How to Design a Wholesale Order Form

Lela Barker

how to make a wholesale order form

 

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!

 

How to Create a Wholesale Order Form

Click here to download a copy of my Build a Better Order Form checklist!

 

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.

 

 Essential Elements:

  • 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.

 

 

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!

 

About the Author

Lela Barker

Lela Barker hails from the deep-and-dirty south (ATL, represent!), where she spends her days helping makers and product designers navigate the pitfalls of product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy. She launched her apothecary brand in 2003 and bootstrapped the hell out of that little business to cultivate a portfolio of 1500+ stockists worldwide, generating $12million in revenue and establishing successful distributorships in the Middle East, EU, Scandinavia, and South Korea. Lela is the keeper of a well-worn passport and the maker of the finest lemon meringue pie you’ve ever put in your mouth.

6 responses on “How to Design a Wholesale Order Form

  1. Donna Maria Coles Johnson

    Love this, just love it! I’ve done only a few trade shows, and assembling the wholesale order form was the biggest challenge. That was a very long time ago, and this information brings back memories. I’m sure my show experiences would have gone much more smoothly had this information been available. This is some seriously good stuff. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!

  2. Lance Gambis

    Lela—Question about the ordering process. When a retailer gets my linesheets and wants to place an order, do they usually print the PDF, fill it out and send it back via email/fax, or do I need to have some type of fillable form on my site? I’m wondering if I need to have a dedicated fax line to receive orders. thanks.

  3. Hannah Herback

    Hi!
    Very useful information above! Do you have a template you sell for your Whole Sale Order Form? Been spending hours on the computer looking for the right order form….and you got it!

    Thank you!
    Hannah @ Desa Designs

    1. Melissa

      Hi Hannah!
      Thanks so much for stopping by our blog! Although we don’t sell the templates ad hoc, we’re in the middle of launching our LBU On Demand modules, and next week we are launching The Art of the Pitch. In addition to several hours of video content and worksheets, included with that curriculum is an order form template (and a line sheet template too!). That will launch next Tuesday, August 11. I hope that helps!

      Thank you,
      Melissa

  4. Shena

    Hi Hannah – I love the info! Question for you: how do you suggest collecting wholesale orders at a show? Should you have carbonless forms created so that both you and the customer get a copy?

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