Forms: Set limits on the number of items you will sell

In this article:


Introduction

If you have limited inventory available, you can set a limit on the quantity of tickets (or other items) you will sell through your form. LGL forms will track the number of items sold across all form submissions and prevent the sale of more than you have available.

IMPORTANT: This limit option is available only on an Amount field that uses the "Suggested with quantity" option.

There's also an option to simply limit the number of form submissions you'll accept. To learn more about how to use that simple approach, see Limit how many submissions you'll accept on a form.

Let's walk through an example

Say we're selling tickets to a gala dinner. We have 200 seats available to sell in total. But we're selling individual seats as well as whole tables (at a discount), so we need to make that option available as well. We add an Amount field, and set that field so it offers two types of items to purchase, individual seats and a whole table, as shown here:

When we edit this Amount field, because we've selected the "Suggested with quantity" option we'll see a new tab where we can set field limits:

Clicking on the Set Field Limits tab shows a checkbox you can check to enable inventory limits.

After checking that box you'll see a number of other options. You can enter the term you want to use for the items you're selling. In our example, we use the term "seats". (NOTE: You'll need a term that can apply to both individual seats and tables.)

Now we set the amount of inventory available. In the example below, this is 200.

The next part is somewhat tricky. LGL forms needs to know how much each of your line items represents in terms of using up inventory. In our example, line 1 is where people will purchase individual seats. Each individual seat counts as 1 inventory unit (seat). Line 2 is where people will purchase entire tables, so for this line each unit actually represents 10 seats. To clarify, let's say a major contributor buys 1 entire table as well as 5 individual seats. Their order adds up to 15 seats sold (1 x 10 plus 5 x 1), so our inventory will be reduced by 15 units.

At the bottom of this tab, you have options for what you want to show to the purchaser:

  • You can show the amount of inventory remaining, and
  • You can continue to show the Amount field after the item is sold out (with a "sold out" message)

The form will now show the number of items remaining (in this example, 178 seats):

When the purchaser completes page 1, we double-check that the inventory is available (see more on that below) and then move to the credit card entry page. At this point their request  "reserves" inventory. That's because it might take them a few minutes to enter their credit card information, and until the credit card actually runs we don't know if the order will go through. We count down a 5-minute timer on the payment page.

What happens when you get toward the end of your inventory?

When the purchaser places their order, they will first see a message saying that their request is in progress. We do this so we can check that the inventory is still available and make sure that nobody else has swooped in and taken the last remaining items.

If successful, they will proceed to the page where they can enter their payment information. If not, we explain that one or more items they're trying to order have sold out, with the following message:

What if a buyer needs to try again with a new credit card?

If the buyer doesn't complete the payment within five minutes, the inventory is "returned to the shelf." The order will still show in your LGL forms account as "Unpaid".

As with other payment forms that failed to process, you can send the donor a link so they can try finishing the order again. You can find this Complete payment link in your submission list, in the Summary column:

When you or your donor tries this Complete payment page, LGL will re-check inventory levels to see if the order can be completed.

Viewing inventory status

To see the current status of your inventory, click on the linked number of submissions for the form. In the case below, there are 10 submissions, and you can click on the 10 submissions link to see the details for each.

If your form has limits set on one or more Amount fields, you'll see the inventory status for all Amount fields in your form.

In the example above, we've sold 22 seats, leaving 178 available. If there are items "in process," such as during the 5-minute period when we wait for the credit card entry, those will also show in the Qty reserved column.

This Quantity details section will also show any other Amount fields that use Suggested Quantity, even if you haven't set limits on those items (such as Raffle Tickets in the screenshot above).

Managing inventory for a live form

You will likely run into situations in which you need to edit the amount of inventory remaining. For example, someone might tell you that a certain board member is going to get five free seats based on a prior donation, or you might receive orders through the mail. In that case, you can edit the amount of inventory you want to make available. To do this, you will need to edit the total inventory amount. 

For example, if we need to remove five items from inventory, we would drop our original total inventory figure from 200 to 195. It's fine to do that, even on a form that has already had orders placed against it.

To make that edit, you can edit the form, edit the Amount field, and then go to the Set Field Limits tab:

Managing inventory for free items

Yes, you can use the field limits to manage inventory on items that are free too.

To do this, use the Amount field with "Suggested Quantity", but set the cost to $0. When an order is placed for an item with zero cost, LGL forms bypasses the credit card entry page and lets the order complete. The available inventory will be reduced, even though the submission shows as "Unpaid" in your LGL forms account.

Here's an example of a form that is set to manage inventory on an item that has zero cost: