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Lesson 4 - Fulfillment nodes and flow of orders

 

Fulfillment nodes


Fulfillment nodes is just a way JET refers to their distributions centers, warehouses from which products are shipped. Jet allows merchants to specify in which warehouse across the country a product is located, so that JET can determine from which warehouse (fulfillment node) an item should be shipped to deliver it the fastest and the cheapest way to a buyer. When a new order is placed, JET indicates from which fulfillment node a product should be shipped.

Sellers can create many fulfillment nodes in Partner.Jet.com > Fulfillment, and they can see those nodes in their GeekSeller panel. The example below shows a merchant with four fulfillment nodes. This particular product is located only in two warehouses.

 

Walmart does not allow creating multiple fulfillment nodes and specifying where a product is located. Walmart is only asking for a single product qty available. On Walmart the same product will look like this:

When an order is placed GeekSeller adjusts qty on the nodes. When a product had qty 0, a products is hidden from buyers on a marketplace.

 

 

Qty synchronization


There are multiple methods to update qty of products. In the most basic form, sellers can update qty manually via GeekSeller interface. However, this does not work for larger merchants selling on multiple marketplaces and having a dynamic inventory. They need this process to be more automated.

EDI. One option is to do this via EDI. GeekSeller creates a space on its server, a folder protected by a password, where a merchant can upload a file with qty of its products (see details here). Merchants have their software generating a simple txt or csv with information about qty available for each SKU in their catalog. The file is copied to this seller's folder on GeekSeller server then read by GeekSeller script and data added to GeekSeller database. From here GeekSeller script is using API to submit qty information to Jet.com.

 

 

Amazon. Most sellers use Amazon and they want to synchronize their inventory between Amazon and JET. GeekSeller can directly via Amazon API connect to Amazon seller's accounts, get information about qty, insert it into GeekSeller database and then transfer to Jet.com.

Other. In a similar fashion, GeekSeller can also synchronize qty between our database and seller's Shopify or BigCommerce stores.

Walmart. Walmart does not have multiple fulfillment nodes, but just on information about how much qty of a given SKU is available. GeekSeller is able to combine few nodes information and send this data to Walmart as one number. This allows merchants to list products on JET and Walmart and keep their qty synchronized across all platforms.

GeekSeller can read data with any frequency if needed, but usually we read qty every 2 hours. 2 hours is also a limit of how often can Amazon provide via API information about qty of FBM products. Then we also submit new data about qty to JET, on average we do that every 2 hours.

 

Fulfilling orders


When a new order is placed on JET and Walmart, both of those systems keep the information about the order in their database. GeekSeller connects every 10 minutes to JET and Walmart and checks for new orders. When there is a new order, it has a status of READY. GeekSeller brings this order to its database and checks if this order can be fulfilled - if there is enough qty of products. If a seller has enough qty, GeekSeller accepts an order changing its state to ACKNOWLEDGED.

JET orders flow:

Purchase Buyer places an order of JET.com
 ▼  
 Order status: CREATED  JET performs fraud check
 ▼   
Order status: READY  JET waits for GeekSeller to either acknowledge fulfillment of the order or canceling it. The decision is done based on the qty available.
  ▼   
Order status: ACKNOWLEDGED    GeekSeller accepted an order and it should be fulfilled by the seller. A buyer can cancel an order within 45min after the order is acknowledged, GeekSeller recommends to do not fulfill it during this time. Acknowledged orders are also those which GeekSeller sends for fulfillment to 3rd party systems such as ShipStation, ShipWorks etc.
 
Order status: COMPLETE  If a seller provides tracking number for the order it is marked as complete: shipped, but it can be also complete canceled if a seller decides to cancel it. Canceling an order in this stage has a negative impact of sellers account's profile on JET. 
 
Refund/Return   An order can be refunded or returned.

If a merchant does not have enough qty, GeekSeller cancels the order. This does not happen often, because when a merchant has 0 qty for a product, GeekSeller sends this data to Jet, so Jet knows this seller does not have this product. However, sometimes due to delays in transmitting data between systems, Jet may still have in its database that a seller has a given product, so it sends an order to be fulfilled. However, GeekSeller having the most updated data about qty will cancel it. This is okay to do that, this is how it works, Jet just requires GeekSeller to check for new orders and either acknowledge them or Deny within 15 minutes.

After the order is acknowledged, a seller receives an email notification, see a sample email below:

 

At this point merchant needs to generate a label for the shipment by going to the ORDERS section in GeekSeller, providing a tracking number for an order and clicking SHIP. Both JET and Walmart require to ship products within 24 hours, unless a seller indicated longer handling time for its products. See more how to complete JET orders, and how to complete Walmart orders.

If a merchant sells a lot of products per day, they can make this process easier by exporting order to CSV or XLS file (a button is available in the ORDERS section), then insert tracking numbers to a file and import a file with tracking numbers back to the system.

However, for merchants with large amount of products more automation is needed.

 

Amazon FBA. GeekSeller has an extension allowing us to fulfill JET orders with FBA. If an order placed on JET is for a product located on a seller's FBA account, we submit to FBA an order. FBA fulfills this order, sends tracking data to GeekSeller and GeekSeller send tracking information to JET.  Please note, Walmart does not allows for fulfilling Walmart orders via FBA because Amazon ships boxes with its logo; JET is fine with that, Walmart not. 

When a new order comes, sellers see in the subject line for which fulfillment node the order is. If it is for FBA and they have an automation active on their account, they know it will be fulfilled automatically and no action is required on their end. If a subject line indicates that an order is placed for a product located in their warehouse (or FBM), they know they need to ship it manually.

This is important to note here, that for FBM orders, seller needs to manually adjust qty on Amazon. We have an option for GeekSeller making adjustments automatically, but it is a tricky option, which is not good for most merchants. See this video.  For FBA no action is needed, when GeekSeller places an order on Amazon to ship a product via FBA, Amazon automatically adjusts qty on their end.

QTY on FBM and FBA.

Products marked as FBM are products that seller sends manually. Amazon does not care from where they are sent. Products marked as FBA are stored in Amazon warehouses, so Amazon ships them to buyers. This impacts how seller adjusts qty for those two types of products. As much as a seller can login to Amazon and adjust its FBM product's qty (just because more products were added to his warehouse), to change FBA products qty, seller must send those products to Amazon, and Amazon will adjust it. This is also why GeekSeller does not need to change manually qty of FBA products, we only read information about qty of FBA products. When an order is placed on Amazon for FBA product, Amazon is shipping it and reducing qty count, then when GeekSeller reads it again we see a proper decreased number. This is different for FBM. When somebody buys FBM product on JET, GeekSeller just sends information about that to a seller, and a seller must manually ship it from their warehouse and manually reduce a count on Amazon panel.

Qty updates limitations
GeekSeller cannot update qty FBM qty on Amazon easily, because Amazon API allows to only to overwrite qty information, we cannot request Amazon to reduce qty by 1 for FBM product. This is why as default we ask sellers to manually adjust qty for their FBM products on Amazon when they sell something on JET.

GeekSeller can control FBM qty and reduce automatically, but this requires GeekSeller to have full control over the Amazon inventory. Please see the below two options for FBM qty updates that GeekSeller offers:

Option 1. GeekSeller reads FBM Qty information from Amazon, but does not change them on Amazon. So, every time you sell a product on JET, you need to manually adjust numbers on your Amazon account.

Option 2. If you choose this option, GeekSeller will become the central hub for your quantity information. When orders come in from Jet, GeekSeller automatically adjusts and then sends the updated information to Amazon. Likewise, when a sale is made on Amazon, GeekSeller will automatically see this and adjust the quantity on Jet. When you need to update your FBM inventory, you’ll do this in GeekSeller and the information will be sent to Amazon and Jet. Your FBA quantity will still be controlled by Amazon, but will also automatically update in GeekSeller and then Jet when adjustments are made.

*When choosing this option 2, please note that any FBM quantity adjustments made in Amazon will be overwritten by data coming over from GeekSeller.

 

 

ShipStation. This is the second most popular option for merchants to handle shipping. ShipStation is a software where merchants can easily generate labels, this is done thanks to SHipStation being connected to UPS, USPS, Fedex etc. GeekSeller sends order information to a seller's ShipStation account, a seller generates a label there, prints it and sends a package, ShipStation sends to GeekSeller a tracking number and GeekSeller sends this number to JET. In this case a seller does not need to login to GeekSeller, shipping is handled in ShipStation.

The most common settings is merchants creating two fulfillment nodes, one for FBM and one for FBA. They use GeekSellers's extension to do the qty synchronization between Amazon FBM and FBA and GeekSeller then JET. Then, they use the extension to fulfill automatically orders which some to FBM node and they request sending FBM orders to be submitted to ShipStation, so a seller can generate a label there and ship.

 

EDI. Similar to qty synchronization, GeekSeller also allows merchants to exchange data about orders. A seller can have a folder on GeekSeller's server where data about new orders in a file is stored. Seller's system can read this information, generate labels, and then put on GeekSeller server a file with tracking number information. GeekSeller will then read this data and submit to JET. In a simple terms - GeekSeller can communicate with 3rd party seller's systems by exchanging files containing data about orders. GeekSeller sends a file with information where to ship and what to Ship, 3rd party system inserts on our GeekSeller's server a file with order number that was shipped and tracking number for the order.

Shopify. GeekSeller allows also to send orders to Shopify where a user can mark them as shipped, this work on the same principle as ShipStation, data about an order is sent to Shopify and Shopify sends back to GeekSeller tracking numbers after it is available.

ShipWorks. One popular option for which GeekSeller has an extension for is ShipWorks which is similar to ShipStation. However, ShipWorks is a software users install on a computer, ShipStation is its kind of equivalents but online. ShipWorks requires GeekSeller to set it up for a customer.

 

For Walmart it all works the same way. The only difference is that orders cannot go to FBA, but to some other place (ShipWorks, ShipStation, Shopify,...).

 

Walmart orders flow (see also Walmart API doc)

Purchase Buyer places an order of Walmart.com
 ▼  
 Order status: CREATED Walmart waits for GeekSeller to either acknowledge fulfillment of the order or canceling it. The decision is done based on the qty available.
  ▼   
Order status: ACKNOWLEDGED    GeekSeller accepted an order and it should be fulfilled by a seller. Acknowledged orders are also those which GeekSeller sends for fulfillment to 3rd party systems such as ShipStation, ShipWorks etc.
 
Order status: COMPLETE  If a seller provides tracking number for the order it is marked as complete: shipped, but it can be also complete canceled if a seller decides to cancel it. Canceling an order in this stage has a negative impact of sellers account's profile on JET. 
 
Refund/Return   An order can be refunded or returned.