What Is a Backorder? Meaning + 4 Tips to Limit Backorders

Do you have an eCommerce store and are wondering what the term "backordered" means? Learn What Is a Backorder & 4 easy tips to prevent backorders.

What Is a Backorder? Meaning + 4 Tips to Limit Backorders

Backorder is a term that means your desired product is out of stock and will be back in at a later date. This may happen because the products are being replenished or it could have been an item that was just purchased by another customer.

As an ecommerce business owner, you've probably experienced a backorder before. Backorders happen when your product is temporarily out of stock and customers are given the option to wait for it or cancel their order. But what does this mean? And more importantly, how can you avoid them?"

Backorder: Definition

A backorder is an item that is currently out of stock but is still available on the item page. Instead of processing and shipping out immediately, delivery is guaranteed once accessible and an estimated date is usually supplied. This date is generally rather close, as permitting backorders implies that it will be back in stock within the relatively near future.

What exactly is the point of allowing these orders? For starters, it increases customer satisfaction (at least, if you ship out within a reasonable time) and it allows you to keep sales going, even if stock is a little slow. However, there are also a variety of other benefits that can pop up depending on how your store is run, your company goals, customer experience, etcetera.

Backorder Vs. Out of Stock

One of the biggest questions usually asked about backorders is “What’s the difference between that and out of stock?” The answer is actually pretty simple. “Out of stock” means an item has no stock available for purchase and also has no current date for resupply, while 'back ordered' means an item is currently unavailable but already has a resupply date on the horizon. Unlike stock items, back-ordered items will eventually come back. It may take some time but they will eventually show up, whereas, with the other, there’s never any certainty about when or if they will. 

Learn More: What Is The Difference Between Out-of-stock And Backorders?

4 Tips to Limit Backorders

While backorders are irritating and sometimes unavoidable, there are ways to help you decrease their probability of happening. Here are a few: 

1. Set security stock

Give a valiant effort to fulfill requests and orders by setting a stock point that is sufficiently high to cover any provider issues or demand increases that come your way. Keep an abundance of stock available and be proactive in restocking, and you should run into far less backordering. 

2. Figure and set reorder focus

A reorder point is the base amount of any SKU that a business ought to have close by before they have to reorder more items. The reorder point recipe is just including your lead time request and well-being stock in days.

3. Keep an eye on popular items

Not all products sell at the same rate. Watch out for those with greater demand since they’ll sell out more rapidly. Keeping close tabs will allow you to reorder before stock ever even becomes an issue. 

4. Have several providers

Working with various suppliers has its upsides and that includes not having to worry should one run into stocking or quality problems. Expand your network out and pull from multiple places. As the old saying goes, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.


Backorders are a great way to keep sales going when inventory is low, but what’s the point? First off, it provides customer satisfaction and in turn makes you look like a reputable business. Secondly, backordering items means that your customers will be more likely to buy from you later on when they need something else because of how well you treated them during their first purchase.

If your business has been struggling with fulfilling orders because products have been scarce lately but aren't completely sold through yet, we can help! Our team at Simpl pick pack and ship will take care of all aspects of order fulfillment so that you don't need worry about anything other than growing your business. Leave us a message today.

Next article: 4 Easy Ways to Pick and Pack Orders

Looking for eCommerce fulfillment partner?

Let's Chat

Looking for a FBA Prep Partner?

Let's Chat