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Understanding centralized purchasing for multi-stores

With centralized purchasing you can manage the purchasing for all your shops. This helps you prevent order duplication, negotiate better discounts with vendors for bulk purchases, lower inventory transportation and management costs, organize transactions, and improve vendor relationships.

Whether your business includes a warehouse or distribution center that purchases, stocks and transfers merchandise to all shops, or a corporate office that creates purchase orders for each shop with direct shop shipment, Lightspeed Retail’s versatile purchasing features let you get the job done.

About master orders and transfers

Master orders and transfers help you purchase items for all your shops and have them delivered to one location, such as a warehouse or distribution center, and then transferred to the shops that need them.

Master orders

Master orders are a central purchasing tool you can use to create and manage purchase orders for different vendors and shops from one central location. With a master order you can add the item requirements for all your shops in one location, and then assign them to new or existing purchase orders by vendor. You can add items to the master order manually or by reorder points and transfer requests.

For how to create a master order, go to Creating master orders.


In a central purchasing environment, satellite shops can use transfers to request inventory from their warehouse or corporate office. The central purchaser can then fulfill the requests using their current inventory or generate a purchase order from transfer requests by creating a master order. When the central purchaser receives the purchased items, they can use the same transfer requests to transfer inventory to their satellite shops.

For how to create a transfer, go to Transferring inventory.

Example of a centralized purchasing workflow using a master order and transfers

Business name: Sarah’s Pet Supply
Corporate office with warehouse: Boston, Mass. (Sarah Hayes)
Three retail (satellite) shops: Cambridge, Mass. (David Murphy); Quincy, Mass. (Cecil Dawson); Provincetown, Mass. (Jamie Lister)

  1. On June 1st, David, Cecil, and Jamie create a transfers to request inventory from the corporate office in Boston (Sarah). The requests include special order items, items at their reorder points, and other items. All items are required by no later than June 12.
  2. Sarah creates a master order to fulfill the transfer requests and replenish the warehouse’s inventory:
        • Adds all items from the three open transfer requests to the master order.
        • Adds the warehouse items that are at their reorder points to the master order.
        • Assigns the master order items to new purchase orders. Since all the items on the master order are from one of two vendors (Pet Food Experts and PetEdge), two purchase orders are automatically created, one for Pet Food Experts and one for PetEdge.
  3. Sarah submits the two purchase orders to the vendors by email on June 2, and requests a shipment due date of June 9.
  4. Sarah receives the PetEdge shipment on June 7, the Pet Food Experts shipment on June 8, and adds the received items to the warehouse’s inventory.
  5. On June 9 Sarah transfers the inventory to David, Cecil, and Jamie using the open transfer requests, and ships the items to the Cambridge, Quincy, and Provincetown locations.
  6. David, Cecil, and Jamie receive the items on June 10, and add them to their inventory using the same transfer requests that they initiated.

Example of a centralized purchasing workflow using purchase orders

You’re not bound to one shop when you create purchase orders in Lightspeed Retail. If your business has a corporate office or shop that handles purchasing for all your shops, you can use Lightspeed Retail’s Purchase Orders to create a dedicated purchase order for any shop and have the merchandise ship to the shop directly. This is especially useful when you don’t want to stock all merchandise in one location and then transfer the items to the respective shops.

Business name: Brooklyn Apparel
Central purchaser: Steve Conway
Three retail shops: Brooklyn, NY (Steve Conway), Bronx, NY (Susan Dutch), Manhattan, NY (Chris Spence)

  1. On July 20th, Steve assesses the items and quantities that must be purchased for each shop by asking Susan and Chris, and running the Reorder List, Inventory Assets, and Item (Grouped Sales Total) reports for the shops. The items are required for the shops by no later than August 10.
  2. Steve creates a purchase order for each shop. The items are purchased from a single vendor, FashionGo. If a shop needs items from more than one vendor, a separate purchase order would be required per vendor. For each purchase order, Steve:
        • Adds items that are at their reorder points.
        • Adds any other item as required.
  3. Steve submits the purchase orders to FashionGo by email on July 2, and indicates a shipment due date of August 7.
  4. Steve, Susan, and Chris receive the items at their shops on August 5 and add the items to their inventory using the purchase orders initiated by Steve.




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