If you run a Shopify ecommerce or other type of business, chances are you need to use purchase orders in your day-to-day procurement process. Purchase orders keep track of what you order and from where, and they’re useful tools for clearly sharing information and avoiding confusion in the whole buying process. Sometimes, it’s helpful and a real time-saver to streamline your processes with templates, which is what we’ve provided for you here. Aside from access to our super helpful Shopify purchase order template, you’ll learn about:
Automate Your PO Process With Simple Purchase Orders
Why Should I Use Purchase Orders for My Shopify Store?
Your Shopify business can benefit in several ways when you use purchase orders:
Tracking and record-keeping
It can be tricky to track your purchase and procurement activities with the typical shortage of human resources that Shopify and other small businesses often endure. What’s great about purchase orders is they automatically document and keep track of details like what you’re buying and when, from where and for how much. This makes it simple to save the information you need to your devices, then refer back and share it with your suppliers when needed.
Assessment and analysis
With purchase orders, you can easily analyze and assess what you’re doing on a regular basis and spot themes or trends that can help you make better decisions for your business. By using a report generated from a database of POs, for instance, you’ll see helpful insights and information, such as the items you most frequently purchase or how often you’re buying stock, on average.
Improved supplier relations
It’s no surprise that good, clear communication makes all the difference in any business or niche, no matter what you sell on Shopify. This is no different when it comes to purchase orders. Complete, concise and clear POs make all the difference in making your suppliers’ lives easier. What does this mean for you? A better working relationship, more goodwill and, likely, increased willingness to help you out and go that extra mile when the need strikes.
PO templates save time and energy
When you use a PO template like the one we’ve provided, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel by creating a new purchase order each and every time. All you do is choose your template and enter the order-specific details, which saves you time and effort. Plus, the faster you issue POs, the more you can process and the faster you can sell and move Shopify product.
Another great reason to use a purchase order template containing standard but important information at the ready, like your company’s address or customer’s contact information, is that you’ll avoid the risk of future POs missing those details, causing orders to be stalled.
Speed Up Your PO Process With Simple Purchase Orders
What Should be Included in a Shopify Purchase Order?
However you format and create your Shopify purchase orders, whether through the Simple Purchase Orders automated tool or otherwise, be sure you include the following components at minimum.
Purchase order number
Your PO number is what uniquely identifies each order and keeps consistency between your business or warehouse and supplier. If you’re using Simple Purchase Orders, another order management tool or a spreadsheet, saving all order information under the PO number keeps everything aligned and organized.
It’s much easier for anyone to interpret and understand an order that contains a clearly formatted list of items with a brief description of each item. You’ll also need the item’s quantity, type of unit (e.g. 3 pieces or a set), unit price and total price.
Some items or overall orders might have particular instructions or details associated with them. The notes area of your PO is the spot to include these things. For instance, you can add any specific terms and conditions you’ve agreed upon with your supplier. Doing this keeps everyone on the same page and prevents misunderstandings and headaches later on. When all pertinent details are documented, your supplier can’t claim they didn’t know about the terms or other specifics.
Other PO components will usually include:
- Purchase order date
- Supplier name and address
- Buyer name and address
- Supplier and buyer phone numbers and/or email addresses
- Delivery date
- Shipping method and terms
- Taxes and/or fees
- Total price
- Payment terms
When Does it Make Sense to Use a Purchase Order?
The workflow of your Shopify purchase order process will depend on your business and particular needs, and how you work. But, it will probably look something like this:
- You’ll have a need to purchase a product or service, most likely because you’ve sold out of an item, are running low on stock or are buying it ad-hoc as a dropshipper.
- You issue a PO to the supplier of that item, usually electronically using a purchase order template like this one, or a tool like Simple Purchase Orders.
- The supplier gets the PO and confirms whether they can fulfill the order. If they can’t, the PO is cancelled.
- If the supplier can fulfill the order, they prepare it by scheduling it and picking inventory.
- The supplier ships the order, which includes the PO number so you can easily identify which order you’re receiving.
- The supplier invoices for the order and includes the PO number for easy matching with the delivery details.
- You pay the invoice according to the PO’s terms and conditions.
Shopify Purchase Order Best Practices
Document clear, easy-to-access guidelines
If you don’t have clearly defined, documented processes and rules for each step you’d like taken with your Shopify procurement and purchase orders, as well as ordering instructions at certain inventory thresholds, you could be in trouble. When left to decide on their own, each team member will have their own ideas about what’s best and, even with great intentions, this could mean miscommunication, confusion and inconsistencies later on.
You need each and every team member on the same page, doing identical things, so that everything runs smoothly for your suppliers without hiccups or interruptions. To do this, you could create a digital ebook or printed guide that goes over all the details of your PO process and each step within it, including approval workflows and steps for POs exceeding certain dollar values.
Don’t forget to review and assess your Shopify processes and rules regularly as your business, strategy or suppliers evolve and change.
Take time to carefully review each purchase order
Keep in mind that a PO is a legally binding document once your supplier has it in their hands and approves it. While this is great, since it protects both you and them in case of any disagreements later, you’ll want to carefully review each and every PO before it’s issued, and even get feedback from key stakeholders or team members before finalizing. It’s normal to make mistakes, but you need something clear and definitive to fall back on when they happen. As well, you’re bound to pay the vendor within the stated terms once they’ve delivered your items.
This is where it’s critical to ensure all line items are included on every PO. And that’s where a handy purchase order template comes in so handy, so you don’t have to remember all the little details yourself.
Develop and implement vendor databases
When you keep fulsome records of each supplier you’ve ever ordered from in a database (including contact info and payment terms), it’s simple and quick to choose a supplier and streamline your Shopify procurement management. It’s much quicker to generate POs from clear, correct and concise vendor records than it would be from sourcing multiple records or even calling your contacts for supplier information.
What Does Purchase Order Process Automation Mean?
It can suck up a lot of time and resources to use manual processes, for purchase orders or otherwise. In fact, the vast majority of companies actively seek new reasons to use automation in their workflows. And when it comes to automating ecommerce order fulfillment, all you need is a simple automated app or tool that manages all things POs. When you use this, you’ll be sure that no steps are overlooked and also save your team valuable time that they can put toward more important tasks.
It’s so easy to automate Shopify PO processes for your store with Simple Purchase Orders. The tool automatically forwards a purchase request to your designated team member for review and approval. Then, a PO is automatically generated, removing any need for manually entering data and physically delivering or emailing POs.
Benefits of an automated Shopify PO process
If your business handles numerous POs every month, you can highly benefit from learning how to automate your PO process. Once implemented, it will help you overcome the usual challenges inherent to a manual process.
An automated Shopify purchase order process will:
- Make it easier for your team to process and manage invoices and payments.
- Protect your business through clear, enforceable processes and controls.
- Result in fewer mistakes, better transparency, security and compliance, and cost, time, and environmental savings.
Automating purchase orders is so key to a successful procurement workflow, in fact, that next we’ll tell you exactly how to automate your PO process with a tool like Simple Purchase Orders.
How to Automate Your Shopify Purchase Order Process With Simple Purchase Orders
You can easily create automated POs for existing orders in your Shopify store, by following this simple process for various situations.
Add products to a supplier
If you haven’t yet, add all products from the orders you’re working with to a supplier record by:
- Going to the orders page and choosing the orders for which you want to create POs.
- Selecting “Auto Create POs” under the bulk actions.
Then, those POs will be created and sent to your suppliers, and you’ll get to see a summary of this.
Automatically send POs on paid orders
- Head to Settings and choose “Turn on/off fully automatic PO sending”.
- The app will then receive all future orders marked as paid or created in Shopify (depending on the option you choose), and use the automated process to generate and issue POs to your vendors.
Create PO from a product
On the “Home” > “Products” view:
- Click “Create PO” for a listed product linked to a supplier, and the item will be added. For several product variants, you’ll see that many rows.
- Add more products quickly by selecting “Add Products” (NOTE: they won’t automatically link to the supplier).
- Specify your desired quantity and confirm that your summary is updated at the bottom.
- Hit “Create PO”. Then, you can choose to “View PO”, “Email PO” or transfer items into inventory by choosing the corresponding button.
Create PO from a supplier
On the “Home” > “Suppliers” view:
- From a supplier linked to its products, select “Create PO”.
- Here, all products linked to that supplier are imported automatically. If you’ve preset it, you’ll see a cost price, minimum quantity, default tax and shipping for that particular supplier, and all else is from the settings.
- Hit “Create PO”. Then, you can choose “View PO”, “Email PO” or transfer items into inventory together by selecting “Complete/Transfer” or individually by selecting “Transfer”. Indicate the quantity and location to where you want the items transferred.
- The PO will then update to show “Complete” status.
Create PO from an order
On the “Home” > “Orders” view:
- From an order linked to a supplier, select “Create PO”.
- Here, the item is imported, including its quantity and billing and shipping addresses.
By default, the tax and shipping are pulled from the supplier record but, if you prefer, the settings can be set to pull from the order record instead.
- Hit “Create PO”. then, you can choose to “View PO” or “Email PO”.
As this is an order, you can’t transfer the items into inventory by default, but this can be updated in your settings.
- Select the order number to which your PO is linked to see the order details.
Check out the video below to learn more about creating a PO from an order using Simple Purchase Orders for your Shopify store.
Shopify Purchase Order FAQs
What are some benefits of using purchase orders?
As a business owner, using purchase orders make it easy for you to:
- Track your purchase and procurement activities and keep detailed records to refer to later, if needed. This helps with communication and keeping everyone on the same page.
- Analyze and assess your processes regularly so you can easily see trends or themes that can help you make better, more informed decisions.
- Improve your relations with suppliers for the long-term. This means more goodwill and willingness to help you out when you’re in a jam.
What should I include in my purchase orders?
Be sure to include as much detail as possible on each PO, so that everything is there if you need to refer back later. At a minimum, you should include line items for:
- PO number
- Item information
- Purchase order date
- Supplier and buyer name and address
- Supplier and buyer contact information
- Delivery date
- Shipping method and terms
- Taxes and/or fees
- Total price
- Payment terms
- Notes or special instructions
Why should I automate my Shopify purchase order process?
When you automate your Shopify purchase order process, you will:
- Ease the burden on you or your team when it comes to processing and managing supplier invoices and payments.
- Protect your business by having clear, enforceable processes and controls in place, automatically.
- Experience fewer mistakes, stronger transparency, security and compliance, and savings in cost, time, and environmentally-unfriendly practices.
Streamline Procurement With Simple Purchase Orders
Now that you have a better understanding of why automating your purchase order and procurement process can benefit you so much, go ahead and give our handy purchase order template a try. You’ll save time for both you and your team, and avoid headaches and confusion since everything will be clearly and consistently documented and streamlined.