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GLOSSARY

Stock location

A place where to store the goods or merchandise available for sale or distribution, before shipment


When you ship something you need to do it from somewhere. That’s why, to create your Market, you’re required to define at least one stock location. They may be physical space where you stock your goods, ready to be picked up by your shipping carriers. They can be just a resource that keeps track of the availability of your products.

The stock locations you create while setting up your Commerce Layer’s Organization contribute to defining your Inventory Model, which is one of the key elements of a Market.

A Commerce Layer’s stock location is defined by three simple pieces of data:

  • a name (the internal identifier for this resource within your organization)

and two addresses:

  • the from address is the physical address of your stock location, from which the shipping carriers will pick up shipments,
  • the return address is the one where shipments sent from that specific stock location can be returned to (it may be the same as the previous one or not).

Besides, you can also select the file format that will be used to print the shipping labels. At the moment, you can choose between four different formats:

  • PDF (default),
  • EPL2,
  • PNG
  • ZPL (select the latter if you’re using a Zebra printer).

Examples

A stock location can be associated both with a real place (such as a physical warehouse) and a virtual space. Let’s dive into some examples to better understand this distinction and why/when you should set up different stock locations.

Dedicated and shared ecommerce stocks

Let’s assume you’re the owner of a physical store with its physical warehouse. You want to increase your sales potential by starting an online business. First thing, you have to decide from where you want to ship the items ordered on your website. Therefore, this means you have to set up one or more stock locations.

Usually, you got three main options.

  • The easiest (let’s call it the omnichannel approach) one is to match the whole warehouse with a single stock location. The same will be shared between all your selling channels, regardless of whether the items sell online or offline.
  • A more organized solution is to split the items in your warehouse into two groups. The first one dedicated to your new ecommerce business. This is the only stock location you will need to configure. The other left aside for the offline selling.
  • An even more structured set-up is to associate the two group of items mentioned above to two stock locations. The first one still dedicated to the online selling. The other one now shared between ecommerce and offline channels. This one serves as a fallback stock when the requested items aren’t available from the online stock.

This last option is a first, simple way of arranging your stock locations in a hierarchy. If you want to go deeper into this topic, check the Inventory Model glossary entry). Fulfilling your orders starts with the goods registered in the dedicated one. Then the shared one only if/when they start to run out. In this case, the two stock locations will have the same address, with two different names within Commerce Layer.

Backorders

Another example of hierarchy stock location occurs when you decide to handle backorders.

A backorder is a customer order containing items unavailable in your main stock location but available - for instance - in 90 days from another one (the one handling the backorders). A backorder stock location can be seen as a virtual location, as you may not need to manage physical quantities of stock items.

Multiple shipping locations

One of the most common cases in which you need to set up more than one stock location is when you plan to ship your goods from different places. If you have the possibility to spread several stock locations across your catchment area, you can take advantage of that by organizing your shipments based on customer proximity criteria.

In a similar way, many stock locations can be required to replicate the logistics organizational structure of your company. Consider, for example, a supermarket chain. Each store has a warehouse that can be configured as a stock location; hence, the number of stock locations matches the stores.