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Inventory Management

Thinking Beyond Shopify Fulfillment Locations for Holistic Visibility

If you have a 3PL in the mix, you’re going to have to think outside of the Shopify box for your order fulfillment rules.

If your brand is on Shopify and has more than one inventory location (even if you don’t think you do, you do), then you need to specify how to fulfill your online orders. Here’s some helpful guidelines to manage your Shopify fulfillment locations:

  • Want all items to fulfill from a single location, period? Make that your default location and prevent other locations from fulfilling online orders. Here’s how.
  • Want items to fulfill from a primary location, but fulfill from backup locations if the product isn't in stock there? Set order fulfillment priority rules. Here’s how.
  • Want to customize which location fulfills based on variables like customer location or product type? Activate multi-origin shipping. Here’s how.

This is all great for supporting multi-location inventory. But what if you’re using a 3PL? If you're using a dropshipping app or fulfillment service, the default address of your store is set as your default location. Shopify isn't connected to 3PL locations, meaning you need to rely on the external WMS of your warehouse to get visibility—if you need order data, you need to go through your 3PL to retrieve.

Partnering with a 3PL that offers a wide warehouse network can enable brands the flexibility needed to deliver with the necessary speed.

Another drawback is if you activate multi-origin shipping, the action cannot be undone in Shopify—you can’t switch back to single-origin shipping. This type of permanency may cause brands that are in the early stages of scaling to hesitate to “turn on” such an important feature.

How to Best Incorporate Your 3PLs

Over 90% of consumers consider two- to three-day shipping as the baseline for meeting expectations. Partnering with a 3PL that offers a wide warehouse network can enable brands the flexibility needed to deliver with the necessary speed.

There is absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel here. You can keep using Shopify, while having oversight of both their fulfillment locations and your 3PL warehouse(s).

With ChannelApe’s inventory management and order fulfillment capabilities, you can split shipments to meet customer expectations, route orders to preferred shipping carriers, and provide proactive tracking support—all from one central hub. Utilizing our native Shopify 3PL connector, you can easily build out your fulfillment network utilizing pre-configured 3PL partners or your own fulfillment locations.

Of course, fulfillment is nothing if your brand struggles to keep an accurate count of its inventory. Only real-time inventory visibility can reduce latency between the customer making an order and that order arriving. How? ChannelApe helps you effortlessly pinpoint where inventory sits across its journey (incoming inventory, returns, etc.) and provides automatic, accurate counts for all your statuses of inventory (on hand, on order, committed, reserve, etc.).

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