders.

Generating a Pre-Order Strategy

Now it’s time to learn when and why you should offer pre-orders. First, it’s essential to note that selling products involves a certain amount of risk.

For example, it’s normal for a company to invest thousands into a product that may or may not sell. Pre-orders start to show their value when you use them to validate customer interest in your product.

What’s that? Product validation is a way to ‘validate’ that there is consumer interest in your product. In other words, it’s a guarantee that once the product comes out, customers will buy it.

Pre-orders are an undeniable way to achieve product validation.

That’s because you’re already taking orders for a product that you haven’t released yet. You’re still in the investing and production process. However, you know for a fact that customers want your product because they’re already ordering it!

The benefits don’t end there, either. You’ll enjoy extra capital during the production phase by taking pre-orders. That will help you avoid the usual ‘waterfall’ approach to developing and releasing new products.

Here’s what production looks like WITHOUT pre-orders:

  • You have to coordinate with several third-party suppliers.
  • You rely on overseas shipments for components and parts, which is expensive.
  • The products then have to go through packaging from another supplier, which is another expense.

As you can see, the expenses all pile up without any revenue coming in. That’s not only undesirable, but it’s hazardous. For example, if you release a dud, all that time, effort, and money were for nothing.

That’s why pre-orders can save your neck during production. During the chaotic waterfall of developing products, you’re already making money. You also know for a fact that customers are interested in your product. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

Selecting a Pre-Order Method

Next up in our guide to setting up pre-orders on Shopify is to learn the different types of pre-orders. In general, there are three other pre-order methods you can employ. They are:

  • Pay now for pre-orders
  • Pay later for pre-orders
  • Crowdfunding

Let’s take a deeper look at each one.

Pay Now for Pre-Orders

For this type of pre-order, customers pay for your product upfront. That means they have to pay for a product that hasn’t come out yet. By processing the payment now, you guarantee them a copy upon release.

This type of pre-order is also excellent for your cash flow. You’ll receive the money immediately, which is ideal for startups in need of capital. So if you’re using pre-orders to fund your product’s production phase, you need to use this method.

Pay Later for Pre-Orders

Another option is for customers to pay later. They still reserve a copy of your item, but they don’t pay immediately. It’s up to you as the merchant to decide when you charge the customer. That can be either before, after, or right when the product comes out.


This type of model relies on funding from a large group of investors. It’s a popular method for startups to deliver on new products. There’s usually a time frame for a crowdfunding project. An example would be six months to raise money to develop a new type of computer mouse.

Enabling Pre-Orders on Shopify

If you want to enable pre-orders on your Shopify store, here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  • From your Shopify admin, go to Settings, and then click on Payments.
  • Select the Payment Authorization section.
  • Click on Manually Capture Payment for Orders.
  • Select Save.

That’s all it takes to authorize pre-order payments on your Shopify store. Now you can start accepting payments for orders that aren’t released yet. Make sure to let your customers know that they’re pre-ordering a product before processing their payment. Also, it would be best if you let them know the exact release date when they can expect their product.

Closing Thoughts

That’s a quick guide to setting up pre-orders on Shopify. As you can see, pre-orders have numerous benefits for your e-commerce store. You can add to your cash flow, validate your products, and still take orders when products are out of stock.

For more great content to help you develop your Shopify strategies, check out the rest of the merchant posts on the site. If you want to see a list of our top recommended Shopify apps visit this link here.

Davon Wilson

I'm a certified Shopify expert, you can usually find me on my computer coding, or thinking about business ideas. I'm an avid Ravens fan and an overall nice guy.

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