I’m sure many of you have come upon this problem. You go to mark an order as shipped but instead of moving to completed orders, you get an error message saying something about the payment processor details or authorization. The order stays in Ready For Shipping from then on. Granted this situation only effects merchants collecting payment at the time of shipping (not at the time of checkout), but that’s how nearly all ProStores sites are setup so it’s definitely a common issue.
There are plenty of reasons to end up in this position, and while deleting the order will get it off of the Ready For Shipping page, it will also mean that the order’s data is permanently gone and will not be included in any of the reports you can generate in your store. First lets run through a few scenarios that would end with a stuck order and what to do in each case:
A) The order is old. Nearly all payment processors have a 30 day processing limitation, meaning a session is created when the customer checks out and the purchase is authorized. That session remains valid for 30 days, but once 30 days have come and gone the session expires and you will not be able to charge that customer. This is an instance of a stuck order that needs more than just getting unstuck. In this instance the best bet is to contact the customer. You could use your Order Entry tool to send them a new invoice (there is an option to create an outstanding invoice to be paid online – in that instance a link is sent to the customer that they can follow to checkout) or you could ask them to checkout themselves. Either case is somewhat risky as the customer may no longer want to order from you, but no online business should be accepting credit card information more than 30 days before sending out the item. That goes far beyond what most would consider an acceptable amount of time to wait, even for something marked as being on backorder.
B) Your payment processor has changed in between the time the order was placed and when you tried to mark it as shipped. This can be a tricky situation depending on whether or not you still have access to your previous payment gateway account. For instance if your payment processor was LinkPoint, but you’ve decided to switch toAuthorize.net , then orders placed when LinkPoint was the gateway will not be able to be marked as shipped normally now that Authorize.net is in place. If you no longer have access to the LinkPoint account you simply cannot collect this payment and should not ship the order until you’ve contacted the customer (like in scenario A above). If you still have access to the LinkPoint account then you can process the order in ProStores following these steps:
- Close your Store. You are going to be changing the payment processor so you don’t want anyone to be checking out while you’re doing that. You could end up in the same position again when it’s time to ship orders placed while you were fixing this one!
- Go To Store Settings > Payment Prefs. On this page you should see your current payment processor selected. Change the processor back to what you were using before (if you were setup like my example above you would see Authorize.net as the current processor and would change the dropdown menu to LinkPoint) and then click the Submit button at the bottom of the page. Depending on your processor you may be taken to the Configure page next, but if that happens all you need to do is click Submit on that page as well.
- Ship The Stuck Order. As long as it’s been less than 30 days you should now be able to simply mark the offending order(s) as shipped. The system will charge the client through your old processor and the order will be moved to Completed Orders
- Go Back To Payment Prefs. Now you’re just going to do the reverse of step 2. Put your current processor back in place and click Submit.
- Open The Store. You’ve finished processing the stuck orders and have reset your payment processor so get the store open again as soon as you can to avoid losing any business unnecessarily!
C) You’ve processed the payment elsewhere. Just about everyone has to do this every now and then for one reason or another. The order came in through ProStores but you needed to process the payment through your gateway’s website (usually called a Virtual Terminal) and now it’s stuck in ProStores and can’t be marked as shipped. As long as you’re certain you’ve been paid, follow steps 1 through 5 above with one exception. You will be changing the processor to None. With no processor in place when you mark the order as shipped it will not attempt to collect payment.