How do we assign inventory location based on the customer's destination? For example, a customer in Florida would be allocated the inventory in our New Jersey warehouse as opposed to the California warehouse, and if NJ is out of stock on that sku, is it possible for the item to show as "out of stock" for the Florida customer?
We sell accent furniture and our items tend to be rather large. It's very expensive to ship across the country since we offer free shipping.
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You would set this in your shipping settings. Set your shipping zones for each warehouse location according to where that location will ship to.
Go to your shipping settings, and click "Manage Rates' in your shipping profile(s).
In the 'Shipping From' section, make sure only the 'California' warehouse is listed. By default it will list all locations - just click 'Manage' for each unneeded location then click 'Remove Rates'. Then in the 'Shipping To' section, only add the states to which that warehouse will ship. Then add the actual shipping rates for this location.
The locations that you removed will go to the bottom of the screen and be listed as "Not Shipping From". Click 'Add Rates' for the next location you want to set up, then click "Add New Rates', then follow the above process.
Yes, unfortunately it would seem there is no pre-built geo-location logic in the online store to automatically have customers shop from a specific location. It's only tied to the fulfillment & shipping logic (from everything I've seen).
You can customize the message that is given to the customer when the items are removed from their cart in the language settings.
Otherwise, I believe you would need an app or have a developer build a custom solution to show as out of stock based on customer location. I am not immediately aware of a specific app to do this.