We create draft orders for wholesale customers who buy in bulk. By the time the draft order is confirmed (i.e. turned into a full order), our inventory may have changed so we don’t have enough stock to fulfil the order.
Problem 1: Shopify displays no warning to the merchant about overselling from the draft order page.
Clearly Shopify ‘knows’ there is a problem, because if we send the customer an invoice for the draft order, at the checkout page they cannot make the payment and see something like this:
But nothing is visible to the merchant at the draft order page, so we don’t know there’s an issue until the customer tries to pay, fails, and contacts us, which wastes everyone’s time.
So an alternative strategy is to click ‘payment due later’ and ‘Create order’ to turn the draft order into a full order as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the customer to pay.
Generally, this works well. There is less likely to be an overselling problem. If there is, then as soon as the full order is created the merchant sees a message like this so we can deal with the issue immediately:
However, if we have stock in multiple locations, things become very confusing.
Problem 2: if the order is to be fulfilled from location A and we don’t have enough stock there, but there is stock at location B, no warning is shown to the merchant on the (full) order page.
This is a massive problem. In our case location A is for online sales and wholesale orders. Location B is for POS and is entirely separate. Whether we have stock at location B is irrelevant to whether we can fulfil from location A.
Strangely enough, if we send the customer an invoice for the draft order, they do see a warning message (like above) and will be unable to complete the sale. So Shopify must ‘know’ that the draft order is associated with a particular location, or a particular Sales Channel, and ignore the stock at location B. (I don’t understand this, as I can’t see anything in the admin to suggest any association.) So it correctly recognises there’s a problem. But that is not reflected in anything the merchant sees, whether the order is still a draft, or whether it has been confirmed and turned into a full order.
To make matters worse, once we’ve reached this stage …
Problem 3: there is nothing to stop the customer paying for their (full) order, even though the stock at the location associated with the sale is negative and we have said that the product should not continue to be sold whilst out of stock.
This I just can’t fathom – why on earth is this allowed? To reiterate: if the order is still a draft, the customer is correctly prevented from completing the purchase. But if the merchant turns the draft order into a full order they see no warning, and there is then nothing to stop the customer paying for an order which can’t be fulfilled.
So there are at least 3 separate problems, either bugs (why allow stock levels to become negative?) or at best confusing inconsistencies (why display warnings to customers but not merchants?)
Could Shopify please look at this. And can anyone help, or suggest workarounds in the meantime? Thanks very much.
We have exactly this same problem.
f a product is sold out in first location, the product will be allowed to be oversold at the second even if the default location doesn't have shipping zones where the customer is shipping to. The expected behavior is that this inventory should not be considered when shipping zone is not available where the customer is.
Have you managed to workaround this?
I'm afraid not. This is one reason why we didn't move our brick and mortar operation to Shopify in the end.
I did have an exchange with Shopify support who suggested using an app such as Merchbees low stock alert to help deal with the problem, but it doesn't really change much for us.
Also, this was a year ago so I don't know if anything's changed with the way Shopify handles things.
Please do let me know if you find a way around it
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