Amazon's numbers are probably long because they do include all that info (and much more) in encrypted form.
With an operation their size, no amount of 'human friendly' stuff would really make a lot of difference; their human beings tend to use bar code translators - my Amazon parcels always have at least three different bar codes!
|they do include all that info (and much more) in encrypted form |
I agree. I know this is a not-so-significant issue for smaller businesses, out of curiosity though I would like to hear from someone who found it useful for some reason.
I think incremental (sequential?) is great. We're currently around 57,000. When I first went from 9,999 to 10,000 it was a great moment. Reaching 100,000 will be another. We do not distinguish origin of order, but one distributor I work with uses W for web, and SO for sales person generated. Their RMA system uses YYMMDD000.
My sites all issue sequential order numbers -- I don't think my customer's know or care what information is contained in the number, just that I am able to look up the order quickly if they reference it. We're about to hit 40,000 on one site and 2,000 on a new, smaller site. I get the same excitement as sun818 when I reach 'milestone' numbers.
We also have a second set of order numbers (we're a wholesaler/distributor with a web outlet). Sales orders start with an 'S' as in S123456 and are followed by a generation/invoice number i.e. S123456.001. Purchase order numbers follow the same style and rotate in sequentially, but start with a P i.e. P123457.001.
We imbed the date of the order, then a random number. sequential I believe leaves you open for some security risks. PO numbers are totally left out of it and are separate within our system.
Many common shopping carts just use sequential order numbers. We've looked at those to see how many orders some competitors take.
We recently kept track of confirmation numbers we get from our merchandise suppliers. They all seem to be purely sequence numbers with nothing else included for info or obfuscation.
Our order number has the following structure:
Where XX -- is order number version used (always `01´), just in case we want to use different order number structure
CCC -- Currency code (helps to distinguish orders from different countries)
YYYY-YYY -- some random numbers
Z -- validation number (checksum) that is generated from all the numbers from the order number.
P.S. Yes, I love to program complex things :-)
As an Amazon merchant, we have never figured out if there is anything significant within the order number that is useful to us. It seems like a random number but I am sure it means something to somebody at Amazon. I will have to ask the next time I am talking to a rep.