Introduction to drop-shipping

This guide assumes you are a retailer passing orders to your suppliers for shipping.

Drop-shipping is a method of fulfillment where goods are shipped from a vendor (supplier) directly to the customer.

The customer will place an order as normal, and instead of going through the print, pick, pack and ship process, a drop-ship purchase order is created and sent to the vendor. The vendor will then deliver the goods to the customer, and send you an invoice for the items, as with a normal purchase order.


Note: If you're holding inventory and drop-shipping for another company, then read this help article.


In order to drop-ship items on sales orders, you will need to have:

  • At least one vendor (supplier)
  • Assigned a cost price list to your vendor(s)
  • Assigned your vendor(s) to your drop-ship products
  • Set a price for the products on the price list(s) assigned to the vendor(s)

To see how, read creating drop-ship suppliers and prices.

Creating drop-ship purchase orders

Sales which are to be drop-shipped are created in Brightpearl in the same way as any other sale - manually, through an eCommerce sales channel, via an import, over the API, and so on.

Drop-ship purchase orders can be created in a number of different ways:

  • Through individual orders
  • In bulk from the sales list
  • Using Automation
  • Over the API

Read more about creating drop-ship purchase orders.

Shipping drop-ship orders

The items on a drop-ship purchase order are linked to the respective lines on the original sales order, so when you mark the purchase order as 'shipped', the sale is updated too.

Drop-ship purchase orders can be marked as shipped automatically when a purchase invoice is received against them, or you can choose to update them one by one, or in batches.

For more detail, read about shipping drop-ship purchase orders.

Drop-shipping and accounting

Just as with regular purchase orders, you'll need to receive a purchase invoice against a drop-ship PO.

The key difference between drop-ship POs and regular POs is that you don't receive any items into stock from a drop-ship PO, so there is no impact to your inventory asset value.

You will need to invoice the sales order to complete all accounting processes. However, since you didn't carry the stock, there will be no accounting transactions which are normally associated with a shipped goods out note as there is no asset value of inventory to use for cost of goods sold. The cost will instead be recorded on the invoice for the drop-ship purchase order.

For more detail, see drop-shipping and accounting.

Feeding channels with drop-ship inventory levels

You may not hold stock of drop-shipped products but still want to show an available quantity of these items in your sales channels if they can still be fulfilled via drop-ship.

If you have access to a feed of supplier inventory, you can create a separate 'virtual warehouse' for your supplier's inventory.

If you usually hold stock of an item, but want to continue selling (and drop-shipping) this item when stock has run out, you will need to use settings in your sales channel platform for "continue selling when out of stock".

See drop-shipping and inventory for more detail.


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