The Inventory System
Inventory management is a vital part of any retail business, whether it’s a traditional brick-and-mortar shop or an online Web site. Inventory management provides you with critical information about the condition of your products, such as whether you are low on stock and your inventory needs to be replenished. Inventory management also provides your customers with accurate information, letting them know when items are out-ofstock, back-ordered, or pre-orderable. Failure to provide your customers with this information puts you at risk of losing future business. Inventory management also gives you insight into which products are selling well and which products are not. This information allows you to make better business decisions on how to market your products, and whether or not to carry them. Previous versions of Commerce Server to 2007 did not have an out-of-the-box inventory system. Instead, developers were either required to customize and extend the catalog schema, as well as write custom processes to track inventory levels, or develop their own processes for integrating into a line-of-business (LOB) inventory system. Commerce Server has made significant advances with regards to inventory management, and has an out-of-thebox Inventory System capable of providing the following functionality: • • • Real-time inventory management for product catalogs Full integration into the Catalog System and Orders System Integration into LOB systems through the Commerce Server BizTalk adapters

This chapter discusses the concept of inventory management in Commerce Server. Specifically, this chapter discusses: • Understanding the Inventory System o o o o • The relationship between the Inventory and Catalog Systems The Inventory System features The inventory schema Inventory site resources

Building the Inventory System o o Creating the Inventory Catalog Common Inventory Scenarios

External inventory sources

Software Smith’s Commerce Server...