Order-level vs. Order-item level Commission Records: Understanding the Differences
Understanding the relationship between orders and commissions is an important part of any partner integration process. It allows our partner to track earnings and determine the amount of commission that should be paid to users. There are two main types of commission reporting: order-level and order-item level.
Order-Level Commission Reporting
Some merchants provide order-level commission reporting, where entire orders are grouped together as a single record. In these cases, returns are updated as amounts to the existing commission ID. The commission ID remains the same between the initial and updated records, but the modified date and amounts change.
Here is an example of an order-level commission report for an original purchase:
Note that in this case the CommissionID and the MerchantOrderID (aka the Order ID) stays the same and only the SaleAmount and Amount (aka the Commission Amount) and ModifiedDate change to reflect the updated order.
Most merchants, on the other hand, provide order-item level commission reporting. In this method, every item in an order is posted as a separate commission record. Items and returns are recorded separately, each with their order-item amounts and a separate commission ID. This method is often referred to as "ledger-style."
Here is an example of an order-item level commission report for an original purchase:
Order-level initial reporting with order-item level returns
Some merchants will describe the initial purchase as a single record but subsequent returns as separate records. See below how the initial positive amount (purchase) lists all the SKUs in a single record but each of two partial returns are reported as separate records.
Wildfire Systems is trying hard to make merchant data more normalized and though we have tried to standardize around order-item level reporting, some merchants don't provide enough detail to allow us to do that. We are actively considering ways to make the data more normalized, including standardizing around order-level reporting. In the meantime, it's appropriate to design your systems in such a way that they can work with the aforementioned use cases and reach out to us if you have any questions.