Are you launching a new product or business? You may be overlooking a highly beneficial sales technique: the pre-order sales strategy. The pre-order sales strategy is what helped Sony to sell 1.5 million Playstation 4 units before it even launched – testament to the power of such a sales plan.
Pre-orders are a highly effective way to build excitement for your product and help it gain a headstart over the competition. Pre-orders also allow you to gauge market demand and use early sales to fund production and marketing. A pre-order sales strategy isn’t just for big companies. Small and medium-sized businesses can also create and use a pre-order sales strategy to great effect.
What is a Pre-Order Sales Strategy?
A pre-order sales strategy is when a business allows its customers to purchase a product before it has been officially released but will launch at a certain date or time. The customer essentially reserves the unreleased product knowing that they will get it as soon as it launches.
An effective pre-order sales strategy will generate a lot of excitement and anticipation as well as give pre-order sale customers a sense of exclusivity.
Pre-order sales are also beneficial for internal teams as well. The statistics a business can gather from pre-order sales can help a business understand the level of demand for a product from the target market. A pre-order sales strategy is more than just knowing how to correctly link anchor text – it’s also one method businesses can use when pondering how to attract customers online.
When to Use a Pre-Order Sales Strategy
A strong pre-order sales strategy requires a lot of time and effort to create and execute. A small business would also not want a pre-order flop which could actually kill any excitement for a new product. For these reasons, a business should decide whether a product launch or update warrants a pre-order strategy.
A pre-order strategy should be used for major company events and product launches, such as:
- Launching a new business into the market
- Launching a new flagship product
- Limited and/or special edition items
- Big promotions or discounts on existing products
Pre-order sales strategies should be used for these, not for minor product launches or updates.
How to Create a Strong Pre-Order Sales Strategy
When it comes to creating a pre-order sales strategy, just considering the order and inventory management for fulfilling pre-orders is not enough. A strong pre-order strategy needs to be well thought out and meticulously planned. Your pre-order strategy should take into account the product itself as well as the marketing campaign for pre-launch, launch, and post-launch.
Here are some things to consider when building and executing a strong pre-order sales strategy.
Build a Dedicated Team for the Effort
A successful pre-order campaign requires energy, effort, and budget. It needs hard work and dedication. It needs a team of committed, hard-working employees to make it a success.
Ensure that every member of the team is aspiring to meet the same expectations and goals. Every member, from marketing and sales to IT and customer service, should be committed and dedicated to the effort. No one should be under the illusion that the product marketing team has all the answers.
Internal communication with the pre-order team is essential. Hold regular meetings, discuss developments, and involve all members of the team in the planning and execution.
Build a Pre-Order Sales Strategy around Pre-Order Lifecycles
More important than a product’s launch day is the weeks and months leading up to that product’s launch. What a company does during that time is crucial for success.
Put great focus and effort into creating a strong plan and timeline that starts way before a product launch. Generate as much awareness and excitement about the product as you can to boost pre-order sales.
Use email marketing, social media, and blogs. Reach out to influencers and the press. Let people know something exciting is coming. Build suspense with existing customers through consistent email marketing, letting them know something is coming, and updating them on the process.
Research revealed that four to six months prior to product launch 28% of all pre-orders are placed on the first day of pre-order availability. After the first day of pre-orders, customer activity lulls for seven to ten days as initial excitement dies down. However, pre-order sales will continue over the next few months.
Ongoing marketing and PR activities create spikes in pre-order sales until another “dead zone” is met seven to ten days prior to the actual product launch. This is due to loyal customers and fans having already made their pre-orders, and prospective customers waiting for the actual product launch.
Based on this lifecycle, you can plan your pre-order sales strategy with the following considerations:
- Make pre-orders available four to six months ahead of the official product launch. But do consider what is right for your company in terms of budget, resources, and product development.
- Plan out and make effective use of marketing to reach the maximum number of customers possible and build excitement.
- What marketing and PR campaigns will you use to animate the pre-order spikes? Will you send prototypes to influencers? Provide sneak peeks to the press? Use social media retail? How are you going to build excitement?
- Navigate the dead zones effectively. Prepare for the next spikes. Create more content, reach out to blogs and influencers.
Be Prepared for a Surge in Traffic and Orders
A successful pre-order marketing campaign will have generated a lot of interest and excitement about your product. Be prepared for high demand and a potentially overwhelming number of orders. A common pre-order strategy mistake that businesses are often victims of is underestimating demand.
This can result in your website going down due to high traffic or not having enough inventory to meet demand. Neither of these is a good look on launch day.
A business can protect itself against this by ensuring its website can handle the spike in visitors as well as forming a special launch team to assist with customer service and orders.
A strong pre-order sales strategy can generate a lot of excitement and interest in a product as well as sales even before a product has officially launched. But it is not a shortcut. Creating a successful pre-order strategy requires time and effort with planning and preparation months ahead of product launch.
Get it right and pre-orders will make your product launch a great success.