If you use a third-party fulfillment service such as Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ship your orders, you can connect the service to DEAR as an external inventory management location.
DEAR allows your external warehouse/fulfillment centre to be created as a separate location in DEAR as well as allow sales order details to be communicated to your external fulfillment centre. It also has the ability to synchronise inventory quantities once orders are fulfilled and receive shipping/tracking information from the fulfillment service.
In addition, you can set up this integration in such a way that FBA stores all your stock and takes and fulfills orders, while DEAR only tracks what you've sold, what you're owed, and what stock is remaining.
NOTE: DEAR currently only supports native integration with Fulfillment by Amazon. If you are using another 3PL or external fulfillment provider, you will need to connect to them via our API (https://dearinventory.docs.apiary.io/#) if you wish to connect directly. Alternatively, you can manually export a 3PL Shipment List from the Sales page to give to your 3PL provider.
- Amazon Seller Pro account (required)
- Familiarity with the Processing a Sale process (required)
- Users will need the Integration: Fulfillment Service - Fulfillment By Amazon permission in order to use this feature.
Table of Contents
- Preparing your Amazon Seller Pro Account for DEAR Integration
- Connecting to FBA
- Setting Up FBA
- Managing Fulfillment Orders
Preparing your Amazon Seller Pro Account for DEAR Integration
You must have an Amazon Seller Pro account to integrate your Amazon FBA account with DEAR. If you have an Amazon Individual Seller account, you need to upgrade it to an Amazon Seller Pro account before you can integrate with DEAR.
To prepare your Amazon Seller Pro Account for integration:
- Go to the Manage your apps page in Amazon Seller Central and log in to your Amazon selling account as the primary user.
- Click the Authorise new developer button and follow the authorisation workflow.
- When prompted, authorise DEAR to access your account using the following details:
- Developer Name: DEAR Inventory
- Developer ID:
- 4103-6238-5902 (for the US and Canada)
- 3077-2674-3899 (for Europe)
- 0490-2413-7225 (for Australia)
- Amazon will give you an MWS Auth Token at the end of this procedure. You will use this together with your Amazon Seller ID to authorise DEAR Inventory in the next steps below.
Connecting to FBA
First, you need to connect your fulfillment centre to DEAR Inventory. If you have an existing Amazon store already integrated to DEAR, see the Using an Existing Store section. If you do not have an Amazon store set up in DEAR, see the Manual Setup section below.
Once FBA is connected, a new external location will be created in DEAR. At the moment only one location is available per FBA connection. DEAR can use an existing location as an external location for FBA, or create a new location. See External Fulfillment location for limitations and features.
Using an Existing Amazon Store Integration
To connect FBA to DEAR:
- Navigate to Integration → Fulfillment by Amazon.
- On the Fulfillment by Amazon page, click the + button.
- Under the Use an existing Amazon connection tab, select the Amazon store to be connected to DEAR and the warehouse location to be used for external fulfillment from your list of warehouses. If you do not want to use an existing warehouse location, leave the already selected Create a new location option as is, then click Connect to FBA. At the moment only one location is available per FBA connection.
- Navigate to Integration → Fulfillment by Amazon.
- On the Fulfillment by Amazon page, click the + button.
- Click the Connect manually tab.
- Enter your Amazon Merchant ID (Seller ID), Marketplace ID, and MWS Auth Token, which you should have already gotten following the steps in Preparing Your Amazon Seller Pro Account for DEAR Integration above.
- Select an existing warehouse location to be used with the fulfillment service or select Create a new location. At the moment only one location is available per FBA connection.
- Click Connect to FBA.
IMPORTANT! DEAR will make an inventory report request to Amazon every hour. The default setting is to send an email notification whenever an inventory report is requested. To avoid getting spammed with Amazon notifications, go to Seller Central → Settings → Notification Preferences in Amazon and disable Open Listings Report.
External Fulfillment Location
An external location has specific features and limitations.
External location features and limitations
- Cannot have Bins
- Cannot be renamed
- Cannot be deleted, while a fulfillment service is connected
- Can be synced with an external service in stocktake/Inventory count
- Must only be used in sales where the goods involved will be shipped to the customer from an external fulfillment centre
If Create a new location was selected during setup, a new location with the name of the FBA account will be created within DEAR, which will then try to match the created location with an existing DEAR location of the same name. If the DEAR location contains bins, a new location will be created and named using the following convention: FBA account name + a numerical suffix.
If an existing location was selected during setup, DEAR will check if that location contains bins. If the DEAR location contains bins, a new location will be created and named using the following convention: FBA account name + a numerical suffix.
You can view the new location by navigating to Settings → Reference Books → Locations and Bins. There will be a note next to the location identifying it as being used for external fulfillment.
Once the external location is created, we strongly recommend you to conduct an initial stocktake/Inventory count in order to synchronise inventory quantities between DEAR and the external fulfillment service.
Setting up FBA
After setting up the connection, you will next need to configure your FBA settings in DEAR and perform an initial stocktake in order to synchronise inventory quantities between DEAR and the external fulfillment service.
The FBA Integration allows some options to be customised. These are found by navigating to Integration → FBA and then selecting your Amazon connection, on the Setup tab.
Price Tier for downloaded products: Select which Price Tier will be used for FBA customers. See Managing Price Tiers for more information.
Create FBA fulfillment order with status: Choose what status the fulfillment order will have upon creation. On Hold means the order will be sent to the fulfillment centre but will not be shipped until a manual action has been taken (for example, if you are waiting on the customer making a payment) but the inventory will be reserved. Shipped means the product will be shipped out as soon as the fulfillment centre has it ready.
Manual/Automatic Order Processing: Choose whether orders are sent directly to the fulfillment centre or if a manual action is required first.
Create DEAR Product if it does not exist: If you have FBA products that have not yet been imported to DEAR, enabling this setting will create them as Zero Stock on Hand products during the initial stocktake.
Auto-Sync Stock with FBA: When set, this allows auto-synchronisation of stock levels from the FBA account to the DEAR location. The auto-synchronisation can be set at daily, weekly or monthly intervals. By default, this is set to Never.
Start date for auto-sync stock: Sets the hour when stock level is synced on a daily basis. This option appears if the Auto-Sync Stock with FBA is set to a value other than Never.
Set Company contact person for shipments
On the Setup tab, you can set contact details for the company contact person for inbound shipments. Inbound shipments are not currently supported, but it is on our roadmap.
Once the external location has been created or mapped, you will need to perform a stocktake at that location to synchronise quantities between the external service and DEAR Inventory. The stocktake function can be used at any time to synchronise quantities between the two systems.
Why it is important to sync initial quantities?
When a new sale is created in DEAR, you will not be able to complete/authorise the Pick stage if there are insufficient quantities for products in the external location.
DEAR will create a new Fulfillment Order, based on the quantities of products it has on record for the external location, but will receive an error, because the product was sold out and the items are no longer available to ship from the fulfillment centre (this can occur if the inventory quantities were not synchronised initially or there is another service affecting the quantities in the external location).
To synchronise quantities:
- Navigate to Inventory → Stocktake.
- Select your FBA Location and click Start.
- Click the Sync button at the top of the screen. All the inventory quantities from FBA are then imported into DEAR.
- Non-Zero Stock-on-hand products will have quantities automatically synced.
- Zero Stock-on-hand products will have quantities automatically synced, but the unit cost must be entered manually.
- Complete the stocktake.
IMPORTANT! It is best to not use other applications that can affect quantities in your external fulfillment service. If this is not possible, then stocktake/inventory count must be performed as soon as order fulfillment is triggered by the third-party application (this could take anywhere from hours to weeks, depending on your business needs). If quantities are not correctly synchronised, there is a risk of placing orders for items that are out of stock.
Fulfillment Order is a section of the Sale module that provides ability to manage FBA external fulfillment orders.
The section contains information about the orders, items in the fulfillment order (its packages), the date when different fulfillment stages were completed (e.g. ship/delivery and tracking information to track the current placement of the order (if the fulfillment service can provide this information). It also contains information about the shipping method and fulfillment order comments (some fulfillment services print comments on materials provided to the customer, e.g. package label).
Create a Fulfillment Order
DEAR Fulfillment Orders cannot be created manually. DEAR creates a fulfillment order only when Ship is authorised for sale from the external fulfillment location.
Create a fulfillment order:
- Navigate to Sale → New → Sale.
- Enter the customer details as shown in Processing a Sale.
- Add items to the sale order and click Authorise.
- Under the Pick tab, make sure that Location is set to your external fulfillment location.
- In the Pack tab, if you have external fulfillment items and items from your own inventory in the same order, they will be placed in different boxes. You can also select more than one box for your external fulfillment order if required. The external fulfillment service may also decide to use more than one box.
- In the Ship tab, you can choose to copy the order from the Pack tab or manually Add a line for external fulfillment. Select your shipping option from the list and click Authorise. A fulfillment order is then created with a link.
- NOTE: When choosing the Skip fulfillment option, Sale - Ship will be authorised, but no DEAR fulfillment orders will be created. This is to prevent double shipping in case the sale task (or sale shipment) has been undone and then re-authorised.
- NOTE: AutoShip is disabled for sale orders with products picked from an external location. If user settings have auto-ship enabled, shipment lines will be created, but shipment will not be authorised.
- If during setup you selected Process fulfillment orders automatically, the order is sent directly to the fulfillment centre. If not, you need to go to the fulfillment order and click Process for it to be sent.
- If during setup you selected Create FBA fulfillment order with status On Hold, you will also have to click Ship on the fulfillment order for the ship to be authorised.
One or all of the Pick, Pack and Ship processes can be automated. To automate the Pick stage, the product's default location must be the external fulfillment location (so at the time of the sale you cannot choose to sell the product either from external fulfillment or your own inventory). To do this, go to Settings → General Settings → Sales Process Customisation and set Pick, Pack and/or Ship to automatic.
Existing Fulfillment Orders can be viewed by navigating to Sale → Fulfillment Orders.
Depending on the fulfillment service, DEAR Fulfillment order could be created with status: Queued, On Hold or Shipped.
There are seven types of DEAR fulfillment order statuses.
Depending on what setup criteria were selected, DEAR Fulfillment orders can be created with status: Queued, On Hold or Shipped.
Queued: This status is assigned to newly created fulfillment orders that have not been sent to (processed by) the fulfillment service. While the fulfillment order has this status, it can be voided, edited/saved or processed.
On Hold: This status shows that the fulfillment order has been sent to (processed by) the fulfillment service. Only applicable if the External fulfillment service supports this status. It means that the external fulfillment service has received the order, validated it (for example, checked if the address is valid) and products for this order have been reserved in the warehouse. When the order is in this status, no inventory will be sent. In some cases, it could be used to hold the order, pending customer payment, before shipping the goods. While a fulfillment order is in this status, the user can cancel, edit/save or ship it.
Shipped: This status shows that the order was sent to the fulfillment service, which then processed it. The fulfillment order remains in this status until the customer receives the shipment. While a fulfillment order is in this status, the user cannot make any changes but is allowed to cancel the order, where the fulfillment service allows order cancellation. Usually, cancellation is available until the fulfillment centre staff begin the pick/pack process.
Completed: In situations where the Delivery status has not been returned, DEAR considers that the order was completed in the estimated arrival timeframe. This could occur if the fulfillment service or carrier does not provide tracking details which are used by DEAR to change the order status.
Delivered: This status shows that the fulfillment order was successfully accomplished.
Cancelled: This status shows that the fulfillment order was cancelled by the user.
Failed: DEAR fulfillment order shows this status only in cases where the external fulfillment service rejects the fulfillment request with an error (for example, if a fulfillment order has the wrong shipping address). This error is saved to the fulfillment order log.
Twice a day, DEAR (at 00:51 and 12:51 UTC time) will try to update tracking details and statuses for all fulfillment orders with Shipped status. If any information is updated, the appropriate message is logged.
Independently from DEAR packing lines, the external fulfillment service can separate the fulfillment order into several packages. If the external fulfillment service splits one shipment line into multiple packages, multiple tracking numbers will be shown for a single shipment line, separated by commas.
When DEAR is notified that a new tracking number was assigned to a fulfillment order, DEAR stores this information inside the fulfillment order and generates an appropriate message in the fulfillment order log and the sale order log.
If the Sale order was changed after the fulfillment order was processed by the fulfillment service (for example, it was undone and the user changed the shipping lines and re-authorised the shipment), then the tracking number will be written in the sale order log.
At the moment, FBA integration with DEAR does not support returns.
Using FBA for eCommerce Integration
If an external location is mapped to any location for eCommerce integration, it means that for each product sold from this location, an external fulfillment service will be used for order fulfillment.
The catalog for each FBA external fulfillment location can be viewed in Integration → FBA → Catalog. To synchronise product quantities, click Force Sync.
Clicking an individual product opens a pop-up window with the product info. The Product Info window shows more information about the product quantity available and allows the product mapping for that product to be changed if required.