How to Allow Backorders in WooCommerce

Running out of stock doesn’t mean losing sales. WooCommerce backorders let you take orders for products that are temporarily out of stock. But the problem is that it doesn’t allow you to notify users of how long they’d possibly have to wait before you’d be ready to fulfill their order.

So, In today’s guide, I’ll walk you through the simple and easy-to-follow steps to allow backorders in WooCommerce. In addition, this article will also help you to notify customers estimated time to fulfill the order with the help of the Woosuite Lead Time plugin.  


Here’s a quick sneak peek of the final results we’ll be achieving today.

What is a WooCommerce Backorder?

WooCommerce backorder is one method to accept orders for items that are out of stock. 

The default way of accepting orders is by displaying the in-stock label and specifying the expected delivery date. In contrast, backorders will allow you to take orders on temporarily out-of-stock products. 

Let’s understand this with an example:

If one of your products is temporarily out-of-stock, you can allow the backorders on it so the users won’t see the out-of-stock message while purchasing it. Instead, they’ll see a message “Available on Backorders” which will help you to increase the customer experience.

However, this doesn’t tell users when they’ll get the product, so we’ll also see how to display the estimated time it will take to complete the order. 

Benefits of Displaying Backorder Information

Following are the few benefits of displaying the backorder information on the WooCommerce single product page and shop page. 

  • Increased Sales

    Backorders will allow the customers to order even if the item is out of stock. This will prevent your visitors from going to a competitor’s website. When comparing WooCommerce backorder vs out of stock, backorder comes out on top. This means that backorders will help you get more sales.
  • Customer Trust

    When the customers will see the backorder information about how long it will take to reach their doorsteps will help you to gain the customer’s trust. Backorders will allow them to order in advance which creates a good relationship between you and your customer.
  • Customer Loyalty

    When you deliver the backorders at the scheduled time it will build customer loyalty, which will benefit the site.

So without further ado, let’s jump into the tutorial. 

How to Display the Backorder Information in WooCommerce?

Here I’ll show you how to display the backorder information in WooCommerce to notify users about the estimated time it will take to fulfill the order, with the help of the Woosuite Lead Time plugin. 

1. Install and Activate the Woosuite Lead Time Plugin

Note: You can skip this step if you have already installed and activated the Woosuite Lead Time plugin. 

To install the Woosuite Lead Time plugin, you will need to install the Woosuite Core plugin and activate it with the help of a license key. We have created a Quick Start Guide for you to figure out how to install and activate the Woosuite Lead Time plugin. 

2. Edit the Product to Allow the Backorders

Now follow the following steps to allow backorders on any of the temporarily out-of-stock products. 

2.1. From WordPress Admin Dashboard

We need to edit the product to allow the backorders on it so navigate to Products » All Products, from your WordPress Dashboard.

2.2. Edit the Product

Now, edit the product for which you want to allow the backorders. To edit the product, hover your mouse over the product and click on the Edit button. 

2.3. Scroll Down To Product Data Section

Now from the edit product page, scroll down to the product data section. This is the section from where we’ll allow the backorders. 

2.4. Click on the Inventory Tab

Now, click on the Inventory tab in the left sidebar. This will display the stock settings to manage the stock.

2.5. Allow the Backorders

Now set the Stock status to “On backorder” using the dropdown menu.

I’ll be using this approach for this tutorial but you can go ahead and follow the following instructions to manage stock at the product level.

To set stock management at the product level select the Manage stock? option. You can choose to accept backorders by selecting Allow or Allow but notify customers.

  • Allow: Customers will see your out-of-stock products as “In Stock,” with no indication that it is on backorder. You will need to keep track of this and manufacture products accordingly, which isn’t always a reliable option.
  • Allow, but notify the customers: The customers will see your unavailable product as “Available on Backorder,” but they can still place an order. This will only tell the customers that the product is on backorder, but they aren’t given any information about when it will be dispatched.

That is why I am using the Woosuite Lead Time plugin to inform the customers about the lead time for backorders. 

3. Set the Lead Times

To set the lead times, follow the following steps

3.1. Navigate to Woosuite Lead Time

Once the plugin is installed and activated, now from the WordPress Admin Dashboard, navigate to Woosuite » Lead Time.

3.2. Display the Lead Time

Now, select the pages where you want to display the lead times. You can display it on 5 pages at the same time but this tutorial is focused on displaying the lead times on single product pages and shop/category pages so, I am displaying the lead time only on the single product page and shop/category pages

To select the page, click on the single product page box and the shop/category pages box

3.3. Select the Products for Which You Want to Display the Lead Times

Here, you can select whether to display lead times for products based on their status:

  • In-stock Products: This is useful for displaying lead times for custom or handmade products.
  • Out of stock Products: This only displays the lead time if the item is out of stock.
  • Products on Backorder: This only displays the lead time for the item on backorder.

As we are focusing on backorders, I have selected the “Products on Backorder”.  

3.4. Set Global Lead Time

Now to set the global lead time, enter the number in the Global Lead Time field and select the Lead Time Unit. You can select the unit as: 

  • Day
  • Week
  • Month

I have selected the day as a unit and set the lead time as 6 days. You can set it as you want. 

4. Save the Changes

Now, click on the Save Changes button at the top right corner to save the changes. 

5. Final Results

Now, if you visit the product page of the product which we put on backorder, you’ll see a notification to notify the users that the product is on backorder with a lead time that will tell the customers about the estimated time this product will take to reach their doorsteps if they place a backorder.

Similarly, if you visit your shop page, you’ll see that this product has a lead time which will tell the users from the shop page that this product will take this much(6 days) of time to reach their doorstep. 


This is how you can display and improve the backorder system in WooCommerce. You can set different lead times depending on the items you sell. 

Woosuite Lead Times plugin helps you to improve the user experience on backorders and easily add lead times to your WooCommerce store on any page you want. If you have any queries, you can ask them in the comments or contact our customer support. Our dedicated customer support team typically replies within 48 hours.

Download the Woosuite Lead Time plugin today and build something great at your store!


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