A Quick Guide To Partial Shipment

It is not always possible to ship all orders at once, especially with products made of multiple pieces. Therefore, some businesses often ship them separately. The arrival time might vary for a few days depends on the warehouse location. This is called partial shipment.

Although this may be necessary for certain situations, it is pretty hard to monitor the operation. How do you monitor a partial shipment in your system? What criteria will you set in place to ensure a completed order only when fulfilled?

Before executing, it is crucial to know the process, the best approach, and whether you are doing it right. 

What is a partial shipment?

A partial shipment involves delivering one single order in several shipments. One of the common use of partial shipments is when one of the items within the order is on backorder. It is also necessary to make partial shipment when a delay occurs or items are stored in different warehouses. 

For instance, you manufacture XYZ phones and get an order of 200 phones. When you check your warehouse, you discovered you only had 140 XYZ phones. How do you deal with such an order when you can’t fulfill it instantly? The best solution is to contact the customer to make partial shipment of available products. You can ship 140 in your store first and deliver the rest later once you get them from the manufacturer

Why are partial orders necessary?

Partial shipment helps create an excellent customer experience. In the example above, the merchant may lose the entire order if they don’t perform a partial shipment. This will also gift their competitors with a generous customer. 

In other words, partial order can ensure both customer experience and sales increase. 

Challenges of having partial orders

Though necessary, some business owners still struggle to offer partial shipments, properly due to the backend management. This is because the partial shipment process is relatively complicated. You’ll have to track the delivery status of each order, notify customers when each package arrives, and fulfill an open order. Furthermore, you also have to deal with creating multiple receipts for one order.

Partial orders best practices

Use tools to split orders

Automation tools make it easier to treat individual items separately. The platform can split orders into different line items in order to create a distinguished tracking code and label for each item. Remarkably, it ensures you don’t lose the main item from a single order. Therefore, once all items are fulfilled, you can mark the order as completed. 

Use automation to update status

Automation tools such as nChannel allow you to get updates on partial shipments. You can integrate it into your eCommerce platform to create order workflows, track partial shipments and leave a mark when the order is completed. 

Perform partial shipment with Backorder

Clearly, this type of delivery is extremely beneficial for your backordered products. With partial shipments, your customer can receive part of the order first and the rest later with a higher guarantee. Integrate both platforms in your store today and start an order backup strategy for better performance! If you are opening a store on BigCommerce, our BackOrder app will help you rescue revenue:

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The app allows your customer to purchase even at 0 inventory, with customizable notifications and ETAs.


Our products and services: Shopify automation, BigCommerce automation, Backorder management
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