Understanding orders

When a customer buys something from your online store or any other sales channel, it appears as a new order in the Orders area of Shopify.

What happens when you receive an online order

When you receive an online order:

  • You receive a new order notification by email.
  • The Orders area of Shopify shows the new order.
  • The customer receives an order confirmation email.
  • Order processing begins.
  • The Orders area in Shopify updates to show the number of pending orders that you have.


An abandoned checkout is recorded if an order was not successfully completed but the customer reached checkout.

What happens when you process a sale in person

When you make a sale on Shopify POS:

  • The Orders area of Shopify shows the order with a payment status of Paid or Partially paid.
  • If the customer provided their email address, then they receive a POS receipt by email.

Typical processing flow for online orders

Every online order goes through 3 stages. At each stage, a different action is required in Shopify. You can set up Shopify to perform these actions automatically, or you can do them manually:

Order state What you need to do
1. Order has been placed. Capture payment.
2. Order has been paid. Fulfill the order.
3. Order has been fulfilled and paid. Archive the order.

Depending on your own business needs, you can automate some or all of your order processing at each stage.

Fully automate your order processing flow

If you are selling digital products or using a fulfillment service, then you might want a totally hands-off order process. In this case, you should set up all of the following:

When your orders are set up to be fully processed automatically, you will capture payment instantly, your fulfillment service will be notified (and digital downloads made available), and the order will be closed in Shopify.

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