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How to Allow Backorders on Your eCommerce Website

Workers processing backorders

If you allow backorders on your eCommerce website, you’ll be able to generate more sales for your business beyond your current inventory while still meeting customer demand.

What is Backordering?

We’re all familiar with the frustration of finally finding something we love online only to have it be sold out or temporarily out of stock. Coupled with that product’s improbable return to its virtual shelf, eCommerce businesses can suffer by not selling as much as they possibly could have. Enter backordering: by letting customers still purchase out of stock items on your website, you’ll be able to decrease the amount of sales lost to your lack of inventory. Although backordering won’t ensure that you’ll make up for all the potential sales you could have made if your items were still in stock, it can still greatly reduce the orders you would have missed out on. However, be wary of excessive lead times, as these may cause customers to cancel their orders before they’ve received their merchandise.

Why is Backordering Important for my eCommerce Website?

Giving customers the option of backordering a product will not only improve your business’s bottom line, but will also increase overall customer satisfaction. Below are a few reasons why every eCommerce website should offer backorders when their products are out of stock.

Increased Sales

As stated previously, backordering allows businesses to increase their sales by letting customers purchase their products even when they’re out of stock. Without this option, businesses would lose out on valuable transactions.

Defined Demand

Backordering also provides businesses an exact number for demand. This is extremely valuable to know for ordering more inventory, as well as for predicting future demand.

Provides Insights on Customer Shopping Habits

Businesses can also learn valuable insights about their customers if backorders are enabled on their website. Popular items will be easier to identify, as will any customer trends and behaviors.

Minimizes Carrying Costs & Creates Space

Backordering also allows businesses to hold less product on the stock room floor, and can therefore decrease carrying costs and expenses related to storage. It can also free up space in the stockroom for a new range of products.

How to Allow Backorders on Your eCommerce Website

The process of enabling backorders on your website will vary depending upon your eCommerce platform, although both WooCommerce and Magento let you enable backorders at both the product or site-wide level. WooCommerce makes backorder easy to enable and monitor under the Inventory section in your website’s backend. Magento, on the other hand, follows a different process for enabling backorders. To configure product backorders on Magento, go to Advanced Inventory under the specific product you’d like to edit, deselect the Use Config Setting checkbox, and then select the best backordering option for your business.

For a Shopify website, you can either make bulk updates for existing products or enable backorders for new products. When adding a new product under Inventory, make sure that “Track Inventory” is checked (it usually is by default). Next, check the box below this entitled “Continue selling when out of stock” in order to finish enabling backorders. For existing products, head to All Products, select all, hit edit, click “Add fields” in the spreadsheet that opens, and select “Continue selling when out of stock”. Simply check the boxes for all of the products you’d like to enable backorders for and you’re all set!

Still not sure how to enable backordering on your eCommerce website? Schedule a free website consultation with us so we can discuss your website’s needs. Our team of developers are experts in all things eCommerce, and are pros at everything WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and much more.

Shea Lincourt

Shea Lincourt

Shea has lived in Vermont her entire life. She grew up in southern Vermont and later moved to Burlington to pursue a degree in marketing at the University of Vermont. Upon graduating cum laude, Shea started her marketing career as a digital marketing intern at Bytes.co before becoming our digital marketing analyst.

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