What are Backorders?

What are Backorders?

Backorders are a great way to sell products when you are out of stock. When you enable the ‘backorder’ feature, it allows your customers to place an order for a product that is temporarily out of stock. Once the stock is in, the order is then fulfilled!

Here are two benefits of Backorders:

1) You don’t lose sales to competitors

2) You don’t disappoint your customers


1) Do allow backorders for products that are easy to restock

Think of it like a T-shirt and antique store. While T-shirts are easy to get more of, antiques are one of a kind and are harder to find. Although there is an equal possibility of both running out of stock, you want to allow your customers to backorder a product that you can easily and reliably fulfill in time.

Since a customer has paid in advance, it is crucial that there be no more delay in fulfilling that order than required. This ensures a positive customer experience without which, this process will not work!

Wake up

2) Do look into ERP Integration and Landing Pages

Whether you are a small eCommerce store or a million transaction store, managing backorders is simple process only if a number of components fall into place perfectly. Here are two ways to make sure everything works in sync:

a) Make sure that your eCommerce store is integrated with your accounting software so that all of your orders are updated consistently, and without any errors. Remember, your customers have paid in advance – the last thing they want is an error and a further delay in their order.

b) You could entertain the idea of having a dedicated landing page for backorders. This way you can manage all backorders separately, collect the right information and have an email nurturing campaign in place specifically for your backorder customers. 

Constant Updates + Positive Customer Experience = Less Anxious, Happy Customers!


1) Don’t forget Customer Service!!

We cannot stress this enough. A backorder is a temporary order, that can (and will) be cancelled if your customer does not get the service they expect. There is not much stopping them from cancelling the order with you and getting it from a competitor that has that product in stock. They even get it earlier!

Don’t have zero process internally. Don’t ‘take care of it, when it comes to it’.

Make sure you have a process for your internal team and your suppliers to follow when you open a product up for backorders. Your backorder customers might be anxious and might have more questions than usual about the status of their order. It is important to ensure that customer service is ready for this. Also, make sure your suppliers can, and are prepared to restock as and when necessary.

2) Don’t anger your suppliers

Yes, you might miss some sales but the relationship with your suppliers is important. Too many sporadically spread out backorders will drive your suppliers crazy!

Instead, it might be wise to collect a certain number of backorders per week and send them over to your suppliers in a timely manner. This way everyone, including your team, customers and suppliers, know what to expect.

Backorders are a great feature, and if done right, can help you build a great, trusted community around your brand. Increase conversion rates and keep your customers happy with Backorders!

With commercebuild, you can enable backorders for your entire site, specifically for B2B or B2C customers, and even for a certain set of products (going back to the T-shirt and antique store example).

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