Converting to multiple locations: Setup guide

Depending on how you run your store, you might need to convert it before you can track inventory across multiple locations:

  • If you are a point of sale (POS) merchant that already has multiple Shopify POS locations, and you want to manage your inventory across multiple locations, then you need to convert your store to one that tracks inventory at those multiple locations. Follow the steps that are outlined on this page to convert your store.

  • If you currently have only one location in Shopify, or have one location and also use third-party fulfillment services, then no conversion steps are necessary. Skip the steps on this page. You can start adding and using more locations as needed.

    If you use a third-party fulfillment service for a product, then you can't also stock the product in the locations that you manage.

Step 1: Decide if you should convert your store

You can choose if or when you want to start using the features for multiple locations. You don’t need to convert right away.

If you run your store in the following ways, then you can consider converting:

  • You have multiple retail locations or places where you stock inventory. The maximum number of locations that you can have depends on your plan:

    • Shopify Lite - 3
    • Basic Shopify - 4
    • Shopify - 5
    • Advanced Shopify - 8
    • Shopify Plus - 20 (Contact Plus Support if you need more than 20 locations.)

    Apps that stock inventory or fulfill orders for you are considered to be locations but don't count towards those limits.

  • You offer flat shipping rates or the same shipping rates from all your locations.

  • You ship online orders from either one or multiple locations.

  • Your product prices are the same at all your locations.

  • Each product variant is managed by no more than one third-party app or custom fulfillment service.

If you run your store in the following ways, then you shouldn’t convert to multiple locations yet:

  • You have complex warehouse operations, such as many inventory bins.
  • Your shipping rates vary depending on the locations you ship from.

Step 2: Understand the effects of converting your store

When you convert, the Shopify admin will change in a few places so that you can manage your inventory at multiple locations. The way some features work will also change.

Consider carefully the effects that converting your store will have on the following areas:

Location filters

To help you manage multiple locations, a location filter will be shown in the Shopify admin on the pages and other sections where it applies, such as the Orders page and the Inventory page. The following example shows the filter in the Variants section of a product details page:

Locations menu on the Product page

When you select a location in the filter, the page keeps your selection until you change it. The selected location for a page is stored in a browser cookie, so it isn’t maintained between devices or browsers.

Shipping rates when using multiple locations

After you convert your store to use multiple locations, shipping rates will be calculated based on the address of your store's shipping origin location, not the fulfillment location for each order. All your locations will share the same shipping zone.

If you offer free shipping or flat-rate shipping for all your orders, this isn’t a limitation. However, if your shipping rates vary significantly between locations, then you shouldn’t convert your store to track inventory at multiple locations yet.

After you convert your store, you can change the location that is set as your shipping origin.

Fulfillments

Fulfillments will change in the following ways:

  • When orders are placed through any online sales channel, they'll be assigned to a location where they should be fulfilled from based on a priority list and available inventory. You use a fulfillment priority list to decide which locations are assigned orders first. If any location can fulfill the entire order, then the inventory is drawn from that location. If no location can fulfill the entire order, then a split order is created and assigned to multiple locations. For each order, you can switch the location where you fulfill it from on the order details page.
  • Shopify POS orders will use available inventory from the location where the sale is made.
  • You'll be able to specify whether a location fulfills online orders.

For draft orders, the order creation process doesn't change. Items added to a draft order will be assigned to fulfillment locations based on priority and available inventory.

The following example shows three locations that are ordered by priority:

Example of fulfillment priority

For the steps on setting fulfillment priorities, see Set the priority of locations for fulfilling orders.

Example of fulfillments

Suppose you have a store with three locations. Currently, for one product, you have 100 units in total stocked as follows:

  • New York flagship - 18
  • New York popup - 20
  • New York warehouse - 62

You can prioritize locations for fulfillment based on your preference:

  1. New York flagship
  2. New York warehouse
  3. New York popup

A customer places an order for 20 units.

Based on the fulfillment priority, the order will attempt to be fulfilled at the New York flagship location.

The New York flagship location only has 18 items in stock, so an attempt to assign the whole order to the next location in the list will be made: the New York warehouse. The whole order can be fulfilled at this location, so the order is assigned to the New York warehouse.

For a more detailed example of fulfillments, see Example - Online order fulfillment.

Inventory quantities

When you convert your store, all your existing inventory quantities will be allocated to your shipping origin location, which is the address that is used to calculate shipping rates. After you convert your store, you can change the location that is set as your shipping origin.

As part of the conversion steps, you'll need to update the inventory quantities at all your locations. To do this, you'll update the quantities on the Inventory page, use the bulk editor, or use CSV file exports and imports.

Example of updating inventory quantities

Suppose you have a store with three locations. Currently, for one product, you have 20 items in total shown as a single inventory quantity:

Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto: 20 items

After you convert to multiple locations, you need to update your inventory quantities so that each location shows its specific amount of inventory:

  • Ottawa: 10 items
  • Montreal: 6 items
  • Toronto: 4 items

After converting to multiple locations, you can’t switch back to a single inventory quantity.

Example of inventory tracked at multiple locations

In this example, after conversion, a product is stocked at three locations, and the inventory quantities are shown for each location on its details page:

Example of three locations and the inventory amounts

Locations and apps

Apps that hold your inventory will be treated as locations.

If you use apps that physically stock inventory for you, then they will be treated as locations. Such apps include dropshipping apps, third-party logistics services, and custom fulfillment services. For example, an app could be a warehouse that fulfills orders on your behalf.

Although these apps are treated as locations, they don't count toward your location limit.

Some apps from the Shopify App Store might not be compatible with multiple locations.

If you use apps that help you manage your inventory, refund orders, or process orders, then they might need to be updated by the app developer so that they can manage inventory and orders across multiple locations correctly.

If your store uses an app that hasn’t been updated to support multiple locations, then you won’t be able to enable inventory tracking at locations or add any additional locations until the app is updated by its developer or removed from your store.

Similarly, if your store has more than one location, you won’t be able to install apps that don’t support multiple locations.

Any apps that you remove from your store can be added back only if you have one location in Shopify or the app developer updates the app to support multiple locations. If you remove apps, then they might delete any information that you have saved on the app and you might need to redo your setup with them.

Private apps might need to be updated to work with locations

If you have a private app that was developed specifically for your store, then you might have to update it to use multiple locations. You will see a notification on the Locations page that lets you know which apps need to be updated. However, it’s best to check with the app's developer to verify if the app needs to be updated.

Developers can learn more about migrating their apps to support locations in Migrating to support multiple locations.

Step 3: Convert to multiple locations

If you decide to convert, then do the following steps in the given order. If possible, convert your store and update your inventory quantities when your retail outlets are closed and when you're not getting many online sales.

Step 3a - Perform an inventory count

To ensure your inventory quantities are correct in Shopify, you should do a physical count of your inventory at each location and record that data.

Step 3b - Enable locations

  1. Log into your store as the account owner.
  2. Go to Settings > Locations.
  3. Click Enable inventory at locations.
  4. Click the checkbox to confirm that all your existing inventory will be assigned to your shipping origin.
  5. Click Enable inventory at locations.

Step 3c - Create or deactivate locations

Step 3d - Update your inventory quantities

After you’ve enabled multiple locations, you need to update your inventory quantities:

Small number of locations and products

If you have a small number of locations and products, then you can update the amounts individually on the Inventory page.

  1. Go to Products > Inventory.
  2. Update the inventory at each location:

    1. Select the location.
    2. Update the inventory quantities for each product. If you don't see your inventory for a product in the list, then either you are not tracking inventory for that product, or the product isn’t stocked at the location.

    For details, see Assigning inventory to locations.

Large number of locations and products

If you have a large number of locations and products, then update your inventory quantities by exporting and importing inventory with a CSV file or by using the bulk editor.

For details, see Exporting or importing inventory with a CSV file or Change the inventory quantities by using the bulk editor.

Step 3e - Set up your fulfillment priorities

To make sure you fulfill orders from your preferred locations, see Set the priority of locations for fulfilling orders.

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