For all the features it gets right, sometimes Magento unintentionally hobbles businesses through default functionality. One of these key oversights is in the order numbering scheme, which also encompasses invoice numbers, shipment numbers, and credit memo numbers. Default numbering begins at 100000001 and increments up from there, which can be problematic for the reasons listed below. Luckily, as with most Magento functional areas, a number of extensions exist to optimize order numbering. Why would you want to do that?
They Reveal Private Information
Let’s say a customer orders a shirt, then decides to get a matching shirt one week later. With Magento’s default order numbering, they might be able to estimate turnover by comparing numbers. Now imagine how easy it would be for a competitor to get that same business information. It’s the principle of the matter—no one should be able to hack your sales figures quite so easily. Also, who would want to be customer #1, or even #10? You shouldn’t have to disclose that kind of sensitive information.
They Don’t Fulfill their Potential
There’s all sorts of information you can encode into the order number. This can be redundant, sure, but you definitely don’t want to be in a position where you’re lacking crucial information when an issue comes up. Multiple stores? Need to distinguish between order number types? Dates and times? All this and more is possible and customizable. Many elements dynamically change to reflect conditions at point of sale.
With the best extensions, you can set up simultaneous numbering systems, so that internal numbering can follow alternate logic to make things easier on your team or to preserve legacy record-keeping. Or retroactively adjust old order numbers to achieve across-the-board consistency!
While it isn’t as much of an issue, it can be a headache for customers to rattle off a 9-digit order number when they have questions or problems. A more sensible numbering scheme cuts down on human error and avoids confusion or aggravation where it matters most. Some extensions permit you to tool with the length, increment number, or even the alphanumeric makeup of order numbers.
Of course, just changing your ordering scheme doesn’t solve every problem, and there are a few things you should know beforehand. In no particular order:
• Changing length or content could involve rewriting Magento core code. Whether or not this is accomplished automatically during installation and setup of the extension, it may cause headaches come update time. Magento updates have a tendency to reset the core code, which may render extensions incompatible.
• As with many extensions, you may have to spring for the pro version to get all the functionality you want. This article is a great starting place, but it’s not a replacement for the diligent research that should go into any purchasing decision.
• If you use external systems outside of Magento, be prepared to analyze these integrations before, during, and after implementation. Don’t let customers point out malfunctioning modules for you! As a side note, this can be a great reason to use custom order numbers in the first place—if you’re already tracking orders on an external system, it makes sense to align with it within Magento.
We Can Help!
Last, but not least, you should know that Hara Partners successfully navigates Magento development, customization, integrations, and extensions for large and small organizations alike. If you’re considering Magento custom order numbers, we can walk you through the process and ensure a seamless transition. Contact us today to see what Hara Partners can do for you!