Elements of the best eCommerce backorder policy

Whether you run a small or big online business, your need policies for your store. It is as important as the product you sell. You can see policies as a set of rules that clearly explain to your customers what to expect from you and what to do when a situation happens.

We understand that having backorder is a common issue in the eCommerce industry. However, with a good backorder policy, your customers can know what step or action to take when they have an issue. In this write-up, we will explore some key elements of the eCommerce backorder policy.

What are backorder and pre-order?

Backorder is an order that is temporarily not available for purchase at the moment. These items could be very popular products that get sold very quickly, which makes the demand surge. Because of the demand, customers can reserve and pay for these items pending when they are available. It means a customer orders and pays for the product waiting for the store to ship it once it is in stock.

On the other hand, pre-orders are significant strategy retailers use for their business. It involves placing an order that is not released to the public. For eCommerce pre-orders, the order can be charged immediately after the customer places it or shipped them. Nowadays, several companies utilize this strategy in their business. One of such is Apple that asks its loyal customers to pre-order its latest products.

How a backorder is placed

Allowing a customer to backorder an item means paying for the item and expecting to receive it later. A customer visits your website and sees an item they love but gets a message that the order is currently unavailable. He or she decides to pay and wait for the stipulated time displayed on the order. The merchant then messages the customer when the product is available for shipping.

Shipping and payment methods

When creating your backorder policy, you need to specify the shipping and payment methods customers can use. You need to determine the shipping method, estimated delivery time, and price.

You can include standard shipping orders above $150, standard shipping orders below $100, express shipping, and overnight shipping for the shipping method. All of these should be included in the policies. To make it easier, you can indicate the stipulated price for these methods. Let’s use an example to illustrate.

Shipping Method Estimated delivery time Price
Standard shipping orders above $150 5 to 7 business days Free
Standard shipping orders below $100 3 to 7 business days $5
Express shipping 2 to 5 days $15
Overnight shipping 1 to 2 days $20

On the payment method, you can decide if you are to use PayPal, Credit Card, or vouchers that are acceptable.

Expected notifications and communication channels

Your policy should also include communication channels for customers to interact with your business. You need to indicate how to notify customers, whether through phone or email when their backorder is available and ready to be shipped. Furthermore, it should also include an estimated release date and arrival.

The BigCommerce BackOrder app can help you greatly with message customization on buttons, descriptions, and packing slips. It also allows you to set order threshold and restock date.

Option to cancel backorders

Here, you need to specify when and how a customer can cancel a backorder after ordering the product.

Further reading: 4 tips to avoid backorder cancellation.


Our products and services: Shopify automation, BigCommerce automation, Backorder management
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