How To Create a Flexible Order Routing System with Shopify

How To Create a Flexible Order Routing System with Shopify

You've probably been amazed at the speed and efficiency that your online purchases get to you. The reason for this seemingly magical procedure is a complicated mechanism known as order routing. It's a system essential to the success of e-commerce. Whether you're an aspirant businessperson looking to break into Shopify Store Development Services or a seasoned merchant looking to improve your fulfillment strategies. Knowing the details of the order routing process at Shopify could boost your company's performance.

Intelligent order routing is a new method that offers sellers more freedom in deciding which route they would like to take and the orders they receive to various destinations. The concept of order routing has emerged as a critical participant in an age in which customer satisfaction is greatly dependent on how quickly and efficiently goods are delivered. By implementing the correct ordering principles, retailers can ensure that every order will be delivered to the address most suited to provide the most rapid delivery at the most affordable cost. Thus improving customer experience and satisfaction.

This article will extensively explore Shopify's complicated order routing process. It will help you understand how it works and the guidelines that go into the system. It will also provide insights into the customizable features that allow merchants to manage their fulfillment processes accurately and safely. Get ready because we're set to begin an adventure to simplify the fulfillment process and ensure orders flow smoothly.

What Exactly Is "Order Routing"?

If a client places an order on the Shopify retailer, receiving it out of the warehouse, basement storage facility, or physical store begins with one crucial step. Select the inventory place from which the package will be shipped. It's an easy task when a seller fulfills orders from one place. However, this becomes difficult for those who keep their customers' inventory and fulfill orders across various places (perhaps they've got a few brick-and-mortar shops where they maintain inventory, or even multiple warehouses, etc.). The platform's decision on where an order will arrive is described in the context of "order routing" in Shopify.

The optimal order routing process is more than considering the location closest to the purchaser. Many questions can be considered like:

    • What locations are stocked with enough inventory?

    • Do I have to ship all things together from a single point?

    • Do I have to ship it from a facility in the buyer's country?

    • Do I have the option of prioritizing shipments from specific locations over other locations?

If Shopify Development Company considers these and many other aspects and weighs them against other factors, you can see that businesses require flexibility when handling their orders. What is appropriate for a family-owned enterprise with just a few sites could be different for a company owned by just one individual or an enterprise with several warehouses spread across the nation.

Advantages Of Shopify Functions For Order Routing

A well-functioning order routing system is the core of an efficient e-commerce business, affecting everything from customer service to profits. In recent years, Shopify Functions emerged as an innovative approach to order routing. They offer many advantages over conventional methods. In this post, we'll explore the benefits of using Shopify functions for order routing and their performance compared to other methods.

Real-Time Processing

One significant benefit of Shopify Functions is their ability to handle orders instantly. Contrary to batch processing and manual routes, Shopify Functions enable businesses to manage order routing automatically when orders are made, resulting in faster processing times and improved customer satisfaction.

Also Read: Shopify Development Trends Need to Consider

Customizable Logic

Shopify Functions provides extremely customizable routing algorithms tailored to every company's requirements. Where traditional strategies depend on fixed routing rules, Shopify Functions allow organizations to create flexible criteria for routing orders. This includes product characteristics, customer locations, and shipping preferences, which results in more precise and effective routing choices.

Multi-Channel Integration

A further advantage for Shopify Functions is their seamless integration with various selling channels. Whether orders come via an online shop, marketplace, or social media sites, Shopify Functions can consolidate and manage orders across every channel in a unified method. This makes order management more straightforward and decreases the chance of mistakes or excessive sales.

Scalability And Reliability

Shopify functions are designed to meet the increasing demands of businesses that sell online and can handle large volumes of orders quickly and confidently. Contrary to traditional approaches that cannot cope with the growing volume of orders or require manual intervention to deal with the spikes in traffic. Shopify Functions offer consistent performance and dependability, ensuring that the processing of orders is efficient regardless of size.

Error Reduction And Accuracy

Through automatizing the order routing procedure, Shopify Functions help reduce the chance of errors made by humans caused by manual handling of orders. The order is routed according to specified criteria, decreasing chances of routing errors or shipping issues and also ensuring that clients receive the correct merchandise on time. This can lead to fewer exchanges or returns.


Using Shopify Functions for order routing could reduce companies' costs by reducing the demand for manual work and limiting fulfillment errors. Through streamlined processes and increased efficiency, companies can better use their resources. While also concentrating on expansion and growth initiatives, ultimately reducing the cost of operations and boosting profits.

Also Read: Role Of Shopify Development in Empowering the Business Online

Enhanced Customer Experience

The benefits that come with Shopify Functions translate into an improved customer experience. More efficient order processing, accurate fulfillment, and prompt delivery result in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Utilizing Shopify Functions for order routing companies can satisfy customer speed, dependability, and transparency requirements. This ultimately resulted in repeat purchases and positive recommendations from friends and family.

Benefits Of Shopify Functions For Merchants

Shopify Functions offer several fundamental advantages for merchants. It allows them to customize their stores more and has more flexibility within them. We'll look at the benefits for business from Shopify Functions from the sellers' perspective.

Faster Request Processing

Requests are processed quickly when using Shopify Functions. Before this, merchants were required to wait for the site to refresh to execute Shopify Scripts. However, with the new checkout system, Shopify Functions functionalities are executed without reloading AJAX requests. Users can check the outcomes of their actions immediately.


One of the main benefits of Shopify Functions is accessibility. Merchants of all sizes can upgrade their online stores by downloading a Shopify App Store with an option to customize the feature in a function. The functionality is available to all store owners regardless of their tech experience, coding skills, or pricing plans. This also allows small and mid-sized companies to compete with large corporations using current Shopify apps, which now have functions.

Also Read: Comprehensive Guide: How To Dropship on Shopify

New Possibilities For Shopify Plus Subscribers

Shopify Plus brands can create and publish customized functions directly onto their online store using an application-specific program. This adds an extra level of customization for large-volume sellers who, by constructing specific strategies based on Shopify Functions APIs, don't restrict themselves to the existing apps. 


Shopify Customization was built to handle a high volume of traffic and data processing, which makes it suitable for companies of all sizes. Whether you're a tiny shop or an enterprise, its functions efficiently handle the increase in workload without impacting efficiency.

Ease Of Use

Retailers can alter their stores without touching the codes when installing Shopify applications that have embedded Shopify Functions functions. They can deploy Functions within the app and modify them from the Admin Dashboard. For example, they can gain faster and simpler reports, create custom discounts, and offer potent promos.

Shopify Functions Lifecycle Explained

Now that you understand how Shopify Functions works, let's go deeper. Examine the critical steps of their development:


This is where you or your team of developers create the custom code for the functionality you'd like to integrate into the Shopify store. The custom feature can be integrated into your store's private app or made available through Shopify's app store for others to use.


Once you've developed the customized feature as an application, you can deploy it into your Shopify store using the Shopify CLI. You can also set all the required settings via the Shopify administrator.


Once installed and configured correctly, Shopify features are fully operational and ready for action. When people visit your shop, it triggers specific triggers that cause the system to react to these events.


Modifying the behavior of the specific Shopify function is possible. This involves altering the software's settings, code, or settings to make it more responsive to your needs.


In addition, as with any software program, Shopify Functions requires ongoing maintenance to ensure uninterrupted operation. This is why it's important to monitor and correct issues, upgrade dependencies, or take additional security measures to ensure the high-quality performance of your customized functions.

The Workings Of Shopify's Order Routing System

To appreciate the benefits that order routing can bring to the value of your Shopify Development Solutions, you must begin by understanding its fundamentals. Essentially, it is the central decision-making platform for fulfilling customer requests. It sorts through the myriad fulfillment centers and chooses the best place for each delivery according to established rules.

Also Read: Best Shopify Development Agencies to Partner With 

If you have multiple stores, this is an absolute blessing. This transforms an administrative nightmare of juggling inventory between different warehouses and back rooms into an orchestrated symphony that is well-organized for sorting, packing, shipping, and sorting. By default, Shopify's routing system is designed to speed up order processing from the nearest store with all required items readily available. This isn't an automatic process; instead, it is designed for customization based on the specific needs of your business and your customer base.

Fine-Tuning Your Fulfillment Strategy

Shopify's order routing isn't confined to a one-strategy-fits-all philosophy. Its flexibility is due to the many guidelines merchants can apply to modify their fulfillment processes.

Minimize Split Fulfillments

The most important rule of every fulfillment method is to limit the number of boxes each order is divided into. Simple is the essence of the game. If you can direct your orders to stores with everything in stock and waiting to be shipped, you can reduce the cost of shipping and improve the user experience. If you find yourself where no location is the only place to shop for your order, Shopify smartly prioritizes the areas to produce the most minimal split packages.

Market-Centric Prioritization

One of the goals for retailers with an international presence is to ensure that their shipments stay within the confines of the market. It's precisely the service Shopify provides by ranking the areas within the market of destination over their international counterparts. It's not just a way to reduce the burden of customs and delays in shipping; it also results in tax savings and tariff reductions. It's a benefit for both the merchant and their customers.

Nearest Location Dispatch

In some cases, it comes down to the basic economics of proximity. Shopify's routing algorithm pinpoints the closest store to your shipping address, a crucial element that can often break an unbroken tie when the other variables are evenly distributed. This reduces the cost of shipping and delivery and minimizes the impact on the environment from the delivery.

Hierarchical Location Prioritization

Shopify will consider your preferences and allow you to classify places based on dispatch priority. The system is particularly useful when you decide to label particular warehouses or even retail shops as your primary point of shipment. The group ranking system adds personalization by letting retailers cluster their preferred locations equally without the need for complex macro-management.

More Flexibility With Smart Order Routing

Before the introduction of intelligent order routing, retailers had the sole option to customize orders: establish an orderly list of places to send them. When feasible, the default algorithm will always attempt to send all products in a single order from one point. If more than one location meets this requirement, it will end this knot with the highest priority list of destinations.

Also Read: Benefits of Custom Shopify Development

Smart ordering made routing more adaptable for our merchants, allowing them to personalize the routing procedure based on their specific business model in a simple manner that is easy to manage from the administration. When routing orders was similar to making coffee, it's as if the merchants' equipment from a primary drip machine, with a choice between regular and decaf, to an espresso machine of the highest quality, as well as their option of the syrups and milk they desired. The situation was that the ingredients we used were known by the name of "routing rules," and our coffee maker was our server, on which routing rules were based.

Routing Rules

The term "routing rule" refers to an algorithm that decides how we rank the possible locations based on an arbitrary parameter to choose the most suitable place to route. We formally formulated some of the queries we had asked previously as the standard routing rules we'd create. For instance, the query "Can I send this item from an office located in the country of purchase? " changed the routing rules to keep the shipment within the country of destination market.

If a seller included a routing rule to ensure nearness to the purchaser, the eligible locations are ranked in that order, and the nearest place is the most rated, while the furthest location is ranked the worst. The merchant can mix the rules mentioned above with any other order they wish to determine the most optimal spot for the order. If a business decided that delivery from the nearest location to customers was the primary factor to consider, then they could create a prioritized set of destinations. The merchant could configure this in the order using their administrator's settings for Order Routing.

Also Read: Hire A Shopify Developers

Although this is a good beginning point, imagine the following scenario: What would be the case if we offered only soy and oat milk? However, the vendor prefers to utilize their almond milk, made from scratch. It's okay, but we should not restrict the request (within acceptable limits, obviously). We knew that this initiative's primary purpose was flexibility for our merchants. Merchants customize how they route their customers' orders using their routing guidelines. However, we also needed to develop the process of routing orders so that the merchant could utilize our routing rules and create their policies. This is the time to introduce Shopify Functions. Through Shopify Functions, developers could develop their logic, compile it into a WebAssembly module, and then connect it to our servers.

Using Shopify Functions

The Shopify Function comprises three components: the input, the logic, and finally, the output. The input can be described as a GraphQL query that contains information the function requires, such as the location of inventory. The result of running the logic will be an order of locations according to the criteria described in the logic function. The one that meets these criteria is at the top of the list. If, for instance, we were to apply the "proximity to buyer" rule to all inventory-eligible places, the nearest location to the buyer would be ranked 0. The next one would be ranked 1, and the following locations would be placed in increasing order.

If a retailer chooses which routing rules to apply in their shop, each rule is independent of the others and generates rankings of the stores according to its logic. Within the UI, the rules selected are set according to the merchant's chosen sequence. If everything were perfect in a perfect world, when a retailer follows a policy like "ship from the closest location" as the top prioritization, there would likely be one optimal location. It's the day. If two or more sites are judged equal as the top alternative, create an option to break the tie, referred to as the reducer.

The Reducer

The reducer analyzes the outcomes of all rules to identify the optimal spot to deliver the sequence to for the ultimate result. If the outcome from the first rule includes only one place that ranks 0, then the reducer returns the place. If more than two places are ranked as zero under this rule, then the reducer will take those locations. Using the scores from the subsequent rule, IT breaks the tie between the places by choosing which one has the lowest rank (the fewer rank numbers are, the more desirable the place). The process can be repeated using the following location rule if needed.

Construction Using The Pipeline Pattern

The most important decision we took in redesigning our order routing system was the pipeline pattern. This pattern encapsulates the whole process you wish to follow and can be broken down into small steps so that each step can perform a single, overarching task. A few advantages of this method are a clear separation of the various actions involved, greater code comprehension, and faster testing. Input from the pipeline is available for use at every step as required. If one step completes a process, the output will be accessible to any subsequent steps along with the input from the first pipeline step.

Before that, we used an exceptionally tightly coupled system that ran several iterations, using nesting loops to identify the most efficient location to route the orders. If errors in order routing were discovered, most of our programmers with no domain knowledge had to invest long hours trying to comprehend the source code. Using the pipeline model, we dissected this procedure into a series of steps that make the necessary inputs for ordering. We ran the routing rules to reduce the outcome and determine the optimal place. Reducing the process of routing orders to smaller steps helped the developers comprehend and fix any problems that surfaced.

How To Set The Rules For Your Order Routing

Four basic guidelines are included with intelligent routing of orders straight out of the box. Depending on your organization's specific requirements, you can prioritize one rule over another. Here are some guidelines for deciding the best method for ranking the rules for routing orders.

Make Use Of Ranked Places

This rule of order routing can help you prioritize the fulfillment centers you have. For example, if you own both warehouses and stores, it might be beneficial to prioritize your warehouses over the fronts. If your products aren't readily available at your warehouse, you might want to take the order and fulfill it from your storefronts for last-minute fulfillment. Another method to determine the fulfillment centers you use could depend on warehouse expenses. 

If one location charges more to store inventory than another, it may be better to move your inventory off the shelves faster. This way, you can group your preferred locations so they share the same rank. 

Ship To The Nearest Location

This rule applies to Shopify Development Services. Shopify automatically determines the distance between the customer's delivery address and the warehouse's location. Shopify then prioritizes those locations with the least distance. The benefit of this method is that the shorter the transportation distance, the cheaper the shipping charges are. If you can cover the costs of shipping, then you're cutting costs. If the customer pays for this, the cheaper shipping cost at the checkout will likely attract this customer. It will increase customer retention and encourage repeat purchases from them in the future. The shorter time to transit also results in faster delivery and more pleasant customer experiences.

Keep Within The Market Of Your Destination

An exception to the principle is that the nearest store to your client is in a different nation. In that situation, you might want to include the "stay within the destination market rule" at first. The shipping of international packages often requires the payment of taxes or duties and can result in higher costs for you or your client. Furthermore, many shipping companies have to transfer parcels to different shipping companies within other countries, which can boost the chance of a package losing its way or providing inaccurate tracking information. If you are operating in multiple locations, it is possible to prioritize this policy to prevent this problem.

Minimize Split Fulfillments

If you have multiple warehouses, inventory will be spread between them, meaning you may not have everything to complete the order at one location. Your order will be shipped to the one that includes the bulk or all items ordered in the same location. By reducing split fulfillments, you pay to send your order once instead of paying for several shipments to split orders.

Handle Your Routing Rules With Confidence

Navigating and setting Shopify's routing policies is not difficult, even for newcomers to e-commerce logistics.

Dynamically Configurable Interface

The user interface of Shopify concentrates on giving retailers the flexibility to plan their fulfillment plans and change them at the moment. Adding, eliminating, and shifting rules is possible without a hitch, and the system is adaptable to the changing market.

Third-Party Custom Rules

Merchants can also incorporate third-party developers' expertise into their order-routing infrastructure. Custom rules can be incorporated to provide a whole new set of personalized location preferences specific to business needs that Shopify's default settings may be unable to address.

Auto-Migration Assurance

Anyone who is worried about the chaos that comes with the transition to Shopify's routing system can rest at ease. Store configurations from previous fulfillment platforms are easily transferred to ensure that the switch to intelligent order routing will be effortless and unaffected.

Final Thoughts

It's a simple fact that Shopify ordering routing has become often referred to as an unheralded hero who plays an essential part in overcoming the current shipping issues for e-commerce. Whether you're a new startup or an experienced expert in the business, using the advantages of smart order routing can enhance your operational efficiency. It also helps improve customer satisfaction and, ultimately, your business' growth.

Combining routing regulations to introduce more flexibility into the order routing procedure, utilizing Shopify Functions as a bridge to introduce extensibility. Implementing the pipeline design pattern to build more efficient code was also the first stage of intelligent order routing. The next step is focusing on the expansion by opening up the possibility of order routing to allow developers to create further and potentially more complicated guidelines for retailers.