Backorders vs Out of Stock: Keeping Your Items Available

Fulfillment Center, News

Avoid running out of stock to keep your customers happy.

When running an e-commerce business, one of the biggest challenges is keeping your inventory available for your customers. Running out of stock is bad for business, resulting in missed sales and unhappy customers. However, there is a way to keep your customers happy even when you run out of stock: backorders. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the difference between backorders and out-of-stock, and how to manage them to keep your items available.

Out of Stock

Out of stock is a situation where a product is no longer available for purchase. When an item is out of stock, customers cannot purchase it, and the product page will usually display a message indicating that the item is out of stock. This message may include an estimated date for when the item will be back in stock or a message indicating that the item is no longer available.
Out of stock can occur for several reasons, including unexpected demand, supply chain disruptions, or manufacturing delays. Regardless of the reason, being out of stock can result in lost sales, frustrated customers, and damage to your brand reputation.


Backorders are a way to keep your items available for purchase, even when they are temporarily out of stock. When a customer places a backorder, they are essentially pre-ordering the item, with the understanding that the item will be shipped to them as soon as it becomes available.
When a customer places a backorder, they will typically be charged for the item upfront. Once the item becomes available, it will be shipped to the customer, and they will be notified of the shipment. Depending on the business, the customer may also be given the option to cancel their backorder if they no longer want the item.
Backorders can be an effective way to keep your customers happy, even when you are out of stock. By allowing customers to place backorders, you are giving them the opportunity to purchase the item as soon as it becomes available, which can help prevent them from shopping elsewhere.

Ways to manage your customers and your inventory with Save Rack.

While backorders can be a great way to keep your items available, they require some management. Here are some tips for managing backorders:

      Provide an estimated timeframe: When a customer places a backorder, it’s important to provide them with an estimated timeframe for the item’s availability. This will help manage their expectations and prevent them from becoming frustrated if the item takes longer than expected to become available.
      Communicate regularly: Regular communication is key when managing backorders. Make sure to keep your customers informed of any updates, such as delays or changes to the estimated timeframe. This will help build trust with your customers and prevent them from feeling forgotten or neglected.
      Be transparent: Transparency is important when managing backorders. Make sure to be upfront with your customers about the availability of the item and any potential delays or issues that may arise. This will help prevent misunderstandings and build trust with your customers.
      Prioritize shipments: When the item becomes available, prioritize shipping it to your backorder customers. This will help ensure that they receive the item as soon as possible and will prevent them from becoming frustrated if the item is shipped to other customers first.
      Offer incentives: To encourage customers to place backorders, consider offering incentives such as free shipping or a discount on their next purchase. This can help drive sales and build customer loyalty.


In conclusion, managing inventory in e-commerce is critical because it directly impacts customer satisfaction, profitability, and the overall success of an online business. Efficient inventory management ensures that products are always in stock, allowing for timely order fulfillment and preventing lost sales due to stockouts. Furthermore, it helps businesses avoid excess inventory, reducing carrying costs and minimizing the risk of obsolescence.

By optimizing inventory management processes, e-commerce businesses can enhance their operational efficiency, maintain a positive brand reputation, and ultimately achieve long-term growth and success in an increasingly competitive online marketplace.

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