What do the "mandatory", "default", and "available" product options do in the Subscription Box shipments?

When creating a new shipment in your Subscription Box, you have the option of adding "mandatory", "default", and "available" products. How you use these options will depend on the mechanics you want for your subscription box. This article will outline what each type of product means and provide an example of how different Subscription Boxes might use them.

Mandatory Products are products that must always be included in the shipment. If a mandatory product is out of stock (or below the inventory limit you have set), the order will not be added to Shopify unless you allow overselling, and you'll receive an email alerting you about the error. If you have the number of SKUs included in your shipment set to 1, and have 1 mandatory product set up, then the subscriber will only receive that mandatory product and you don't need to enter anything in the default or available products.

Default Products are products that will be included in the shipment if they have sufficient inventory, if the subscriber hasn't received them before (assuming you have "What if a customer has previously received a default/available product" set to "If possible, select a product they have not previously received."), and if the subscriber hasn't changed the products included in their shipment to one of the available products. When a subscription shipment is added, Conjured Subscriptions will add the default product to the shipment, unless it falls into one of the exceptions mentioned above - in that case, the first available product will be chosen.

Available Products are products that can either act as fall-back products (in case the default product goes out of stock, or the subscriber has already received the default product), or as options the subscriber can choose to trade into their shipment instead of the default product.

Let's look at a few examples. In the screenshot below, the Cycle #1 shipment for the Quarterly Candle Subscription is set up to include 2 SKUs. The Vanilla scent is set as a mandatory product, the Cedar scent is a default, and Cinnamon, Lavender, and Tangerine are all available products. If you have inventory in every candle scent, when a new subscriber signs up, they'll receive the Vanilla and Cedar in their first shipment. If you run out of Cedar, the subscriber will receive Cinnamon instead. If you run out of Cedar and Cinnamon, the app will include Lavender. And so on. Vanilla will always be included though, since it is a mandatory product.

More Examples

  • When setting up a "Subscribe-and-Save" style subscription, you'll want your product to always be mandatory. For example, if you're setting up a toothpaste subscription, you always want your subscriber to receive the same toothpaste every month, so you'd add it as a mandatory product. 
  • If you have a "Box of the Month" style subscription, and you're concerned you might run out of a product that should be included, you can add a backup to the available products. For example, if you're setting up a "Monthly Chocolate Subscription", you might set Mast Sea Salt Chocolate as your default product. But since that bar is such a great seller, you're afraid you'll run out, so you could add Chocolove Salted Caramel to the available products list. When you've sold out of Mast Sea Salt Chocolate, your subscribers will automatically get Chocolove Salted Caramel instead.
  • If you have a "Box of the Month" style subscription, and you want your customers to always get something different from you, you can add many available products and set the "What if a customer has previously received a default/available product?" setting to "If possible, select a product they have not previously received." For example, if you have a collectible patch subscription, you might set the NASA Meatball Insignia patch as the default, and put all your other patches in the available products section. When a subscriber signs up, they'll get the NASA Meatball Insignia patch, but if an existing subscriber has already received it, the app will go through the available products (in the order specified by the Order fields) to find the first one the subscriber hasn't received yet.
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