Your sales may include preorders for products that haven't arrived yet, or you may often accept backorders for products that have gone out of stock. Managing these sales can be difficult, especially in the context of your inventory management and order fulfillment workflows.

As a warehouse inventory solution, SKULabs doesn't have a direct understanding of "backorder inventory" or "preorder inventory". From a pure stock keeping sense, those terms are conundrums as they refer to inventory that is not actually in inventory.

Fortunately, there are ways to handle preorders and backorders without redefining what inventory means to your team. Which route you choose depends on your team's needs and existing sales processes.

Syncing a controlled preorder quantity

By default, SKULabs syncs the "free" count of an item or kit, which is calculated by combining the "on hand" quantities across your warehouses/locations and then deducting any amount that is "reserved" for open orders that haven't been shipped yet. However, SKULabs features customizable stock sync quantities that can be adjusted per store or even per listing, which can be handy for managing preorders that have a fixed amount available.

For example, say you have a new product on a sales channel that you'll allow up to 50 preorders of before marking it as sold out. In this case, you could change the listing's stock sync rule in SKULabs from the default free  to free+50 . Assuming that the new item or kit is set up in SKULabs with 0 on hand, this will allow you to accept orders and reserve stock for up to 50 units until the free quantity reaches -50, which is when that custom stock sync rule calculates to 0 left to sell.

As preorders begin syncing in to SKULabs, you can use a custom tag or the Hold status to communicate to your team that those orders are not yet ready for fulfillment. This allows the reserve function to work as normal, which is important as our custom stock sync rule relies on preorders being reserved against the preordered product's free quantity.

Once the inventory arrives at your warehouse, you can receive the stock as you normally would and then pick, pack, and ship the preorders awaiting fulfillment all within SKULabs. Then change the stock sync rule for the relevant listing back to the default free and you'll be able to sell the product as normal going forward.

Accepting "unlimited" preorders

If you wish to allow preorders of a product but don't have a maximum quantity you can sell, the above steps largely still apply with just a couple modifications:

First, your custom stock sync rule will probably need to be set for a larger increased free count than just 50. Something like free+100000 would work, or whatever other reasonable maximum your team can still reasonably fulfill. As long as you can supply stock for the preorders and fulfill them on time, the sky is the limit!

Beyond the amount that you display as available on your sales channel, an unlimited preorder period also runs the concern that your order fulfillment queue becomes overburdened with unfulfillable preorders. This is where SKULabs's table filters come in handy: if you set all of those preorders to the Hold status, then help your team members set their table filters to exclude that status, the preorders will be hidden from view while your team addresses fulfillable orders first.

Managing backorders for out-of-stock products

Backorders are inevitable in some markets and niches, but can be easily managed with the right setup on your sales channel. Many shopping cart platforms support custom notices when a product is on backorder, as well as flags or statuses for those orders when they are placed. It is often possible for backorders to be managed entirely outside of SKULabs, which may be ideal since SKULabs is intended for fulfillment of available warehouse inventory.

If it's not possible to manage backorders entirely on your sales channel, there are ways that you can manage backorders directly in SKULabs:

The easiest way to filter orders that are backordered would be through their fulfillable status, as shown in the "Fulfillable" column on the processing order table. This is quick indicator of how many line items in an order are immediately available for fulfillment; orders that are entirely not fulfillable will be highlighted red in their Fulfillable column. To filter out unfulfillable and/or partially fulfilled orders, simply uncheck those options in your order table's Filters menu.

Another option is to apply custom tags to orders that are backordered. That way, you and your team can easily filter out orders with that tag. This method is especially handy if you later want to be able to show ONLY the orders waiting on backordered items.

Did this answer your question?