Pretail (also referred to as pre-tail, pre-retail, pre-launch, or pre-commerce) is a sub-category of e-commerce and online retail for introducing new products, services, and brands to market by pre-launching online, from creating an interest waitlist of signups before launch to collecting reservations or pre-orders in limited quantity before release, realization, or commercial availability. Pretail includes pre-sale commerce, pre-order retailers, pre-launch marketing services, incubation marketplaces, crowdfunding communities, and demand chain management systems. Retailers today are increasingly pre-tailing to test, promote, and monetize consumer demand in the initial phase of the new commerce pipeline as first introduced in a 2012 Forbes article. Consumers engaging in pretail are known as an early adopter, fan, backer, supporter, or presumer (pre-launch consumer).
Pretail demand is growing in consumer retail: electronics, movies, music, video games, books, fashion, software apps, connected devices, cars, toys, cosmetics, art, events, etc. This trend is being driven by companies to enhance new product development, better organize product releases, lower market risk, and increase early fan adoption. Large companies such as Amazon and Apple are pre-tailing new products to measure demand, manage supply chain market dynamics, and monetize fandom anticipation. Small companies are embracing crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo before product realization to test product-market fit, fund manufacturing, and build fandom community. Consumer involvement with products and services pre-launch is becoming mainstream according to industry experts on consumer behavior trends.
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