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?