Accepting pre-orders helps you pay for ingredients ahead of time, minimize food waste, and gauge how many people will attend your event.Manage Your Orders
Offering pre-orders are a great way to drive up demand for an in-person event or special occasions, like during a holiday. They ensure guaranteed revenue for you ahead of time, and can even help you reduce food waste.
Castiron is set up well to help facilitate pre-orders, whether you’re selling all of your inventory via pre-sale, or just taking some orders ahead of time.
Artisans participating in in-person events like farmers markets often use online pre-orders to help gauge the amount of products they need to make in advance while generating guaranteed revenue. This can reduce the risk of inclement weather or smaller foot traffic numbers hurting your in-person sales.
Be strategic about how many pre-sales you’ll take vs. how much inventory you’d like to reserve for in-person sales. Some artisans with very high demand, but limited time and capacity to produce more products due to their extended production time (like fermented foods), only take pre-sale orders for events and set their inventory at their maximum production levels.
Artisans that make products that can be prepared on a tighter turnaround, like some cookies, can set their inventory as high as they’d like. If you’ll make any quantity of your product, but you need to reserve enough time to produce your products, you can take pre-orders and set a cut-off date or time by which orders need to be placed. In either of these cases, you should try to take as many pre-orders as you can! Set your inventory level for the product extremely high so customers will not encounter an artificially sold out product.
Clearly spell out in your About section that your store is set up to receive pre-orders for an event. Include the events that you’re preparing products for, and make sure to mention any order deadlines.
Most importantly, use Castiron’s custom fulfillment options to let your customers select the right pickup location, which allows you to give instructions and timing for pickups. Clear, concise fulfillment instructions will reduce back and forth messaging with customers pickup locations and times, and puts the onus on them to show up at the designated time to ensure they get what they ordered.
If a customer wants to guarantee you have products ready for them, setting a minimum order will ensure making their products will be worth your while and may even reduce the risk of a customer no-showing.
If you don’t take payment for orders upfront, you run the risk of making too much product and potentially wasting time and energy if customers don’t pick up their orders. If you’re taking preorders, you should always take payment ahead of time. Castiron’s online store makes this very simple, with a familiar and easy ecommerce checkout process.
Plus, order pickup will go a lot faster if you don't have to worry about making change, getting your card reader to work, or wifi availability!
Market to your existing customer base to generate early sales before an in-person event.
In the weeks and days leading up to the event, drive up demand by regularly reminding customers to order in advance so that they can avoid long lines or sell-outs.
Use Castiron’s automated email marketing to inform your customers the moment that pre-ordering goes live. With our automated emails, you can feature specific products from your store. Update your personal sign-off message with upcoming dates and deadlines for accepting orders.
Make the day of your pop-up event easier by getting your customers to pre-order your products. Consider offering special items that are only available for pre-order, or offer a discount to those who order ahead of time.
Consider offering a pre-sale coupon code or adjusting pricing to be lower on your online store than they will be in-person. Make this savings opportunity or price differential very clear to your customers in marketing efforts!
Use messaging on social media and other marketing channels to inform customers of past sell outs. Remind them to pre-order to avoid disappointment!
Once your pre-orders are placed, the final and most important step is to ensure you’re organized and that you have products on hand where and when you promised them.
Castiron’s orders page breaks down every single order you receive. Click into an order to view unique order details, and use the status tags to indicate which orders need to be prepped and which are ready to fulfill.
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