I realize automating my online store that ships tangible goods will help my business a lot so I am making an entire database to deal with orders, products, customers, and finances.
I just started using UPS world ship and a thermal label printer. I am still trying to get it to interface with a mySQL database to pull adresses and shipment information.
Is there some way to have the computer automatically print out a label as soon as a confirmed order comes in? How would I go about doing this? I know a lot of you probably send out many items a day so I am wondering how you deal with this.
Off the top of my head, you could regularly poll the database for new confirmed orders using a script, then print off details of new orders, and then set a flag against those orders saying they've been printed.
How you would do this? Well, AFAIK, PHP & ASP do not have any output to printer facilities (unless you can output to a named device - anyone have any experience with this?). This means you'd be looking at programming in something more low level - C?
The way I would deal with the issue is by integrating the ecommerce site and the back end accounts / stock control systems. An order is placed on the web site, and brokered into the accounting systems as a batched order, then reviewed and approved (or not).
From there, you use the built label printing method inherent in most decent a/c packages. If thats not an option, I guess you need a script to detect a successful order, and trigger a label print. It sounds possible, but my d/base scripting skills aren't up to it
With <snip> e-commerce software, you can print labels directly from a web-based order management system. Basically it allows you to bypass inputting the data into the World Ship software. You can print to a UPS Eltron printer or to an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. The labels can be created one at a time or in batch, but they are not automatically printed as the orders comes in. UPS feeds the web-based order management system both the label and the tracking number. It uses XML and is pretty slick.
[edited by: TallTroll at 11:59 pm (utc) on May 29, 2003] [edit reason] self promotion [/edit]
If you had a dedicated printer, you could write program/script that is triggered when the order comes in but that would be pretty dependant on your programming expertise and time you had to devote, layout would be a little tricky. Might be useful as a learning experience.