BigCommerce - Product Availability & Inventory Settings Function Gap to Allow Preorders?

  • 8 December 2021
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Context: Allowing preorders for BigCommerce products (stock items). We’re currently on 2020 R2 (updating to 2021 R2 in the next 90 days) and on the BC Enterprise storefront. 

BigCommerce Requirements: To properly allow the native ‘preorder’ functionality to work on BigCommerce, two settings need to be adjusted:

  • Availability’ needs to change to ‘This product is coming soon but I want to take pre-orders’
  • Inventory Tracking’ method needs to change to ‘Do not track inventory for this product’

Acumatica Settings: At the individual stock item level, it is possible to adjust the ‘When QTY Unavailable’ setting within ‘Inventory Settings’ to ‘Set as Pre-Order’. Sounds great. 

Acumatica Behavior: This ‘Set as Pre-Order’ action only adjusts the BigCommerce ‘Availability’ setting to the required ‘This product is coming soon but I want to take pre-orders’. However, without the ‘Inventory Tracking’ setting getting updated in tandem, the action of allowing pre-order isn’t actually achieved. There are other nuances to this (Availability Message, Preorder Date, etc), but inherently without the two BigCommerce settings updates triggered by this SKU level inventory setting in Acumatica the intended outcome is impossible. 

Is there a fundamental inventory setting I’m missing? Is this just a gap in how the commerce connector is designed?

I am attempting to replace, in as many scenarios as possible, a code heavy and complex inventory script that does these settings changes based on current stock level changes. It seems to me that Acumatica has half the answer to that problem, but is missing the other half of the configuration. 

To work effectively there of course needs to be the reversal of the inventory tracking setting to ‘track inventory for this product’ when product availability, as sync’d to the storefront from Acumatica, is positive. Curious is this function has been discussed previously, is on the roadmap, or has some other solution. 


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Hi @Phil, Thank you for your question. If for an item in the ERP, the Availability is set as Pre-Order. When this item is exported to BigCommerce, the ‘This product is coming soon but I want to take pre-orders’ field gets activated there. Because of this, the item is only allowed to sold as Pre-order in the BigCommerce storefront. The customer will not be allowed to buy this item from store front and can only pre-order the item. I just wanted to get a sense of why do you think that the Inventory Tracking should also get updated. How would inventory tracking impact, an item being Pre-Ordered? Appreciate your reply.

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@tusharpandita74 - Appreciate your response. 

 

Take a look at how BigCommerce behaves at the product level based on these settings, and I think what I’m getting at becomes clear. 

Let take this example product from my test store, the Gill Aero Side Zip Boot.

I am using a free theme with no customization in this example (with the exception of a ‘notify when in stock’ app that is installed for testing). 

In the screenshot above, this product has the following settings on the admin panel:

  • Availability = This product can be purchased in my online store
  • Inventory Tracking / Method = Track inventory for this product

Now, if this item was set to ‘When QTY Unavailable = Set as Pre-order’, Acumatica would update the Availability setting to ‘This product is coming soon but I want to take pre-orders’ the next time the Product Availability entity were to sync, as shown here: 

 

However, this action alone doesn’t allow any sort of front end preorder functionality. Note that while the native OUT OF STOCK notification has gone away, there still isn’t a Pre Order button. 

If I go back to the admin panel and adjust the Inventory tracking setting (from Track inventory for this product to Do not track inventory for this product):

 

And then revisit the front end, note the difference. There is a PRE-ORDER NOW button in place of the add to cart button, per the native BigCommerce pre order functionality. 

 

My point is that the current ‘Set as Pre-Order’ setting in Acumatica does not take the second and required step on BigCommerce to actually trigger the ability to pre order a product automatically.

My follow up question to that again is a) is this how the system was intended to work (which seems somewhat short sighted to me)? and b) if it was intended to actually allow the pre order functionality to work on the front end of the site, what am I missing in the configuration to allow that? 

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Hi @Phil:

 

I followed up on your issue with BigCommerce Support, and they advised me that the “Pre-Order Now” option should appear on BC storefront, once the ‘This product is coming soon but I want to take pre-orders’ field is selected on BigCommerce. There is no need for the inventory option to be updated.

 

They also advised the below that may help to fix the issue. 

 

 

You can get in touch with BC support and they should be able to further assist you in fixing this issue.

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Hi @tusharpandita74 - Thanks for your response. We already have a customized inventory script in place that does what ‘Ecom Lister (Customer)’ describes. What I’m really after is a solution that doesn’t require customization. Fundamentally without the inventory tracking setting update, nothing described here will just ‘work’ out of the box. Appreciate the effort to provide some guidance but this does not really address the actual business need so I’m going to continue to pursue customizations outside of Acumatica to solve for our needs.

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@tusharpandita74, have there been any updates on this particular functionality gap in a release since 2021 R2? We are in the process of updating from 2021 R2 to 2023 R1 and I am curious if any changes to connector functionality have improved how this ‘preorder’ function works when the ecommerce setting for ‘when quantity unavailable’ is set to ‘Set to pre-order/Continue selling’. 

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@tusharpandita74 my understanding is that 2022 R2 has an improvement to Product Availability configuration for BigCommerce stores. 

Per this wiki article - https://help-2022r2.acumatica.com/Help?ScreenId=ShowWiki&pageid=e2af17d8-c0c6-4350-b9f3-bc37c10567b2

To make an exported stock item available for purchase via the storefront and enable quantity tracking for it, on the eCommerce tab of the Stock Items (IN202500) form, you select Set as Available (Track Qty.) in the Availability box.

When the item is synchronized, in BigCommerce, on the product management page for the item, the system applies the following settings:

Under the Track inventory check box, the On the product level option button is also selected because stock items do not have product variants and the available quantities of exported stock items are tracked for the entire product.

  • In the Purchasability section, the This product can be purchased in my online store option button is selected.
  • In the Inventory section, the Track inventory check box is selected.

Subsequently in the wii article, 

  • To make the item unavailable for purchase via the storefront but available for pre-order, select Set as Pre-Order/Continue Selling in the When Qty. Unavailable box. In BigCommerce, the This product is coming soon but I want to take pre-orders option button becomes selected.

In the first action (configuration set to Availability = Set as Available (Track Qty.) in the ecommerce settings), Acumatica updates both the ‘Purchasability’ section AND the ‘Inventory’ section (on the BigCommerce product settings). In the second action, the documentation indicates that Acumatica updates the ‘Purchasability’ section, but does not specify any action for the ‘Inventory’ section. 

Is it an intentional design of the system NOT to update the ‘Inventory’ section? Does it update the ‘Inventory’ section but that fact isn’t documented here? Why would the system be able to update the ‘Inventory’ section for the first action but not the second? 

@josh.fischer or @KarthikGajendran any ideas here about design intention of these configuration settings? 

 

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@Phil 

The track inventory check box will be selected if the Availability in the Ecommerce tab is set as Set as Available (Track Quantity). 

I think what the documentation intends to show for action 2 is to specify what happens if the quantity becomes 0 for the item. Then based upon the value selected in the When qty Unavailable check box, the system would update the Purchasability of the item on BC. The track Inventory checkbox would still be selected.

I will speak to documentation team about the confusion as well.

 

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“The track Inventory checkbox would still be selected.”

If action 2 is updating the “purchasability” section to preorder, why would that action not update the “inventory tracking” section as well? The connector can clearly update that section (per action 1), but if it cannot do the same in action 2, updating the “purchasability” section alone is useless to a merchant attempting to actually oversell product. 

Is this intentional? Is it an oversight? 

Clarification of the documentation would be great, but more importantly, clarification about the intention beyond this design would be even more useful. This ‘gap’ in the functionality renders the “When Qty. Unavailable” configuration unusable in my use case, and I’m sure for other merchants who want to take advantage of the preorder function.

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@Phil :

I will discuss the functionality internally with your suggestion and update.

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Hi @Phil, Thanks for your question. I am sorry I missed this post. Tushar just brought this to my attention. 

Let me answer you about Action 1, Action 2 and Why it is designed this way. 

Action 1: Here, the connector does not do anything with respect to Purchasability settings. For the first sync of an item it only takes care of the Inventory settings. The reason is for sure when the item is first synced connector does not know the qty because it does not update the availability with item sync. So we are letting BigCommerce pick the default which happens to be “This product can be purchased in my online store”. 

Action 2: Each setting in Acumatica update its own settings in BigCommerce. We were not required to update one setting based on the value of the other. Also, this might look inconsistent. Example: In Acumatica, you have track qty but in BigCommerce it is set as Do not track. 

Why it is designed this way: Initially, BigCommerce did not work this way. Meaning, whether the item is set as Track Inventory at Product level or Variant level, if you have set Purchasability as Pre Order and Qty is 0, then the item is always shown with the Pre Order button in the storefront. 

We missed this update and thanks for bringing this to our attention. We will improve it. 

Could you please let us know how important is this update for you? If you already have a solution for it, then we will do it in 24R1. If not, then we will do it based on your request. 

 

Workaround: [Without a customization]

I tried to update this setting with Entities mapping for Stock item like the below screenshot and it updated successfully. But it is only a half solution because the Product Availability entities will override it again. 

How and when you can use the below approach? 

  1. If for sure you know an item is going to be Preorder for a while. Then you can either update the settings manually in BigCommerce to PreOrder or use the below mapping if you wanna do a mass update. 

    = IIf( NotAvailable='Set as Pre-Order/Continue Selling', 'none', NotAvailable)

  2. After doing the Step 1, immediately do Step 2, which is to set the Availability to Do Not Update. 

     

  3. Then when you know that you have the inventory for the items you can go back to the normal settings. 

I am giving you here an approach to do it without customizing either at BigCommerce or at Acumatica in the interim. 

Awaiting your response and based on that we will fix it in the required version. 

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@Phil @KarthikGajendran 

I’m so glad someone besides me noticed this!

My workaround is as follows:

  • I created a GI specifically for BC availability with saved filters for each scenario.  
  • My “Set As Pre-Order” filter is displaying products with 0 quantity.  
  • I check this periodically and when a new item ends up there, I use the Mass Action - Update - Availability function to change the Availability to Set as Pre-Order. ***The actual “Availability” setting has to be set to Pre-Order for this to work.  Using the “When QTY Unavailable” to set Pre-Order does NOT work****
  • In the BC Connector, I have Stock Items set to Real Time Sync, so when I make this update, it automatically syncs it to BC.
  • Changing the Availability setting in Acumatica to Pre-Order, by default, turns OFF Track Inventory in BC when it sync, so it works as expected.  I have no idea why changing it to Pre-Order from directly within BC doesn’t do this, but it seems to work properly doing it from the Acumatica side.  I also have no idea what changing the “When QTY Unavailable” to “Set as Pre-Order” does not work the same as the other.  Seems the proper logic is already built into the connector, just needs to be played with a little.  

 

 

Saw this months ago and signed up to comment to see if there was ever a fix.

Suffering the same problem. Without Acumatica triggering ‘Track Inventory’ to be disabled, the Pre-Order won’t work.

8 months now of a wasted BigCommerce / Acumatica just sitting there waiting for this to work.

There’s over 5,000 SKU’s, so no I’m not going to adjust these manually several times a day.

 

@nathankeating I manually tried your ‘Avilability’ Set as Pre-Order, and yes that actually did disable ‘Track Inventory’ in BigCommerce - so why can’t they actually replicate that in the ‘When Qty unavailable’ to solve this problem (of course we’ll need it to enable once stock comes back in).

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Hi @Phil,

The issue will be fixed in future 24R1 version, just please wait for the release and do the upgrade.

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@KseniaBurtseva61

Thanks for confirming. We’ve completed our upgrade to 23R1, so I will figure out a work around for the next 10-12 months. @nathankeating I like your approach and will test that in a fresh test instance of our tenant. Thanks @KarthikGajendran as well for the suggestions. 

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