Hi everyone ! It's me again.
The business case
At my workplace, we have a bit of a different system when it comes to ecommerce : we sell made-to-order products. Basically, you pick a tshirt fit, size, color and pocket design, and we assemble it for you. Having a product with many variants means we have 65k variants in Shopify. Managing raw materials (t-shirts, pockets) isn't too hard, but any number of preassembled products in the warehouse quickly becomes unmanageable.
For this reason, until recently, returns would end up in a big box, just waiting for the next studio sale so we could sell them in-person. Here's the big idea : What if we could easily pick a preassembled product (whenever possible) over assembling a new one from scratch. The solution seemed to involve leveraging Shipstation's inventory tracking feature, the Warehouse or Location product variables, and perhaps some clever HTML inside a custom Packing Slip template. The idea is that the packing slip will indicate whenever an item can be picked in the preassembled tshirts.
Counting tshirts and wrangling data
We started by sorting and countnig about 1600 t-shirts. I then tried my luck at importing all of it using the InventoryImport template, but it would error out. As it turns out, many of these preassembled products weren't even known to Shipstation. Shipstation just had no idea what these SKU's were. This happened because some products were so old that we stopped selling them before we even began using Shipstation. There were also returns from B2B exclusive products that never went through Shipstation. Keep in mind that unless you import your entire catalog to Shipstation manually, individual product records are only created when a sale is made.
Using a full catalog export from shipstation (24k product records) and our preassembled tshirts database, I used excel's COUNTIF function to compare every preassembled SKU against our Shipstation catalog. I then created product records for stuff that wasn't in there already, using the ProductImport template.
Then I imported preassembled tshirts inventory to Shipstation using the InventoryImport template. Not a single error !
Putting it all together
Now the next step would be to integrate the Location product variable to the packing slip. However, after testing, we noticed that the NULL or default value for this field is "Unallocated". This is problematic because it puts irrelevant information on our packing slip. As you know, the brain quickly learns to gloss over irrelevant information and I'm afraid that soon, our pickers would stop paying attention to this field.
This is where I ask for your help. I need some HTML wizardry or perhaps some sort of software tweak so I can change the default location text (personally I'd set it to " " so it's not detectable on the packing slip unless assigned.
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