What's the best way to account for products I give away as promos? For example, let's say I have 100 t-shirts for sale on my website that are being tracked using Shopify's inventory system. But I want to use a few of them, wear them in photo shoots, give them away to friends, etc.
How do I account for that usage to deplete the inventory count but also keep track of who has received free t-shirts? Would the best way to create an order in Shopify for the "customer" (ie my friend) and discount the product to $0?
Also, if I use a shirt, how do I account for that? My first thought is to add myself as a customer and create $0 orders to accurately deplete inventory for each shirt I use.
Another idea is to create a blanket customer called "Promotions and Giveaways" and create $0 orders under this customer for all of the products I giveaway. Only issue here is I won't be able to track which of my real customers have received a free product.
Any of the options you mention will work. We typically use the first option, where we create an order under the customer's name and discount it 100%. All depends on how you want to do your books! Not sure if you're U.S. - based, but if you are you may also want to ask a CPA about it. Some state tax laws require sales tax to be paid by the business on give-away items, and inventory that is taken out for personal use.