Changing the fulfillment location to a fulfillment service

CraigAB
Tourist
7 0 2

I attended the Shopify Unite fulfillment session this year and one of the questions referenced the ability to change the “location” of a fulfillment to a third party fulfillment service. The Shopify team said that functionality was in the works for late 2019/early 2020, has there been any update on when that might be becoming available?

Replies 24 (24)

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hello, @CraigAB

 

Elias here with Shopify Support. That is a great question.

 

This feature is available to all merchants now, simply upgrade your shipping to the shipping profiles and add your third-party fulfillment service. Third-party fulfillment can be a custom fulfilment service or fulfillment by Amazon

 

After that, you can enable multiple locations and begin assigning inventory to locations. Once that’s done, go back to the shipping profiles and set up your shipping rates for each location. If you have vastly different rates between products, you can consider using the combined rates at checkout

 

Is this the feature you were looking for?

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

zachrealpro77
New Member
4 0 0

Hi Elias! We are 100% dropship from Aliexpress in China and we use AutoDS for order fulfillment.

1. In Shopify what should my Locations be?

2. What should my Default Location be?

3. What settings should I use for shipping zones etc?

CraigAB
Tourist
7 0 2

Hi @Elias,

 

Thanks for the reply. I'm not certain if we're talking about the same functionality. I'm looking for the feature where, after an order is placed, you can change an individual item (or items) in that order to be fulfilled from a different service. For instance, we have Widget A that we sell in our brick and mortar store, but we can also dropship from the distributor we purchase Widget A from. When it makes more sense for me to fulfill the item from my dropshipper, like if I have limited inventory in my store, I want to switch to fulfill through my distributor's custom fulfillment service that is installed in my Shopify store rather than fulfilling it directly from my store. Does that make sense?

 

Thanks,

Craig

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @CraigAB.

 

Thank you for following up. Yes, we’re talking about the same functionality. However, this setup involves setting up several different aspects so I wanted to make sure you had all the information on hand. First you need to set up the locations and assign the inventory to them. After that, you can adjust the location when you fulfill the orders

 

The custom fulfillment that I mentioned previously is for setting up the email notifications that gets sent to your distributor when one of their products are processed in an order. This notification can be set up for each product. 

 

I hope this helps clarify the functionality you’re looking for. If you have any further questions regarding multiple location fulfillment, feel free to let me know.

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

CraigAB
Tourist
7 0 2

Hi @Elias,

 

I finally had the opportunity to set up a test store for this and I'm not seeing the functionality outlined above available. Can you let me know what I'm missing here?

 

I have one product: "Widget A"

 

I created two store locations that both have inventory of Widget A. Inventory is tracked by Shopify.

I have a custom fulfillment service from my distributor who provides the same Widget A.

 

Once an order comes in for "Widget A" I can't change to the custom fulfillment service to fulfill the item. Only my two store locations are available.

 

Please advise. Thanks!

 

Craig

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @CraigAB.

 

Thank you for following up. The custom fulfillment is only for email notifications to the supplier when one of their products has been ordered and isn’t directly related to your fulfillment locations. However, if you add your supplier to your locations, they will become an option as a fulfillment location. If you’re adding them as a location, depending on your products, remember to set your priority of your locations for fulfilling orders or prevent a location from fulfilling online orders if necessary. 

 

Let me know if this is what you’re looking for!

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

CraigAB
Tourist
7 0 2

Hi @Elias,

 

Thanks for sticking with me on this.

 

Our distributor provides an actual fulfillment service. As mentioned in the original message, we stock a product "Widget A" in our physical store  that we buy from our distributor. When we receive an order from a customer local to our store, we fulfill "Widget A" out of our physical location. When we receive an order from outside our area, we want to route that order to our distributor's fulfillment service and have them dropship that same "Widget A" product for us.

 

When it makes more sense for me to fulfill the item from my dropshipper, like if I have limited inventory in my store, I want to switch to fulfill through my distributor's custom fulfillment service that is installed in my Shopify store rather than fulfilling it directly from my store.

It seems like a similar flow to how I would expect FBA to work, but looking at the Fulfillment By Amazon page, I see it says: 

 

If you use Fulfillment by Amazon for a product, then you can't also stock the product in the locations that you manage.

That's exactly the functionality we're trying to achieve and asked about at Unite. One product either fulfilled from our store location or our distributor's custom fulfillment service decided after order time. The team at the fulfillment session at Unite said this would be possible.

 

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @CraigAB.

 

Thank you for following up again and I’m happy to carry on with our conversation. I understand the setup you’re looking for and I think there may have been a bit of misunderstanding between the Unite announcement for this function and the expectations, as third-party fulfillment, like Amazon’s FBA, isn't able to do this as well. 

 

Since you are actually fulfilling orders from both locations, your physical store and from your distributor, you can add your distributor as one of your locations. However, locations are meant for order management purposes on your end and does not notify your distributors of an order. This will need someone from their end to become a staff on your account so they are able to see which location you’ve chosen for a particular order. This is why I suggested setting up the custom fulfillment, so when one of their items is purchased by a customer - they are automatically notified. That said, this is also where problems, similar to Amazon’s FBA, start to occur as they would receive notifications for every order containing a particular product but isn't able to differentiate who is fulfilling it. I think this is where the misunderstanding is and I’ll be happy to put forth a feature request with our developers to improve our location functions. I believe if locations can notify someone via email, either a staff in another warehouse or your distributor, this will solve your problem.

 

You can see if your distributor can work out a process with you, perhaps by contacting them and confirming which orders they need to fulfill at the end of each week. If you're adding them to your locations, you can set your fulfillment priorities for online orders. This allows you to decide which orders you will be fulfilling yourself and confirm with your distributor on remaining orders afterwards. Though this doesn’t notify your distributor, this allows you to fulfill an order from multiple locations or change your fulfillment location based on the customer’s address or availability of your own inventory. 

 

I hope this clarifies the custom fulfillment and locations. If you have any other questions on this topic, don’t hesitate to let me know!

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

kyla-tww
Visitor
2 0 0

Hello,

 

Is there any update to this feature? This would be helpful to my store as well.

 

I’ll be happy to put forth a feature request with our developers to improve our location functions. I believe if locations can notify someone via email, either a staff in another warehouse or your distributor, this will solve your problem.

 

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hello, @kyla-tww.

 

Thank you for reaching out and joining this thread!

 

I understand you're also looking for this feature. Just to confirm, are you also looking to add a fulfillment service as a location for your store? Or, are you simply looking for a way to notify your fulfillment service when an item has been purchased?

 

I'd be happy to put forth a feature request on your behalf. However, before we move forward with this, I'd like to gather as much context and details pertaining to your situation. Can you share more information about what you're looking to do?

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

kyla-tww
Visitor
2 0 0
Thank you for your help!


I would like to be able to change the fulfillment service of items after
the order is created.

Widget A inventory is managed at the office brick & mortar store.
Widget B is managed by a custom fulfillment center

So for example an Order is made online by a customer and has 1 Widget A & B.

Widget A is at location office
Widget B is sent from a custom fullment center

But after the order is created, I would like to be able to transfer
fullment of Widget A to the same custom fulfillment center as Widget B. So
when I click send fulfillment request, I can have my fulfillment center
send both items.

Does that make sense?


reply above this line -##
Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @kyla-tww.

 

Thank you for following up and providing the additional context!

 

You can set up Widget B to be fulfilled by a custom fulfillment. However, unless the fulfillment center is also a location on your store, you wouldn't be able to transfer the inventory to the fulfillment center for Widget A. If you can add the fulfillment center to your store as a location, then you would be able to do perform inventory transfers and change the fulfillment for your orders. 

 

I'd love to know if setting up your fulfillment center as a location on your store can serve as a solution for you. Let me know!

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

nztack
Excursionist
14 0 4

Hi Elias

 

Is there any way to change the fulfillment location from our physical store to our 3pl fulfillment service for an order that has already been placed? We need to be able to change the fulfillment location based on multiple factors such as stock levels, other items on the order etc.

 

As far as I can tell, we cannot set our supplier up as another location as there doesn’t appear to be any way for them to only receive order fulfillment requests for their orders. They can see all our orders.

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hi, @nztack.

 

Thank you for joining the thread and posting this question!

 

There isn't a way to change the fulfillment to a custom fulfillment service after the order has been placed. However, you can add custom fulfillment services under the Shipping and delivery settings, and set your products to be fulfilled by your custom service. Nevertheless, there isn't a way to distinguish this type of fulfillment based on the factors that you're looking for (eg. stock levels, other items on the order, etc). 

 

That being said, if you need the ability to switch fulfillment locations, then the best option is by adding the fulfillment service as one of your Locations. While this method does have some limitations that you've mentioned, you may be able to mitigate some of them using the following functionalities:

 

  • Change default location - the default location will be the primary inventory for online orders. 
  • Set locations for order fulfillment priority - this allows you to set the order of fulfillment between locations, so you can prioritize inventory in other locations and the third-party fulfillment service can fulfill orders after the other locations run out. 
  • Prevent a location from fulfilling online orders - this allows you to prevent the online store from using inventory from a specific location, which you can use to prevent the online store from selling inventory from the third-party fulfillment's location if necessary. 

There's also some third-party fulfillment management apps, such as Order Fulfillment Guru, which may be able to help with splitting and routing fulfillments between multiple vendors and stores. If you need to get help with a third-party app, then the app developer is always available to assist you. Simply reach out to them using the contact information found at the bottom of their app's page.

 

Once you've had a chance to look over the resources, I'd love to hear more about your business and share some resources to help you get started!

 

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

nztack
Excursionist
14 0 4

Hi Elias, thanks for taking the time to reply. We currently have our supplier set up as a 'Custom Fulfillment Service" as they send most orders directly to our customers. If I add them as a location instead, how are they supposed to get fulfillment request notifications? Ideally I would add them as a staff member however there is no way to restrict them to only see their orders from their specific location. They can also see all our orders, including from other suppliers.

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hi, @nztack.

 

Thank you for following up!

 

Based on the information provided, I think the best option is to keep them as a custom fulfillment because there isn't a way to prevent the supplier from viewing all of the orders using locations (and staff accounts). However, while the supplier wouldn't be able to see orders for other suppliers using custom fulfilment, you would likely need to continue manually instructing the supplier whenever you don't want them to fulfill a particular order. 

 

That being said, if you really want to find a way to automate this process, then you may be able to explore a solution outside of Shopify - such as using a third-party fulfillment app or creating a custom app for your supplier. However, it's important to note that the API access to orders are likely the same as staff accounts using a custom app. 

 

If you have any other questions, then please don't hesitate to let me know!

 

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

jmenzel
Shopify Partner
16 0 2

Hi Elias, thank you for the conversation!! It has been very usefull!

 

I followed your instructions: adding the locations, creating a custon fulfillment service and adding the emails.

 

But when I go to orders and pick an order, I´am not able to change de fulfilling location. Can you help me out?

 

Thanks,


@Elias wrote:

Hey, @CraigAB.

 

Thank you for following up. The custom fulfillment is only for email notifications to the supplier when one of their products has been ordered and isn’t directly related to your fulfillment locations. However, if you add your supplier to your locations, they will become an option as a fulfillment location. If you’re adding them as a location, depending on your products, remember to set your priority of your locations for fulfilling orders or prevent a location from fulfilling online orders if necessary. 

 

Let me know if this is what you’re looking for!


 

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @jmenzel.

 

Thank you for joining this thread and I’m glad to hear that you are finding this useful! Just to clarify, there isn’t a button to change locations for custom fulfillments, as products assigned to a custom fulfillment are fulfilled by the specified fulfillment. They will receive a fulfillment request when you mark the order as fulfilled. However, rather than a custom fulfillment, it sounds like you’re trying to set up multiple locations?

 

If you have inventory at multiple locations, then you will want to add them to your locations and set up the priority of locations for fulfilling orders. Products that are available in different locations will allow you to change the fulfillment location when you fulfill an order. 

 

Let me know if this helps! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

jmenzel
Shopify Partner
16 0 2

@Elias thank you!!! It worked 🙂

jmenzel
Shopify Partner
16 0 2

@Elias another question, can the order be fulfill by the "nearest" location automatically (based on Zip Code)? Without giving priority to a specific location?

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @jmenzel.

 

I’m glad to hear that changing the locations is working! The priority of locations can fulfill orders based on the set priority or available inventory. However, it’s not able to automatically determine the nearest location for fulfillment. One suggestion I can make is to prioritize your locations based on the majority of your customers. That being said, this isn’t the first time I’ve come across the request for the ability to automatically detect the closest location. I can see how this can be a very useful feature and I’d be happy to put forth a feature request on your behalf. If you have any other questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to share it with me. Thank you!

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

jmenzel
Shopify Partner
16 0 2

Thanks @Elias for your enormous help!! I've seen multiple discussions and think will be very useful for a lot of stores.

 

Thank you!

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @jmenzel.

 

You're welcome! I'm glad to hear that you found this useful. I can understand how the custom fulfillments and locations can be a bit confusing at first, and I hope others will be able to find this helpful as well! Thanks again! 

 

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

Elias
Shopify Staff
2964 289 513

Hey, @jmenzel.

 

I wanted to reach out again as I came across a third-party app that works with multiple locations and has geolocation to help determine the nearest inventory location to your customers, called Product Inventory Information. This app can also display different stock levels, based on your customer's location. That being said, if you need any further assistance with this app, you can always reach out to the developer directly through the contact information found in the Support section of their app's page.

 

Let me know if this is what you're looking for? Feel free to let me and the community know if this app works for you!

 

Elias | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog