Can you use Shopify Locations for Dropshipping?


inventory Syncing in a Nutshell:

Shopify Locations allows you, the retailer, to set up several locations in Shopify. As such, you can monitor inventory and fulfill orders at each of your locations. Some examples of locations include: retail stores, warehouses, pop-up stores, and dropshippers. At its most basic level, however, a Shopify Location is anywhere in which you manage or stock inventory.

Equally, a Shopify Location can be an app where you: sell products, ship or fulfill orders, and stock inventory. Duoplane’s dropship automation software, for example, operates as a Shopify Location. 

How Does Shopify Locations Work?


Now that you understand what Shopify considers a location, let’s dive into how Shopify Locations actually work. 


Shopify assigns online orders and in-person sales to locations to ensure inventory quantities are accurate and updated in real time. Should a product be out of stock at one location, but another location has the same product in stock, Shopify will automatically split the order. Once the order is split, it will be fulfilled from multiple vendors in accordance to inventory levels.



Why Should I Consider Using Shopify Locations?

Multiple locations gives you better visibility into your inventory across your business. Shopify Locations is great for businesses that are starting out with multiple locations, as a limited number of locations are included with your Shopify plan. Furthermore, the system is able to automate routing decisions between locations for you, which can save you and your team a lot of time.
Shopify Locations let you distinguish between if a location is a warehouse, pop-up, retail store near the end customer, or a dropship location. It is especially useful if you have a retail location, as you can show the end customer what is in stock in your stores.
how duoplane works with shopify locations
A chart demonstrating how Duoplane works with Shopify Locations

Things to Consider Before Switching to Shopify Locations


Before making the leap to Shopify, there are some challenges and caveats you should be aware of. 


Firstly, if your business has many locations, you will need to upgrade your Shopifty plan, as each subscription has a location limit. As mentioned, this location maximum includes third party applications that sell products, ship or fulfill orders, and stock inventory. This includes dropshipping apps, third-party logistics services, and custom fulfillment services. 


Additionally, there are some challenges when it comes to vendor relationships. On Shopify, the only way to get inventory feeds directly from your vendor is through a CSV file. Similarly, you are unable to send purchase orders directly to vendors through Shopify. 


In terms of order routing, Shopify uses a very simple priority system to decide which location should fulfill your orders. Additionally, all of your locations must operate under the same SKUs and costs. 


Overall, Shopify Locations is a great system for handling the basics of multiple locations. If you do not have that many additional locations and are looking to leverage simple order routing technology, Shopify may be a great solution for you.


Are There Other Solutions for Retailers with Multiple Locations?


If your business has more advanced location needs than Shopify Locations can handle, there are solutions that may be better suited for you.


A dropship automation solution, like Duoplane, uses advanced order routing logic. This means that the system will automatically route orders to be fulfilled by the closest supplier or the lowest cost vendor depending on your preference. 


Unlike many alternatives, Duoplane allows unlimited suppliers at no extra cost. You can even customize how and when orders are sent to each supplier. For example, in the form of a PDF, CSV, XLS, and many more. Additionally, you have the ability to automate inventory feeds from suppliers and automate receiving tracking updates from suppliers. 


Should I use Shopify Locations for Dropshipping?

If you’re considering Shopify locations, they provide a great resource for basic multiple locations needs. This includes things like simple order routing and inventory visibility and management across suppliers. 
If you have more complex needs; however, we suggest looking at a more robust, sophisticated solution. Systems like Duoplane are able to complete the same tasks as Shopify Locations, but with much more. This includes intelligent routing decisions, automating inventory feeds and tracking updates from suppliers, customizing how and when orders are sent to suppliers, and an unlimited number of suppliers.   

Are you interested in learning how distributed warehousing and multiple locations can level up your ecommerce operations? Check out our complete guide here. 


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