Multi-distro inventory functionality is a channel level setting that applies to both marketplace and shopping cart channels.
The idea behind multi-distro inventory is sending real time updates either using shipping templates - which is the case for the marketplaces such as Amazon or Walmart - or assigning shipping groups for shopping cart channels such as BigCommerce, which later on are used by additional applications such ShipperHQ to set product inventory availability rules that be communicated to shoppers before checkout. This information can be handling and delivery times, the cost of shipping to the shopper’s shipping address and other relevant information about shipping and fulfillment.
To use the multi-distro functionality with StoreAutomator the first step would be to create a fulfillment strategy. Depending on available warehouses, shipping options and carriers and the channel shopper’s expectations of these, the strategy may differ by company or even by channel.
Once your strategy is in place, the following prerequisite settings need to be completed:
- Adding available warehouses to StoreAutomator. For more on this click here.
- Updating inventory availability of products in each warehouse. More on this here.
- Assigning warehouses to channels that the multi-distro inventory functions would be effective. More on this here.
The next step would be to set up multi-distro inventory settings per channel.
The example below shows that the company has three warehouses geographically located East Coast, West Coast and Midwest.
The shipping templates are created in the marketplace channel based on the different scenarios of product availability in given time in these three different warehouses.
Please note StoreAutomator will sync these available shipping templates from the marketplace channel and make it available to use in the Shipping template Matrix.
For example, if a product is only available in the East Coast warehouse then StoreAutomator will update the shipping template with the name called EastCoast Fulfillment. The customer on this marketplace checking this product will see different delivery times, carrier, shipping cost or combination of all depending on the shipping address they choose during checkout.
In this EastCoast example, if the customer intends to buy a product that is located in the state of New York based on the shipping template settings they may expect to receive the orders to arrive in 2 business days with a free shipping option. However, if the customer is located in California they may need to pay a 2nd day delivery fee.
Once the multi-distro inventory is activated for the channel StoreAutomator will make regular product level shipping template updates to that marketplace API to set the expectation for the shopper before placing an order on that marketplace or shopping cart channel.