This article will teach you about purchase orders, including what they are, their benefits, and how to accept them in your FastSpring store.
What is a Purchase Order?
A purchase order (PO) is a commercial document issued by a buyer (the customer) to a seller, indicating types, quantities, and mutually agreed prices for products or services the seller will provide to the buyer. Sending a purchase order to a seller constitutes a legal offer to buy products or services. Acceptance of a purchase order by a seller usually forms a one-off contract between the buyer and seller, so no contract exists until the purchase order is accepted. Purchase orders are most often used by businesses and educational institutions. Many purchase orders are no longer paper-based, but rather transmitted electronically over the Internet.
Benefits of Purchase Orders
There are several reasons why companies use purchase orders. Purchase orders allow customers to clearly and explicitly communicate their intentions to sellers. Sellers are protected in case of a customer's refusal to pay for goods or services. Purchase orders also are an economical choice for a business because they streamline the purchasing process to a standard procedure, optimizing financial planning and accounting.
The Purchase Order process can be more than just a payment type. Within SpringBoard, offering POs is a integral part of your store setup because the settings you choose apply to all products within your store. For example, you can work out a deal with your customer in advance and, using SpringBoard's Order Creator, you can create an order on behalf of the customer with the details of the order (specific products, quantities of each product, and applicable discounts, including volume (“tiered”) discounts) and then provide the customer a URL for purchase completion.
To create an order, go to SpringBoard's Store Home » Order Creator. Note: Purchase orders cannot be used for subscription products.
Your Vendor Information
When a customer (usually on behalf of a business or governmental institution) initiates a purchase using a purchase order, the customer's purchasing department often requires that the company who sells the product provide information to be set up as a new vendor. This usually requires a phone number, physical address, taxpayer ID number, etc.
FastSpring is the vendor of record for the sale. The information that you will need to provide the customer's purchasing department can be found on FastSpring's Request for Taxpayer (W-9) form.
Please note that we accept online purchase orders, but not faxed purchase orders whether using SpringBoard’s Order Creator or via customers choosing this as the payment method for their order.
By default, your FastSpring store will not accept purchase orders.
You can change these settings by going to SpringBoard's Store Home » Store Settings » Payment Methods. Note: Purchase orders cannot be used for subscription products.
The following settings control how purchase orders are displayed, accepted, and processed.
Choose an option to show how you want to integrate purchase orders in your FastSpring store.
This setting will prevent purchase orders from being offered to customers as a payment method. This is the default setting.
This setting will allow your FastSpring store to accept purchase orders. Purchase orders will appear as a payment option for all customers, in addition to other payment options, including credit cards and PayPal. Note: Purchase orders will not appear as a payment option for subscription products.
Enabled via URL
This setting will allow your FastSpring store to accept purchase orders under the following conditions. Purchase orders will not appear as a payment option for all customers, but they will appear to customers with a modified product URL. The purchase order will only appear as a payment option when you add the parameter
?option=po or ?option=po_only
to the end of your URL when linking to your FastSpring store. Note: Purchase orders will not appear as a payment option for subscription products.
This setting makes the purchase order the only payment option available to your customer. This means that while your store will accept purchase orders from all customers, your store will not show any other payment option (credit card, PayPal, etc.) to your customers. Note: Purchase orders will not appear as a payment option for subscription products.
Purchase Order Processing
Choose an option to configure and inform customers when the delivery of products will occur when a purchase order is used as the payment option. The receipt your customer receives will be in an invoice format and will include FastSpring W9 information and available payment options.
Deliver After Payment
This requires no manual effort. The customer is given an invoice along with information needed to complete the payment. Once the customer completes the payment, the delivery will occur. No delivery will occur until payment is completed. For more information, see Purchase Order Payment & Delivery.
The customer will be shown a "pending approval" message after completing an order. You will receive an email notification and the order will need to be manually approved or declined. During the approval process, you will decide if you want to delivery of your product to occur before payment or after payment. For more information, see Purchase Order Payment & Delivery.
This value will set the number of days from when the order is placed that payment is stated as due on the invoice. However, because customers may go right to, or over, the due date, FastSpring will continue to honor a payment that is 30 days past the due date. After this grace period, the order will be canceled for non-payment and FastSpring will no longer honor payment on that specific order. If the customer still intends to purchase your product, a new order will have to be created.
The accepted values in this field are 30 to 90.