Using the Database Inventory Feature

Your Merchant Solutions site has a built-in inventory management system. It lets you set the stock level for any of your products, even products with Options, such as apparel, which come in multiple colors and sizes. You can use the inventory management system regardless of whether you host your site in Store Editor or Web Hosting.

Once you set up inventory management, every time a product is ordered, its inventory level is reduced by the amount in the order. In this way, when you navigate to the Inventory page in Catalog Manager to check your current inventory levels, you can tell if you need to restock any items. The inventory management system can also:

  • Send you an email alert when inventory for any item reaches a minimum threshold
  • Set the shopping cart to display the number of units available in inventory when a customer adds an item
  • Set the shopping cart to display a message when there are insufficient units available to fill the order (This also prevents the item from being ordered)
Note: On January 24, 2012, a new "Add contact message if unavailable" setting was added. Merchants may now choose between displaying a message that both informs shoppers that an item is unavailable and instructs shoppers to contact them (the "Yes" option for this setting), or displaying a message that informs shoppers that an item is unavailable only, without including the message instructing shoppers to contact them (the "No" option for this setting).


The inventory management system is not enabled by default. In order to get started, you must first turn on this option.

To turn on the Database Inventory feature:

  1. Sign in to the Yahoo Store Manager.
  2. Click the "Configure Inventory" link in the Order Settings column.
  3. Select the radio button next to "Database Inventory" in the "Configure Inventory Options" section of the Configure Inventory Management page.
  4. Then click the "Modify Settings" or "Update" button on that page (modify settings appears if your store currently has "none" selected). You'll then see the same page with extra options that are specific to the Database Inventory feature.
  5. Select additional options for email alerts and settings and click "Update" when finished.

Email Alerts

The inventory management system can send an email alert when any item quantity falls to an amount you specify. There are four email alert fields in the Alerts section:

  • Send Email Alert - With this drop-down menu set to "Yes", the inventory management system can send email based on the settings in the other Alerts fields.
  • Alert Threshold - This is the inventory level that triggers an email alert. For example, if you have set the alert threshold to 10, the system generates a notification email when the inventory level for any of your products falls to 10. This email is sent at the time you specify in the Send field (described below).
  • Email To - This is the address to which the alert is sent.
  • Send - This lets you set the timing and frequency of inventory alerts. There are four radio button settings:
    • Daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST
    • Daily at 4 a.m. EST
    • Hourly
    • Immediately

Settings

This section determines whether customers see an inventory message in their Shopping Carts, what type of message they see, and whether they're able to place an order for an item if its inventory level is 0.

Display Inventory Column - This drop-down menu presents three settings, which result in the three different Shopping Carts shown in figure 1:
  • No - The default setting prevents the Shopping Cart from displaying an additional column, "In Stock." The "In Stock" column provides the customer with immediate information about item availability.
  • Yes with Quantity - This setting displays the "In Stock" column, so the customer can see the exact number of units available.
  • Yes with Availability - This setting displays the "In Stock" column, so the customer can see simply whether the item is available or not.
Figure 1: These Shopping Carts illustrate the three different settings for the Display Inventory Column field. Notice that the third screen displays an additional message because "Quantity Can Exceed Availability" is set to "No", as described below.


Quantity Can Exceed Availability--This drop-down menu has two settings:
  • No - The default setting. If an item has an inventory level of 0, when the customer adds it to the Shopping Cart, the following message is displayed: "Note: Requested quantity not available for some items at this time," as illustrated in the third screenshot in Figure 1 above.
  • Yes - A customer is allowed to order an item that has an inventory level of 0.
Default Inventory Quantity--This drop-down menu has two settings that determine what happens in the Shopping Cart when a customer adds an item that doesn't contain Quantity data on the Inventory page:
  • Infinity - The default setting. The inventory management system treats the item as if it were in stock. The item can be ordered, even when the "Quantity Can Exceed Availability" field is set to "No."
  • Zero - The inventory management system treats the item as if it were not in stock. The item cannot be ordered when the "Quantity Can Exceed Availability" field is set to "No."
Add contact message if unavailable--This drop-down menu has two settings:
  • Yes - The default setting. When an item is not available, a message will be displayed to shoppers informing them that the item is unvailable and instructing them to contact you. (Message text: "The (item) is not currently available. Please contact us for availability of this item.")
  • No - When an item is not available, a message will be displayed to shoppers informing them that the item is unavailable. When this option is selected, the message will not instruct shoppers to contact you. (Message text:"The (item) is not currently available.")

Note: In order for the inventory email alert and settings to function, you must set up your inventory data.

See Also


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