How To using Multi-Location Inventory

Shopify Expert
3955 17 331

So I have a fulfillment service or three installed in a Shop that has around 20 locations. Many are POS and so I now have a dilemma. I have a single SKU, and it can be sold at POS locations, and online. So if you choose multi-location inventory, you can assign inventory to each location. The catch is, you cannot assign any to the fulfillment services. So now we have a dilemma with inventory assigned for POS, but we lost the fulfillment_service setting, and it is now manual.

 

So how do people run with this? It seems totally counter-productive. Where before I could assign an item to be sold online and fulfilled by service xyz, now all that can be done is dumping inventory into bins for POS. 

 

My immediate thought is to create a location called ONLINE, and to place inventory there, just like POS locations, and then when an order is booked, if the fulfillment service is manual, use the variant's inventory_item_id to get the location? If it is ONLINE then I am in business. 

 

Anyone out there using Shopify with Multi-Location and have a solution for this. Seems ridiculous that I cannot fulfill as usual, although that is spelled out in the documentation, that once you choose a fulfillment service, an item cannot be assigned to any other locations. So what do people do there? What is the common work around? It cannot be this clunky in reality. Or is it?

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
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Excursionist
27 1 0

Hey Bill,

We solve this problem for our customers by assigning the variant fulfillment service to aihello.com if inventory is present and back to manual if the 3pl/fba doesn't have inventory.

 

I have just put the shopify app for review and once it's live, you are free to test it out.

 

AiHello.com: Smart Fulfillment for your ecommerce platform.
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Shopify Expert
3955 17 331

@ganeshkrishnan wrote:

Hey Bill,

We solve this problem for our customers by assigning the variant fulfillment service to aihello.com if inventory is present and back to manual if the 3pl/fba doesn't have inventory.

 

I have just put the shopify app for review and once it's live, you are free to test it out.

 


That is not a solution for my use case. I explained it pretty clear I thought. A variant can have inventory at various locations, including custom fulfillment, but you cannot do that with Shopify, so what is the work-around.

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
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Shopify Partner
142 4 16
I haven’t stumbled upon this use case yet, but I think you have named your possible solution. I’m guessing only the online orders need to be fulfilled with the fulfillment service, so you would need to add a location called online and add stock there for the fulfillment service. Then add a web hook and create an app to fulfill the orders from online location through the API?
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Shopify Expert
3955 17 331

The problem comes in with marking the locations!

 

It used to be that one could set the fulfillment service to be manual, or some other service. Fine. Works great. Webhooks send an order to an App, you inspect the fulfillment service, and now you can decide to fulfill an item or not. 

 

With multi-location, you no longer get that choice. You can choose a location, but not a fulfillment service. So for this we no longer see the fulfillment service in the order from a webhook, it is just set to manual. So the main question is, when inventory for a SKU is assigned to a fulfillment service, it cannot also be at other locations, like POS. 

 

So this is my problem. So far, no solutions from Shopify, who should've been able to explain this one away right away, but clearly cannot. So I am left with trying to invent a pattern that will work. A SKU exists at multiple locations AND when it is online I can fulfill it properly.

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
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Shopify Expert
3955 17 331

Bump. Yo! Shopify. Why the crickets? Why the dead air? Can you not give me a little hint here as to what to do? 

 

You imposed this multi-location on us, and now you have to explain it. Why should we suffer with it, when you clearly know the workarounds.... Please. 

 

 

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
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Shopify Expert
3955 17 331

As an example. I have a shop with three locations and two custom fulfillment services. So in the Product Admin we now have a choice for Inventory Management. I get three choices #1 - Shopify, or my two custom fulfillment services. If my custom fulfillment service is selected, I can store all my inventory for that SKU for there, and that is that. Nothing else can be done. But what if I need to allocate some of that inventory to a POS in a different location? 

 

What is the setup for that? Is that more clear?

 

 

 

 

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
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Tourist
3 0 0

I'd also like to hear what the recommend work around for this is. From the page at https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/shipping/fulfillment-services/custom:

 

"If you use a third-party fulfillment service for a product, then you can't also stock the product in the locations that you manage."

 

This seems like madness. I am developing a fulfillment service for a store where they have a single physical location and also a warehouse that is used to fulfill online sales. The fulfillment service is for the online sales and the physical location will use Shopify POS. Is there really no way to handle such a simple scenario with Shopify?

 

If so, how can this not be a problem for more vendors?

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Shopify Expert
3955 17 331

I think the simple solution for you with POS or WWW is to use that when decided where to fulfill from. So if you inspect the order, and it is POS, you know you pull a SKU from the physical location for fulfillment. Any order marked as WWW as source, then goes to the online fulfillment service. So your App in your case is very simple.

 

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
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Highlighted
Tourist
3 0 0

Thanks for your message. To clarify, you're suggesting Thomas_Lang1's approach above? i.e. Use WWW/POS locations, don't set the fulfillment service for any SKU, have Shopify track the quantities, and in the fulfillment webhook for the app, ignore POS orders?

 

The issue with doing it that way is that the app can no longer provide inventory management for the warehouse and the tracking setup becomes separate. The warehouse/online fulfillment provider is outsourced and the app pulls inventory numbers from their system. If the app isn't providing numbers for the warehouse, then then either the shop owner needs to manually update them for all incoming shipments, spoilage, damage etc. at the warehouse, or the app needs to poll the warehouse inventory system and update via the inventory API.

 

Presumably the latter is better, but could potentially run into problems due to timing mismatches between fulfillment notification and Shopify marking inventory as committed, as discussed here:

 

https://community.shopify.com/c/Shopify-APIs-SDKs/Shopify-Inventory-Allocation-Algorithm-with-Fulfil... 

 

Have I missed something?

 

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