A pre-order is an order placed for an item which has not yet been released. The idea for pre-orders came when people found it hard to get popular items in stores due to their popularity. Companies were then given the idea to allow people to reserve their own personal copy, before the release, which has been a huge success. Pre-orders allow consumers to guarantee prompt delivery on release, manufacturers can gauge how much demand there will be and hence how large initial production runs should be, and sellers can be assured of minimum sales. Additionally, high pre-order rates can be used to generate publicity to further increase sales.
Pre-order incentive, also known as pre-order bonus, is a marketing tactic whereby a retailer or manufacturer/publisher of a product (usually a book or video game) encourages buyers to reserve a copy of the product at the store prior to its release.
Reasons for this vary, typically publishers wish to ensure strong initial sales for a product, and the offered incentive is used to induce shoppers (who might otherwise wait for positive reviews or a specific shopping period like the holiday season) to commit to a purchase. Having paid for part or all of the purchase when placing the order, these consumers will usually complete the transaction shortly after the product's release, often on its first day in stores. Individual stores or retail chains may also offer bonuses for a popularly anticipated product, to ensure that the customer chooses to buy at that location, rather than from a competitor.
The pre-order bonus may be as simple as a discount on the item's purchase price or other related merchandise (another marketing strategy), or may consist of an actual item or set of items. These items may be related merchandise or exclusive items available only through the pre-order program.