Organize Orders with Out-of-Stock Products - Shipping Rules | Guide

If you like to take pre-orders or find yourself with items out-of-stock, ShippingEasy's automation tools can help you organize these orders. You will want to set up the following:

  1. Product Catalog
  2. Product Category
  3. Order Category
  4. Shipping Rules
Here's an overview:

The Product Catalog and Product Category will be used to identify which items are not available for shipping. A Shipping Rule will then assign orders containing these products to an Order Category.

NOTE: you will need to have SKUs assigned to your order line items to set up this automation.

Step 1 - Upload your Product Catalog

The Product Catalog is a database of your orders. Learn more.

ShippingEasy will automatically add products when synced from select store platforms. However, anyone who uses SKUs in store, or includes them in CSV order uploads, will find it advantageous to populate their Product Catalog. Learn more about adding items to your Product Catalog

Step 2 - Add a Product Category

Once your products are saved, especially those that are frequently on back order, you're ready to create a Product Category. It's a master SKU that can group a number of individual products together. Learn more about Product Categories.

When naming the Product Category, it's best to title it in a way that helps you remember how you are grouping your products. For example: "Pre-orders" or "Backordered". Learn more about creating a Product Category.

With an aptly named Product Category, it's time to assign products to the category. Learn more about assigning a product to a Product Category.

The great thing about grouping your out of stock products using a category is that as your inventory levels change, you can easily add or remove products from the category. This will make your rules highly responsive to changing conditions, too.

Step 3 - Add an Order Category

Order Categories help you organize your unshipped orders. Learn more.

When we go to set up a rule, our goal is to automatically categorize the orders using Order Categories. These will color code your orders on the ORDERS page, as well as allow you to filter for just the flagged orders.

Similar to the last step, it's best to give your Order Category a name that helps you remember what kinds of orders have been assigned to it. For example: "Pre-orders" or "Backordered". Learn more about creating an Order Category.

Step 4 - Automatically organize your orders with Shipping Rules

Now it's time to put the pieces together. Setting up Shipping Rules will let you fully utilize the Product Catalog and Categories that you set up. 

Shipping Rules allow you to tell ShippingEasy to automatically perform specific actions when your orders meet exact conditions. Learn more.

View our general Shipping Rules set up guide and follow these specifics steps:

  2. Click the blue Add New button.
  3. In the field Rule Name, enter a name that describes this rule, such as "Flag out-of-stock".
  4. Set the "IF" condition so that the Product Category must equal the name of the out-of-stock category that you created in step 2.

    Product category | Is equal to | Out-of-stock
    NOTE: there are other conditions that you might want to consider, such as the quantity of items in the order. In this case, you might want something that contains multiple SKUs to go into a different Order Category in case some of the items are ready to ship now. Find a list of all available conditions.
  5. Set the "THEN" action so that the out-of-stock Order Category is assigned to these orders.

    Assign to a category | Out-of-stock
  6. Save your new rule and you're done! You'll start seeing your new orders organized on the ORDERS page based on the products ordered. 

Summary of Strategy - Organizing Orders with Out-of-Stock Products

  1. The Product Catalog stores your individual product data, by SKU.
  2. The Product Category is used to create a "master sku" that groups all orders you assign to it. The Shipping Rule uses the Product Category to determine if an order qualifies for the rule. With a single SKU in the rule, you will not need to update your rules when your out-of-stock items change. Rather you will just update the Product Category (ie: which items are assigned to it).
  3. The Order Category is used to identify unshipped orders with out-of-stock items. The Shipping Rule will assign qualifying orders to the out-of-stock Order Category. 
  4. The Shipping Rule will look at new orders as they are added to your ShippingEasy account and categorize the orders that qualify for the rule. 
  5. You'll be able to filter your unshipped orders to exclude or only find the orders that contain out-of-stock items.
  6. As the inventory status of individual product SKUs changes, just re-categorize the items in your Product Categories. New orders will be flagged according to the updated category.


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