How to set up pre order on Shopify


1. Introduction

It is very beneficial to understand how to set up pre order on Shopify. A pre order is an arrangement in which customers can place orders for products or services before they become available for general sale. Essentially, customers are buying an item before it is physically in stock or released.

There are several benefits to pre orders. First, pre orders can provide insight to Shopify stores about the demand for their products. By seeing how many people are pre-ordering an item, stores can adjust their production and inventory management to meet demand. This can help them avoid overproduction, which can lead to excess inventory and financial losses.

Secondly, pre orders can generate buzz and excitement for a product before its release. By allowing customers to pre order, Shopify stores can build anticipation for their products and create a sense of exclusivity around them.

Thirdly, pre orders can be beneficial for Shopify stores because they allow for upfront revenue. When customers pre-order products, they typically pay for them at the time of the order, which can provide stores with a cash flow boost before the product is even released. This can be especially helpful for small businesses or startups that may not have access to significant capital or financing.



2. Setting up Pre Orders on Shopify


A. Installing a Pre Order App

To get started and set up pre order on Shopify, access the Shopify App Store and search for the pre order app you wish to install. Once you have located the app, click on it to access the app listing page, and then select the “Add app” option. To grant the app access to your Shopify admin account, click “Install app” and authorize its use.


B. Integrating the App with Your Storefront

Shopify 1.0

Our recommendation is to contact the app provider for the 1.0 installation process. However, the steps are generally comparable – locate the Shopify theme file containing the “buy” button and insert the app’s customized code beneath the {% endform %} tag. Keep in mind that the precise file name may differ, but commonly it is referred to as one of the following: product-template.liquid, product-form.liquid, or product-main.liquid, among others.

Shopify 2.0

With the introduction of Shopify 2.0, app blocks can now be seamlessly integrated into the Shopify admin’s drag-and-drop theme customizer. This streamlined process offers speedy setup, and a noteworthy benefit is that app blocks are automatically removed upon app uninstallation.



C. Listing Pre Orders on Shopify

Having completed the necessary steps to integrate the app with your storefront, you are now fully equipped to initiate pre orders on Shopify. Begin by listing a product in your selected pre order app, and note that the “add to cart” button will be replaced with a pre order version, accompanied by supplementary front-end elements such as messaging and widgets.


D. Shopify product settings

The product/variant section of the Shopify admin dashboard contains the option to enable the ‘continue selling when out of stock’ feature. This setting is crucial when utilising pre-orders and has two important purposes:

  • Firstly, if a product has zero stock and the box is unchecked, customers will not be able to purchase it. However, if the box is checked, the product can still pass through the checkout. Some apps (eg PreProduct) automatically check this box, when creating a new pre-order.
  • Secondly, most Shopify themes display an ‘out of stock’ message when a product/variant has zero stock and the box is unchecked. Checking the ‘continue selling when out of stock’ box will prevent this message from being displayed.


3. Offering Discounts on Pre Orders


A. Basic Discount Setup

You can set up a discount by altering the ‘Price’ and the ‘Compare at Price’ in the Shopify product admin. The ‘Compare at Price’ is the original price and the ‘Price’ is the discounted price. This means the Shopify will know that there is a discount and reflect this on your front-end.


B. Purchase Options Discounts

For certain pre order types that use purchase options (commonly charge later pre orders), rather than altering the price of the product directly on Shopify, the discount is applied at the order level. This means that the discount is fixed for future charges and does not affect the price of the product on Shopify. This means that you will not need to worry about the price change.



4. Utilizing Deposits for Pre-Orders

A. Creating Deposit-Based Pre Orders

You can opt for upfront deposits for pre order listings in many pre order apps. When creating a pre order listing, you just need to select the deposit pre-order type and then choose the amount op percentage deposit you want to charge. In such cases, customers will go through the checkout process only once and will be charged the deposit amount immediately while also agreeing to the future charge. Deposit listings also support discounts.


B. Charging Tax and Shipping Fees

When using deposit based pre orders, both shipping and taxes will be charged in the final outstanding amount, not in the deposit amount.


5. Summary and Conclusion

In summary, pre orders offer several advantages for Shopify stores. Firstly, they provide valuable insight into product demand, enabling stores to adjust inventory management and avoid overproduction. Secondly, pre orders generate excitement and anticipation for a product, building a sense of exclusivity. Lastly, pre orders generate upfront revenue, providing cash flow before product release, which is especially beneficial for small businesses or startups without access to significant capital.

This article was written to explain how to set up pre-order on Shopify, and highlight the benefits an e-commerce store can reap from utilising pre orders. If you are interested in giving pre order on Shopify a go and experiencing some of these benefits we highly recommend installing PreProduct from the Shopify app store (we are slightly bias as this is our app, but do believe it provides a fantastic pre order process).

Try PreProduct today


How to do Pre Orders on Shopify


1. Introduction

Pre orders are a marketing strategy used by e-commerce businesses to encourage customers to purchase a product before it is officially released or available for purchase. Understanding how to do pre orders on Shopify can be very valuable & useful for your business. 

Pre orders on Shopify can be a great way to generate buzz and anticipation for a new product or variant, as well gauging demand and ensuring there is sufficient interest in a new product before investing in production.

Additionally, pre-orders can help to secure early sales and revenue, which can be very important for smaller or newer businesses.


Types of pre orders on Shopify:

There are 4 main types of pre orders you can offer on Shopify; Capture only pre orders, charge later pre orders, deposit pre orders, charge upfront pre orders.

  • Capture only pre orders – this type of pre-order involves changing the buy now/add-to-cart button to a pre order button, and capturing the customers details/order in the pre-order system.
  • Charge later pre orders – this type of pre-order involves changing the buy now/add-to-cart button to a pre order button, the customer goes through the check-out at the time of placing the pre order and authorises a deferred charge. Shopify vaults the card details, and then the store triggers the deferred charge at a later stage.
  • Deposit pre orders – this type of pre order allows you to charge the customer for a portion of the purchase price up-front, and then the remaining at a later stage via a deferred charge.
  • Charge upfront pre orders – for this type of pre order the payment is taken upfront.


2. Setting up Pre Orders on Shopify 


2.1 Enabling pre orders in your Shopify store

You will need to download and install a pre order app from the Shopify app store. You will then need to integrate the app within your Shopify store. There are normally two different ways to do this depending on whether you have a Shopify 1.0 theme or a Shopify 2.0 theme. Both are outlined below:

  • Shopify 1.0 theme integration – you will need to find the Shopify theme file that has the buy button within it, and then adding the app’s snippet.
  • Shopify 2.0 theme integration – you will need to drag and drop the app block, from the theme customizer in Shopify admin.


2.2 Setting up Pre Order products

Once you have added the snippet or app block to your store you will be ready to list pre-orders on your Shopify store. 

You will need to list any products you wish to have on pre-order, in your chosen app. You will also be able to choose whether or not to offer an early bird discount, what variants to list for pre-order, along with pre-order limits and shipping timeframe.


3. Best Practices for Pre Orders on Shopify 

3.1 Promoting pre orders effectively

There are several different e-commerce marketing options that can help to promote and assist in having a successful pre order campaign. These are listed below;

  • Social media content both organic and paid
  • Press coverage
  • SEO
  • Collaborations
  • Email campaigns

Alongside these marketing options, there are some other strategies that can work really well with pre orders.

  • Targeting early adopters for new releases, new products etc
  • Generate an urgency for purchase by offering an early bird discount that is only on offer for pre order
  • Only offering a certain number of items, this will create a sense of scarcity


3.2 Setting realistic pre order timelines and delivery dates

It is important to ensure pre order customers are aware of approximate shipping timelines and that there may be some delay. With pre orders, shipping times are never certain, due to potential manufacturing and freight delays, which is often out of your control.

Pre order apps should allow you to regularly communicate via email with your pre order customers, so you can ensure they are kept up to date with shipping timeframes.


3.3 Communicating with pre order customers

A multi pronged approach is the best way to communicate effectively with pre order customers.

This can include the following methods:

  • Front end wording; this communicates to the customers pre order details/shipping time frames etc on the store front/on page cart
  • Email campaign; this can be used to keep customers updated
  • Customer portals; allows customers to check on the progress of their order, and can communicate shipping updates etc.



3.4 Managing refunds and cancellations of pre orders

Pre orders can be cancelled in Shopify in the same manner normal orders can be cancelled. Some pre order apps that feature a customer portal, also allow customers to cancel their pre order via the portal.

Refunding customers is at your discretion and can done as per the usual process in Shopify.



4. Conclusion

Pre orders, are a great tool that can be used by businesses to generate excitement for a new product, line, or sold-out products along with giving a business access to revenue sooner than may normally be possible.

There are a few different types of pre orders, and there will be one that best suits and aligns with your business model and goals. Alongside your chosen pre order type, there are many different techniques you can use to promote your pre order campaign and ensure it is successful.

This article was written by the team at PreProduct. PreProduct is a next generation Pre Order app, that specialises in helping stores run successful Pre Order campaigns.

If you would like to run a successful Pre Order campaign, then we recommend starting a free trial of PreProduct, to see if it is a good fit for your business.

Try PreProduct today

Adding pre-orders to the Shopify Turbo theme

The Turbo Shopify Theme

The Turbo Shopify theme is one of Out of the Sandbox’s flagship themes and a favourite of Kurt Elster. This article will go through adding pre-orders to the Shopify Turbo theme. Turbo is fully featured and performant, as well as being Shopify store 2.0 compatible. Meaning it’s pretty straight-forward to add third-party apps. However, we’ll also go through a more limited ‘free’ way of setting up pre-orders with Turbo.

There are many great reasons to offer pre-orders, including a positive influence on cash flow, the wiggle room it can afford your product launches, and the supply chain risks that can be offset. If you’d like to read more about the pros and cons of pre-orders, I wrote an article for the Shopify blog here.

Turbo theme
ref: Out of the sandbox

Adding Pre-orders Manually

It’s possible to collect pre-orders without any apps and with minimum developer work, by using the following bare-bones approach. Although I don’t recommend doing this for several reasons that we’ll go into after the step-by-step:

Backup your theme
Always backup theme files before you change code. This way, you’ll always have a safe version to revert to if something goes wrong.
  1. Shopify has a checkbox in the Shopify product section under ‘inventory’ called ‘continue selling when out of stock’. When ticked, Shopify will accept orders for that product, even when the stock level is empty or negative.
  2. It’s also possible to change your add-to-cart button’s text via the Shopify theme files so that it shows ‘pre-order’ when a product has 0 in stock and the above setting is enabled. Using something like the liquid code below within the button tag.
    {%- if product.variants.first.inventory_policy == "continue" and product.variants.first.inventory_quantity == 0 -%} pre-order {%- endif -%}
As well as the overhead of hardcoding a change into your store’s theme that doesn’t localise to the user’s language, the above method will also mean:
  • ‘pre-orders’ and ‘buy-now’ orders are mixed together in your Shopify order section, leading to mistakes and laborious admin.
  • No efficient control of what product is on pre-order and what is on ‘buy now’.
  • Your store’s front-end won’t communicate to customers when they’ll receive their pre-order.
  • You have no way of communicating with customers during the pre-order process. e.g. A ‘Your natural deodorant is three weeks away from shipping’ email or customer portal.
  • Pre-order payment has to be upfront (no pay later or deposit option)
  • No way to place limits or any advanced pre-order features on your listing.

All of these drawbacks can very quickly add up to a negative customer experience with a lot of work on your end to manage and stay in control. Luckily Shopify’s app ecosystem has many apps who work on these problems and ways to increase your pre-orders. Thanks to Turbo’s Store 2.0 compatibility, you won’t need to write a line of code to integrate one either.

Using PreProduct for pre-orders

Like I just mentioned, Shopify’s Appstore is home to many pre-order apps that will help you find success with your pre-sales.
PreProduct offers the below benefits, as well as a customisable pre-order cart. After selecting PreProduct from the AppStore, simply click ‘install app’ from the top of the page and Shopify will take you through a quick install process.
PreProduct’s feature set includes:

  • The ability to choose which specific product/variants will be on pre-order.
  • A designated dashboard for your pre-orders, without regular orders being mixed in.
  • Customisation of the design/messaging of the pre-order button and front-end, including dynamic variables like shipping time.
  • Email campaigns to keep customers in the loop and engaged throughout the pre-order campaign.
  • Different payment options like; ‘pay later’, ‘deposit’ and ‘pay now’. Meaning you can list pre-orders much earlier and with better flexibility (+ in some countries, conform to necessary legal requirements).
  • Analytics and dashboards for reporting/interacting/merging the individual pre-orders.

Using the Shopify store 2.0 ‘customize’ editor you won’t have to add permanent code to your theme. You can just drag and drop a block into your product page. Meaning you’re in complete control of where the pre-order section goes in your storefront, as well as when it gets taken out.

Adding a pre-order app block to your Shopify turbo theme

Once you have PreProduct installed, you’ll be able to drag it’s block into your product page exactly where you want it. Here’s how:

    • Navigate to the ‘Online store’ section of your Shopify dashboard.
    • Click ‘Customize’.
    • You will now be greeted with Shopify’s customize editor. It will be set to your home page. Click ‘catalogue’ to go to a collection page and then click on any product to select your product page.
    • Notice the different areas of your product page in the left-hand side bar, signified by the tag icon and name in bold. We want to add to your ‘Product Information’ section, so click the blue ‘Add block’ link at the bottom of that list.
    • A pop-up should appear with a list of blocks under the ‘APPS’ heading. Click the PreProduct block.
    • The PreProduct block has now been added to the ‘Product information’ section. To choose it’s position, click the little back arrow to the left of its nam and drag it up or down until you’re happy with the position.
  • That’s it, you should be all good to go. Don’t forget to save! (Top right corner of the page).


You have now finished setting up pre-orders for the Shopify Turbo theme. You can now start listing products for pre-order and taking pre-sales for your future and out of stock products.

Unbounce pre-orders

1. Unbounce pre-orders with Shopify & PreProduct

Unbounce offers a super powerful and intuitive way to create and manage landing pages for new product launches. However, what if you wanted to start taking pre-orders from one of your landing pages?

For selling physical products, Shopify has been establishing itself as a market leader for quite some time now. PreProduct is a pre-order app that plugs into Shopify and enables you to launch new products via different kinds of pre-sale.  In the below guide, I’ll show you a quick and easy way to set up Unbounce pre-orders.

Although ordinarily confined to the Shopify store itself, in this guide I’ll show you how to run PreProduct in a ‘headless’ way from your Unbounce page. Enabling easy communication and capture of Shopify / Unbounce pre-orders. Essentially you’ll be adding a ‘custom HTML block’ to your Unbounce landing page and populating it with a couple of lines of code that PreProduct will automatically generate for you.

Each of the below steps is fairly straightforward, but feel free to get in touch if you run into any issues. I’ve also recorded a quick video here in case that’s your preferred tutorial format.


*Each of the above apps have fully functional free trials that you can take advantage of.

2. Step-by-step guide


  • For this tutorial we’ll be using Unbounce’s classic builder. If you don’t have an existing page set up, click the ‘create new’ button in the top right corner of Unbounce.
  • stage 1


  • Now click on the triple-dot symbol to the far right of your page’s card area. Then click ‘Edit champion variant’.
  • stage 2


  • You’ll now be taken to your page’s editor. Click and drag the ‘custom HTML’ block from the left-side menu onto the page. You should be greeted by a text input modal.
  • stage 3


  • Now we just need to generate a snippet in PreProduct to paste into the modal. Start by opening up PreProduct.
  • stage 4


  • If you haven’t already created a pre-order listing in PreProduct, create one now by clicking the ‘New listing’ menu item. Then select it from the main dashboard.
  • stage 5


  • Now click the ‘Generate headless code’ button on the left-hand side of the dashboard. A modal should pop up with your snippet in a grey text area. Highlight and copy the snippet.
  • stage 6


  • Now, back in Unbounce; paste the snippet into the ‘custom HTML code’ modal and click ‘save code’. You can now position the block where you’d like on the page. We generally recommend making the block no smaller than 40% of the desktop page width. Then on mobile, it should be used at around 100% width.
  • stage 7 stage 7.5


  • The pre-order front-end won’t show properly until you click ‘preview’. Let’s do that now. You should see the pre-order button appear, along with an on-page pre-order cart when clicked. Listing details and styling are controlled from within PreProduct’s dashboard.
  • stage 8

4. Summary

Congratulations, you’ve just enabled Unbounce pre-orders  from your landing page. Through PreProduct, you’ll now be able to take advantage of Unbounce’s optimisation and design, alongside Shopify’s powerful e-commerce engine. 

Pre-orders will flow from your Unbounce page into PreProduct and then at some point, Shopify. Depending on the kind of pre-order listing: ‘pay later’, ‘deposit-based’, or ‘pay now’.  For example; pay later’ pre-orders will just be in PreProduct until you send out payment link emails. Where as ‘pay now’ pre-orders will redirect to your Shopify checkout straight away and flow directly into the Shopify order system. 

What kind of pre-order listing to choose is a whole other article in itself. However, ‘time until ship’ is a good point to benchmark against. Is your new product going to be in customer’s hands next month? Well ‘pay now’ pre-orders is probably a good fit. Or is it more like 6 months with potential delays? Then pay later or deposit-based pre-orders will give you more flexibility and customer goodwill.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or to let us know how your pre-order campaign is going. We’re always happy to talk ‘pre-orders’ and ‘new product launches’.


Offering Shopify deposit payments

1. Why should you offer deposits

1.1 What are deposit-based pre-orders

Offering Shopify deposit payments allow the store to charge a portion of the sale up-front, basically customers are required to pay a portion of the cost of the goods/services to secure the pre-order.

1.2 Benefits of deposit based pre-orders

  • Increases the window of time that you can acquire orders.
  • Start receiving cash-flow before the product is available.
  • Customers have a stronger commitment to the pre-order as they have paid a deposit.

1.3 Deposits in the real world

An example of Shopify deposit payments from the real world is the Holochain Foundation. They harnessed the power of deposits in their rollout of a new decentralised Web 3 platform. Charging an upfront amount for the HoloPort hardware from their audience ahead of the final shipping date. This meant they were in complete control of when to charge the final amount and ship out the HoloPorts. Flexibility like this can come in extra handy with more ambitious product launches like this one.


2. Adding deposits manually

2.1 Intro

It is possible to start collecting pre-orders without installing any apps or paying a developer to modify your theme, through a very bare-bones approach. This would not be our recommended approach due to a few reasons, but the steps are listed below if you want to go in this direction:

2.2 Pros and Cons of manual Deposits

  • Free of charge.
  • Stays within Shopify’s admin.
  • Bad customer experience due to lack of communication touch points.
  • Bad customer experience due to email instructions at payment step as opposed to one click link.
  • A lot of manual work in Shopify, meaning staff expense and possible room for error.
  • Can only safely support purchases of 1 with a deposit (due to discount code).
  • No dedicated analytics on who’s paid a deposit and who’s paid in full.
  • No tagging or deposit specific segmenting in Shopify.

2.3 Steps for setting up a manual deposit listing

  • Create a new Shopify product that will be your ‘deposit’. For example, call it ‘A test product – deposit’ (in the description explain your deposit process and terms).
  • Make sure the product isn’t marked as a ‘physical product’ in Shopify’s product admin. This is so shipping isn’t charged by default.
  • Collect payments and orders of this deposit product.
  • Now list your main product in Shopify with its full price.
  • When you’re ready to charge customers the outstanding amount. Create a Shopify deposit code for the price of your deposit product, it’s important to make it only applicable to the main product that you’ll be charging for. Also, look at limiting the usage to 1 use per product per customer, so it’s not abused.
  • Now go into the ‘orders’ section of Shopify and filter by the deposit product. You can now click on each of these orders, copy the customer’s name and email into a third-party email provider, along with the discount code from step 5 and a link to your main product.

3. Adding deposits via PreProduct

3.1 Intro

PreProduct has an automated deposit system which works through your existing Shopify checkout.

3.2 Pros and Cons of running deposits through PreProduct

  • Ensure customers are committed to their pre-orders.
  • Receive some money paid upfront, to assist with cash flow.
  • Email campaigns to keep customers in the loop and engaged throughout the pre-order process.
  • Great customer experience with email communication and deferred charges or one click payment links.
  • More automated process so less manual work and room for error.
  • Products on pre-order will automatically gain the Shopify tag ‘pre-order’ and deposit products will gain the tag ‘deposit’ to help with filtering in your Shopify admin.
  • A user interface to choose which of your products/variants will be on pre-order and when.
  • A designated dashboard for your pre-orders, without regular orders being mixed in and analytics to show number of orders received, and number who have paid.
  • Third-party customer support, both technical and strategic.
  • PreProduct is a paid app.
  • Has to work within the e-commerce platforms constraints.

3.3 Steps for setting up a PreProduct deposit listing

We have a dedicated doc for deposit listings here.

Dashboard (PreProduct app interface):
  • Navigate to the ‘New Listing’ screen in PreProduct and select/search-for the Shopify product you would like to list.
  • On the next screeen, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click ‘Advanced’, then check the ‘require a deposit’ box.
  • Now enter the amount which customers will have to pay upfront per item and click ‘create listing’. The amount entered defaults to your store’s primary currency.
  • The PreProduct pre-order front-end will explain that a deposit is required, how much it is and then a incentive phrase afterwards.
  • The wording can all be edited via the ‘customise wording’ screen in PreProduct. Just make sure to select ‘deposit based pre-order’ before editing.
  • Pre-orders will populate in the PreProduct dashboards, allowing you to view and interact with them. This includes sending out update emails, as well as eventually triggering deferred charges or sending out payment link emails. (links will automatically have a discount code applied to compensate for the deposit paid)
A deposit-based pre-order using PreProduct

4. Summary

Offering Shopify deposit payments gives many benefits to Shopify businesses when selling upcoming or out of stock products. Whether it’s increasing cash flow and gross sales or improving forecasting ablility. Using PreProduct to offer deposit based pre-orders can help super-charge the above and improve the customer experience, all whilst saving you time in the process.

Try PreProduct today