- How to accept preorders and backorders
- How to identify and tag backordered orders in SKULabs
- How to manage backorder fulfillment
- How to create purchase order for backordered products
SKULabs is not always directly in control of which items can be purchased by your customers. You may find it preferable to manage which items you accept backorders for in your sales channel rather than SKULabs but their are options to manage this for both. This is especially useful for sites like eBay.
Use your sales channel's functionality to allow backorders / overselling
Many sales channels including Shopify allow you to explicitly make overselling / backorder decisions through options such as "Allow selling when out of stock" or "Do not track inventory". These options are the preferred method of accepting backorders for a product.
Amazon has explicit functionality built in to SKULabs for restock dates and restocking quantities for their pre-ordering functionality. Access these options by editing the item in SKULabs.
Syncing a controlled preorder quantity controlled by SKULabs
By default, SKULabs syncs the "free" quantity of an item or kit to your sales channels. The "free' count is calculated using the "on hand" quantity available in your warehouse minus any stock currently "reserved" by open orders that have yet to be shipped.
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+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. From there the orders would be automatically released and you could then pick, pack, and ship the preorders awaiting fulfillment. Do not forget to remove the stock rule you customized by returning it 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.
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 using the options described at the beginning of the article.
Be sure to read our other articles on how to find and manage backorders, how to fulfill your backorders, and how to purchase inventory for your backorders. Links atop the article.