If a customer places more than one order you probably want to send them in one consignment to save shipping costs. ReadyToShip can identify orders which have:
- The same address.
- The same customer name.
and merge them into a single consignment.
You can enable this behaviour for a carrier in Settings ⇒ Carriers ⇒ (your carrier) ⇒ Settings with the Merge Customer Orders option.
Orders are merged when they are added to a Shipping Run. Click on the tab for the run and you will see merged orders with an icon like this:
Selecting one order will select all of the orders in a merged group.
The merged order will be treated as a single consignment where:
- The weights are combined.
- Dimensions are taken from one of the orders.
Set the dimensions the same on both orders if you need to ensure a particular size is used.
- The number of packages (ie the number of labels to generate) will be taken from one of the # of Packages fields in the order.
Set them the same on both orders.
The merging will be cancelled if you:
- Remove one of the orders from the run.
- Change the address or customer name in any way.
Watch out for...
The merge process is fairly simplistic so you need to be aware of unexpected behaviour.
Name and address matching is exact
ReadyToShip decides to merge orders based on the name and address. They need to match exactly to qualify for a merge and we are conservative about this to avoid shipping to the wrong address.
If it is looks like an order should merge but it doesn't, check the orders for slight differences in the name and address. A stray space character or different capitalisation will not merge.
Follow the standard workflow
If you follow the standard workflow where you:
- Add orders to a run.
- Print labels.
- Create a manifest.
- Notify the store of the shipped items.
- Clear the run by removing the completed orders.
it should go smoothly, but you need to be careful if you are adding orders to an existing run.
- If you add an order to an existing run and there is already one for that customer, it will merge. This may well be the behaviour you want, but be aware this will happen.
- If you have already printed labels or manifested some orders in the run and you add some more orders, the new orders may match an order already in the run and merge with it.
This is probably not what you want - you will end up shipping an item twice.
Warning signs for bad practices
If you find shipping runs are hanging around forever you should look at our articles on suggested workflows.
Normally a shipping run only exists for a short time while you are processing a day's shipments. You may be able to get more out of ReadyToShip if you tweak your shipping process.
If the shipping run is permanent, with orders coming and going, it can be hard to tell if an old order has been processed. Merging orders, in particular, can behave unexpectedly if you work this way.