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How to Optimize Shopify Order Fulfillment with Multiple Shipping Locations?

by Aditya Patel |

Prompt delivery is crucial for success in today's retail industry. One recent study shows that 80% of online shoppers now anticipate same-day or next-day shipping options from their preferred retailers. Shopify retailers are also dedicated to providing speedy delivery, but they face limitations due to delivery costs and distances. Therefore, it's necessary to locate inventory closer to customers to ensure fast Shopify order fulfillment.

One avenue of locating inventory closest to the customer is through multi-node fulfillment. Through this Shopify order fulfillment strategy, Shopify retailers can take advantage of multiple shipping locations and ship the order to the customer’s address from any of the locations. With strategic planning, only four locations are needed to guarantee 2 Day Delivery. For instance, a major footwear retailer in the US has warehouses situated in Fontana (CA), Laredo (Texas), Bloomington (CA), and Edison (New Jersey), which enables them to reach 80% of US customers within two days.

While adopting a multi-node fulfillment strategy can help retailers reach more customers and reduce shipping times, this approach also comes with significant challenges. Let us explore these challenges in detail and take a look at strategies to help retailers optimize their Shopify order fulfillment processes with multiple shipping locations.

Managing Inventory Across Multiple Locations

Shopify merchants must keep a close eye on their inventory levels across all their locations to ensure prompt Shopify Order Fulfillment. This avoids the risk of underselling or overselling their inventory. Retailers managing inventory across Shopify multiple shipping locations need a reliable Order Management System (OMS) with real-time inventory tracking capabilities. This system should seamlessly integrate with the Warehouse Management System (WMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Point of Sale (POS). Integrating these systems with the OMS provides accurate and up-to-date inventory information for all locations and automatically syncs data with Shopify. With this integration, inventory levels are consistent across all platforms, making order routing more straightforward and improving Shopify's overall efficiency in retail processes.

Additionally, the OMS should also have store inventory management features, including inventory receiving, cycle-counting, and logging inventory variance to provide retailers with precise visibility of sellable inventory across all locations. To determine the available inventory for online sales, the OMS should subtract any inventory reserved as safety stock, threshold stock, orders in the brokering queue, and inventory at excluded facilities from the physical quantity on hand. This guarantees that the available inventory across Shopify multiple shipping locations accurately reflects the stock available on Shopify for customers to buy.

Dynamic Order Routing

By opening multiple shipping locations, Shopify retailers can bring themselves closer to their customers. This makes it possible for them to offer faster delivery times and better customer experiences. However, Shopify's current order routing workflows are inflexible, and fulfillment locations are prioritized sequentially. As a result, Shopify retailers need an intelligent order routing solution that lets them create custom order routing rules based on their enterprise business needs. 

To optimize order routing, retailers require an automated system that considers inventory levels, shipping costs, and delivery times. Based on these factors, the system should automatically route orders to the most appropriate fulfillment locations. This will enable Shopify retailers to reduce shipping costs and improve delivery times, leading to greater customer satisfaction.

Fulfillment of Orders

Shopify Order fulfillment from multiple shipping locations demands efficiency and accuracy to avoid any delays. In order to fulfill customer orders effectively, retailers must ensure that their store associates are equipped with Fulfillment software and apps, like the fulfillment app, BOPIS fulfillment app, and Picking app. These tools can help enable quick and precise Shopify order fulfillment.

Customers have high expectations for tracking their online orders and expect frequent updates on their shipment's location. Shopify order fulfillment from multiple shipping locations can make tracking complicated, but it's important to give customers visibility into their order status. To achieve this efficiently, an OMS must integrate seamlessly with third-party logistic systems. This integration allows the OMS to generate shipping labels and receive real-time tracking updates, ensuring customers have accurate and up-to-date information on their order's progress. 

Leveraging Third-party Fulfillment Centers

Shopify retailers can have more control and flexibility in Shopify order fulfillment by having their own multi-node fulfillment centers. However, managing these Shopify multiple shipping locations can be challenging due to staffing, expenses, and administrative tasks. To ease this burden, retailers can partner with third-party logistics (3PL) providers or on-demand fulfillment and warehousing companies like Ware2go. These outsourcing solutions provide specialized resources and expertise, allowing retailers to focus on their core business while leaving the warehousing and fulfillment operations to reliable external partners.

When third-party fulfillment centers are involved, it's crucial for the OMS to seamlessly integrate with their systems. By doing so, the OMS can obtain real-time inventory snapshots of the products stored there and accurately calculate their availability. To ensure timely Shopify order fulfillment, the OMS must intelligently route them to the appropriate third-party fulfillment centers. After the orders have been shipped, the OMS must retrieve fulfillment status updates from the third-party warehousing systems and promptly communicate them back to Shopify. This way, customers receive accurate and up-to-date tracking information for their orders.

Managing Multiple Shipping Locations with HotWax Commerce

Managing inventory and fulfilling orders from Shopify multiple shipping locations is a challenging task. For Shopify retailers to fulfill orders accurately and efficiently, a robust inventory management system and OMS should be in place. HotWax Commerce OMS connects with POS, WMS, and third-party fulfillment center systems to keep track of inventory in real time across all fulfillment locations. This connectivity helps reduce inventory discrepancies and operating costs while ensuring maximum inventory availability and profitability. Additionally, through its smart order routing engine, retailers can customize routing rules, enabling them to have greater control over the shipping of their products.

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Connect with a HotWax Commerce team member to learn more about how HotWax Commerce OMS enables Shopify retailers to utilize multi-node locations and fulfillment centers.