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Shopify Draft Orders: When Should You Use Them?

Shopify Draft Orders: When Should You Use Them?

You can’t go wrong with Shopify when building an e-commerce store. According to BuiltWith, more than one in four e-commerce stores use it. Shopify is more popular than WooCommerce, Wix, PrestaShop, and BigCommerce. If you’re thinking about using Shopify, though, you may want to take advantage of Shopify draft orders. Your e-commerce store will receive an order automatically when customers make a purchase, but the popular platform supports draft orders as well.

What Are Shopify Draft Orders?

Draft orders are custom orders that you create on behalf of your customers. In Shopify, they are manually created orders that are saved as a draft. You can create draft orders on behalf of your customers, after which you can send them an invoice to collect payment.

Like most e-commerce platforms, Shopify generates orders automatically. Each completed checkout will result in a new order. You can fulfill these orders yourself, or you can use a fulfillment service offered by a third party.

You can also manually create orders in Shopify. Manually created orders are known as draft orders. They contain the same basic information as Shopify’s automatically generated orders — the customer’s name, one or more products, shopping cost, etc. — but you can only create them by hand.

When to Use a Shopify Draft Order

You may want to use draft orders when selling products to wholesale customers. Wholesale customers are those who purchase products in bulk for the purpose of reselling the products for a profit. When they purchase products in bulk, of course, they typically expect a discount.

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Draft orders allow you to provide wholesale customers with a discount. Wholesale customers won’t be forced to pay the same price as regular customers. When you create a draft order, you can apply wholesale pricing to it. The invoice associated with the draft order will feature this lower, wholesale pricing.

You can use draft orders when collecting non-internet payments from customers. Maybe a customer wants to pay by phone, or perhaps a customer wants to pay in person. Draft orders allow customers to use alternative payment methods that aren’t directly linked to your e-commerce store.

Shopify typically generates orders automatically after customers make a purchase. If a customer pays by phone or in person, though, Shopify won’t recognize his or her purchase, so it won’t generate an order. Draft orders offer an answer. You can create a draft order on behalf of the customer, and assuming they have already paid for it, you can mark the draft order as paid.

Many e-commerce stores use draft orders for preorders. A preorder is an order for a product that’s not yet available. With preorders, you should wait until the product is available to collect payment from your customers. Draft orders allow you to postpone payment collection. You can create draft orders for customers who want to preorder a product. Once the product is available, you can send those customers an invoice.

How to Create a Shopify Draft Order

To create a draft order, pull up the “Orders” section in Shopify and click the “Create order” link. You can then add one or more products to it. All draft orders must have at least one product. Clicking the “Browse products” link will allow you to add products to the draft order. 

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Selecting a product from the available list will add it to the draft order. To add a custom product, click the “Add custom item” link. Custom items are custom products. Regardless, you can browse for existing products when creating a draft order and you can add custom products.

In addition to adding at least one product to it, you’ll have to specify a customer for the draft order. If the draft order is for an existing customer, you can search for his or her name. If it’s for a new customer, you can enter the new customer’s name in the corresponding field. Specifying a new customer means you’ll have to enter his or her information.

Shopify will calculate the total cost of the draft order based on the products added to it. But you can offer customers a lower price by applying a discount or wholesale pricing to the draft. Discounts can be added to individual products or items, or they can be added to the entire draft order. Wholesale pricing serves the same purpose but is designed for wholesale customers.

You may need to set payment terms for the draft invoice as well. Payment terms determine the date by which the payment is due. Shopify offers several options for payment terms, including due on receipt, net term, and fixed term. Due on receipt means the payment is due by the end of the day on which it’s sent. Net term means the payment is due within a specific number of days after being sent, such as 15 days or 30 days. Finally, fixed-term means the payment is due on a particular date.

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Collecting Payment

After creating the draft order, you’ll need to collect payment from the customer for whom you created it. If the customer has already paid, you can simply mark the draft order as paid. Click the “Collect payment” link and choose “Mark as paid.” Shopify will then send the customer an order confirmation email.

If the customer hasn’t paid for the draft order, you’ll need to send them an invoice. Opening the draft order and clicking the “Send invoice” link will send it to the customer. Before sending the invoice, you may want to enter a message for the customer. There’s a dialog section in which you can enter a custom message.

The payment terms that you set for the draft order will determine how long the customer has to pay it. With due on receipt, the customer will only have a single day to pay the invoice. With net term or fixed term, the customer will have more time.

A healthy flow of orders is essential to succeeding in the e-commerce industry. Shopify supports both automatic and manual orders. Automatic orders are those that Shopify generates automatically when a customer completes the checkout process. Manual orders are Shopify draft orders that you create on behalf of your customers. You can use them when selling products to wholesale customers, collecting non-internet payments, accepting preorders, and more.

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