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How to Deal with Backorders

Lily O'Halloran

Are backorders the bane of your existence? They don’t have to be. Think of them as an opportunity, rather than an annoyance. Every backorder provides you with an opportunity to go the extra mile for your customer. A happy, satisfied customer becomes a loyal customer that shares her experience with others. Word of mouth advertising is one of the most influential types of marketing. Unfortunately, this works both ways. Negative experiences passed along from one person to another can be very detrimental to your business. This is just another reason to go that extra mile; turn what could be a negative experience all the way around into a positive one for your customer and your business.

Go the Extra Mile

What can be done to show customers that you care? The most important thing you can do is to inform the customer of a backorder as soon as possible. This will enable the customer to obtain the product through another means when time is an issue. You may want to consider purchasing the product through a separate vendor on your own to fulfill the customer’s order, but that is not always necessary. However, you should offer the customer something for the inconvenience of the backorder, even if they choose to cancel the order. You could offer free shipping, a discount on the current order, a small gift, or a gift card to be used on a future purchase. Always use a pleasant, professional tone when informing customers of backordered products. Apologize once, and move on. There is no need to apologize profusely. In fact, over-apologizing may get the customer worked up into an irrational state of mind. Help the customer remain calm by speaking in a professional and courteous manner. Listen to the customer, validate their concern, and then offer them one of the items mentioned above. Do what you can, within reason, to ensure that your customer is pleased with your service. Deal with backorder issues in a positive manner to show customers that you value their business. Valued customers become loyal customers.

Minimize Backorders

You will not be able to avoid backorders all the time, but you can implement strategies to minimize the number of backorders that occur. The most important method of minimizing backorders is to monitor the inventory level of the product you are selling. Drop Ship Access offers up to the date information on products including the quantity on hand. Choose products to sell that are abundantly available. If you sell the same products on a regular basis, you may want to consider buying some of the products yourself. With a small stash of inventory on hand, you will be able to prevent backorder issues. Always monitor your auctions, as well as the level of inventory. This will enable you to cancel an auction if the product becomes unavailable due to backordering. Another option is to use a shorter auction when a limited number of products are available. This strategy will enable you to complete the sale and ordering process before product inventory reaches zero.

On your website, or in your auction listings, you may want to add a snippet of information about the possibility of backordered products. You could state that although they rarely occur, there is a small possibility. You might want to go one step further and state what you are willing to do in the event that a backorder strikes. What will this accomplish? It informs customers that there is a minute possibility of a backorder occurring, lets them know upfront what you are willing to do, and decreases the chance of the customer becoming irate.

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