Chris wrote in, understandably upset that his preorder for the new Dewalt cordless router was delayed.
As mentioned in our preview of Dewalt’s new cordless woodworking tools, the DCW600 router is expected to be released in Spring 2019. At least one retailer had a mid-February preorder ETA, and they emailed customers when it became clear that the tools won’t be shipping out just yet.
In talking with Chris through email, he asked a good question – what’s the point of preorders anyway?
The primary benefit to tool users and buyers, at least from my point of view, is that you get “in line” to receive the new tool.
Let’s say that an online retailer has an allocation of 20 units at launch, and then up to 10 units per week after that. What happens if 40 people preorder that tool? The tool will launch, and at that point it will be out of stock. Technically at that point it shifts to backorder status. Another 15 people order the tool when it launches, after seeing it in a newsletter. A week later, 20 more are ordered.
With a growing list of preorder and backorder purchases, it might be quite some time before inventory catches up to demand and fulfillment. But if you preorder, you get a place in line.
This happens for some, but not all cordless power tools. Usually, the most highly anticipated tools are affected most.
Take Milwaukee Packout tool boxes, for example. It took months after the initial launch for inventory caught up to demand.
These things can work out differently, depending on the retailer, the brand of tool, or the type of tool.
Will there be a promo or discount when a tool launches? It’s hard to say. You might have to wait weeks or months after it’s released for a retailer to have an eligible sale or coupon. Tool Nut has a $25 off $100+ Dewalt discount promo going on right now, ending 2/15/19, and it works on the Dewalt cordless router. So, do you preorder at a discount, or wait for it to be released, find that there are no coinciding discounts, and pay full price?
There are benefits for brands and retailers, but potentially receiving the item earlier is the biggest reason for customers.
As far as I can see, the biggest downsides is the frustration in waiting for a preordered tool to be delivered. Tool manufacturing is a complex business, and there are unforeseen circumstances that could delay production or delivery of a new product.
New releases can be also be plagued by defects, issues, or design changes that prompt buyer’s remorse, but this is rare and infrequent. It’s a risk that early adopters face in many industries, and it’s a tradeoff for being among the first to buy a new product.
I have preordered and backordered tools in the past, depending on the tool or product and how long I want to potentially wait for it. A good sale or promo can sometimes be the deciding factor.
But there are risks when it comes to promos, too. Back in 2017, Amazon launched a $10 preorder promo on a new cordless drill. But when it was released two months later, there was a temporary $30 price drop to help drive launch sales. Ordinarily, preordering for a $10 gift card is a great idea, but not if there’s a $30 discount right when it launches.
Do you preorder or back-order tools?
Are there other pros or cons?
Unless I need the tool, which I usually don’t and if there isn’t a preorder sale, I’d say just wait. Don’t even bother preordering.
I am way too price conscious to pre-order. Even tools I really want I will wait and shop around for deals.
It’s rare that a pre-order discount is anything significant – there wouldn’t be a new tool if there wasn’t perceived to be interest in it.
An order made last year turned out to be a pre-order. When it was finally shipped, it never arrived. The timeline was overlooked and when I finally realized things had gone haywire, a call to the distributor woke them to the problem too.
Apparently a container fell off the ship somewhere and no one realized it.
Couple more months and a replacement showed up. Good thing we could wait…
Hey that’s me!!! 🙂
Thanks Stuart for the internet cred. It was a pleasure to dialogue with you about this. I’ll be curious what readers have to say!!
The last time I did a “pre-order” for something was for the Saygus V^2 smartphone back in…..2015 I think? If you haven’t heard of it, ya’ll would enjoy reading about that. I got my money back pretty quick after the first “delay” when I cancelled, but others were definitely not so lucky.
I was SO excited for the cordless router, I did it again. And got taught the lesson again. Looking back at my order, I just didn’t gain anything by ordering it three months in advance. Unless there’s a line?
If I NEED a tool, I need it now and will buy what’s available. If I WANT a tool, I’ll price-shop the hell out of it and wait for some kind of promo/sale – in the case of the Packout system that meant waiting more than a year. But I also got the benefit of hearing a lot more than just initial reactions from early adopters, I got to hear what they thought about their purchase several months down the line.
As Jared says above, if there’s enough demand for a manufacturer to bring a new product to market, my perception is also that they likely won’t be discounting it heavily within the first few months.
I am a homeowner that is sensitive to price but wants to minimize time spent on property maintenance. Most of my preorders are in the outdoor space. I have serial numbers well below 1000 on multiple pieces of Flexvolt outdoor and Tough System parts, but those were obvious instant timesavers for me.
I have basic coverage of almost every indoor tool (and now outdoor), so no I compete on price. The next things I would preorder sight unseen would be a DeWalt self drive pushmower or normal attachment capable trimmer powerhead.
I hate pre-order tools. As of this point, I’m unable to use my power tools to make money, therefore, I have to save small amounts to afford what I want to buy. And even if I had the money, in-hand, ready to spend… I won’t buy it unless I REQUIRE it. I have to have a reason I need it, or it doesn’t get bought. So, what good is waiting in line, when I probably won’t have the money or need required by the time it’s my “Turn” anyways?
Plus, not to get too personal, but I’m on a disability pension. My tools? My Electronics stuff? My Jewellery making stuff? They’re hobbies at best, while I’m still in treatment. I may have been nigh invulnerable as a child, and as a younger man… but I’m undergoing massive, rapid deterioration of my mind and body since turning 30… I’ve been trying to SURVIVE the past 7 years, nevermind waiting in line to buy a tool of any sort. It is a rarity I buy anything that isn’t for fine detail work anymore, let alone something for a trade I haven’t been able to do in nearly a decade.
Hell, I don’t even pre-order Movies on Blu-Ray. I just Wishlist them, and when I’ve got a few bucks together, I buy it to relax. I don’t “Wait In Line” anywhere anymore. If a store is THAT busy, I go browsing until it calms down, to avoid panic attacks.
Well said Joe M. Unless you have to have a tool so desperately that you can’t make a living without it, then there is absolutely no need to pre order a tool. If you don’t require it, then you need to exercise discipline and patience like an adult and wait until it’s a must. Especially if you already own a similar tool and you’ve gotten by just fine with it.
I pre-ordered the m18 chainsaw last year.
I didn’t need it, but couldn’t resist.
After the shipping date was delayed the second time, I cancelled my order.
Three months later I was able to order it from HD with an extra free 12.0 battery pack. (Value of $250?)
My buddy who pre-ordered is still pissed at Milwaukee over that one.
I must say that tool is a beast
I put up 3 cord with it and the Ryobi 40v in one day.
My issue was after you drop a tree and start bucking rounds, the battery would overheat and shut down about half way empty.
Swap batteries and continue. Not possible if you pre-ordered and only got one battery.
(Who’s got this saw and only one battery-probably no one)
Anyways, at least with the Milwaukee line up prices seem to drop within 3-6 months after launch.
Pre-order just guarantees that you will pay top dollar.
Similar here. I bought the string trimmer & blower kits when they were pre-order. Had I waited 6-months (and I could have), I would have got the blower free with the trimmer. No free gloves or 2nd battery, but would have been much farther ahead waiting. I knew they would have deals on it, but didn’t think that good. So no more pre-ordering for me.
Newly released tools are no different than any other product. Those that must have the newest/greatest and be the first in the block to own it, generally always pay more and get less.
I’m not too crazy about the idea of pre-ordering a tool unless I’m actively helping the development of it like in a crowd funding or some small startup trying to release a tool that needs help.
I’m not thrilled about floating what is essentially a interest free loan for months to a big company. Its not like it makes it come faster and if they have problems with producing enough for demand then I’m going to have to wait anyway.
Pre-ordering concert tickets to get the seat I want or some such makes sense but especially with new tools I want to see 6 months of reviews. Having been a sucker for a sales pitch a few times has (almost) cured me of needing anything RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THIS IS THE BEST PRICE EVER! I really appreciate the work you guys put into reviewing tools and the centuries of experience that are in the forum (that’s a collective thing, some of you don’t seem that old) and base my decisions off all that to combat the little voice in my head that says I NEED a 20v combo toilet cleaner/souffle maker.
I don’t want to give too much credit to non-ToolGuyd Employees, but other than the ToolGuyd Staff writers themselves, I find great comfort in listening to the advice of fred, Joe framer, and Altan for the wealth of info they share on so many topics. Along the way there are countless others with sparks of revelation regarding a tool, or some specific amount of experience they’ve had. It is truly soothing for my anxiety, when I want to look into a tool specifically, and all the choices get me worked up and stressed… it’s like they’re actively trying to keep everyone calm by explaining away, or simplifying, all the marketing BS you’re overwhelmed by. Stuart and Staff put dents in the marketing double-talk for you, and then the regulars step in to remove the Marketing layer as a whole, letting you choose on merit instead of Market-Speak.
This place really does help in this process.
I had preordered it for my husband as a Valentines gift as it was to ship out on Valentines. Nope, a delay and found out night before Valentines, so needless to say, I had nothing for my husband. Last I heard sometime in April but could say exactly. We are traveling so not knowing when in April, not sure we will b here then. So had to cancel my order.
I emailed Milwaukee about the new Track Saw a month ago
asking for specs for the Saw’s Track so I could inquire with other
Manufactures that sell Rail Squares NO RESPONSE
I am a loyal Milwaukee brand woodworking tool user $800.00 worth
in the shop
I am more than disappointed with the Pre Order sham with the Track Saw
enough so I am considering just doing Festool Track Saw and selling my
less than 2 year old Milwaukee Tools
This not an issue with ToolGuyd or Ohio Power Tool or Tool Nut or Acme
It is my feeling Milwaukee has no regard for the suppliers
Plain and Simple this type of marketing SUCK’S