Why preorder? What are preorders anyway?
We’d like to take a minute to dispel some myths about seasonal preorders and explain all the great reasons why you might want to consider preordering this season.
First of all, what’s a preorder? Put simply, a preorder is an order you make for specific items in advance of their arrival in a store. When the shipment arrives, all the preordered items are pulled out and shipped to their recipients. It’s pretty simple, really. This allows a customer to preview what’s going to be available in an upcoming season and make selections in advance of the company shipping the products – many times even in advance of the designer even sewing the items.
Why would you want to preorder? Well, for one thing, it’s just fun to get to see all the new stuff in advance. It gives you a chance to put together your shoes and accessories and most of all, it gives you the chance to order first. You get it first. If you have a favorite brand that you’re in love with and it’s a smaller designer, carried only in a few select boutiques, then it’s important to get your size first. Who wants to look all over the internet for the top in the same size as the pants you found? When you preorder, you can put your whole outfit together and claim it before the shopkeeper even gets it. Nice, hunh?
What do you mean it’s all sold out? It’s not even sewn yet! The way ordering works for boutiques, and most department stores too on a larger scale, is that buyers preview a season about a year before it’s intended to hit the stores. They look over all the options for the upcoming season and select their favorites. Buyers are looking for the items that will appeal to the aesthetic of their shop and their customers – they are ordering for you! The buyer then makes an order of a certain quantity of the product in the sizes they need for their store. Then the company that makes the clothing line or other product takes those orders and cuts, sews and ships to fulfill them. Occasionally there are supply chain troubles that result in an item being “undercut,” which means that the company doesn’t make enough to go around for all the buyers’ orders. Some companies even undercut deliberately, either to create a scarcity or because they are confident that a certain number of orders will not be accepted for a variety of reasons. When that happens, there’s a shortage of certain items. Gasp! Sometimes a company is confident that they will receive reorders and they will make a little extra, or “overcut” those really hot-selling items, because they will know that stores will sell out and want more. Occasionally, shops do not accept their orders for some reason (for example the company ships late, stores go out of business, the items do not appear like the samples or other reasons). In this case, as well as the overcut case, there are extras. So the amount produced is not always exactly the amount ordered, but that’s the basic guideline. Preordering also helps stores know right away if they need to reorder, so they can ask for more before the season is produced and it’s too late. In most cases, once a season is produced and shipped, it’s too late to order any more. Heck, by the time a season is shipped, your favorite designer is already producing the next season. But that’s fashion for ya. There’s always something new coming out in this creative, artistic industry.
So it’s not custom? They’re not making it especially for me? Not really. But your favorite boutique wants you to get “first dibs” on those super cute things, because they know how heartbroken you will be if your size is sold out when you want it. Some stores make it sound as though an item is being sewn specifically for you, and therefore they won’t accept returns or exchanges. If the items are made custom to your specifications or special order, that makes perfect sense. They can’t sell it to someone else. But for regular line preordered items, you are simply reserving an item that would have been ordered for the store anyway. It’s always a good idea to know a store’s return & exchange policy before ordering, but with preorders it’s particularly important. Kids grow, after all, and preorders usually take place a few weeks to a few months before the season that the child will actually wear that dress or outfit. Who knows? Maybe it won’t even fit when it arrives. In that case, you’ll want to be able to exchange it for the right size or return it if they don’t have the size that fits. Choose a store that will allow returns and exchange on preordered merchandise. That will save you headaches later, and you’ll be able to preorder confidently, knowing that you don’t really have to worry about your estimates on your kid’s size come next season.
The other nice thing about preorders is that most stores allow multiple payments for the seasonal preorders. A deposit is usually required, and then the rest is charged when your order ships. This breaks up big purchases, such as back-to-school clothes for kids or Christmas dresses and gifts, into more manageable chunks. It also saves you big on shipping if your orders come in separate packages, since usually stores will charge shipping only once, regardless of how many packages it takes to send your whole order to you. Isn’t that nice?
Why not take a trip through your favorite store’s preorder department and see what they are offering for preorder? This is an ideal opportunity to get an idea of what’s coming up next season, plus take advantage of multiple payments, shipping deals and other special incentives. Anyway, fashion is fun! A sneak peek at what’s coming up is always enjoyable.
Everything But The Princess is a great example of a boutique that offers a lot of preorders. Here is our page of Fall 2012 preorders for girls, by brand. You can see boy’s Fall 2012 preorders here, at The Little King Boutique.