Today, we’ll be discussing ways to keep your holiday backorders customers satisfied throughout the busy season.

This includes addressing what backorders are and how you can keep your backorder customers as happy as possible throughout their buying journey.


What is Backordering?

The term “back-ordering” is defined as allowing a customer to purchase an item that is not currently in stock.

Initially, you might wonder: “why offer a product without having it physically available to sell?”.  In a nutshell, customers do not respond well when an item is unavailable or out of stock.

They will often search for your competitors and buy something there instead. Customers usually don’t like extended wait times associated with back-ordered items. So, what can you do?

You must consider the advantages and disadvantages that come with each option. It’s possible that some of them aren’t right for your business. Let’s see how they compare.


Pros and Cons of Holiday Backorders


Higher Customer Retention

Giving customers the chance to backorder an item from your brand gives them a second chance to buy it from you.

For brands that label their items as “out of stock”, that desire to purchase an item does not go away. Instead, determined buyers will look to alternative brands in search of the product your store ran out of.

Putting items on backorder makes it more likely that customers will keep buying from your business, even if they have to wait for a long time.

“Attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one.”

Accurate Order Expectations

Additionally, backorder alternatives also provide your company with more accurate order predictions for the next year. How so? Well, by letting buyers purchase items that are not in stock, you can analyze how many orders you can expect to get next year.

This will help you with projecting how much inventory you’ll need to avoid backorders and keep selling with regular wait times.



Pressure on Customer Support

Utilizing backorder options doesn’t come without its setbacks.

Despite offering higher customer retention, your customer service team will be met with elevated concerns and overall stress due to backorder-related support tickets.

Why? Although customers voluntarily choose to wait longer in exchange for popular items, some don’t expect the long wait, some customers forget, others change their minds, and some simply find what they want in stock at a different store. This results in a higher volume of customer service inquiries.

TIP: When offering a backorder option over-prepare your customers and service team with extra support, clear information, a detailed FAQ, and easily accessible contact information.


More Cancelled Orders

Backorder options motivate customers to make purchases through your company, however, it doesn’t guarantee that your buyers won’t lose interest, find something else, or cancel their order for various reasons.

Backorder options provide you with the chance to sell your items before they ever arrive at your inventory facility. In exchange, this comes with extended wait times for your customers.

When customers can’t find the item anywhere else, buying it on backorder may seem like a good idea. But when the item is available in other stores or a buyer decides the long wait time isn’t worth it, you might get more cancelation and refund requests than expected.

“FCB&Co research indicates that 90% of cancelled orders are due to backorders.”

How to Keep Your Backorder Customers Happy

If a holiday backorder option is right for you and your company, let Falcon Fulfillment be your guide through the process of preparing your facility and successfully managing your upcoming backorders.

To keep things simple break down the information that follows into two groups: inventory and customer service. These are the two leading factors that determine the success of back ordering.



When there is too much inventory, delayed products, and a backlog of orders, inventory management is the most important thing to think about. A flawless backorder procedure begins with your very own inventory facility.


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“An average company processing 1 million orders per year with a 20% backorder rate would experience 200,000 backorders during the year.”

Create a Physical Space for Your Holiday Backorders

Designating a physical space for your holiday backorders is the first step to success.

Even if the area is empty throughout your peak season or back order high time, it’s nonnegotiable to have the available space for potential backorders at all times.

Keeping things organized using a designated backorder area will allow staff to quickly access items when they arrive at your inventory and immediately begin shipping out to long-awaiting customers.

TIP: Customers who are on backorder agree to a long wait, but you only have so long before they get impatient or find the same item at a store somewhere else. When inventory finally arrives make sure to get orders out as quickly as possible in order to retain buyers. Ecommerce companies usually use 3PLs because of this. If the order fulfillment process is taking too long, you should look for a better 3PL provider.


Prepare and Train Your Team

Make sure your staff is prepared to handle holiday backorders. When you use a backorder strategy for your business, you need to make sure that current or seasonal employees get in-depth training on how to handle backorder fulfillment.

You’re going to lose a lot of customers if your employees don’t know what they should be doing and when they should be doing it.

Things must be properly tracked, managed, and overseen by a specific team with backorders as their highest priority in order for a backorder option to be successful for your company.


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Inventory Reorder Notifications

A sure-fire way to have a successful holiday backorders strategy is by never running out of inventory.

This usually isn’t possible, and with the rise of online shopping, it’s even less likely to hold a full stock.  However, with re-order notifications you have a better chance of keeping things in stock and available to sell, avoiding the need for backorders and extended wait times altogether.

Re-order notifications can be set up between the manufacturer and inventory facility (whether private or with a 3PL). Once inventory reaches a certain amount, your systems will notify your manufacturer and set the delivery date for more products.

This will allow you to keep fulfilling without the setbacks of backorders and help your brand retain the reputation of being fast, reliable, and dependable for your customers.


Back in Stock Email Notifications

If holiday backorders are not something you’d like to use or continue using, there is one trick you can use.

One way to avoid backorders is to let items go “out of stock” on your website. A common way to let customers know when an item is back in stock is to give them the option to send them an email notification when it is available again.

Customers who get an email telling them that an item is back in stock are more likely to buy than people who just browse your site.

Not only does this capture their email but it gives you the chance to send discounts and recommendations based on their notification preferences.



Customer Service For Holiday Backorders

Most ecommerce brands know all too well that backorders mean more customer service tickets.

This is because once you begin offering backorder options you also open the door to additional wait times, complications, and customer concerns. Some tend to ask: “is it worth it?”

Depending on your potential profit for offering backorders on items or exclusive product launches, yes, it can be worth it. In addition to preparing your physical inventory, you must also prepare your customer service line.



When it comes to keeping your backorder customers satisfied during peak season, communication (and a lot of it) is essential.

Providing precise updates, clear information, and regular contact is one of the easiest ways to keep your customers happy (even if the wait time is greater than normal).

Your buyer will feel cared for and far more committed to their backorder purchase if you keep them in the loop and reassure them along the way. Like BMW’s old “watch your custom car be born” campaign.

TIP: Sending customers emails, text messages, videos, or even short letters will help keep them informed and committed to their buying journey with your brand.


Keep Staff Up to Date on Inventory

In the event that a client calls in to inquire about the status of an item on backorder, it’s usually better if your staff members are aware that the item has been delayed for an additional two days owing to manufacturing difficulties.

If you do not communicate new and updated information to your employees on a regular basis, you run the danger of supplying customers with incorrect information and losing them as a buyer.

Inventory is constantly fluctuating, make certain that your customer service team is kept up to speed on any new inventory information on a continuous basis.


Create a Backup Plan

It’s essential to have a backup plan in case of extended wait times, worried consumers, or cancellations.

If you want to remedy long wait times or simply keep your backorder customers happy, surprise them with personalized notes, samples, or even a free product. This will keep them patient and satisfied with your brand.

Offering personable items allows your customer to feel cared for and shows that they are not forgotten about.  This will increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and even motivate customers to make more purchases.


Be Nice and Have Patience

Every holiday season e-commerce businesses deal with a rise in frustrated customers and increased complaint tickets.

Adding holiday backorder options for buyers only aggravates this number and creates a bigger need for staff with de-escalation training. Because of this retaining a calm and welcoming demeanor will do more for your customer service team than you’d expect.

Most customers calling to resolve their problems are often upset. The majority of the time buyers need someone to genuinely listen to their concerns and guide them through the process of a solution.

Prepare your staff with appropriate training in order to handle potentially difficult customers.


Two Women With Headsets Working As Call Center Agents

“68% of customers believe the key to great customer service is a polite customer service representative.”

Find the Solution or Rectify the Problem

Keep in mind that finding a solution is just as important as being patient and kind to customers.

Although most people want someone to listen to their concerns, buyers are ultimately looking for their concerns to be rectified as soon as possible.

This means that your customer service team should be trained not only to be empathetic but also to find a solution that customers will be happy with.


Utilize Falcon Fulfillment

At the end of the day, offering holiday backorders options to your customer can be tricky. That’s why we’ve outlined everything we know to provide you with the necessary information you need to reach backorder success.

Call and talk with one of our agents today and never worry about holiday backorders and order fulfillment again.


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