There is no better way to generate early buzz, reach a guaranteed amount of product sales and revenue, and determine the demand for new goods than pre-ordering. Thanks to this marketing technique, Sony was able to reach nearly 1.5 million pre-orders for PlayStation 4 worldwide. To become an effective method for boosting sales, a pre-order strategy should be well-planned and well-considered.

Having already acknowledged the pre-orders value in detail, let’s look at the key stages involved in the pre-orders lifecycle of an online business.

Pre-Orders Lifecycle

The pre-orders lifecycle is divided into several periods, such as

  • before pre-order,
  • during the pre-order launch,
  • ‘dead zone’, and
  • before the release date.

Before Pre-order

The period before eCommerce businesses launch a new product is the most significant part of its lifecycle and determines the overall success. Thus, online brands should do their best during these very first days. According to the insights from ScaleFast, 28% of pre-orders are made on the first available days, which are more frequently set between 4―6 months before the release date. It’s crucial to know how to do pre-order campaigns on eCommerce during this time.

Build Awareness

All You Need to Know about Pre-Orders Lifecycle | MageWorx Shopify Blog

The very first thing that should be done even before the product page completion is to focus on building buyer awareness. The surest ways to do it is through the following:

  • Email marketing. Let your existing buyers know about the upcoming release. Share with them manufacturing details, shipping time, and any other updates about the process. Emails are also the best means to remind your subscribers to pre-order before the launch date.
  • Digital advertising. Nothing can increase the amount of awareness on your products before launch better than digital advertising at platforms like Google Ads, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. They easily allow you to reach the target audience. For example, a 3D printing company Glowforge is one of the eCommerce pre-order best practices as it was able to achieve $28 million in pre-orders of a 3D laser printer just in 30 days thanks to Facebook and Google ads.
  • Partnership and public relations (PR). Due to press releases and referral marketing, you can gain your potential buyers and generate buzz around your new release. Connecting with relevant media publications can become a significant part of your pre-order campaign.
  • Content marketing. One more way to build customer awareness is to generate their excitement for an upcoming product with appropriate content. It’s useful to upload previews of your goods, interviews with the product creator or existing referrers who have tested it, make use of blog posts with feature-rich stories that capture buyers’ attention. All the content should get your customers excited and call to pre-orders.

Create Value and Scarcity

All You Need to Know about Pre-Orders Lifecycle | MageWorx Shopify Blog

When having built customer awareness, you should show them the reason why they should pre-order. The surest way is to provide your buyers with additional value, something that differentiates your products from competitors’ ones, and the sense that they are lucky to be among those to get an exclusive deal. This can be achieved by offering an exclusive guide, some bonuses, and discounts that are not available to regular customers, a product upgrade, free shipping, etc.

Bundling your newly-launched products with existing ones can not only increase their value but also the revenue from pre-orders. For example, a free Samsung Gear 360 camera or a charging pad were offered in a bundle with pre-orders of Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphones. At the same time, LEGO offered 12 different pre-order bundles for the Harry Potter collection.

Creating scarcity, you can also entice your buyers to pre-order. Fear of missing out is the best way to drive demand and urgency. You can limit the number of goods available for pre-order. The period of time when pre-orders are available also can be limited. For instance, you can promise a special gift for the first 50 customers who order in advance. Otherwise, you can provide buyers who pre-order in the first three days with free shipping. Such a freebie is a great incentive for 9 of 10 consumers.

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Focus on Description

Description of goods that are available for pre-order is also a rather crucial part of ‘before pre-order’ lifecycle. It should be detailed and include imagery to be easily found on the landing page.

Generate Early Buzz

Following HubSpot, 71% of customers are more likely to make purchases when referred to social media. That’s why during this period of eCommerce websites pre-orders lifecycle brands can reach their customers and generate early buzz when partnering with blogs, referrers, and media outlets. Social proof is the best way to get recognition. Thus, it’s a good idea to send your product to some bloggers to test and promote them. As a result, you incentivize potential buyers to pre-order.

You should increase customers’ interest in your new product with a strong marketing campaign. As there is no need to launch pre-orders if nobody knows about it. So, the more people talk about your new product, the more they are interested in its pre-ordering.

During Pre-Order Launch

Another stage of the pre-order lifecycle is ‘during pre-order launch’. By this time you can observe an increase in traffic. It’s a great opportunity to use it for customer retention. You can expand your list for future email marketing as more than 50% of pre-order visitors are new ones. So, even if these shoppers are not interested in pre-ordering, it’s a nice chance to increase the number of your subscribers.

During the pre-order launch, it’s also critical to drive referral traffic. It’s the right time to launch your advertising campaigns if they are prepared. Such campaigns are more likely to incentivize buyers that are ready to pre-order.

During Pre-Order ‘Dead Zone’

A decrease in customer activity can be observed over 7―10 days following the pre-order launch day as loyal fans have already placed their pre-orders. As for the other customers, they are still waiting for the official product launch. It’s a so-called ‘Dead Zone’ according to ScaleFast. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you just have to sit and wait. There is still a lot to do during this period.

Firstly, it’s necessary to continue driving customer awareness and focusing their attention on a chance to miss something valuable and exclusive. Secondly, you shouldn’t forget about email marketing, advertising, and PR that also can be highly effective at this stage. As for partnering with social blogs, you can offer some exclusive information to generate your website traffic, such as new unboxing video, some trailers raising curiosity, etc.

Before Release Date

The last but not least pre-orders lifecycle stage is ‘before release date’. You still have a chance to expand your email list, send emails to customers who haven’t pre-ordered yet. Moreover, it’s the best time for creating scarcity by showing that the number of available pre-orders is extremely small. Otherwise, the time to get some tempting bonuses with pre-order expires.


Pre-orders are the best technique for any business to drive customer interest in new products and generate sales. Knowing all the key moments involved in the pre-orders lifecycle you’ll be able to maximize the benefits of each of them. When having your business on Shopify, you can effortlessly implement a pre-order strategy with the Pre-order Autopilot plugin by MageWorx that will allow you to focus on growing your business, not getting distracted at routine work.

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