You can accept pre-orders for a product before it's ready to be released. Both digital and physical products can be created as pre-orders.
With pre-orders, you can boost sales by setting the price of your pre-orders low, to encourage your customers to buy early. After the release date, you can change the price of your products.
How does it work?
You'll create a pre-order product (either a physical or digital product), set the day and time it will be released, and publish it. Then, you'll share this product with the world, and customers can "pre-order" it. Gumroad authorizes a charge on their PayPal accounts or credit card/debit cards, so we can charge them on the day of the product release. The customer will not be charged until the day of the release.
Note that because Gumroad authorizes the charge, some customers may see a temporary $1 charge on their credit card statement. This charge will disappear after a few days.
On the specified time of release, Gumroad will charge your customers and send them a receipt, which will contain a download link to the product files. After your release date, the product will revert to the default product settings (i.e., when customers buy it, they will immediately receive a download link).
You can change your release date at any time, and you can also manually release a pre-order product before the time of release, or afterwards. More on that later.
Creating a pre-order product
Access your products dashboard by clicking Products in the top navigation bar. Then, click Add a Product and choose Pre-Order.
Unlike traditional products that you sell immediately, you can add a pre-order product without uploading files. Just set a release date and upload the files when they're ready.
Specify your release date and time, which will be displayed to the customers when they pre-order it.
Click Next: Customize to upload a preview, add a product description, add any versions, limit product sales, or generate unique license keys for each sale.
When you're ready, click Publish. The next screen will give you options to share directly to Facebook or Twitter, or simply copy your product's URL. You can also use the Gumroad overlay or embed to sell to customers directly on your own website. You can also add tags to help customers find your product using the Discover feature.
Upload the product's file(s) whenever you're ready by clicking on the product's name in your Products dashboard and scrolling down to Files.
Release the product manually
If you miss your release date, don't upload the product in time, or just want to release the product early, you can release the product manually.
To do this, go to your Share tab and click Release product, initiating the charging and distribution process.
If you'd prefer to cancel your pre-order entirely, you can do that in your Customers tab.
After the Release Date
Once your product has been released, it will convert into a regular Gumroad product. You can, as with any other product, change the name, price, description, files, cover image, etc. at any time. Like with any other standard product, customers will be able to purchase it and immediately receive the files.
When a product is released, it takes about 24 hours to fully process all of your customers' cards and PayPal accounts. That means some customers will not have immediate access to the products the second that you release the product. We advise that you wait a day before sending out important updates to your customers - let everyone get charged first, then provide them with more information. You can always set up a Workflow to automatically send important messaging to customers after their purchases are completed.
Not all of your customers' charges will succeed. Often times, especially if a customer pre-ordered several months ago, their credit card provider may block the purchase from going through. Or they might have changed credit cards and forgotten to update this on the purchase form. After 24 hours, we will send you an automated email with a list of the failed charges on your pre-order release. You can then directly contact these customers and have them buy the product again. If you've raised the price of the product since they pre-ordered it, you can give them an offer code to reduce the price again.
Sometimes customers will be confused whether or not they have been charged. Their credit card statement might show a "pending" charge that's actually failed. To verify whether or not a customer has been charged, you can:
2) Find the customer's email address in the CSV
3) Scroll to column AD, titled "Pre-Order Authorization?" - If this column has a 1 in it for this customer's entry, that means their charge is just a pre-order authorization. That is not a real charge; it simply means that we were authorized, at the time of their pre-order, to charge their card at a later date. If this column has a 0 in it, that means that we did actually charge them, and you can provide them with a receipt or download link from your customers.
You cannot gift pre-orders.