Keeping It Simple: Your Guide for Efficient Order Processing

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As any parent can confirm, the holidays have a habit of giving even the most mundane tasks an extra layer of complication. Festive times can often mean greater fortune for your business, which also means faster order processing! To set your business up for success, here are some tips to help streamline your workflow when processing orders and manage the more common obstacles you will encounter, so that you can keep the holiday spirit alive for both you and your customers.

Navigating Orders

When you first enter Orders > Process Orders, you may see only one order to start. If you have one order ready for processing, your store defaults to showing only that order. You can change this view by going to the far right and clicking the small button with horizontal lines to change to the list view.

If you have multiple open orders you will already be in this view, and you can click each column header to organize it by that category. You can also use the Filter dropdown to view orders by status or all at once. You can even use the Settings button and Customize Columns to change how many orders show on a page and which columns are displayed, or you can export the results of your list to a CSV file. To navigate to a particular order, click on the ID. Examine the order details to ensure it is legitimate and meets your expectations. Now you are ready to process it.

The basic process for nearly all orders is fairly simple: after you confirm that the payment for the order has been made, you will complete and ship the order. Let’s first discuss the Payment section.

Collecting Payment

The Payment section for a particular order is where you will process the payment method selected by the customer. This takes different forms depending on which method is selected.

For PayPal orders, check that the Debit for the total amount is listed in the Payment Log, and then click the Receive button. The Receive button is also useful for many other non-credit card payment methods, such as cash, money orders, wire transfer and others. However, for some methods like cash and check by mail, the Receive button is purely for your store payment records. It is your responsibility to ensure that you’ve received the funds from the customer before clicking Receive to confirm the payment. We also recommend checking your PayPal account to confirm payment for PayPal orders as well!

For credit card orders processed on your store with a gateway account, it may look different depending on your store’s Payment Capture Settings. If your store is set to Authorize and Capture at Sale, it will show “DEBIT” if the payment was processed, and you can complete your order. This is advantageous if you wish to get your money immediately or if you process many orders in a day. However, it doesn’t give you the chance to review the order before capturing the amount like our recommended method, Authorize at Sale Capture at Shipping. With this method, orders show up as “AUTHORIZED” in your payment log, meaning the funds have been reserved on the card but haven’t sent to your bank yet. To process these orders, make sure the dropdown in the log is set to “CAPTURE” and click Apply. It will capture the payment, and you can move on to completing and shipping the order. You can also change the dropdown to “VOID” or one of the two “CREDIT” options if you needed to cancel or refund a payment, respectively.

Completing the Order

Once payment on an order has been confirmed, you can complete the order by going to the top and clicking the Complete Order button. This does two things: sets the order’s status to Shipped and sends the “order has shipped” email to the customer. It will also send out any gift certificates the customer has purchased. You can print invoices or packing slips using the links in the upper right.

Normally, you will only press the Complete Order button when you are ready to ship or have shipped the items. You can disable the “order has shipped” email in your Settings > Config Variables area or set the order to Shipped manually with the dropdown next to the Complete Order button, to avoid the customer notification. Note: there are many statuses you can set the order to, including Cancelled, if necessary. Keep in mind that setting an order to Cancelled will permanently change some of its functions (i.e. it will return the stock from the order to your products). If you do this by accident, your best option is to create a new order for the customer.

For Advanced Users: Batch Order Processing

If processing orders one by one sounds exhausting and you are on one of our higher tier plans, you can also use the Batch Order Processing feature. In the Orders > Process Orders view, click the order you wish to process in the Add to Batch column and save. You’ll see a Batch Order Processing menu at the top where you can choose to collect credit card payments, print invoices, or print packing slips for the entire batch, all at once.

Editing an Order

Processing an order sounds pretty easy right? Just collect payment, click Complete Order and you’re done! And, in most cases, it is just that easy. However, there will always be some orders that defy the process, such as a customer that needs to add something last minute, change their payment method or get a refund. During the holidays this can get overwhelming, so it’s important to make sure you’ve got the basics down.

Adding or subtracting an item from an order is fairly simple. Go to the Details section of an order and click the Add links to apply additional products or discounts to the order. When adding products, you can add an existing product code and click save, or you can fill out more if you wish to create a new one “whole cloth” for that particular order. You can also use the Edit button (next to Add) to change the details of items in the order. You can reduce the item quantity to 0 and use the Remove items with Qty set to 0 checkbox to delete them from the order. Note: when using the Edit function, the column values in the first and second rows correspond to the first and second rows of data for each product separately. Finally, if the order is locked at the top you can even edit the shipping and tax.

Changing Payment

Editing an order for a customer is a great way to win them over, but what if the customer wants to change their payment method? Or, what if they paid with a credit card and then added more to their order? The payment log might show an authorized amount lower than their new total, and you can’t capture funds for more than is authorized.

This is where the bottom section of the order, Customer Management, comes in handy. In this section is the entry Send this link to the customer to update payment methods, followed by a URL. You can send this URL in an email to the customer and it will take them to a place in your store where they can update their payment method. This will authorize their card for the new total or change it to another payment type entirely.

Refunds and Store Credit

Needing to compensate a customer for a mistake or miscommunication happens to the best of us, and thankfully the process is simple in your admin. The easiest method is to provide store credit. This can be done in the bottom left dropdown in the Payments section by selecting Store Credit/Gift Certificates. Once applied, it creates a gift certificate that will be automatically applied on the customer’s next order(s) until it is expended.

Refunds depend on the payment method used. For credit cards, you can change the dropdown in the payment log to Credit – Adjustment (when not refunding the whole order) or Credit – RMA (for a return), in which you will enter the amount you wish to credit back, and click Apply. If the order was recently made, you may also be able to Void the full payment if it hasn’t been processed yet.

Other payment methods vary in the refund process. PayPal Express has a refund button in the payment log. Other methods, like PayPal Standard, checks, cash, or multiple credits to a credit card, will require processing the refund outside the Volusion system. In these cases, you can still create an Offline Payment Record in the Change Payment Type dropdown (the same one mentioned above for store credit). You can use Offline Payment Records to make the order match any “outside” changes you perform to keep your records accurate.

Silent Night, Orderly Night

The tips above should help make the holiday season a stress free and profitable one for both you and your customers. But don’t forget this only scratches the surface of what Volusion orders are capable of!  Processing returns, point of sale, phone orders, recurring billing and more is all possible with our software. If you find yourself constantly on the go, try out the Volusion App, where you can view and process orders conveniently on your phone. With a bit of practice, even the trickiest of orders will run smoothly, ensuring plenty of gift-giving time for you and your customers!

About 

Michael Crary is an avid reader, writer, and student of history in Austin, Texas. When he isn’t helping merchants maximize their business, you can find him playing bored games, enjoying movie and food trailers, and making terrible puns.

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