Can I run Presales campaigns with Amplifier?
What is a Presale?
A Presale is the planned sale of product before the inventory is in stock or otherwise available to ship.
- Presales are planned in advance by merchants and communicated to customers -- unlike unintended back-orders that typically surprise customers and merchants alike.
- Clients must properly set up Presales via their Amplifier accounts. Otherwise, orders that include oversold items may be canceled by Amplifier.
- Clients are also responsible for communicating with their customers about a Presale. Even if Amplifier answers your customer-service tickets, it is up to you to properly notify customers of the Presale parameters via your shop and your marketing. Failure to share relevant presales info with your customers will result in a less-than-ideal customer experience while likely also increasing your costs to serve your customers.
We advise that you inform your customers of the Presale:
- On the Product page(s) for the item(s) being presold,
- During the Checkout process,
- In the order-confirmation email sent after the order is placed, and
- In your FAQ and other customer-support-page elements. For clients using Amplifier’s Customer-support services, the “presales” status of orders is passed automatically to your order-status tools.
- Note: it is your responsibility to inform your customers per the above. The actions you take via your Amplifier accounts are designed only to inform Amplifier. While also critical, informing Amplifier does not give your customers the information they need.
We also recommend that you:
- Inform customers that all items in an order will not ship until the presold item(s) ship. That is, if a customer orders 3 items, with only 1 on Presale, all 3 items will ship together only once the presold item is available to ship.
- Note: Shipping partial orders can dramatically increase your freight and fulfillment costs.
In addition, as the merchant, it is your responsibility to follow the FTC’s Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule. Please read the entire policy.
- “The Rule requires that when you advertise merchandise, you must have a reasonable basis for stating or implying that you can ship within a certain time. If you make no shipment statement, you must have a reasonable basis for believing that you can ship within 30 days.”
- “If, after taking the customer’s order, you learn that you cannot ship within the time you stated or within 30 days, you must seek the customer’s consent to the delayed shipment. If you cannot obtain the customer’s consent to the delay -- either because it is not a situation in which you are permitted to treat the customer’s silence as consent and the customer has not expressly consented to the delay, or because the customer has expressly refused to consent -- you must, without being asked, promptly refund all the money the customer paid you for the unshipped merchandise.”
Setting Up A Presale in Your Amplifier Account
Follow these steps for each SKU:
- Click into the Items section, then into the Item Detail for a given SKU.
- Provide a start and end date for the Presale.
Again, we recommend that you not check the box for Ship Separately. Doing so would cause this SKU to ship by itself even if the order contains other items, which will increase your costs. Leave these check boxes unchecked.
As of the Presale Date, Amplifier will begin to report to your Shopify (or other supported ecommerce) store that 999,999 units of inventory for this SKU are available so that all sales will be allowed.
- Sometimes, you may not want to make an unlimited (999,999 to be exact) amount of inventory available if, for instance, you know that you will only ever have 5,000 units of a particular SKU. In these instances, you would need to (i.) click the Disable Inventory Sync box for this SKU, and (ii.) manually enter 5,000 units in your order source (e.g. your Shopify store). In addition, after the presale ends, you must return to the Item Detail Screen in your Amplifier account and de-select Disable Inventory Sync so that our inventory service reconnects with Shopify for this SKU.
As of the Through Date, Amplifier will begin to fulfill orders containing the Presold SKU(s). Amplifier will also begin that night to report actual inventory numbers (Available To Promise) per normal procedures for all stocked-good SKUs.
Note that is is also possible to set the Presales start and end dates for SKUs via a bulk change or the item export/import function via your Amplifier account.
Production Time Required
Practically any product can be presold. It is imperative to know the production time required for any given product and have confidence in the producer’s ability to deliver on time. Per the above, please familiarize yourself with the FTC’s Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule to understand your obligations should you encounter unplanned delays.
T-shirt presales are quite common, and Amplifier has significant experience printing and fulfilling such campaigns, many that have yielded 10s of 1000s of shirts sold.
In fact, Amplifier has so compressed the steps of the process that it is not uncommon for t-shirts to be picked up by carriers stacked in gaylords inside shipping bags that are still warm because the shirts have so recently been through the oven to cure the ink from screen printing.
Please confirm the Screen Print time required before you post a presale to your store. While 7-to-10 business days is common for a 1-location print job, it is not guaranteed but rather scheduled on a job-by-job basis. In addition, printing on additional locations like a back or inside the collar, as well as any finishing services, can add to the production time required.
The Goal of a Presale
Any presale can be treated as a special event to stoke fan interest and also to help gauge demand.
- The goal of the Presale is usually not to find out exactly how many shirts to buy. The only way to find out exact quantities would be to stop taking orders from customers before placing a production order with Amplifier. You could do this, of course, and treat the Presale like your own crowdfunding project that ends before production begins.
- Typically, though, a client wants customer orders to keep flowing in even while our client begins to satisfy the initial orders that have been placed during the Presale. Thus, rather than trying to determine exactly how many of units of a t-shirt to purchase, our client is really just trying to get a decent indicator of demand and understand in a rough sense if this new shirt will be a big hit or a more modest seller. A Presale can provide greater confidence in placing a larger order, and, since Screen Printing has volume discounts based on the size of each job, larger orders often result in cost savings on a per-shirt basis.
A client will often:
- Setup the SKUs and Presales information via their Amplifier accounts, so Amplifier knows the plan;
- Make a new design available for presale for four weeks or so;
- Let customers know that the item is on Presale by including copy about the planned ship date on the product page, in checkout, in the order confirmation email, etc. so that customers know the plan;
- At least two weeks before the end of the Presale, determine how many units of each SKU to purchase from Amplifier and place a Screen Print order.
- Monitor receipts of Screen Printed shirts and shipments of presales orders via their Amplifier accounts to confirm that each step is proceeding as planned.
- Contact Amplifier Client Service with any questions.
Amplifier has tremendous experience with helping clients manage successful Presales campaigns. Feel free to contact Client Service any time to explore the possibilities and learn more about the mechanics.