Shopify’s New & Improved Order Routing

General / Thoughts

Shopify is about to launch a new and improved Order Routing UI that brings further control to merchants over their fulfillment process on the platform. Here, we look at some of the features and functions of this release and what it means for online merchants of all sizes, as Shopify continues its march toward ecommerce domination.

Out with the Old

Shopify has long since run their shipping and fulfillment services under a simple premise: Keep it simple. Merchant’s set a primary or default location and orders are fulfilled from that location so long as there is stock available, after which it defers to the next prioritized location. This is referred to as their “Preferred Locations” model, and in a few short weeks it will be a thing of the past.

In with the New

Smart Order Routing (Also known as Location Prioritization 2.0) is a complete overhaul of the existing fulfillment location prioritization, doing away with default locations and creating a robust UI for creating complex shipping rulesets based on proximity to customer, destination market, minimizing split fulfillments and preferred locations. Each of these options can be added and ranked to create a truly unique system that can fit any merchant’s needs. Smart Order Routing works by automatically applying these rules to an order and then prioritizing locations based on the results. The locations with the highest priority ranking are selected to fulfill the order based on the provided rules.

Rules run from top to bottom, and each rule is compounded with the former. If a rule fails or no shipment locations are found, it will proceed through the list until it is either found fulfillable or determined that it cannot be fulfilled.

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Locations and Markets

Easily the most exciting set of features are related to Customer Location and Market. The service of shipping from the closest location or in the country/region of the customer has generally required at minimum a 3PL or ERP system integrated into Shopify, but this piece of the fulfillment puzzle has now been added directly to the platform itself. Location based shipping works by geocoding the user’s address in checkout and determines the closest location by measuring distance in a straight line using the Haversine formula. For Markets, it takes into account existing Shopify Markets and shipping zones on the merchant’s store selects the location based on country, state, province, or region. You can learn more about Shopify Markets and how to set up profiles and zones here.

Checkout and API

Checkout isn’t the only place to leverage this new subset of features. Each of the cart shipping rates API’s have also been updated to accept the customer’s location to generate real time rates and service before the checkout experience. This location is accepted in the form of 2 new parameters (Lat and Lng) so to take advantage of these new features on the storefront you will need to leverage your preferred geocoding provider.

Though currently limited to select partners and stores, Smart Order Routing will begin a wide rollout later this month. If you would like to learn more about this new service and begin planning your shipping future with Shopify, you can read more here.




Aaron Smith

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