Explains what inventory allocation is, how to allocate and deallocate stock, what an allocation strategy is, and how to create one in ShipStation.
Allocation is the process of reserving inventory units for your orders in the Awaiting Shipment status, so you are always certain you have enough available stock.
This process is a core component of our Internal Inventory Management solution because it clarifies the difference between the stock you have on hand ('Stock'), the stock you need to ship your open orders ('Allocated'), and remaining stock you have available to sell ('Available').
You are not required to allocate stock to ship orders. Stock will be deducted as you ship, whether you have allocated it or not. But, if you ship only your allocated orders, you can be certain you have the stock you need to get those orders out the door!
To allocate one or more orders, make sure you have enabled your inventory tracking, then use the Allocation menu option in the Awaiting Shipment status of the Orders tab.
Select the order(s) you wish to allocate.
Click the Allocation drop-down in the Action bar and choose Allocate.
Or, click the Allocate button in the Order Details screen.
Every successful allocation affects the stock-related values on the Inventory grid (found by clicking the Products tab, and then Inventory in the left sidebar). Values in the Allocated column should have increased, while the Available values should have decreased. The Stock values won’t decrease until you create a shipping label.
An order is either fully allocated or it's not. You can't partially allocate an order. The idea is that you should only ship orders that are allocated because it's ShipStation's way of saying, "You've got enough stock to ship this!"
If you’ve oversold, ShipStation won’t have enough available stock to allocate all of your orders. In cases like these, ShipStation can allocate your priority orders first by using a customizable Allocation Strategy.
All allocation is manually triggered. ShipStation won’t automatically allocate as your orders import.
You can only allocate stock for all items in an order. You cannot partially allocate stock for an order.
If you've already allocated stock for your orders, but you no longer need to reserve the stock, you can deallocate the stock at either the order or product level.
Deallocation will release the inventory so it can be allocated to other orders, so the product can be deactivated, or so the warehouse location can be deleted.
If you no longer need to reserve stock for one or more orders, you can deallocate orders from the Orders grid.
When you deallocate stock from an order, all the products within the order will be deallocated. There is no way to partially allocate or deallocate an order.
To deallocate stock from your order(s):
Go to the Orders tab.
Select the order(s) you want to deallocate.
You can skip this step if you plan to deallocate all orders in the current view, or all orders in Awaiting Shipment.
Click the Allocation button, then choose Deallocate.
Choose whether you want to deallocate the selected order(s), all orders in the current view, or all orders in Awaiting Shipment.
After completing the above steps, the product(s) within the order(s) will be deallocated, and can be allocated to other orders as needed.
If you no longer need to have stock reserved for a specific product, you can deallocate the stock for any orders that include the product.
When you deallocate stock at the product level, any order that has the product allocated will have items in the order deallocated, including other products in the order. There is no way to partially allocate or deallocate an order.
To deallocate stock for a product:
Go to the Products tab, then the Inventory section.
Select the product you wish to deallocate.
Only one product can be deallocated at a time.
Alternatively, you can deallocate the product from the Product Details window.
Click on the product Name or SKU to open the Product Details window.
Go to the Inventory tab.
Click Deallocate under the Allocated Orders section.
After completing the above steps, all orders that include the product will be deallocated, and the product can be allocated to other orders as needed.
When you deallocate by product, ShipStation adds an alert that will identify which SKU was deallocated and provide a link to view the affected orders.
Your Allocation Strategy determines how ShipStation reserves (i.e. allocates) inventory for your Awaiting Shipment orders.
By default, ShipStation allocates inventory for your oldest orders first. But, if you've got reasons to prioritize some orders over others, then it's best to set up a custom allocation strategy with "tasks" that match those priorities.
Your allocation strategy can also have multiple tasks (for example, if you offer expedited shipping across all of your selling channels). The image below shows a task that prioritizes orders for their Shopify channel with these criteria: a Requested Service for the Marketplace that contains 'Expedited' in the buyer's requested shipping method:
Click the Prioritize inventory for ... button on the Allocation Strategy page and select an option from the drop-down menu:
Select an Allocation Task for your choice and then establish how to prioritize it (Oldest Orders, Newest Orders, Highest Order Total, Lowest Order Total).
Hover over any saved allocation task to reveal Edit and Remove options on the right.
Click-and-drag the tri-notch gripper (indicated below) to move tasks up or down and change their operation sequence.
Now that you're at the editor, try out the allocation tasks described above or use the Advanced option to create your own.
Your allocation strategy is now customized to match your fulfillment priorities.
To allocate Orders tagged, you must have created order tags.
Allocation tasks will skip over orders that can only be allocated partially.
ShipStation does not require you to allocate stock for you to be able to ship orders. ShipStation will deduct stock counts as you ship, whether the stock is allocated or not.