Print on Demand Order Syncing


How Does Syncing Work?
Why Is Syncing Necessary?
How to Check for Errors
The Quick Fix to Submit an Order
The Permanent Fix so Future Orders Will Sync Automatically
Common Reasons Orders Don't Sync


Why won't my print on demand order sync?
I'm not sure if my order submitted; how can I tell?
Why does it say print details are missing? What does that mean?

These are the most common questions we hear from print on demand merchants as they are setting up their Order Desk store and learning how to submit print orders. The Print on Demand Fulfillment guide goes into extensive detail for how to do this, but this short guide will briefly go over what to look for on those orders you are having trouble sending to your printer.

First, we'll go into a little background on how and why order syncing is important. If you already have a solid understanding of this, skip ahead to the sections on how to check for and fix errors in orders.

How Does Syncing Work?

Unlike sending orders to a warehouse, where a SKU is typically all that is needed for the supplier to fulfill the order, print on demand orders are made by combing your artwork with the printer's item. This requires some unique and customized information be sent to your printer with each order: your artwork, the printer's product code for the item you want them to print on, and any other necessary details the printer will need to create the product (location of the print, etc.) All of these details combined are referred to as the "print details".

Since it isn't always possible to store the print details with items in your shopping cart, these will need to be added to the order after your customer has already purchased the item. This is what syncing is.

When the order comes in from a shopping cart, Order Desk looks through your saved inventory items to find the print details and sync them into the order. The goal is to make this happen automatically and instantaneously so you don't have to edit every order you get before submitting it to your printer.

Why is Syncing Necessary?

Without syncing, you would have to manually edit every order to add all of the print details. Not only is this an unnecessary use of your time, it opens up the possibility for costly errors and a longer turn around time on your orders.

Without the print details, the order won't successfully submit to your printer. Simply put — a printer won't accept an order if it doesn't tell them what to print.

How to Check for Errors

If an order doesn't go through to the printer, you should receive an email from Order Desk letting you know there was an error. If you have any doubt about the status of an order, open up the order page and scroll down to the bottom where you'll find the Order History section:

This section will tell you when the order was imported or created, if anything was edited on the order as well as any other actions taken on it in Order Desk, and if or when it was submitted to your printer. If the submission failed, the error and the reason for the failure will be added here. Usually that error is that the print details are missing.

The Quick Fix to Submit an Order

Check for the print details in your order to make sure this is actually the problem you're encountering. These details will either be set up as variations or as item metadata. If set as variations, you'll see them when you look at the order:

If set as metadata, click the arrow under the item name to see if your print details have already synced into the order:

If the print details are there, you'll see them with the metadata that drops down after clicking the arrow:

If you don't see your print details as either variations or metadata, you've found your problem. These need to be added to the items in the order before submitting to your printer.

To quickly add these details and submit the order, click on the item name and add your details as variations:

Save the item and resubmit the order to the printer by clicking on the submit button:

However, once done, you'll still want to fix the problem that prevented your order from syncing and submitting automatically when it was initially placed.

The Permanent Fix So Future Orders Will Sync Automatically

There are two key factors to ensuring your orders will sync automatically.

1. Automatically Sync Details With Inventory Items must be enabled on your store. To check this, go to your Store Settings (under the Settings menu in the left sidebar) and look at the Inventory Settings section:

2. You must have your Inventory Items stored in Order Desk with the print details added to either the metadata or as variations. To check this, go to your Inventory Items (under the Tools menu in the left sidebar) and make sure you have your items stored here. Be sure to look for any specific items from orders that didn't sync when they imported:

Each item needs to have your SKU saved in the Code/SKU field and all the print details added to it in the metadata or variations fields.

That's it! However, maybe you checked and both of those are already in place but your order still didn't sync. Read on for the most likely culprit.

Tip: There are several ways to save your inventory to Order Desk. This guide provides instructions for the most efficient way to import a large number of print on demand products all at once.

The Most Common Reason Orders Don't Sync

You've checked to make sure everything is set up properly, but for some reason, your order still didn't sync automatically. The single most common reason this happens is because there's either a typo in the SKU or there is no SKU at all on the item in the order itself.

Let's say you have an item, Art Print, with the SKU 1025, and all the print details are saved in Order Desk:

An order for Art Print comes into Order Desk, but the print details never synced in, either as variations or as metadata:

In this example, the problem is that the SKUs don't match between the item in the order and the item in Order Desk. (In some cases, there may be no SKU at all in the order, which is why it isn't syncing.) There's a typo either in the shopping cart (10025) or in Order Desk (1025). You can quickly adjust this by either clicking on the item name in the order and changing the SKU to 1025 or opening up the item in your inventory and changing the SKU to 10025. (Be sure to also fix the SKU in your shopping cart, if that's where the typo originated or if there is no SKU set there at all.)

Once the inaccurate SKU is updated so both SKUs match each other, your order can sync. If you edited the SKU in the order itself, when you save the item, it should automatically update.

If you edited the SKU in the inventory item rather than the order, go back into the order and scroll to the bottom of the page to click the Sync Item Details with Inventory button in the lower right corner:

Double check that the print details are now in the order, and if you see them, submit your order again. Wait a few seconds then refresh the page and scroll down to the Order History section one last time to see if the order successfully submitted to your printer.

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