How to Handle Backorders

As an eCommerce business owner, you know you have a lot of competition in the market. Your goal is to prove that you are your customer’s best option. One of the best ways to do this is by offering quality customer service. A business that has good customer service will create happy and loyal customers.

Amidst all of the endless ways you could offer your customers the best quality service possible, there is one key way that is often overlooked. What is it? Making sure to take special care of your customers when the item they want is on backorder.

What is a Backorder?​

A backorder is different than an item simply being “out of stock,” only because customers are still able to make orders for items on backorder.

What exactly does this mean?

If an item is out of stock, it means that the store is not carrying that item at the moment. For whatever reason, the item is no longer in stock, and the business is not taking orders. However, when the item is on backorder, it may be currently out of stock, but it is expected to be back soon, and customers may still order the product.

Are Backorders Bad?​

While it is important to keep up with supply and demand as effectively as possible, running out of a product is sometimes unpreventable due to material shortages or other unseen factors. Whether or not you mark an item on backorder or out of stock is largely up to you to determine.

Backorders happen when you have too many orders for a popular product. There might be an influx of sudden orders that wipes out your inventory or your restock order could be unexpectedly delayed. When this happens, new orders will be delayed until your stock is replenished.

In order to reduce supply and demand issues, be sure to implement efficient inventory management systems. Third-Party Logistics providers, such as Smart Parcel 24/7 can help you with this. With professionally-staffed warehouses, we are equipped with everything you need to keep track of your inventory. This will help you to keep up with sudden changes in supply and demand.

Having efficient measures in place to keep up with your inventory is essential, but on the occasions that you do inevitably run out of stock, you must know how to handle your customers. Having items on backorder can either be a good thing or a bad thing—it all depends on customer experience.

Here are three ways to keep your customers satisfied while their orders are on backorder.

Let Your Customers Know What’s Happening​

Make sure your customers know an item is on backorder before they order it. This is essential to managing customer expectations.

If a customer orders a product and then finds out there is a delay because it is currently out of stock, that customer will be disappointed and might not order from you again. They may feel a little betrayed. On the other hand, if you are up-front with them while they are still shopping around, their trust in you will remain intact, and they might order the product anyway.

Your loyal customers already like your products and service. If they have ordered before, they will likely order from you again, regardless of the delay (as long as you let them know early).

Ship What You Can​

Customers expect fast delivery. That is a crucial—if not the #1—thing customers want in a shopping experience. If you can do this as often as possible, you will keep your customers satisfied, and they will be less likely to mind a small delay due to an occasional backorder.

If your customer orders more than one item, and only one of them is on backorder, immediately send them everything that is in stock. There is no reason to delay other items, just because one item is currently out of stock.

Receiving their other orders should keep your customers satisfied and hold them over until the other item arrives and can be shipped to them.

Ensure that you notify your customers about which items they will be receiving and when. This will keep them “in the loop” and let them know you are doing everything in your power to fulfill their complete order as soon as possible.

Incentivize Backordering​

You want to make sure your customers keep their buying intent and follow through with their purchases. Sometimes, it helps if you give them a little more incentive to complete an order with a product on backorder.

Your customers may be willing to wait a little longer if they know they will be getting free shipping or a “free gift” along with their order.

How Smart Parcel 24/7 Can Improve Customer Satisfaction​

If you want to give your customers fast, quality shipping, Smart Parcel 24/7 can help. We have a network of hundreds of carriers, allowing us to map out a shipping solution just for you, giving you the best shipping speeds at the best rates.

Keep your customers happy and your business growing with Smart Parcel 24/7.