Print On Demand Fulfillment

IN THIS GUIDE

Print on Demand Integrations
Overview
Before You Start
Placing a Manual Order
Automating the Print Details Process
Automating the Inventory Item Update Process
Automating the Printing Submission Process
Conclusion

Print on Demand Integrations

Order Desk has built integrations with a number of print on demand fulfillment services. Please click here for a full list of our print on demand integrations.

Tip: If you use a print service that you’d like to see supported, please contact us.

Overview

In order to send your print on demand orders for fulfillment, Order Desk needs to know all the details about how to print the product. This typically means that you need:

  • the printer's product code for the item being printed (print_sku)
  • a link to the artwork file that will be printed on the item (print_url)

These details can be added to an order manually or can be automated. In this guide we’ll show you first how to place an order manually, then how to manage your print details via spreadsheet and how to add those details automatically to your new orders. Finally we’ll show you how to split your orders and automatically submit them for fulfillment.

Before You Start

Before placing your first order, you will need to do a few things.

1
Connect your Order Desk account to your printer. To do this, click on Manage Integrations under the Integrations menu in the left sidebar.
Select Print on Demand and click Enable for your printing service integration.

You will need to get a username/password or API key from your print on demand service to complete the connection and enable the integration.

Our on-demand printing services are not available on the free plan. You'll need to upgrade to Order Desk Pro before enabling print on demand integrations.
2
Gather the product codes from your printing service for the products you are going to use. Your sales rep at the print on demand service will be able to provide these for you.
3

Prepare your printable images. These images should be set to the format specified by your on-demand printing service. Once the files are ready, upload them to your website. They shouldn’t be linked anywhere but should be available in a folder such as  http://your-site.com/printfiles.

If you don’t have a website or can’t upload files to your website, you can use Dropbox to store your files. Click here for instructions on getting the public link for each Dropbox file. Another option for more advanced users or those with lots of images is to create a bucket at  Amazon S3 and upload your files there. Just be sure that the files in the bucket are publicly available.

Now that your account is connected and you have gathered your product codes and print file images, you are ready to submit your first order.

Placing a Manual Order

It's a good idea to place your first order manually so you can see how the order submission process works with print on demand items. To create an order manually, click on Add New Order under the Tools menu in the left sidebar.

Enter your shipping details and your product’s name (like Kitty Pillow) and click Save New Order. You’ll be redirected to the detail page for the new order you just created. 

Now it’s time to load in the specific details about your product that your printer needs to know. To do so, click the name of the item to open up the item details for editing.

You will need to add two variations to the product:

  • The name of the first variation is print_sku and the value will be the on-demand printing company’s product code for this product. 
  • The name of the second variation is print_url_1 (print_url also works) and the value for this field will be the full website address for the image to be printed on the product. 

After adding these details, click Save Product.

Now that your print details are included with the product, you can send the order for printing. Underneath the list of order items you’ll see a button to export the order for fulfillment to your on-demand printing company, like this button for MWW:

Clicking the button will queue up the order for export. You can either wait a minute and reload the page to see the results or you can click on the View Appointments link under the Tools menu in the left sidebar

and click the Submit option right away. If the order was successfully submitted, it will be moved out of the New folder. 

If there was an error, you can scroll down to the bottom of the Order History section on the detail page to find out what went wrong.

We will check the order periodically for shipment notification. When we receive the tracking number, it will be added to the order and the order will be moved to the Closed folder.

Automating the Print Details Process

Now that you have successfully submitted a manual order, the next step is to automate the process for getting your print details into your orders. To do this, you will need to create inventory items within Order Desk. These inventory items won’t keep track of stock count, but will hold the details for each unique item. 

Click Inventory Items under the Tools menu in the left sidebar. 

Click the Add Print on Demand button in the top right corner of the page.

Enter your item details on this page and click Add Item.

Things to note: the Item SKU is your SKU for the product. This is the SKU that you use in the cart where you sell the product.

The Part Number (print_sku) is the number you get from your printer for the product that will be printed.

The Print URL (print_url) is the printable image file that will be sent to your printer.

Tip: If you sell the same product at Etsy as other carts, you can add the SKU and the Listing ID here, and Order Desk will automatically make two duplicate products, one for Etsy and one for your other carts using your SKU. For more information on Etsy Listing IDs, please read  this guide.

Repeat this process for each print on demand product.

Optional: If you prefer, you can add your print on demand items by clicking Add New Item instead. This gives you more flexibility and you can add other metadata fields that might be required.

When adding products this way, the print_sku and print_url fields need to be added to the metadata section. The item will also need a Name, a Code/SKU and the Location (the name of the print vendor).

Once your inventory items are added, when new orders are created or downloaded, the details of each item in the order will be synced with the print details being stored in Order Desk so they are ready to be submitted to the printer.

If the print_url and print_sku aren't automatically showing up in the metadata of the order items, which can be seen by clicking on the down arrow in the order:

Then check your Store Settings to make sure this setting is enabled. Click on Store Settings under the Settings Menu in the left sidebar.

Under the Inventory Settings section, check Automatically Sync Details With Inventory Items.

This setting is enabled by default when print on demand integrations are added to an Order Desk account.

Tip: If you ever make a change to a saved inventory item after an order has been downloaded, you can click the Sync Item Details With Inventory button on the lower right side of the order detail page to update the metadata with the latest details.

Automate the Inventory Item Update Process

You can store your list of product names, codes, and URLs in a spreadsheet and import them periodically into Order Desk. To do this, create a spreadsheet with the following columns: 

Product Name, My Product SKU, Print Code, Print URL, Print Company

Download a sample spreadsheet here

Once the spreadsheet is filled out, export it as CSV file (comma-separated values). You will need to first create an import template for inventory items before you can upload the entire spreadsheet to Order Desk. To create the import template, you only need the first few lines of your spreadsheet filled out. You can complete the spreadsheet at a later time, if you prefer. 

To create an import template, click on Import Data under the Tools menu in the left sidebar.

To build the template, choose a Name for it, select Inventory Items for Import Type and Comma for Delimiter, and then upload your .csv file.

On the next screen, match your column names with Order Desk field names. These would be:

  • Product Name = Item Name
  • My Product SKU = Code/SKU
  • Print Code = Item Metadata
  • Print URL = Item Metadata
  • Print Company = Location

For Print Code and Print URL, replace the ? in metadata|? with print_sku and print_url, so they specifically are:

  • metadata|print_sku for Print Code
  • metadata|print_url for Print URL

Save your template. 

To import your inventory items to Order Desk using your new import template, you have two options. 

First, the custom email address at the top of the template can be used to email a .csv file to. It will automatically be processed against the template, and your items will be imported into Order Desk.

Second, if you go back to your Import Data page, you can now upload your completed .csv spreadsheet to the template you have just created. Choose your .csv file, click Upload and all of the items in the file will be added to Order Desk.

Tip: Items can be re-uploaded to Order Desk. Any listings with a matching item code will be updated with new changes.

Automate the Printing Submission Process

This step is a little involved. If you need any assistance, please contact Order Desk support, and we will be more than happy to assist. Also, don’t worry about this step until everything else is humming along nicely. Don’t read this step and give up on the whole process!

Now that your printing details are being added to your incoming orders automatically, you can tell Order Desk to automatically submit your orders for fulfillment. If you sell other kinds of products that don’t get sent for on-demand printing, then we will need to split your orders.

If all of your orders will be fulfilled by one print on demand vendor, follow these steps to create a rule that will automatically submit orders for fulfillment. If you have more than one vendor, skip to the next section for instructions.

Instructions for submitting orders to one vendor

To set up your account to automatically submit orders to one vendor, click on Rule Builder under Settings in the left sidebar.

Add a new rule for when Order is Imported, and click Continue.

On the next screen, click on the Select Action dropdown and choose the option to submit to your on-demand printing service. Give the rule a reference name that is easy to identify, such as "Submit orders to (printer's name)" and click Add Rule.

Now when an order comes in, it will automatically be submitted to your print on demand provider with the print details you have already added to your inventory items in Order Desk.

Instructions for submitting orders to more than one vendor

If you only need to submit  some of your orders or products for on-demand print fulfillment, you’ll need to set up an order splitting rule. This will split any on-demand products out of an order and create a new order for just those products so they can be submitted to your printer separately from the rest of the items in the original order. This makes the fulfillment process much simpler and easier to manage. If you are using Shopify or BigCommerce you can setup native vendor splitting. Otherwise, read on for setting up location-based splitting.

There are two rules that will need to be set up for this split. The first rule will create the split, and the second rule will submit the split order for fulfillment.

Rule 1: The Split
Click on Rule Builder under Settings in the left sidebar.

Add a new rule for when Order is Imported, and click Continue.

On the next screen, click on the  Select Action dropdown and choose Split Order. In the box under Split Order, you'll need to add the name of your print on demand vendor based on the name you put as the Location for your inventory items. For this example, we'll use MWW, but replace MWW with your Location if something different. Add:

MWW_METADATA=inventory_location|MWW

to the box to tell Order Desk what kind of split you want to create.

Click Add Rule.

Rule #2: The Submit
Now create a second rule, this time where the event is Order is Split and click Continue.

On the next screen, click Add a Condition. In the Select Field dropdown, choose If Order Metadata Field, change the = to "like" and the value should be split_title|[Your Fulfillment Service], MWW in our example. In the Select Action dropdown, choose Submit to [Your Fulfillment Service]. Give the rule a reference name that is easy to identify, such as "Submit to (printer's name)" and click Add Rule

This is how the rule should look:

With this rule enabled, Order Desk will only run this rule if the split order has matching items in it. If an order only had matching items and didn’t need to be split, it will still match. All orders containing products to be sent to MWW (or the location you've added in the rules) will be split if necessary and submitted to MWW.

Note: if you set up vendor splitting with BigCommerce or Shopify, you will hook the submission rule up to the Order Imported action since those orders are imported without an actual split event.

Conclusion

After finishing your setup, it's a good idea to test everything to make sure it is working as expected. We recommend closely watching your orders for the first couple of weeks to make sure they are submitting without any problems. After that, it's best to continue to monitor them for any issues that might arise. 

 If you complete this setup by yourself, feel free to contact Order Desk support to take a look and make sure everything is set up correctly. We will be happy to take a look at your account.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us