We sell merchandise through our store online and at several in-person events throughout the year. One thing we are concerned about is tracking inventory numbers when we are selling on-site.
One big concern we have is this scenario:
We have 25 of ItemX in stock. We bring 20 ItemX to the on-site sales location to be sold via the POS app. Someone visits our online store and puts 6 ItemX in their cart and completes the purchase. Obviously our fulfillment center does not have 6 of ItemX to ship to this customer, and we won't know for several days if all 20 on-site will sell. Also, we would like to be able to see our on-site inventory numbers in the POS app to more easily know if we are out of a size, etc.
One idea we have come up with, but have not yet implemented to test, would be having every item duplicated in our inventory with one labeled as "Travelling ItemX". Then when we send the 20 ItemX to the event, we would manually adjust the inventory to deduct 20 from the "real" item and add 20 to the "travelling" version, and make similar adjustments after the event to return any unsold products back into the "real" item. This would be a lot of work but would prevent online sales of items that are at the event and may not be available upon return.
Another, even less desirable option, would be to temporarily shut down the onilne store for the duration of the event. This would be inconvenient for our customers who are not attending the event and would probably cost us some sales.
Does anyone else have a similar scenario and a solution that is less complicated and labor intensive?
Wesley here with the Shopify Team. So that duplicate product idea that you had would normally be what I would suggest in this situation, but as I was reading your post I though of another possible solution. The only downside to this solution, is that your reporting for product sales won't be as accurate.
What I was thinking, is that you would start off the same by making duplicate products and making them only visible on the POS. For my example, we'll call these your "fake" products, and the ones with the inventory that you are worried about your "real" products. For these "fake" products, I would set the inventory quantity at 0 and allow them to be oversold. If you haven't used our Bulk Editor you can use that to do this really quickly.
After you create the duplicate products, take the list of all the products you are taking to the show and create an order using your "real" products. (make sure to discount this order 100% to make sure your sales numbers aren't skewed) This will both deduct them out of your inventory, and provide you with a list of items that you are taking with you. You will then go to the show and sell the products using the "fake" products that are POS only. When the show is finished and you still have leftovers, all you have to do, is use the order that you placed when you were getting ready to go to the show and "return" all of the products that are left over. This will return them to inventory without having to go into each product and adjust the inventory to the correct number.
This method may take a bit of set up to get working, but would be a much easier process to repeat over and over since the "fake" products only need to be created once. :)
Thanks, that is defintely another interesting way to workaround the problem. I hadn't even thought about how the duplicate products would affect reporting, and now that i think about it either of our solutions would impact reports in some way.
We'll have to investigate which would be the least confusing when it comes to reconciling our sales and inventory reports.
If anyone else has ideas on how to handle this, I'd love to conside more options!