How To Handle Backorders

The world has transformed with an immense speed within the past few years. Now people are more dependent on electronic items instead of their legs. That means people nowadays do not visit marts for groceries and malls for shopping, for clothes. Instead, all of you, such operations are pursued with the help of taps of your fingers: Through Online Shopping.

Online shopping has generated new ways of handling the supply. However, the problem of back orders remains untackled. So are you also a part of that large pool of people to whom the idea of backorders still haunts? Or are you an unfortunate individual who has just started a business but does not know how long backorders take? Or you don’t simply understand what it means when something is on backorder. If the answer to any questions is yes, look no further, as we are here to help. Let’s start

All you need to know about the backorder

The below content is divided into several pieces so you can penetrate deep into the information. Please have a look.

What causes back orders

We all know that backorders are generated whenever a seller can not fulfill the buyer’s demand because that particular item is short in the stock. The same is why such orders are also called backlogs. However, it is crucial to know all the causes that can lead to the generation of a backorder. Below is some significant reason for a backorder getting generated.

Inaccurate forecasting

Inaccurate forecasting refers to the seller’s prediction about the stock. For instance, you are a seller of ink pens who is supposed to deliver an order to the nearby school. You thought that a packet of 20 Inkpen would be enough for the school, whereas the actual need was 25. Hence, you have made an inaccurate forecast.

Now, inaccurate or even less accurate forecasts can lead you to observe low safety stock and a higher chance of back orders.

Unusual demand

Backorders are likely to occur when demand for any product in eCommerce stores is unknowingly high. There are various reasons behind the scene, such as the seasonality, television appearance, or being called after an exclusive list such as the TIME magazine, Best Invention, etc. Also known as the specific need, the unusual demand is another significant cause for generating backorder.

Low safety stock

Safety stock refers to the number of inventory that is kept in excess at the go-down to meet an emergency in case of supply chain failure. However, if inventory safety stock was not prepared, you, as a seller, may experience backorders.

Manufacturer or supplier problem

If the product provider or manufacturer runs out of the material they need for making the goods, they are most likely to shut down the manufacturing process. As a result, the whole distribution cycle gets stopped, and backorders are generated.

Backorders VS out of stock

Because of the definition, backorders may seem the same as the Out Of Stock phenomenon to many people. However, the case is solely the opposite.

Whist, the backordered refers to the situation to a determined date for the inventory to arrive. Out of stock means the seller does not currently have the product within its distribution account. Hence, they do not have data for resupply.

The backorders are concerned with the timespan, whereas the Out Of Stock products is free from these conditions. That means there is a difference between “This item won’t be available till two weeks/ days/ month- backorder and “This item is currently not available for sale”- Out of Stock.

In addition, whenever a product goes out of stock, there is a high chance that the case is permanent, and the product won’t be available for sale again. On the other hand, there is hope in the foreseeable future with a backorder that it might be available for purchase after a certain period.

Backorder length

Many people get confused by the term “Backorder length.” However, one must understand its true meaning. The length of backorder has two implications based on the buyer’s and seller’s perspectives.

From seller’s perspective, the length of backorders refers to the number of backorders that have occurred for the products. The higher the demand is, the longer the length of backorders obtained.

On the other hand, from the buyer’s point of view, the length of backorder refers to the total duration any item would take to get available for sale again. Hence, the long period it takes, the longer the length of backorder is.

How do backorders affect customers and sellers?

Backorders affect customer-seller relationships in different ways. These are significant problems for sellers to tackle. They let you know the exact demand of your product in the market and that you must deliver it again in the market to not lose customers. Hence they can be an effective tool to boost demand in the market and increase the number of loyal customers you currently have.

When talking about buyers, backorders help them track when their favorite product is available to sell again. Hence, they act as a source of support for their wait.

Advantages of backorder

Like any other thing in the world, backorder, too, has a positive side. Below are some of the most critical advantages of backorders

It helps you monitor your strategy effectiveness

Marketing strategies need people, their efforts, and money for execution. Hence, one would want to monitor the success level of such a strategy for sure. And backorders are one great way to do it.

High amounts of backorders are clear symbols that your marketing and customer generation strategies were helpful. And that customer liked how you presented your product in front of them.

Improved cash flow

Organizations that don’t hold excess inventory with the associated cost-free up some money for other significant operations. Hence, it may result in reduced tax costs in some cases.

Minimizing storage

The excess stock needs excess space. Hence minimizing it will help you run your short-scale business efficiently.

Disadvantages of the backorders

Below are some must-to-be-known disadvantages of the backorders

Losing out on a business

Customers usually don’t want to wait more than a few days for a company to meet their demands. Hence, there is a high chance they will cancel their orders to shift over the substitute products.

Loss of market share

If buyers encounter backorders frequently, their loyalty to the brand will decrease, causing you to lose market share.

Increased complexity

Backorders enhance the chances of an organization tackling customer service issues frequently. This includes topics such as trying to update expired payment information, and the list goes on.

How to handle backorders

Before the above content, you must have realized that although backorders are not that bad, you still can’t hold them for long. Hence here are a few tips you can use to handle the backorders.

Setup a time limit

Setting a time limit based on how long you would keep the backorder open and active is essential for clear future insight. To determine what timespan you would like to go with. Yet, keep it under the 30 days limit.

Gather the backorder items

Try to get as many backorder items as possible within the minimal time limit to ignore any unease in the long run.


Make every possible attempt to acquire the backorder inventory within that specific time, matter if you have to pay a bit extra money. Remember, loyal customers, are more important for a business than anything else. So do not lose them.

How to avoid losing customers due to backorders

You can take some of the below backorder best practices to avoid losing customers because of backorders. 

1. Work with the supplier to track when back-ordered items are available again: If you run out of inventory that is in heavy demand, collaborate with the supplier to make the item available for sale again. 

2. Increase your stock capacity; to tackle sudden surges in demand, keeping some different products in stock is vital. This way, your customers won’t have to wait for long.

3. Remind customers: remind your customers of their desired products or products they have added to the cart. There are a lot of retargeting tools available for this purpose. 

4. Create an accurate estimate of demand using past data: look at past sales data to predict future direction. For instance, the available data shows 100 jackets sold in a month. You would want to keep about 100 to 120 jackets in the access stock to be used on sudden demands. 

5. Partner with a professional fulfillment company: try collaborating with a fulfillment lab instead of managing the inventory levels yourself. Fulfillment labs usually obtain distribution centers all across the country. 

The bottom line

To conclude, items on backorder are one crucial problem any seller can face. The term refers to a situation where sellers do not have enough inventory to be delivered. Thus, customers have to wait for a specific span. Hence, it becomes critical for an individual to get in-depth information. 

The content above is an ultimate guide that will not only grant you helpful information but will also let you know how you can handle such a situation. So make sure to read the content thoroughly from start to end.