How To

Using eBay Order Consolidation to Save on Fulfillment Costs

The eBay Order Consolidation feature allows you to save on fulfillment costs by detecting when the same buyer has made multiple independent purchases and combine those into a single package for processing and fulfillment. This saves you time and money across your personnel, packaging, and postage operations and allows you to grow your business more efficiently without compromising quality. Automatically integrated into the order processing system, this is seamless and invisible to your fulfillment operations and requires no changes to how you process your fulfillments for any other orders.

 

Background


eBay's incentive to buyers is to "Buy It Now" rather than adding items to a cart and completing the checkout process. This, combined with free shipping incentives, can cause buyers to make multiple independent purchases rather than combining them into a single order. Even with buyer-facing incentives such as free shipping for combined purchases over a threshold price, many buyers will not participate for one reason or another and still create independent orders for their items. Identifying those and combining them together saves your costs around:

  • Payroll – warehouse fulfillment operations are more efficient
  • Packaging – fewer boxes means less cost
  • Postage – a single box with two items costs less than two boxes with one item each

On average, sellers save about 80% to 85% of the cost of shipping two items in one box versus a single item in each of two boxes once all of the cost factors are included. Bringing these orders together in a single shipment also reduces the number of buyer queries when some items arrive on one day and the others are scheduled to arrive later. 

Note: Using this feature does not change anything regarding shipping costs on your listings.  If you charge for shipping, the buyer will still pay the advertised shipping costs for each listing. This feature is designed to save money for our sellers' fulfillment processes by combining multiple orders into a single shipment, and not to adjust the actual shipping cost paid by buyers. 

 

Using eBay Order Consolidation


The eBay Order Consolidation feature detects when the same buyer has purchased multiple items within a time window you specify that are being delivered to the same address with the same postage services. When multiple orders are detected, those orders are combined into a single consolidated order for your fulfillment operations to process. For safety reasons, orders will only be merged if they have the exact same destination information and are within the window that you specify. If there is not certainty that the items should be packaged together then the orders will be left as individual orders for fulfillment processing.

 

 

In order to use the eBay Order Consolidation functionality, just enable the feature in your settings (Sales > Settings > Order Consolidation):

Here are the steps for enabling this feature:

  1. Select the Enable Order Consolidation option.
  2. Choose if you would like to block order consolidation if the same SKU exists on both orders.
  3. Enter your cost to package a single item for fulfillment. Make sure to include payroll, packaging, and postage costs in this estimate, which is used to estimate your savings for each order that is consolidated.
  4. If you would like to change the window for allowed consolidation, follow the link to the settings page for Order Import Processing . The value may be configured up to 120 minutes, and each new order that arrives will be held to watch for other orders from the same buyer that can be consolidated.

When you fulfill your orders, process these just like any other eBay order. As the shipment information and tracking numbers numbers are assigned, eBay will be updated with all of the appropriate information automatically.

 

Viewing Status of eBay Order Consolidation


Statistics about the eBay Order Consolidation are available as a widget on the Marketplaces Dashboard ( Marketplaces > Marketplaces Dashboard ) and are shown on the eBay 360 Dashboard ( Marketplaces > eBay > Performance > Overview ). If enabled, the information about the total number of orders, number consolidated, and estimated cost savings based on your configured cost per order will be displayed:

 

 

If any orders could have been consolidated prior to the setting being enabled, those will be noted in the text at the bottom.

If the setting is disabled, then the same information will be present to identify the orders that could have been consolidated had the option been enabled as well as an estimate of the potential cost savings missed because the orders were not merged:

 

 

You may change the date range on the dashboard to see different windows of time and the orders that happened on those days.

 

Common Questions



Common Queries Information for Sellers
Why are these orders not already combined?

eBay does not provide any incentive for a buyer to combine the orders into a single purchase. Even with incentives through the Promotions Manager, some buyers are not aware, will not qualify for the incentives, or forget an item and come back to make an additional purchase shortly thereafter. Combining these orders allows for efficiencies and savings in your fulfillment processes.

Does this have any impact on the buyer's purchase information at eBay?

No. The buyer still sees the exact same details for their purchase on eBay, and nothing is changed about those orders.

Will this require me to change my existing fulfillment operations?

No. The orders appear the exact same as if the buyer had combined them directly at eBay, allowing a seamless implementation for your fulfillment staff and no changes to your existing operations.

Do I need to do anything special for the shipment details and tracking numbers?

No. Just process everything exactly as you do today and the orders will be properly updated with the appropriate tracking information.

What if I download my orders using the Checkout Report? Using the API? Manually from the Sales view? Psychically?

Through all of our standard order processing methods you will continue to retrieve them exactly the same as you do today.  Orders that were purchases together by the buyer at eBay and those that were merged through the eBay Order Consolidator will appear exactly the same for your fulfillment operations so there will be no change.  If you retrieve your orders psychically then you already knew that this was going to happen and were fully prepared for the consolidated order before it was even detected.

How can I maximize the number of orders that will be consolidated?

Increase the allowed time window to the maximum setting of 120 minutes. While about 85% of the orders that can be consolidated show up in the first 30 minutes after the initial purchase, there are additional consolidation opportunities if your operations support delaying orders for the additional time to check for the potential of consolidated orders. Please note that all orders have to be delayed because it is unknown which buyers might return and make additional purchases.

What if I need to refund a buyer on a consolidated order?

Just issue the refund normally. The underlying payments for each of the individual orders will be used to issue the refund amount to the buyer, though it may not be the same payment that purchased each specific item. The correct amount will be refunded to the buyer. (For users of eBay's Premium Tax functionality, there may be a slightly higher number of failed refunds because of calculation processing errors in the eBay refund process but those should remain minimal.)

How much money will I save?

Ultimately that depends on your costs of fulfillment and the types of buyers that purchase your products. On average we see about 2% of eBay orders that can be consolidated though among individual users that can be as high as 10%. Even if you have not enabled the feature, the dashboard widgets will show you the relevant statistics from your account so you can see the number of orders and estimated savings based on your specific situation. Some users save over $100,000 per year in their fulfillment operations.

Does this work for marketplaces other than eBay?

Not at this time, but that is something we are looking into. Because of the marketplace design this situation occurs more frequently on eBay than on other marketplaces, though it does happen at a substantial rate on those as well. If you are interested in support for other marketplaces, please submit a Feedback request through the link at the top of every page inside your account.

Will this work with International orders?

Yes. It works the exact same as for domestic orders and is supported in all countries and regions.

What if a buyer purchases one item for express delivery and one item for regular delivery?

Since those are not the same postage service, they will not be consolidated.

Will this work with Global Shipping Program (US and UK) orders?

No. Each individual GSP order has a unique identifier which means that the orders cannot be combined.

Will this work with multichannel-FBA orders?

Yes. The combined order will be submitted for FBA fulfillment rather than submitting each item individually.

I use multiple warehouses. Will this work for me?

Yes, though you may not be able to realize as much in cost savings. This does not introduce any new challenge, as the buyer could have consolidated these orders directly at eBay and required you to fulfill from two different warehouses. At worst, you'll continue to do exactly what you do today and in at least some cases the items will be in the same warehouse, allowing for the efficiency and savings.

I need the eBay details about each transaction. Can I still get those on these consolidated orders?

Yes. The information you need is still available via the API on each individual line item, exactly as it has always been represented. Each line item still has all of the details about the eBay transaction information if that is needed.

This is really cool but I want to have it merge all of my orders up until 3:00pm unless it's an overnighted order which should be merged up until 2:30pm except on Fridays which should only merge up until 4:10pm regardless of fulfillment level but let the orders merge all weekend and on holidays so I can get as much benefit as possible. Can I do that?

Our research across millions of purchases at all times of the year has shown that the significant majority of benefit is available in the first 120 minutes. While there would be a small marginal benefit from adding the complexity described here, in the short term we've decided to focus on getting a very easy-to-use functionality available and live for everyone. If you feel like this would be a great improvement, please submit a Feedback request through the link at the top of every page inside your account.

The eBay Order Consolidation feature allows you to save on fulfillment costs by detecting when the same buyer has made multiple independent purchases and combine those into a single package for processing and fulfillment. This saves you time and money across your personnel, packaging, and postage operations and allows you to grow your business more efficiently without compromising quality. Automatically integrated into the order processing system, this is seamless and invisible to your fulfillment operations and requires no changes to how you process your fulfillments for any other orders.

 

Background


eBay's incentive to buyers is to "Buy It Now" rather than adding items to a cart and completing the checkout process. This, combined with free shipping incentives, can cause buyers to make multiple independent purchases rather than combining them into a single order. Even with buyer-facing incentives such as free shipping for combined purchases over a threshold price, many buyers will not participate for one reason or another and still create independent orders for their items. Identifying those and combining them together saves your costs around:

  • Payroll – warehouse fulfillment operations are more efficient
  • Packaging – fewer boxes means less cost
  • Postage – a single box with two items costs less than two boxes with one item each

On average, sellers save about 80% to 85% of the cost of shipping two items in one box versus a single item in each of two boxes once all of the cost factors are included. Bringing these orders together in a single shipment also reduces the number of buyer queries when some items arrive on one day and the others are scheduled to arrive later. 

Note: Using this feature does not change anything regarding shipping costs on your listings.  If you charge for shipping, the buyer will still pay the advertised shipping costs for each listing. This feature is designed to save money for our sellers' fulfillment processes by combining multiple orders into a single shipment, and not to adjust the actual shipping cost paid by buyers. 

 

Using eBay Order Consolidation


The eBay Order Consolidation feature detects when the same buyer has purchased multiple items within a time window you specify that are being delivered to the same address with the same postage services. When multiple orders are detected, those orders are combined into a single consolidated order for your fulfillment operations to process. For safety reasons, orders will only be merged if they have the exact same destination information and are within the window that you specify. If there is not certainty that the items should be packaged together then the orders will be left as individual orders for fulfillment processing.

 

 

In order to use the eBay Order Consolidation functionality, just enable the feature in your settings (Sales > Settings > Order Consolidation):

Here are the steps for enabling this feature:

  1. Select the Enable Order Consolidation option.
  2. Choose if you would like to block order consolidation if the same SKU exists on both orders.
  3. Enter your cost to package a single item for fulfillment. Make sure to include payroll, packaging, and postage costs in this estimate, which is used to estimate your savings for each order that is consolidated.
  4. If you would like to change the window for allowed consolidation, follow the link to the settings page for Order Import Processing . The value may be configured up to 120 minutes, and each new order that arrives will be held to watch for other orders from the same buyer that can be consolidated.

When you fulfill your orders, process these just like any other eBay order. As the shipment information and tracking numbers numbers are assigned, eBay will be updated with all of the appropriate information automatically.

 

Viewing Status of eBay Order Consolidation


Statistics about the eBay Order Consolidation are available as a widget on the Marketplaces Dashboard ( Marketplaces > Marketplaces Dashboard ) and are shown on the eBay 360 Dashboard ( Marketplaces > eBay > Performance > Overview ). If enabled, the information about the total number of orders, number consolidated, and estimated cost savings based on your configured cost per order will be displayed:

 

 

If any orders could have been consolidated prior to the setting being enabled, those will be noted in the text at the bottom.

If the setting is disabled, then the same information will be present to identify the orders that could have been consolidated had the option been enabled as well as an estimate of the potential cost savings missed because the orders were not merged:

 

 

You may change the date range on the dashboard to see different windows of time and the orders that happened on those days.

 

Common Questions



Common Queries Information for Sellers
Why are these orders not already combined?

eBay does not provide any incentive for a buyer to combine the orders into a single purchase. Even with incentives through the Promotions Manager, some buyers are not aware, will not qualify for the incentives, or forget an item and come back to make an additional purchase shortly thereafter. Combining these orders allows for efficiencies and savings in your fulfillment processes.

Does this have any impact on the buyer's purchase information at eBay?

No. The buyer still sees the exact same details for their purchase on eBay, and nothing is changed about those orders.

Will this require me to change my existing fulfillment operations?

No. The orders appear the exact same as if the buyer had combined them directly at eBay, allowing a seamless implementation for your fulfillment staff and no changes to your existing operations.

Do I need to do anything special for the shipment details and tracking numbers?

No. Just process everything exactly as you do today and the orders will be properly updated with the appropriate tracking information.

What if I download my orders using the Checkout Report? Using the API? Manually from the Sales view? Psychically?

Through all of our standard order processing methods you will continue to retrieve them exactly the same as you do today.  Orders that were purchases together by the buyer at eBay and those that were merged through the eBay Order Consolidator will appear exactly the same for your fulfillment operations so there will be no change.  If you retrieve your orders psychically then you already knew that this was going to happen and were fully prepared for the consolidated order before it was even detected.

How can I maximize the number of orders that will be consolidated?

Increase the allowed time window to the maximum setting of 120 minutes. While about 85% of the orders that can be consolidated show up in the first 30 minutes after the initial purchase, there are additional consolidation opportunities if your operations support delaying orders for the additional time to check for the potential of consolidated orders. Please note that all orders have to be delayed because it is unknown which buyers might return and make additional purchases.

What if I need to refund a buyer on a consolidated order?

Just issue the refund normally. The underlying payments for each of the individual orders will be used to issue the refund amount to the buyer, though it may not be the same payment that purchased each specific item. The correct amount will be refunded to the buyer. (For users of eBay's Premium Tax functionality, there may be a slightly higher number of failed refunds because of calculation processing errors in the eBay refund process but those should remain minimal.)

How much money will I save?

Ultimately that depends on your costs of fulfillment and the types of buyers that purchase your products. On average we see about 2% of eBay orders that can be consolidated though among individual users that can be as high as 10%. Even if you have not enabled the feature, the dashboard widgets will show you the relevant statistics from your account so you can see the number of orders and estimated savings based on your specific situation. Some users save over $100,000 per year in their fulfillment operations.

Does this work for marketplaces other than eBay?

Not at this time, but that is something we are looking into. Because of the marketplace design this situation occurs more frequently on eBay than on other marketplaces, though it does happen at a substantial rate on those as well. If you are interested in support for other marketplaces, please submit a Feedback request through the link at the top of every page inside your account.

Will this work with International orders?

Yes. It works the exact same as for domestic orders and is supported in all countries and regions.

What if a buyer purchases one item for express delivery and one item for regular delivery?

Since those are not the same postage service, they will not be consolidated.

Will this work with Global Shipping Program (US and UK) orders?

No. Each individual GSP order has a unique identifier which means that the orders cannot be combined.

Will this work with multichannel-FBA orders?

Yes. The combined order will be submitted for FBA fulfillment rather than submitting each item individually.

I use multiple warehouses. Will this work for me?

Yes, though you may not be able to realize as much in cost savings. This does not introduce any new challenge, as the buyer could have consolidated these orders directly at eBay and required you to fulfill from two different warehouses. At worst, you'll continue to do exactly what you do today and in at least some cases the items will be in the same warehouse, allowing for the efficiency and savings.

I need the eBay details about each transaction. Can I still get those on these consolidated orders?

Yes. The information you need is still available via the API on each individual line item, exactly as it has always been represented. Each line item still has all of the details about the eBay transaction information if that is needed.

This is really cool but I want to have it merge all of my orders up until 3:00pm unless it's an overnighted order which should be merged up until 2:30pm except on Fridays which should only merge up until 4:10pm regardless of fulfillment level but let the orders merge all weekend and on holidays so I can get as much benefit as possible. Can I do that?

Our research across millions of purchases at all times of the year has shown that the significant majority of benefit is available in the first 120 minutes. While there would be a small marginal benefit from adding the complexity described here, in the short term we've decided to focus on getting a very easy-to-use functionality available and live for everyone. If you feel like this would be a great improvement, please submit a Feedback request through the link at the top of every page inside your account.

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Previous Comments


Order consolidation

Great idea

Sat, 04/25/2015 - 09:22 - Moyra Ramsay