How frequently can I perform inventory updates?

I'm concerned about back orders and/or overselling, and I would like "real-time" inventory updates. Can I shorten the inventory quantity sync interval to achieve "real-time" updates?

While it may seem counterintuitive, the answer is actually No. To achieve the most accurate inventory updates, you do not want to shorten the interval.

In the world of eCommerce APIs, there is no such thing as instantaneous or "real-time" updates. Updates take time. The amount of time varies according to the size of the update, and the limitations imposed by platform APIs and network communications. There may also be a delay between when an API communication is completed, and when the updated information is reflected in the user interface.

In addition, communicating inventory updates while live sales channels are accepting orders increases the complexity of the operation. For example, a scenario to be avoided is when an order has been placed but not yet received by the warehouse, when the inventory update is in progress. Without accommodations in place, the system might over-import inventory to the sales channel. In this scenario, the sales channel has already accounted for the placed order, but the warehouse has not, and as a result, inventory would be set to the incorrect value until the update is complete.

In case of larger inventories, there is also the possibility that if the interval is set too low, a new inventory sync task will start before the previous one has finished, so the synced quantities will not be accurate.

Lastly, many eCommerce platforms implement an API request quota, to protect the service from being overwhelmed, and ensure that all authorized requests are honored. For example, Amazon throttles all API requests to enforce an hourly quota. This quota does not distinguish between order, shipment and inventory requests. If the frequency of inventory updates were to increase, it would decrease the number of requests available to receive orders, and to send shipment information back to the store. And if the quota is ever exceeded (by an unusually large inventory update, for example), the quota is reduced even further, bottlenecking future requests.

For all of these reasons, the minimum inventory update interval in PackageBee is 60 minutes.

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