Pre-Orders for your WooCommerce-powered store

Written by Matty Cohen on April 11, 2013 Product News.


Today at WooThemes HQ, we’re very excited to launch a new WooCommerce extension that we know has been on many of your wishlists for a while… it’s been on ours as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the WooCommerce Pre-Orders extension.

Pre-Orders adds functionality for you as a store owner to pre-sell products to your customers with a specified release date- it does what it says on the tin.

What else can pre-orders do for me?

As with all WooThemes products, we like to explore as many creative ways of using our products as possible. Pulling back that curtain always yields exciting results.

Pre-Orders for motivation and gauging interest

You are an e-book author. You sell technical reference books for software training (for example, WordPress). Your books take you a few months to put together and, frankly, it’s a side project for you right now, so your motivation is low.

Using WooCommerce Pre-Orders, you could sell your e-books and showcase a small product preview (perhaps the first chapter) to help your customers to buy into the concept of your offering.

You could also set Pre-Orders to charge for the order once it has shipped, enabling your customers to register their interest, motivating you to finish your e-book in order to deliver their orders.

Help your customers invest in your idea

You make hand-made coffee tables for a living. You have a passion for your craft, yet each table you create has a long lead time and an initial costing outlay that, currently, you’re fronting for your passion.

Using Pre-Orders, you could offer your customers the opportunity to invest in your passion by charging up-front for your pre-ordered coffee tables. This could be used to cover your initial outlay costs and help to drive and grow your passion.

Forming relationships with your customers

Customers, new or old, appreciate correspondence from you and your team, especially around products where they have given their money in “good faith” that you will deliver their pre-ordered product. Pre-Orders, along with it’s “complete”, “delay” and “cancel” functionality, enables direct e-mails to anyone who pre-ordered a selected product.

E-mail notifications to your customers are also present with virtually every action, from delaying to cancelling or completing pre-orders.

Payment Gateways and Pre-Orders, explained

WooCommerce Pre-Orders works with any payment gateway. The how of how it works is slightly different in certain cases, however.

If a payment gateway has declared support for the WooCommerce Pre-Orders extension, the checkout process for the customer will be the same as any other order.

Currently, two payment gateways offer Pre-Orders support; CIM and Braintree.

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What if my gateway of choice doesn’t support Pre-Orders?

We’ve thought of that.

If your gateway of choice doesn’t support Pre-Orders, and you’ve selected to charge for the pre-orders up-front, the checkout process functions as normal.

If, however, you’ve selected to charge for pre-orders once the order is delivered, a “Pay Later” gateway is displayed. Once the pre-order is delivered, the customer will be notified with a link at which they can purchase their pre-ordered product.

Show us what you can do

We’re always interested to hear how you, our customers, are making use of our products. Pre-Orders is no different. Get in touch, share your stories and connect with us.

We’re excited to see what you all can build with WooThemes, WooCommerce and Pre-Orders.


28 Responses

  1. John Saddington
    April 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    now that is pretty cool. haven’t had a personal use for this but i might in the future! well done.

  2. thenbrent
    April 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Very cool drop. Would have loved to see this used for preorders of itself before it became available for purchase though. 😉

    • Ryan Ray
      April 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      So meta!

  3. Frithjof
    April 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    Perfect timing! I’m helping friends to finance their fundraising trip across Canada. They are selling art prints to raise money. With this we can sell until we have a reasonable number before printing.
    Saves having to keep a large inventory.

  4. maxrice
    April 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Best extension drop ever! 😀

  5. seb86
    April 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Great new plugin. Definitely going to use this in the future.

  6. Josef
    April 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Interesting, will it be possible to have rebates on pre-orders? I.e. if buying something on pre-order, the customer gets it cheaper than if waiting to buy it regularly?

    • Ryan Ray
      April 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      Manually you could sure do this, not sure about the automation of this though.

      That is unless you use the sale feature of products in WooCommerce, then just have the sale end when the product is officially available.

      So your product would be on sale while available for pre-order. Then the regular price would be active once pre-order stops.

      • Ruan
        April 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

        Awesomesaurus 😀

  7. Greg
    April 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    Could I use this to capture payment for a product, verify they’re eligible to purchase the product (mailing in a prescription for a prescription-required drug, for example), and then ship later after verification?

    • maxrice
      April 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

      Yep, you could use one of the supported gateways ( CIM or Braintree TR at the moment) and setup a product with no release date. Customers would then order the product, and you could manually complete the pre-order when their order is ready to ship. Completing the pre-order will automatically charge the card they entered at checkout, and send them an email letting them know their order is completed.

      • pala4833
        June 5, 2013 at 12:27 am #

        What happens via CIM upon the initial order? Currently using CIM set to “Authorize” rather than ‘Authorize and Capture’ the customer’s card is “charged” an authorization. We are looking for a solution that will let us capture the credit card info, but place the charge later as inventory allows and avoid the somewhat confusing CC authorization charge.


  8. TKB
    April 11, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    If we need to refund a customer due to unforseen circumstances, can we do this via this extension or will we have to go through a tedious process on the actual site?

    • maxrice
      April 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Refunds aren’t supported within WooCommerce yet, so you’ll need to do that on the site — they’re a planned feature in WC 2.1 though, so you might not have to wait long for the ability to do this 🙂

  9. Sweetbeats
    April 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Could this be used for deals ie the product only comes ‘live’ with 10 preorders as per groupon sites?

    • Ryan Ray
      April 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

      You have manual control over that, but don’t believe there is a way to automate this.

      You can simply remove it from pre-order once you get 10 of them manually. 🙂

  10. webjump
    April 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Love it! Woocommerce is getting reeeeally dangerous.

    Is there a “Reserve in Store” extension for WC, anyone?

    • douglsmith
      April 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      There’s a Local Pickup Plus extension that might do what you need for reserve in store.

      • webjump
        April 14, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

        Great!! Thank you. It’s amazing how many people want to pick up from store. Particularly if the retailer is local.

  11. jslucas
    April 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    A pity. I realised that the extension and braintree which will maximize the full potential of this extension is only available to people with a US bank account.

    • Ryan Ray
      April 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      I would assume other gateways will soon support this extension as well to it’s full potential. 🙂

  12. douglsmith
    April 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Can pre-orders be applied to a variation? For example, sell a book and use variations for the e-book and print book editions. The e-book is available now but the print book is pre-order until there are enough funds for a print run.

  13. luke
    April 15, 2013 at 3:23 am #

    Can multiple items be pre ordered and sent as released? And be able to track what has and what hasn’t been sent?

    Ordered: April 2013
    – Book One – Preorder
    – Book Two – Preorder

    Delivery: June 2013
    – Book One

    Delivery: Aug 2013
    – Book Two

  14. Naomi Lee
    April 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    I had a row with my hubby because this miniature water heater that he bought at a discounted price doesn’t seem to be working. I will take it back to the manufacturer.

    • pelmered
      April 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      Looks like a great plugin!
      What is required from the Gateways to support this? Do you think most third-party gateways support this in the future?
      Feels like the potential dropout rate will be much higher if the customers must complete the payment manually when the product is available.

      • pelmered
        April 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

        Hmm, both CIM and Braintree TR requires US, UK or Canadian bank accounts which I do not have.
        I would really need support for this for Swedish bank accounts.

  15. JMichael
    May 5, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    A wonderful extension!!!

    I keep getting a “Your previous cart was emptied because pre-orders must be purchased separately” message. Our site should allow for the pre-order of more than item. Any work-around to this?

    • CreativeZen
      May 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

      I also need an answer on this… I’ve had customers complaining that they can only order one item at a time. I have to agree that’s annoying and not so good for business! Any work arounds, or updates available to fix this?