Last week, I asked Lucky Break’s Facebook fans which worksheet they’d most like to see. I’ve been putting the polish on a variety of printables for my LBU: Secrets to Wholesale Success class and I took a quick poll to see which one would prove most helpful from these choices:
1. Build a Better Order Form: a checklist that details best practices for creating attractive + effective wholesale order forms
2. In Search of a Stellar Sales Rep: a worksheet to guide you through the process of vetting new sales reps
3. Designing a Trade Show Timeline: a worksheet to help prioritize and delegate all the tasks necessary for a successful trade show
It was a close race between numbers 1 and 3, but the order form tutorial eked out a win by a single vote and I’m making good on my promise!
What’s an order from designed to do?
Order forms are simple documents designed to harvest the particulars of an order. Ideally, they entail just a page or two which can be attached to line sheets to codify all the details you’ll need to fulfill an order.
• Your logo
• Your company contact information
• Date of order
• Purchase order number (if supplied by the buyer)
• Store name
• Buyer’s name
• Buyer’s email + phone number
• Delivery address
• Billing address (if different)
• Estimated ship date
• Resale or tax ID #
• Payment method
• Invoice total
• Order notes
• Buyer signature
For each product:
• Product name
• Item number
• Wholesale price (each)
• Minimum quantity
• Available variants (size, color, fragrance, flavor, etc.)
• Line item total
Order forms are notorious for containing lots of information on an itty bitty form. Your primary focus should be creating an elegantly stylized form which is easy for buyers to navigate.
Don’t be an eye sore!
• Organize logically: Group like items together, provide “total” boxes, collect all the buyer information in a single area.
• Ensure fonts are legible: Don’t get fancy & make certain it’s of an appropriate size.
• Incorporate your branding: Logo up top + use fonts consistent with your branding.
• Less is more: Only include what’s absolutely necessary to process the order. Strip away extraneous details + formatting.
• Include either a revision date or an expiration date (prices valid through ABC or last revised on XYZ).
• Collect payment information directly on the order form.
• Ensure that you’ve captured both the shipping and billing addresses (if they differ).
• Remember to save your digital order forms in a PDF format. Ensure that the finished file is small enough to be facilitate transmission by email, especially when sent in conjunction with image-heavy line sheets. Aim for a maximum of 2MB for all attachments combined.
I created a hypothetical t-shirt company called The Best Damn T-Shirt Company (what else?) and then built a line sheet + order form to illustrate best practices for each. One of my favorite facets of LBU is the set of 6 case studies that accompanies the Unit 4, when I break down precisely what you need to have in-hand when you approach a much-admired shop that you’d be thrilled to see sell your work. You need to approach these pitches armed + ready! When you know what to offer potential stockists (and how to design those materials for beauty + efficiency), then you communicate to buyers that you’re professional and organized and that you have an intimate knowledge of how to wholesale, which builds trust.
Through my LBU program, six successful makers (from bath + body makers to houseware designers to stationary chicks) offer students a backstage pass to their wholesale buyer’s kit: order forms, line sheets, catalogs, lookbooks and more. I’ve built those materials into individual case studies that inform + inspire and guide my students as they design their own wholesale program. Want to snag your seat in LBU: Secrets to Wholesale Success? The next semester of my “how to wholesale” personal mentoring program kicks off in January and registration opens in October. I’d love to save a desk just for you: enter your email address in the grey box at this link to hop on the waiting list and enjoy an opportunity for advance registration.
To wholesale contract or not to wholesale contract… that is the question!
I’ve been asked on several occasions for an example of a “wholesale contract” which makers can require a signature upon to confirm the details of the relationship between buyer and seller. I confess that I’m not an advocate of this type of document, for several reasons:
a) Contracts should ideally be tailored and reviewed by a qualified attorney for each application.
b) Every hurdle placed in front of your buyer will decrease the conversion rate from interested buyer to confirmed buyer. Make life as easy on them as possible and you’ll be handsomely rewarded!
c) In my opinion, wholesale contracts are wholly unnecessary affairs.
Instead, I prefer to tackle the issue from another angle. Try including an ultra-succinct summary of your wholesale terms on your order form. This tactic eliminates the need for a separate agreement that buyers might find intimidating, or sign and forget. It also eliminates the need to have a fresh agreement signed each time you update a policy. This approach eliminates headaches for you, saves manpower, and hastens the process of transforming hot leads into actual buyers for all those fantastically groovy things you make. Much, much easier all the way around. The basics of all of your wholesale terms and conditions should be able to be condensed down to a single paragraph- anything more is too much detail. By including these conditions on an order form, buyers agree to your terms each time they sign off on an order. Easy peasy!