Order Manager Help Guide
This is an intro to how to use our Order Automation Service, known as Channel Manager. This guide is primarily for getting started using the service, so if you have not yet purchased Order Automation and want an overview on the product and pricing visit this page.
Table of Contents:
- Quick Video Overview
- Supported Suppliers & Platforms
- Simple Walk Through
- Common Processes
- Common Issues
- Frequently Asked Questions
- General Terminology
Quick Video Overview:
If you are unfamiliar with our Order Automation Software: Channel Manager, here is a helpful video overview.
*The rest of this documentation pertains to customers that have purchased our Order Automation Service. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get started*
Supported Suppliers & Platforms
- For a list of suppliers and platforms, we have already integrated with our Order Automation service click the link below
- Order Automation Supported Suppliers & Platforms
Simple Walk Through:
- First, you’ll login to Channel Manager by using the following information:
- Visit: cm.inventorysource.com
- Email: <same as your InventorySource.com email>
- Password: <same as your InventorySource.com password>
Please note: If you change your email or password on either Channel Manager or InventorySource.com, then your password will update in both locations.
“Process” and “Resolve” new orders that you’ve received.
To submit new orders to your supplier, you’ll need to process orders in Channel Manager. Channel Manager automates most of the fulfillment process, but you’ll still need to click the green “Process” button on the “Process Orders” page inside Channel Manager. This is important, because if you don’t do this, then the orders will never be received by your supplier.
NOTE: We require that our customer's login to process orders to prevent fraudulent orders from being automatically submitted by outside groups. If an $2,000 order goes through, you want to be certain that it’s a legitimate purchase!
Processing Unresolved Orders:
For orders, that are “Unresolved”, you’ll need to resolve them before you can process them. Unresolved orders happen for various reasons and it essentially means that there’s a problem with the order. The Unresolved Error will show as a red “Resolve” button, which will require you to fix the error prior to processing.
For more information on common errors encountered, please visit the “Common Issues” section of this site.
Your Order History Page
Inside of Channel Manager, you can check on the status of orders, by clicking “Order History” on the left-hand navigation bar. Order History will show you the status of each order. Additionally, if tracking information is available for the order, you’ll be able to view it here, this tracking information will also be passed back to your store and sent to your customer in an automated fashion. This is one of the key benefits of using Channel Manager.
That’s it! That covers the basics of using Channel Manager.
Common Processes & Automated Services
Channel Manager offers some specific automated functions that are important to understand. This functionality has been developed to save you time and make the order management process more seamless. It’s important that you understand these so that you know how to use Channel Manager to really improve your business process.
Pulling Orders Into Channel Manager
Channel Manager automatically pulls orders from your store into Channel Manager every hour. Channel Manager is scheduled to automatically pull in orders regularly so that all orders are already available for processing when you login. When a new order comes in, you should receive an email notification from your shopping cart.
However, when you login to Channel Manager, there’s a possibility that you won’t see the order because the order was just submitted within only the last few minutes. This simply means the automated service hasn’t pulled the orders in yet. If this happens, simply click the yellow “Import Orders” button and the orders will populate into Channel Manager.
How Orders Are Delivered to Your Supplier
Orders are only delivered to your supplier when you click “Process” and see the order status change inside of Channel Manager. When you successfully process your orders, you are essentially submitting a text file (.txt) to the supplier's software, which will then be pulled into their order management software for processing.
How Orders Are Updated in Channel Manager
After an order is received by the supplier, the supplier will return a few different status updates. The most common order status updates are:
- Order Confirmation (Order Received)
- Shipping Confirmation (Order Sent)
- Tracking Information (Order Tracking Details)
Each time the order status changes inside of Channel Manager, the status will also update on your store. What the status is changed to in your store is largely dependent on how the Supplier changes the Order Status. Channel Manager receives the status updates, renames it to match your store’s settings, and then updates your store with the appropriate status. Although this sounds complicated, the main thing you need to know
The Master Controls are the settings that are configured by Inventory Source when we first setup your Channel Manager account. We generally advise not tampering with these settings. However, in limited situations, it may be necessary to review your settings.
Under the "gear" icon in the top/right corner of your screen, you'll see a link for "Suppliers" and "Channels". These are the Master controls. You are welcome to review the settings, however, please don't make changes without first communicating with an Inventory Source representative.
Shipping Mapping Errors:
You can overcome this by simply editing the order details and selecting a shipping method.
Missing Tracking Information:
When tracking information isn't available in Channel Manager, either the supplier hasn't yet shipped the item or the supplier failed to confirm the tracking information for the order. Generally, we advise giving new orders 24 hours and waiting until the next business day. Many suppliers don't ship on weekends which would also result in order tracking information not being available.
If it's been 2-3 business days since the order was submitted, we recommend emailing our staff. We'll look into the issue. If necessary, we'll advise you to contact your supplier.
Orders Not Pulling into Channel Manager:
There are a few reasons orders may not pull into Channel Manager:
- You changed the order status in your store - Channel Manager will not recognize order statuses if you have changed them. Therefore when a new order comes in, your very first action should be to login to Channel Manager and Process the order.
- Your settings are blocking unidentified Prefixes - Channel Manager offers a setting that will control whether Channel Manager will pull in ALL orders or only orders with designated SKU Prefixes.
I'm not able to process an order:
If an order won't process, then there are a couple of potential issues. Here are the things you must check:
- Is the order "Unresolved"? If so, you'll need to edit details on the order itself.
- Is the order a duplicate? Sometimes if you change the Order number or change the status in your store manually
Frequently Asked Questions:
My order has not been confirmed by the supplier yet. Why not?
Once submitted, the order confirmation should be received within only a few minutes. There are a few instances where orders can take longer to process - Later afternoon, evenings and weekends are all times that orders can take longer. If it has been longer the 24 hours, you should certainly look into it. Something has happened to prevent the confirmation from being passed back to Channel Manager. The best thing to do is email Inventory Source first. It is most likely that we will direct you to contact the supplier directly, but sometimes we can resolve the issue before you take those steps.
I know an order was placed, but I can’t see it in Channel Manager yet. What can I do?
Importing orders from your store to Channel Manager is very easy.
If you click “Import Orders” and still don’t see the orders, then something likely went wrong. It could be one of the following things:
- The order wasn't submitted completely by the customer. Sometimes customers will send an email that they never received a confirmation, when in fact they didn't complete the checkout process.
- You already changed the order “Status” in your store, therefore Channel Manager doesn’t recognize it and can’t pull it in.
- The order doesn’t have any recognizable items. Channel Manager was designed to only import orders that you design it to. This is largely based off the SKU Prefix system.
If neither of these cases are correct, then there may be another unidentified problem. Please contact our support team with your questions and we will look into it.
I don't want all orders pulled into Channel Manager. How can I ensure this?
We generally advise not changing your Master Controls (see above for more info), but you can confirm that your settings are correct.
- Click "Channels" under the "gear" icon at the top/right corner of the Channel Manager page.
- Click "Step 2 of 3: Supplier Settings".
- View the toggle switch next to "Only pull matching suppliers orders"
- On - This will only pull in orders matching suppliers items that match the SKU prefix.
- Off - This will pull ALL orders into Channel Manager regardless of SKU prefix.
If you are unsure of which setting to choose, please contact our team. We'll be happy to discuss your best options and configure your settings for you.
How does Channel Manager identify products to know which supplier to send them to?
When using Inventory Automation, we load products to your store. These products are loaded with a unique SKU (unique identifying number). In this SKU, we add a two letter Prefix to make it easy for our software to identify which products are from which supplier.
Channel Manager has been developed to identify SKU prefixes in orders and import those orders that have the correct prefixes.
What is a State Code?
A state code is simply the abbreviation for each state. For example, the state code for Florida is "FL". In Washington DC the state code is "DC".
Here is a complete list. Look at the "ANSI" column on this Wikipedia page:
How can I remove an item from a customer order?
When orders come through, sometimes they contain items that you don’t want to order. Or maybe you want to order the items but they need to be ordered from a different supplier.
The easiest way to remove unwanted products from orders is to mark them “Manually Processed” inside of Channel Manager. To do this:
- Click “Process Orders”
- Click “Edit” on the order you wish to edit
- Under “Status”, Select “Manually Processed” next to the items you wish to prevent from being included in your order.
- Click “Update” on that specific item.
- Close the current window (“Order Detail”) by clicking the gray “X”.
- Click the green “Process” button to submit the order to the supplier.
This process will submit all of the items, except for those that you’ve marked “Manually Processed”. Additionally, it will change the product status to look like this:
How are Purchase Order (PO) number generated?
PO numbers originate from the channel/platform that you are using. Since PO numbers are generated differently by different stores, there is no standard method for how PO numbers "look". Here are a couple examples:
- Amazon PO Format: 012-3017222-8372352
- Shopify PO Format: 123456-2652412741
Additionally, depending on the supplier, sometimes we'll add a customer identification number to the beginning of the PO to assist us with identifying which orders belong to which customers. In the above Shopify example, we've added "123456" in place of where we would add the customer number.
My supplier has multiple warehouses - how will orders be processed?
Some suppliers have more than one warehouse. In these instances, Channel Manager will determine which warehouse has the highest quantity in stock when a particular product is ordered. Then Channel Manager will submit the individual items to that warehouse. After the order is shipped, channel Manager will then pass back tracking information on a per-item basis. This way, you’ll know exactly which items were shipped from where and to which location.
Note: If all warehouses are out-of-stock, our system will choose one warehouse as the default warehouse, and place the order with that warehouse. The reasoning behind this is that at least you’ll be notified from the supplier that the order failed.
My order was processed at the incorrect warehouse, why?
The item is probably out of stock. Channel Manager only sends orders to the incorrect warehouse when it cannot find the item in stock at any of the supplier's warehouses. The software will instead, send the order to the default warehouse, which is an arbitrarily chosen warehouse. This may make it look like it was sent to the wrong warehouse, but it was likely determined to be out of stock and Channel Manager just processed it at a whichever warehouse is considered the default warehouse in our system.
For example, with Honest Green the default warehouse is the Philadelphia (PHI) warehouse because it is the where new accounts originate.
What is Shipping Mapping? How can I configure it?
Shipping Mapping is the process of aligning your own shipping options with the shipping options of your supplier. Since your website shipping terminology is likely different than your supplier's shipping terminology, we’ve created a tool that links these to different settings together.
For example. On your store, you may give customers a “Free Shipping” option. However, when an order is submitted to your supplier, the supplier won’t understand what “Free Shipping” means. Suppliers have straightforward shipping options such as “UPS Ground” and “USPS First Class”. So, we’ll essentially tell the supplier that “Free Shipping” means to ship the product using the “UPS Ground” shipping option.
Don’t worry though, we configure your Shipping Mapping settings inside of Channel Manager when you first sign-up with Channel Manager. You just need to be aware of which shipping options your supplier offers.
After you click the "Shipping Mapping" button, you will be directed the following window:
As you can see, you can use whatever text name you want on your store and map it to whichever shipping option you want that your supplier offers. You can also add/edit/remove settings.
What is a Shipping Mapping Error? How can I fix it?
If you get a Shipping Mapping Error it means that your store shipping settings aren’t aligning with the shipping setting that you have in your Channel Manager account.
To resolve a Shipping Mapping Error, you’ll need to manually edit the order details and update the “Mapped Shipping Method” for this order. See below:
What is a real test order? Why do I have to submit one?
After we’ve done our training call, we’ll request that you submit a real test order. This is a real order that you’ll submit through your store as if you were a customer. Then, you’ll process the order in Channel Manager and await delivery. We require this because it’s a great training tool. You’ll get to see the entire process from start to finish.
We suggest ordering something small, preferably an item that is only $3-4. This will give you a good first-time experience with the software and ensure that you’re ready to start processing orders. Additionally, it will ensure that your order settings are correctly set.
What happens during a Kickoff Call?
A kickoff call is a phone call that one of our representatives will do with you or your designated staff. It’s essentially an introductory phone call to walk you through Channel Manager. During the phone call, you can expect to discuss the following things:
- How to login to Channel Manager.
- How to check for new orders.
- How to process orders.
- How to resolve “Unresolved” orders.
- How to check order history.
- A general overview of what Channel Manager does.
- What order statuses mean.
- How Channel Manager fits into your business process.
When a customer comes to an online store, they’ll often see various shipping options such as “Free Shipping” or “Flat Rate Shipping”. When they order the item, this shipping option is submitted with the order. However, when the order is submitted to the supplier for fulfillment, the supplier does not have a “Free Shipping” option. The supplier doesn't know what "Flat Rate Shipping" even means. Therefore, you (the reseller) must identify how you want this item shipped. You are mapping your shipping settings to the supplier's shipping options.
Here are a few examples:
Free Shipping >> UPS Ground
Flat Rate Shipping >> UPS Ground
Overnight Delivery >> USPS First Class Mail
International Shipping >> USPS International Shipping
As you can see, your option is on the left is pointing to the Suppliers option on the right.
We offer two ways to set your Shipping Mapping settings:
- You can set your default options. This way Channel Manager automatically recognizes your shipping mapping selections and automatically fills in what the shipping should be.
- You can select the shipping options per order. This requires more manual work. With each customer order that comes in, all orders will be marked as "Unresolved" and you will need to manually choose the shipping setting if there are no default settings in place.
If you change your shipping options on your store, be sure to update them in Channel Manager too, or else you'll need to start manually adding shipping for each new order that comes in with the unidentified shipping option.
SKU: (Stock Keeping Unit)
A Stock Keeping Unit is a unique product identifier that anyone can make. Each supplier has their own SKUs for each product, whereas Universal Product Codes (UPC’s) are used across entire industries. Also, SKU's can contain letters, where UPC's typically only contain numbers. It’s common for different suppliers to have different SKU’s for the same items - but the same UPC is used for these same items.
Two letters added on to the SKU. These two letters are used to identify the supplier of the SKU
Order Number: The order number is specific to Shopify Stores. Since Shopify generates both an Order Number and Order ID, we've decided to pull both pieces of information into Channel Manager to make it easier for our customers to track orders if they need to.
Order Statuses change based on actions that the supplier takes on the customers order. For example, when the order is received by the supplier, they will send back a confirmation to Channel Manager verifying that the order has been received.
- “Processed - Sent to Supplier” - Order has been submitted to the supplier.
- “InProcess” - Order has been received and confirmed by supplier
- “Complete” - Order has been shipped
A bill number indicates that you owe someone else money. It looks similar to an Invoice number, except a bill shows ownership of money owed. Bill Numbers can contain one or more purchase order numbers, depending on how current the account is and how many invoices are outstanding. By issuing a bill with a bill number, you're essentially saying "Bill me for the products I'm purchasing!".
Purchase Order (PO) Number:
A purchase order is a buyer-generated document that both authorizes a purchase transaction and acts as an agreement that the buyer agrees to purchase products at a set price. When you purchase items from a buyer, a unique number is generated to identify this order. Purchase orders are generally the same when a group of different items are ordered at the same time. Purchase orders should be unique for different orders because different orders are placed at different moments in time and may, therefore, have different pricing.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of this information listed above please don't hesitate to ask.
Steps to submit a support ticket:
- Login to your InventorySource.com account.
- At the bottom of the left-hand panel, you'll see "Help"
- Under Help, click “Contact Us”.
- Fill in your question and submit your ticket.
Our staff will respond within 24-48 hours. Please try to be as specific as possible about your question, including the Batch you are working on, which error you’re seeing, etc.