I've been racking my brain looking at every bundling app out there and just can't seem to find one that works. So hopefully someone here can help me out.
We manufacture a variety of products some of which are used in multiple other products. For instance: our LARGE VELCRO POUCH is available in 5 colors each with their own SKU.
Needless to say, inventory management is the bane of my existence right now because at any given time we're moving a few hundred of these pouches a day. I'd like to know what my potential shippable products are without pre-bundling them on the shelf. I'd love to be able to just update inventory for their components and let the app determine what's shippable.
So far I have yet to find the magic unicorn app that does everything I need it to do.
I need a way to bundle the components in a way that works both on the backend and on the front end, as well as make sense to my shipping team.
Ideally I don't want anything to change on the front end with the product pages on our store site. This seems to be more of a backend inventory management issue. I've looked at so many bundling apps but none seem to flow up or down the way I'd like. Some flow up fine and work great on the store side but don't push downstream to ShippingEasy or Quickbooks. A few will push downstream fine and look great on that end, but require the bag shell to be a visible product which means either selling an empty shell to someone (which the boss doesn't want to do) or displaying a lower price for the shell which is a terrible bait/switch sales tactic when looking at a $140 product.
So basically a Tool Bag is made up of:
On the backend the Tool Bag, shell, and pouch each have their own SKU. The Tool Bag has a retail price which includes the shell and the six pouches. The shell has a component price in quickbooks but is not for sale on the site. The pouches have a price when they are sold separately, but when in a Tool Bag their price is wrapped up in that SKU's price.
I have a similar problem with our Headrest Velcro Panel which can be purchased on its own, with our small first aid kit, or with a pair of 4x8 velcro pouches. We're currently using the infinite add-ons app for that product because, unlike the tool bag, the base product can be purchased by itself. So far that seems to work, albeit not perfectly, so I'm hoping if there is a solution that will work for the Tool Bag it will also work for similar products (Air Tools Bag, First Aid Kits) and things like the Head Rest Panel kits.
Any insight or ideas would be greatly appreciated. And sadly burning the place down and starting over with all new SKU's and product listings is not an option. I asked and the boss said no.
From reading your post your main issue is you need a system that connect all 3 platforms you are using. The actual set up of bundled products and breaking them down into individual components for packing is pretty standard.
Individual products that only exist in bundles can be marked as not available to online store or even easier not uploaded to Shopify at all so that part shouldn't be an issue.
Quickbooks - have you tried the Shopify integration and if it solves the issue of breaking down bundled products?
ShippingEasy - like with Quickbooks they have their own integration with Shopify so again is there a limitation with it? You may only be able to list the orderlines from Shopify on there as that is all Shopify stores. You could customise it as they have an API but might be overkill to spend money on developing a custom integration for it.
We work with these kind of multiple platform setups and build custom data flows for businesses but I'm not sure if you need it unless the Quickbooks side of things is not working for you. In that case like we do for say SAP and Shopify we break down orders and map them correctly to the inventory management system. We also do custom reports comparing what is in stock and what needs to be ordered in the form of a restock report based on new order data.
The current limitations with QuickBook and ShippingEasy integrations is a direction of flow issue. Neither one will push upstream to Shopify to adjust inventory on these kinds of complex products. The flows work for 90% of our product line which are all simple/single products or a simple bundle where one product is an add-on to another product. The issue is with the kit products like the Tool Bag where the shell is not for sale but has six of the pouches as part of it. So right now those are all getting manual bundled and our growth rate this year has made that unsustainable moving forward. When we were averaging 200 orders a month that was one thing. Now that we're pushing 1,000 orders a month it's gotten painful. We also have more people in our manufacturing chain and we're trying to streamline the workflow form our production floor to our shipping floor. So the complexity for us in Quickbooks is that we're a manufacturing operation and have our component work order system setup there and it won't push upstream to Shopify as cleanly as we'd like. Might have to look more into that integration and see if we're missing something that could fix the inventory flow side. Bundling is still a issue on the downstream side though.
You may be able to solve your issues by simply adding a second data flow from Quickbooks into Shopify to update stock levels correctly. Keep the existing integration but only run it as order exports into Quickbooks. This would be quicker and cheaper to do a quick custom flow as on our side we already have the inventory flows into Shopify.
Not sure about ShippingEasy as if you are processing orders into it I don't see the need to have inventory updates apart form tracking coming back into Shopify. But I'm not across everything so excuse me if I didn't understand that one.
These are the kinds of enterprise level flows I like to solve! You can fix all your issues but it's a matter of working out what's feasible and what automations need to be developed. No point wasting money when you don't need to hence why I asked about the existing integrations. If you are keen to discuss further just let me know as would be good to see some data structures of products, orders and where the roadblocks are coming from to work out how to map them with different API calls.
And by the way awesome products! Not sure if you ship internationally but I loved the seat panels and all the extras you can attach - really cool.
I realised we may have an easier solution for your bundled products. We may be able to update your new orders that use bundled products and break the order lines down into the components. This way the correct SKUs are showing for fulfilment on every order. We would have to do some more testing so let me know if this would solve your issues.