Pre-Orders on Your Website: Celery vs. Shopify

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Have you recently crowdfunded and are looking to continue the momentum? If so, congrats—you totally deserved your successful campaign. Otherwise, maybe you're thinking about skipping the platform and running pre-orders on your own website? If yes, we admire your boldness; running your own campaign can be quite fruitful.

Or maybe you're not ready to start selling, but you read articles about pre-orders in case an easterly entrepreneurial wind blows, and you're struck with the blueprint for an impossibly genius gadget. Nailed it? Thought so.

Whatever the case may be, choosing the best e-commerce solution to sell with is an important decision to make. To make life a little easier, we'll compare Celery a platform for pre-orders, alongside Shopify, the e-commerce solution giant.

Celery vs. Shopify

Potential customers often ask us what the difference is between our platform and Shopify. Rather than continue to respond modestly via email, we've opted to lay it all out.

To put it simply, both e-commerce checkout solutions work well, but each are geared toward a different selling landscape. Celery emerged in 2012 as the first pre-order platform for post-crowdfunded products, and Shopify landed on the scene a decade ago as a cheaper solution when building an online store.

If we think of Celery as the Pulp Fiction or Juno of checkout systems, Shopify is Spiderman or Men in Black.

Celery is grounded, fluid, and built with specific purpose and individual customers in mind. Shopify captures a wider range of sellers, but can be less flexible and dare we say, "behind the times".

Why Use Celery Over Shopify

1. A Platform Designed Specifically for Pre-Sales

Celery emerged as a platform to bridge the gap between post-crowdfunded campaigns and in-stock shop sales. It has remained as such, but evolved to accommodate custom DIY crowdfunding, and to seamlessly cover the shift from pre-orders into full-fledge in-stock orders.

Although Shopify has a customization that allows for pre-orders, it remains just that—a customization outside their solution. Shopify is designed for more traditional store sales with multiple products in a single shop. Its features are limited to/mirror these objectives.

2. Charge Whenever You're Ready

Through dedicating our lives to the pre-order, we've been able to implement a crucial piece of the puzzle: capture the order now, charge later. This has proven to be a key element in many successful pre-order campaigns.

Here are just a few reasons why ‘charging later’ rocks with pre-orders:

  • 'Charging later' is a great customer service touch. Customers are much more understanding of delays and long wait times if their cards aren’t being charged until the product ships.
  • 'Charging later' allows you to crowdfund on your own website. This is awesome because it means paying fewer fees to platforms like Kickstarter, keeping your web traffic and SEO, and carving out your own brand identity.
  • 'Charging later' allows you to ride the momentum of your crowdfunding campaign, seamlessly collecting more pre-orders with fewer roadblocks.

Paired with payment gateways like Stripe or PayPal, orders can be approved by the processor, and then charged up to a year later, or in some cases, up until the customer's card expires or gets cancelled after a crazy night out.

Although Shopify has recently implemented a similar 'order now, pay later' feature, it only works with certain processors. For instance, if your checkout is paired with Shopify Payments, the authorization can only be held for 7 days before charging the card. This certainly isn't long enough for most pre-orders to be shipped. Right, Coin?

3. Nip Chargebacks in the Bud

At Celery, we've seen how chargebacks can savagely murder new businesses. Despite informing your customers that they’re pre-ordering a product that’s not yet available, people tend to get antsy and angry (antsgry?). It can be difficult to keep buyers excited about a product that may not be arriving for another 6-12 months, and even harder to justify delays without them pulling the 'chargeback' trigger.

When it comes to pre-orders, chargebacks can be as high as 10%. This is enormously costly, and could also put you on bad terms with your payment processor. Unlike Shopify, we specialize in pre-orders and have designed processes to drastically reduce the number of chargebacks by 5-10x.

4. Retroactively Change Orders

People forget things, they want switch from chrome to silver, and unexpected things just happen. When it comes pre-orders, changes on both the buyer and seller’s end occur all the time.

At Celery, we always work on the defensive line to prepare for the 'anything and everything' scenarios as you sell.

Since sh*t happens, we allow sellers to retroactively edit orders without asking buyers to re-order. For example, you could change specific variants or add a coupon that the buyer forgot to apply. This type of flexibility is not granted through Shopify's checkout as orders are fulfilled immediately.

5. Get Great Customer Support From Start to Finish

Celery has a tight-knit team of designers, developers, and customer support peeps dedicated to helping you optimize your conversions and sales.

As Aamir Patel, founder of Silic Shirts puts it, "You guys have the best f*ing customer service EVER. Really happy with Celery and all of its features. Again please pass on my words to all your support staff!!!"

In contrast, pre-orders through Shopify are considered an "unsupported customization" and won't be covered by their customer service team at all. As Shopify states, pre-orders "fall outside the scope of our support service. This means that we’re not able to help you if you run into problems".

With pre-orders being a more complicated use-case on any e-commerce platform, weak customer support can allow for small problems to snowball beyond repair.


Celery was originally conceived for crowdfunding, and designed around the pre-order; a use case entirely different than what most e-commerce platforms (like Shopify) were built for. Celery’s checkout welcomes complication, prepares for delays, and optimizes sales when orders won’t be fulfilled for months.

To learn more about how Celery can customize your pre-order checkout to deliver sales that even Elon Musk would smile about, email us now.