This article applies to Classic Commerce. (Looking for Contextual Commerce documentation?)
A pre-order is an order placed for an item that has not yet been released. Pre-orders allow customers to guarantee immediate delivery on release. They allow companies to gauge how much demand there will be for a product and provide sales prior to release. Pre-orders can also be used to generate publicity to further increase sales.
A pre-order incentive or pre-order bonus is a marketing tactic whereby a company of a product (such as an ebook, video game, etc.) encourages customers to reserve a copy of the product prior to its release. This bonus may be as simple as a discount on the item's purchase price or a discount on other related merchandise (known as a cross-sell). The related merchandise can be exclusive items available only through the pre-order program. The incentive is given to induce customers (who might otherwise wait for positive reviews of the product or a specific shopping period like the holiday season) to commit to a purchase.
Pre-Orders with FastSpring
FastSpring has a pre-order functionality within SpringBoard that will let you setup your product with a planned release date. When a customer places a pre-order, we will collect credit card details with an initial charge of $0. When it becomes the release date set on the pre-order product, our system will automatically charge the customer and also send out all fulfillments (emails, download links, license codes, etc.) on the product.
For legal reasons, the customer will not be charged until the release date. We cannot charge a customer before the release date because we are required to protect our customers, which are your customers, from a situation where a company sells many $0 pre-orders and then the company either never completes the product or the company goes out of business. In this unfortunate scenario, we would have sold a product and received payment from the customer, but the product never gets delivered and all of the orders become chargebacks and must be refunded. For this reason, we often hold most, and sometimes all, of the funds received from pre-orders until after the release date to cover the potential loss of proceeds of the reversed sales.
Important note: If it is getting close to the release date set on your pre-order product, and your product is not ready for your customers, you will need to open a support ticket and tell us to delay the release to a specific future date.
At this time, a FastSpring support specialist must approve and setup all products for pre-order. If you would like to offer a product for pre-order, please open a support ticket and provide the following information about your product:
- A description
- The price
- The expected release date
An Alternative to Pre-Orders
If you want to collect credit card information and charge customers at the time of order (rather than at the release date), FastSpring offers an alternative to offering a pre-order which is popular with game developers: sell a beta version of your product or an alpha version (with free updates or free upgrades) until the official release date. The customer's credit card information will be collected, and since a product is actually delivered, the credit card may be charged at time of purchase and fulfillments can be sent. We can edit your File Fulfillment settings so that the original downloads links sent in your Email Fulfillment will always have the newest uploaded release of your product file(s). While we do not have an in-house method for you to inform customers of updates, nor to remind them of their download URLs, we can provide you with an email list or help you integrate with the email list manager MailChimp so customers can be automatically added to the mailing list.
We're Here to Help
If you would like assistance setting up pre-orders or alpha versions of your product, please open a support ticket.