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How to Set Up WooCommerce Pre-Orders and Manage Them?

Learn how to set up pre-orders in WooCommerce and how you can manage all these orders from one place in bulk.

WooCommerce pre-orders

Last updated on March 6, 2023

Launching a new product? Allow customers to order them before the product is shipped or released. It’s a great opportunity to acquire new customers, increase repeat customers count, and build a list.

This blog explains how you can use the WooCommerce Pre-orders extension to set up pre-orders for your products and services.

What is a pre-order? What are its benefits?

A pre-order is a sales strategy where customers can place an order for a product that has not yet been released or is not yet available for sale.

The idea behind pre-ordering is that customers can reserve a product in advance and ensure that they receive it as soon as it becomes available.

Benefits of pre-ordering include:

  • Increased demand – Pre-ordering can create excitement and anticipation for a product, leading to increased demand.
  • Early access – Allows customers to receive a product as soon as it is available, giving them an advantage over those who wait until the product is officially released.
  • Improved cash flow – By accepting pre-orders, businesses can generate revenue in advance of a product’s release, improving their cash flow.
  • Better inventory management – Helps businesses to determine the expected demand for a product, allowing them to better manage their inventory and reduce the risk of overstocking or understocking.
  • Feedback – Provides valuable feedback about the product demand, allowing businesses to make any necessary changes before the product is released.

Quick WooCommerce Pre-orders plugin overview

We’ll use the WooCommerce Pre-orders plugin to sell pre-orders for products and services in your store.

This plugin is developed by the WooCommerce team and is used by 6000+ websites.

Pre-orders can be paid for either beforehand or at the time of availability, with the option of specifying a specific date and time for when the pre-order will become accessible.

Plugin features:

  • Specify a desired date/time for product availability (optional)
  • Trigger payment for orders when the product is ready for release
  • Adjust the launch date for the pre-booked item
  • Cancel pre-bookings in case the product becomes unavailable
  • Organize pre-bookings with a personalized ‘pre-order’ order status
  • Compatible with both basic and variable products, but not with WooCommerce Subscriptions
  • Notify all pre-order customers via email
  • Optionally impose a fee for pre-ordering
  • Personalize the ‘Add to Cart’ / ‘Place Order’ buttons for pre-bookings
  • Compatible with Cart and Checkout blocks


Get WooCommerce Pre-orders plugin

How to add pre-orders in WooCommerce?

Install and activate the WooCommerce Pre-orders plugin. Go to your WordPress Admin panel > WooCommerce > Pre-orders and configure as follows:

General settings

  • Add to Cart Button Text – Controls the text on the single product page for pre-order enabled products. Example – ‘Pre-Order Now’ instead of ‘Add to Cart’.
  • Place Order Button Text – Controls the place order button text on the checkout when the order contains pre-orders. Example ‘Place Pre-Order’ instead of ‘Place Order’.
  • Single Product Page Message – Add an optional message to the single product page below the product price. Use {availability_date} and {availability_time} to announce pre-order availability.
  • Shop Loop Product Message – Add an optional message above the ‘Add to Cart’ button for each pre-order enabled product on the shop loop page using {availability_date} and {availability_time}.
  • Availability Date Title Text – Controls the title of availability date section on cart/checkout, “thank you”, view order, order email templates, and order details tables.
  • Charged Upon Release Order Total Format – Controls the order total format for pre-orders charged upon release. Use {availability_date} and {order_total} to indicate when the customer will be charged for their pre-order.
  • Charged Upfront Release Order Total Format – Controls the order total format for pre-orders charged upfront. Use {availability_date} and {order_total} to indicate how the customer is charged for their pre-order.
  • Disable automated pre-order processing – Used for staging/testing sites to prevent automatic pre-order processing.
WooCommerce pre-orders settings

Img src – WooCommerce pre-orders docs

Product settings

Select a simple product or variable product you’d like to enable pre-orders for. Under Product data > Pre-Orders, you’ll find these settings:

  • Enable Pre-Orders – This turns your product into a pre-order.
  • Availability Date/Time – Set an optional date/time for the product to go from pre-order to regular purchase.
  • Pre-order Fee – Adds a fee to the regular product price for pre-orders.
  • When to charge – Gives you two options as to when a pre-order product will be charged for:
    • Upon Release – charges the customer when the product is actually available for purchase. Pre-order customers’ saved credit cards will be automatically charged by supported payment gateways or a ‘Pay Now’ email can be sent for payment through any gateway.
    • Upfront – charges the customer at checkout, like a normal product.
pre-orders product settings

Publish your product.

Updating product pre-order configuration

The Pre-Orders section can be edited and updated with different limitations.

The Pre-Order tab becomes read-only if ‘When to Charge’ is set to’Upon Release’.

While there are active pre-orders for a product, the fee and ‘When to Charge’ settings cannot be altered, but the release date can be adjusted using the WooCommerce > Pre-Orders > Actions tab.

Product inventory

If stock management is turned on, each pre-order will decrease the product’s inventory, making it easy to restrict the number of pre-order items available. If the item is out of stock and backorders are not permitted, users will see the message “No longer available for pre-ordering”.

Pay Later payment gateway

The Pre-Orders plugin has a ‘Pay Later’ gateway for pre-order products paid ‘Upon release’. It is available during checkout with a pre-order and ‘Upon release’ charge in the cart. Check the list of supported gateways.

Configuration can be done in WooCommerce > Settings > Checkout > Pay Later, where it can be turned on/off and its title/description can be changed.

Pre-orders email

The Pre-Orders plugin comes with several pre-order specific emails, which can be configured and customized just like any other WooCommerce core emails via the WooCommerce > Settings > Emails tab. For customized WooCommerce email templates, try our Email Customizer Pro plugin.

That’s it.

For more details on the plugin, refer to this documentation.

How to manage thousands of pre-orders from one place?

Smart Manager plugin allows you to view, manage and edit all your orders from one place using an Excel-like spreadsheet.

Smart Manager orders dashboard

Be it the default order statuses or custom order statuses like pre-orders, you can manage them all.

Modify order status, bulk edit statuses, decrease order total price, add information to orders, export order data to CSV, filter orders by date…perform hundreds of operations for orders quickly.

Learn more about managing orders


Pre-order products offer a great option to promote new products, get early feedback and improve.

I hope this article helped you create WooCommerce pre-orders and manage them better.

For any questions, leave a comment below.

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