Sophio FBS processes hundreds of orders per day for many dozens of active affiliates. As you likely know, all affiliates share the same Sophio inventory feed that is aggregated from more than 250 warehouses throughout North America. The Sophio FBS master inventory currently has over 1.1 million items in it. Sophio FBS hides items from affiliates that have less than 2 in stock. A large percentage of items have low quantities which may result in the sale of a non-stocking item from time to time. This is something that all affiliates should understand and expect to happen. Having said that, we thought we should mention that Sophio’s inventory fill rate for 2016 was 98%. As an affiliate, your expectation should be that 2% of your orders will not be available from Sophio. When an item is not in stock, Sophio will first try and second source the item through our distribution network regardless of price and at our own expense. If we have no alternate sources we will void your order and refund your credit card or PayPal account immediately.
Since most of our affiliates are selling on eBay and Amazon it should come as no surprise to you that marketplaces penalize sellers for cancelling orders. As such, it is your responsibility to second source the item. The quickest solution to second sourcing is contacting a local dealer who can special order and drop ship the part to your customer. If you choose that path, Sophio will cover the cost of second sourcing up to $100 without approval provided you have your min stock to set to a qty of 3 and you are able to provide us with a receipt from the alternate supplier. Furthermore, you must have a valid credit card on file so that we are able to process your orders immediately. If you are paying for orders one at a time, the lag could be enough for our supplier to run out of stock. Be sure to keep your invoice and file a claim by sending your documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. It may take up to thirty days to process your cancellation claim.
If you have exhausted all resources and find you must cancel an order, please take the following steps.
- Contact your customer in writing via the marketplace messaging system and tell them their item cannot be shipped today due to an inventory syncing problem with the marketplace partner who helps you manage your marketplace store, but you are happy to special order the item from the actual manufacturer but cannot guarantee a ship date. Phrasing your response in this way may lead to the buyer asking for a refund which is the best thing for everyone. If the buyer says ‘sure, special order it’ contact Sophio and we will do exactly that. The order will remain open in our system until stock becomes available and we will reverse your refund.
- If the buyer is upset and leaves you negative feedback or creates a case with the marketplace, it is important to figure out who’s fault this is to help mitigate the negative feedback. If the fault is from one of the systems used to automate the listing (Sophio or WHI or the marketplace themselves) the marketplace customer service department may remove the penalty (defect) or feedback upon request. We highly suggest you do not accept any negative feedback (especially when the issue is through no fault of your own) as it can severely hurt your sales at the marketplace and take up to a year to return to the current level you are enjoying.
If a buyer wants to cancel an order that he places with you via your website or marketplace and you have already fulfilled the order with Sophio FBS, your expectation should be that the order cannot be cancelled and that it has been shipped. As such, you will have to tell your buyer the order is processed by an automated system and they will have to either reject the order or return it at their expense. This normally is understood by the buyer, but when it is not, they will open a case and try to hold you to it. The marketplace will of course understand provided you guarantee that you will give your buyer a refund once they prove the order has been returned. Please do not ask Sophio FBS to ‘call the supplier’ or ‘call the manufacturer’ to try and stop the order. Neither Sophio nor its suppliers can ‘stop the automation’ due to a buyer changing their mind or finding a better price. It is considered an unreasonable request and therefore has financial consequences.
Lastly, Sophio FBS DOES have a small window in which it can cancel orders. Most orders you send to Sophio FBS sit in a queue for up to 30 minutes. If you click the ‘Cancel Request’ from the Supplier Menu in your control panels Order Management page the system will attempt to cancel the order. If the system tells you the order has been already fulfilled, then it is in fact too late and asking us to contact the supplier is not an option and you will have to ask your buyer to reject the order or return it if they are not able to reject it. Your 'get out of jail free card' is to simply say "Our order management system is automated. Once the order has been paid for it prints in a warehouse and is placed in a staging area that is not accessible to the warehouse staff. Had we received your cancellation request via the marketplace cancellation system we may have been able to stop it."