All the Ways You Can Fulfill Orders on Shopify in 2024

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There are many nuances and methods to fulfilling orders on Shopify, so today we’re going to dive into the 8 main methods and the exact steps for completing each of them. 

 

Along the way, we’ll also explain how these Shopify fulfillment types work and when you can and can’t access some of them. So without wasting any more time, let’s begin with how to fulfill orders on Shopify automatically.

 

1. How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify Automatically

 

How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify Automatically

 

When you activate automatic fulfillment for certain orders, Shopify will automatically mark them as fulfilled after they’ve been paid for. However, this option is only available for digital gift cards, media or downloads. 

 

After making payment, customers who purchase such items will receive a download link from Shopify, and the order will be marked as fulfilled upon download. 

 

Now, here’s how to fulfill orders on Shopify automatically:

 

Head to the Orders section of your store.

Click on Settings.

Click on the Checkout Settings tab.

Navigate to the Order Processing section.

Locate the “After an order has been paid” section.

Select “Automatically fulfill the order’s line items.”

Save your settings when you’re done.

 

Before we move on to manual fulfillment, understand that while automatic fulfillment is simple and straightforward, it comes with risks. Enabling automatic fulfillment removes your ability to inspect orders for fraud before they ship, so you’re more susceptible to fraudulent chargebacks.

 

2. How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify Manually

 

Compared to automatic fulfillment, manual fulfillment is more flexible but more time-consuming because you have to individually address each order in your orders tab. 

 

Here’s how to fulfill orders on Shopify manually:

 

2.1 Fulfill Entire Orders Manually

 

Fulfill Entire Orders Manually

 

From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.

Click the order number of the order you want to fulfill.

 

If you ship from multiple locations and want to change the location you’re fulfilling your order from, click the “…” button on the fulfillment card, then select Change location. Note: You can only change the location for orders that require shipping, not local delivery or pickup orders.

 

Then perform one of the following:

If you’re using Shopify Shipping to buy a shipping label, select “Create shipping label.”

 

If you’re using a carrier other than Shopify Shipping, click “Fulfill item(s),” and enter the tracking number from your shipping provider. Shopify might recognize the tracking number format and choose a shipping carrier for you.

 

If there’s no carrier or if the wrong carrier was chosen, manually select your shipping carrier from the Shipping carrier drop-down menu. Once set, the tracking URL is displayed in the customer’s shipping confirmation and shipping update emails.

 

If you want to send a notification email to the customer, select “Send shipment details to your customer now.” However, the option is only available if you have the customer’s email address on file.

 

Click “Fulfill item(s)” to mark the order as Fulfilled. If you’re using Shopify Shipping, select a shipping service, and then click “Buy shipping label.”

 

2.2 Partial Order Fulfillment

 

Partial Order Fulfillment

 

When a customer places an order with multiple items, and one or more of those items are out-of-stock or a preorder, you can choose to fulfill part of the order and ship the items separately. 

 

If you’re using a carrier other than Shopify Shipping, follow these steps:

 

From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.

Click the order number of the order you want to fulfill.

 

Optional: If you ship from multiple locations and want to change the location you’re fulfilling your order from, click the “…” button on the fulfillment card, then select Change location. Choose the location you want to ship from and press Save.

 

Note: You can only change the location for orders that require shipping, not local delivery or pickup orders.

 

Click on “Fulfill item(s).”

On the Fulfillment page, change the number of products you want to fulfill for each line item in the Items section.

Lastly, enter the tracking number from your shipping provider in the Tracking information section. Once complete, the tracking URL displays in the customer’s Shipping confirmation and Shipping update emails.

 

If you’re making use of Shopify Shipping, follow these steps:

 

From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.

 

Click the order number of the order you want to fulfill.

 

To buy a shipping label from Shopify, select “Create shipping label.”

 

On the Fulfillment page, change the number of products you want to fulfill for each line item in the Items section.

 

Select a shipping method in the Shipping service section.

 

If you want to send a notification email to the customer, select “Send shipment details to your customer now.” However, the option is only available if you have the customer’s email address on file.

 

Click “Buy shipping label.” Afterward, the order screen updates to display the order’s Fulfilled and Unfulfilled items.

 

3. How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify for Multiple Locations

 

When a customer pays for an order containing multiple products, but one or more of the items are stored in different warehouses, you can fulfill parts of the order separately based on inventory location. You can also set location priorities to specify the priority sequence for order fulfillment.

 

How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify for Multiple Locations

 

From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.

 

Click the order number of the order you want to fulfill.

 

If the order can be fulfilled using the inventory at a single location, the unfulfilled orders section will display all of the items in the order listed together.

 

If the order can’t be fulfilled using the stock at a single location, then the unfulfilled orders section will display the available items listed by location.

 

Next, perform one of the following:

 

If you choose a carrier other than Shopify Shipping, select “Fulfill item(s),” and enter the tracking number from your shipping provider. Afterward, the tracking URL will display in the customer’s shipping confirmation and shipping update emails.

 

But if you’re using Shopify Shipping to buy a shipping label, click the fulfillment card and select “Create shipping label.”

 

If you want to send a notification email to the customer, select “Send shipment details to your customer now.” However, the option is only available if you have the customer’s email address on file.

 

Lastly, click “Fulfill item(s)” to mark the order as fulfilled. If you’re using Shopify Shipping, then select a shipping service, and then click “Buy shipping label.”

 

3.1 How to Change the Location of a Fulfillment Order on Shopify

 

If you want to change the location of a fulfillment order for reasons such as shipping costs, inventory availability, associated shipping costs, or because you need to switch to expedited delivery, you can change the location of unfulfilled orders to fulfill items in that order from a new fulfillment location.

 

  • From your Shopify admin, go to Orders.
  • Select the order that you want to change the location for.
  • Click the “…” button.
  • Click “Change location.”
  • From the Location drop-down menu, select a new fulfillment location.
  • In the Items section, click the up or down arrow to adjust the quantity and select the items that you want to change the fulfillment location for.
  • Click “Save.”

 

4. How to Split a Fulfillment on Shopify

 

How to Split a Fulfillment on Shopify

 

To get products to customers faster, Shopify lets you split orders and quantities into new fulfillment orders. For instance, if you suddenly discover that an item in an order is out-of-stock, you can remove it from the order so the remaining items can be delivered to customers without delay. You can then deliver the out-of-stock product in a later package.

 

  • From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.
  • Click the order you want to split a fulfillment for.
  • Press the “…” button.
  • Select “Split.”
  • Use the up or down arrow to adjust the quantity and select the items that you want to split.

 

5. How to Merge a Fulfillment on Shopify

 

How to Merge a Fulfillment on Shopify

 

Shopify also lets you merge multiple sets of orders from the same location into one line item and quantities. Merchants explore this option because in the right scenarios it can help you minimize shipping costs and simplify your fulfillment process.

 

  • From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.
  • Click the order you want to merge a fulfillment for.
  • Press the “…” button.
  • Click “Merge.”
  • Use the up or down arrow to adjust the quantity and select the items that you want to merge with an existing fulfillment in the same location.
  • Click “Merge.” Selected items are merged with an existing fulfillment in the same location.

 

6. How to Put a Fulfillment Order on Hold

 

How to Put a Fulfillment Order on Hold

 

6.1 Manual Fulfillment Holds

 

When issues arise such as stock outs or potentially fraudulent orders prevent you from fulfilling an order immediately, you may hold the fulfillment manually. Once you activate the fulfillment hold for the orders in question, your orders list will update, and those orders will have an On hold fulfillment status.

 

Note: If the order also contains an unfulfilled fulfillment, the orders list will reflect as unfulfilled instead of On hold.

 

These are the steps to put a fulfillment order on Hold. 

 

  • From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.
  • Click on the order that you want to place on fulfillment hold.
  • Click the “…” button.
  • Click on “Hold fulfillment.”
  • Select the specific products you want to hold.
  • After selecting the items, Shopify will prompt you to specify the reasons for the hold. Answer and click “Hold fulfillment.”

 

These are the steps to releasing a fulfillment order from Hold:

 

When you resolve the problems that stopped you from fulfilling the order previously, release the manual fulfillment hold. Once complete, the order fulfillment status changes to Unfulfilled.

 

  • From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.
  • Click on the order that you want to release from fulfillment hold.
  • Choose the specific items you want to release from fulfillment.
  • Click “Release fulfillment.”

 

Release fulfillment

 

6.2 System Fulfillment Holds

 

System fulfillment holds, on the other hand, are implemented when a software system places a fulfillment on hold automatically. For instance, when your store displays upsell offers to customers at checkout, the fulfillment status is configured to On hold until the customer checks out their order.

 

When the customer doesn’t complete checkout, then the order status remains On hold to allow the customer time to return to the order and complete their checkout.

 

For orders that are on hold, you can set aside inventory to fulfill the order later, but you can’t fulfill it until the hold is released and the fulfillment status is updated to unfulfilled.

 

There are four types of system holds:

 

  • Pending upsell offer
  • Pending Marketplace Partner authorization
  • Pending Markets Pro authorization
  • Unknown delivery date

 

Note: While you can override a system hold, Shopify says doing so might be a violation of the agreement you have with the party that placed the system fulfillment hold. So before canceling a system hold, review your contract and contact the party that implemented the hold.

 

7. Cancel a Fulfillment (Automatic and Manual Fulfillments)

 

Cancel a Fulfillment

 

When you cancel a fulfillment, the status of the order returns to Unfulfilled, and you can buy a new shipping label or create a new fulfillment for the order. However, If you have bought a shipping label, you must void it before you can cancel the fulfillment.

 

  • From your Shopify admin, visit the Orders page.
  • Click the number of the order that has a Fulfillment status of Fulfilled.
  • In the Fulfillments card, click the “…” button.
  • Click “Cancel fulfillment.”

 

Note: Canceling a fulfillment in Shopify admin doesn’t stop a fulfillment that’s in progress. If you use a fulfillment service, you must contact your service to cancel the fulfillment.

 

8. How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify with 3PL

 

How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify with 3PL

 

All Shopify merchants can choose to integrate a third-party fulfillment service to simplify and streamline their fulfillment process. While it comes at an additional cost, the benefit of this is that it frees up time for you to focus on core aspects of your business such as marketing, product development, and growth strategies.

 

Here’s how to fulfill orders in Shopify using a third-party fulfillment service:

 

  • Visit the Admin section of your store.
  • Enter Settings.
  • Click on Shipping and Delivery.
  • Head over to the Custom Order Fulfillment section.
  • Click “Add Fulfillment Service.”
  • In the form Shopify provides, enter all required details about your fulfillment partner.
  • Click “Save” afterward.

 

Once saved, head over to your unfulfilled orders and execute them using these steps:

 

  • Visit the Admin section of your store.
  • Click on Orders.
  • Like we covered earlier, sort unfulfilled orders by toggling the Fulfill By Date.
  • Click on an unfulfilled order and enter the Fulfillment Card.
  • Click “Request Fulfillment.”
  • Send the customer details to your 3PL.

 

Final thoughts 

 

And with that, we’ve covered all you need to know about the nuances of fulfilling orders on Shopify. If you’d love to see more step-by-step ecommerce guides such as this, visit the Globallyfulfill Blog where new articles and practical tips are posted every week.

 

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