Shipping Management in Linnworks: How to achieve a smooth flow when printing Shipping Labels.
In order to print the correct shipping label for an order in Linnworks, you should ensure that you understand, and have implemented, the correct settings between the Shipping Service, the Order and the Channel Integration.
Online marketplaces and e-commerce platforms have shipping services the seller can include in the listing, and can be chosen by the buyer when placing an order. Sellers like you, who use Linnworks system can print a shipping label within the application by click of a button, however here lies a little bit more detailed set up.
When your customers order a product from one of your listings, they will select a shipping service. When we download the information about the order, it includes that selected shipping service. Linnworks allows you to build a link between the shipping service from the channel, such as ‘Expedited Next Day’, and a specific shipping service in Linnworks that one of your couriers offer, such as ‘Parcelforce 24’. This is referred to in Linnworks as a Postal Method. This means the order will have that Postal Method assigned when created, and if you tell Linnworks to print a shipping label, the Postage Method is assigned to a Shipping/courier integration which includes the method for requesting/printing the label.
The set-up process can be broadly described as follows:
1. First you need to create Linnworks Postal Method(s). Examples: DPD Next Day, Standard Service or a name which allows you to identify the service it links to.
Linnworks Postal Methods are used as a part of the order that links the Channel’s shipping service and the required Shipping Service of the Courier Integration in Linnworks.
2. Once the Linnworks Postal Method has been created, you need to assign it to Courier Integration, and specify the Shipping Service which is going to be used to send the order to the Customer.
This allows Linnworks to identify which Courier to contact with the order details for verification, and specifies which label layout needs to be printed, or possibly requested from an external program.
3. The last step is to map the Linnworks Postal Method(s) to the shipping service(s) in the Channel Integration.
What is the Tag field used for?
The Tag field is an abbreviated reference to the shipping service that is used when mapping the service to a shipping method for a website integration that does not have the shipping mapping function in its integration. As these don’t get the same shipping service report as selling channels such as eBay or Amazon, this should match the exact term passed in the orders from the website, so Linnworks can add the appropriate Postal Method to the Linnworks order.
How does the process work from placing the order to shipping it?
1. The customer places an order on the channel and selects a shipping option (This may be allocated automatically if you haven’t specified multiple services in the listing).
2. Linnworks runs a Sync. This contacts each channel in turn, requesting and downloading orders that were placed since the last sync.
3. When Linnworks downloads the details of the orders from the channel, it interprets the information it receives, and builds an order in the Linnworks database. As part of this, the mapping from channel shipping service to Linnworks Postal Method is used to populate the order’s ‘Shipping Service’ field.
Once the order is in Open Orders, you can print a shipping label for it. When you request a Shipping Label, Linnworks uses the Postal Method to identify the associated courier integration, and passes the order information to it, including the Postal Method. The integration, be it USPS, DHL, Fedex, etc, will then follow the instructions embedded in it to contact the appropriate program or web service, verify that the order is within any limits set for that Shipping Service, and pass back ‘OK’ or an error. The error can be investigated before requesting a label again, but if OK, then Linnworks, or the associated program, will print a label, and any associated Tracking information is recorded against the order.
NOTE: You can only allocate a Postal Method to one Shipping Integration. By default all Methods are allocated to the Generic Label, and are available to ‘Add’ to another integration. Once added, if not removed, they are not available to other Integrations for adding.
Because of the nature of the Shipping Service settings on the selling channels, you can allocate one Linnworks Postal Method to be mapped against multiple Channel Shipping Services on one or more channels. This is to allow for a seller using only one Shipping Provider to offer the best/closest analogue of the various expected Shipping Service standards of multiple Selling channels or categories.
This is an illustration of the process:
Order Scripts can be produced by Linnworks for a development fee, or by the customer or a developer with experience of Microsoft’s C# programming language. They can be used to enhance or modify the allocation of Postal Methods in various ways, including but not limited to:
- An order’s Postal Method can be changed based the combined weight of the order items.
- An order’s Postal Method can be changed based on the order’s total value.
- An order’s Postal Method can be changed based on the location it is being sent to.
- An order’s Postal Method can be changed based on the date of shipping where certain courier’s only collect on certain days, for example
- An order’s Postal Method can be changed based on the ‘Default Postal Service’ setting of the order items included in it.
- An order can be split if certain items (High value, weight or fragile) need to be sent separately by a particular Postal Method, and the resulting orders will have different Postal Methods allocated.