How to Enable Magento Backorders?

Magento backorders allow customers to place orders even if the desired product is out of stock. That's a great feature since it prevents people from leaving their carts and moving to different stores. It comes in handy at times when the inventory hasn't been restocked, but you want to keep customers engaged. 

Note: to prevent unexpected out-of-stock situations, you might want to enable low-stock email notifications  to optimize your stock management. 

Magento 2 allows you to set up backorders in two ways: globally or for a certain product. In this article, you'll learn how to apply both of these methods and tackle what backorders actually mean.

What are Backorders?

Backorder is a specific type of order placed by the customer when an item is currently out of stock. So, basically, you can buy an item the moment you visit the store. But it won't be delivered until it appears on the shelves again. 

Store owners can benefit from the Magento backorders since they know what products are selling well and which of them customers are interested in the most. At the same time, you have to understand all the responsibility you take, because all the products have to be sent as soon as they are restocked. 

What is the Difference Between Backorders and Pre-orders?

Even though the difference between backorders and pre-orders may seem rather blurred, some distinctive features have to be mentioned. 

As it was mentioned above, backorders are placed when the items are out of stock. But they are delivered as soon as the ordered items are back in stock. At the same time, pre-orders are made when a certain product hasn't been released yet. So you order it in advance to buy once it appears in the store's catalog.

Magento backorder vs preorder

In other words, backorders relate to the store items that are currently unavailable, while pre-orders — with the new products that haven't been launched yet.

Set Up Magento Backorders Globally 

If you decide to set up backorders globally, they will be available for all products in your catalog. To configure backorders globally:

1. Go to Stores > Settings > Configuration > Catalog > Inventory > Product Stock Options

2. Jump to the Backorders field and choose one of the available options:

  • No Backorders — backorders are disabled.
  • Allow Qty Below 0 — backorders are allowed when the quantity of the product falls to 0. 
  • Allow Qty Below 0 and Notify Customer — backorders are allowed when the quantity of the product becomes 0 and your customers will be notified about the possibility of placing orders.  

How to set up Magento 2 backorders?

3. Fill out the Out-of-Stock Threshold field, to define the number of backorders that can be placed.

Note: if you input a positive value there won't be a possibility to place backorders when the item runs out of stock. Putting 0 here allows an unlimited number of backorders, while a negative value means that the backorders will be limited to that number.

Don't forget to press the Save Config button. And that's how you set up backorders globally.

Set Up Magento Backorders for a Certain Product 

Depending on the requirements of your store, you might need to configure backorders only for certain products. You can refer to the advanced inventory settings and use them to enable backorders

Backorders for a product in Magento 2

Now you know how to set up backorders in Magento 2 and use any of the methods we've discussed to implement this feature in your store. 

However, if you don't want to enable backorders you can offer your customers an alternative. Magento product alerts help you to configure notifications about products' stock status.