[thelist] ecommerce: implementing back orders

Ben Henick persist1 at io.com
Fri Jan 17 11:40:01 CST 2003

On Fri, 17 Jan 2003, Kathy Long wrote:

> I suppose the shopping cart can be written to encrypt and store the
> credit card number, as well, so the vendor has it on hand from his
> site, but that is not as secure. Or does someone know of a payment
> processor that allows for backorders and allows the merchant to charge
> partial orders as they are shipped within a certain time period? What
> is the best way to handle this?

Most of my implementation projects revolve around info systems, apps, and
brochures rather than e-commerce - if there weren't metric boatloads of
experience on both sides of my family when it comes to operating a retail
business (e.g. I was brought up around it) I'd be lost.

Thus the most I can contribute in this thread is to suggest the solution
to this problem (and others) that I designed on a recent project.

For each SKU in the DB, an item count is kept, as well as a reorder
threshold.  Other relevant fields are provided and maintained, but the
upshot of the system is that when the reorder threshold is achieved, the
ship time for the applicable item is adjusted at the UI layer.

When the user pays for their order, they're naturally given the ship times
for each line item on the invoice, and the ship time for the order as a
whole.  (We were asked by the client to avoid "Out of Stock" references.)

A reasonably motivated shopper may well split the order on their own.

While there's the issue of additional transaction overhead ($$$) to take
into account with fine-tuning, I've yet to figure out any fatal flaw in
this approach (esp. since the client is online-only for now, but intends
to integrate their POS* with the e-commerce DB when the time comes).

* Point of Sale.  (Not the other one.  :-D  )

If you don't have the chops/support to work with the DB and logic at that
level... oof.

The best I can suggest from there is that CC transaction vendors tend to
be as rapacious as the market will bear.

Ben Henick                     "In the long run, men hit only what they aim
Web Author At-Large             at.  Therefore, though they should fail
http://www.io.com/persist1/     immediately, they had better aim high."
persist1 at io.com                 -- Henry David Thoreau

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