Order form: All you need to know

A purchase order form is a necessary tool for every business. It helps to improve financial and inventory control, manage incoming orders, and streamline the procurement processes. In this article, we will see in detail what is a purchase order form, what is necessary to include there, and how to create one for your business in a couple of minutes.

What is a purchase order form? 

A purchase order form is a template that is used for a purchase order. Generally speaking, it is a written agreement between the buyer and the seller about quantity, quality, time of delivery in the form of a document. It is mostly used at the B2B market when wholesaler, manufacturer, or retailer sells a high number of products at once.  

Digital order form template

Products & Services

An order form is used when businesses purchase both products and services. For example, you need to print out a brochure as a part of your marketing campaign. A printing agency will ask you to fill out a document where you will tell how many brochures do you need, what type of paper the agency should use, etc. 

Online & offline 

We have defined a purchase order as a document. However, it does not mean that it should be printed out. Lots of businesses that are operating online use a digital purchase order form. The difference is that in the online world it can be used for people, not just companies. Imagine the last time you bought cloth online? You need to select a size, color, and quantity before submitting. In other words, you are filling up an order form. 

What to include in your order form?

Based on the Purchase Control article, a general order form should contain the following fields. 

  • Information about the seller – the name of the company, address, contact info.
  • Information about the buyer – the name of the company/person, address, contact info. 
  • Purchase order number – a unique numerical identifier of the order. 
  • Information about the products – quantity, characteristics, etc.
  • Pricing – total and for each particular product.
  • Shipping details – when a product will be shipped, approximate date of arrival, address for delivery. 

After filling up a form, the customer usually received a confirmation via email, message, or even a phone call, if a seller needs to confirm any details.

How to create an order form? 

Catalog Machine is online software that allows you to create an order request form ready for printing or design a catalog with an embedded order form. Let’s see how you can create a PDF purchase order form in 3 Steps.

Step 1. 

After logging in to the system, go to Catalog and click Crete New on the top right corner. 

create new catalog

Select the Blank option on the very left. Click Create your catalog. 

catalog type

Step 2. 

Now you need to select a proper layout. 

Click More types on the right part of your screen. 

Working area for creating catalogs

Select Order form from the appeared page layout options. 

Order form layout

Now you need to select a template that suits your business needs: with product images, wholesale or static order forms. All of them are fully customizable, so no worries if you need to add extra information or change the design. 

Step 3. 

Customizing order form. 

Add products you would like to include. 

You can add products one by one, all products at once, or a group (collection or category). 

After adding, you can click Update Products to finish creating. The other option is to select Fields and Design to add more or delete some product fields and change the design. 

Play around with the available options to find the one that you like the most.

Adding products to order form

To preview how it will look like a PDF document or download it to your device, go to View/Download, PDF section, and select the option you need.

Adding an order form to an existing catalog

… is even more comfortable. 

Go to the catalog, click on the Orders on the left sidebar.  

Creating catalog

Here you can enable orders right from the catalog. 

As you can see from the image below, it will appear here once someone makes an order. 

List of orders

Advanced Settings 

Configure order request settings from the Order Requests page.

Configure order request settings from Order Requests page.

  • Custom caption for the button and order form
  • Enable product prices and totals for order requests
  • Enable product variants (displayed for products that have variants) with fields
  • Fill in the order form header and footer.
  • Add custom fields
  • · Select product fields that will be added to a notification email, presented at the order request form for your client and order request details page for you.
  • Configure a notification email sent to your customer

Order Request Settings

Order Request List, Details, and Management

Go to the Order Requests page from the right sidebar to access the list and details pages. 

the list and details pages. 

On the list page:

  • Manage simple order request life-cycle: Accept, Reject or Close order requests or delete them. These actions are available from list and details pages.
  • Filter orders by text, status, products, and dates
  • Export orders in CSV format

Order Details

Click on Order ID to access the Order Request Details.

You can add your notes on the Order Request Details page.

Manage order numbers

Change order request number by clicking on it and entering the number that will be synchronized with your system. After that, all new orders will be automatically enumerated using your system (ex. Renamed last order is 1234, the next one will be 1235). The system recognizes only the numerical part of the order name. So, if you name the order ABC1234, the next one will still be 1235. 

Manage list of orders

Back to Order Request

Now you know what a purchase order form is, why you need it, and how you can easily create one with Catalog Machine

How to create a beautiful template to present your products?

A template is a design tool used to present text, symbols, and images. Templates are widely used in social media and for advertising and marketing.

Why are they so popular?
  • Time efficiency. It only takes seconds to present your product or information using a template.
  • Cost efficiency. Hiring a designer is way more expensive than using templates. Moreover, you can easily find free templates or create some yourself.
  • Guaranteed results. We will talk about catalog templates. Here, the term “catalog” includes line sheets, look books, data sheets, brochures, and sales sheets. If you want to create these, keep reading to learn some tricks that will make your life easier.

What to consider before creating a template

While you can create a template for the whole catalog, it’s hard to predict how it will look once you fill in the actual product information. Therefore, we recommend generating a template for each product individually. In this way, you can easily add or delete products without affecting the overall document. However, you should keep three things in mind.

  1. What is the purpose of your catalog?

A line sheet and a look book have different purposes. A line sheet targets retailers who will make a rational decision about further collaboration with you. So, you want to include all the data about the product. Conversely, a look book aims to target consumers and appeals to their emotions. A good look book has a large image of the product and minimum information, usually, the price and some product variants such as size and color.

As you can see, based on the type and purpose of the catalog, your template will look different. Always check twice to confirm whether the catalog you are using or generating serves your initial goal.

  1. What are your customers’ expectations?

Your target audience expects a certain type of behavior from you which is based on industry standards and brand identity. For instance, companies in the toy industry should always convey positivity and use bright colors and optimistic language. At the same time, businesses in the same industry could have different images. Let’s look at the automobile industry. Toyota aims to produce the best family car, Tesla the most environmentally friendly car, and BMW the most luxurious car. So, define who you are in your industry and try to maintain this image in the product template.

  1. How many products per page are you presenting?

The more products you have, the less information about one product you can fit on the page. Remember, leaving some space between images and the text is the golden rule of today’s design. Based on our experience, the ideal maximum number of products per page is 6. However, if you have 10000 products in one catalog, you would want to fit in as many products per page as you can. In this case, you should think carefully about the information you include.

How to create a template for your catalog? 

Catalog Machine is an online platform that allows you to generate templates from scratch. Let’s use it as an example of template creation.

After you create an account and upload your products, select Catalogs and click on New Catalog in the top right corner. From the options that appear, select Grid. 

You can also find existing templates based on the industry and catalog types.

Click on Select Catalog Products and move products you want to include in the catalog from the right-side column to the left.

The next step is the most interesting for us because it’s time to create the template. But first, let’s select how many products per page you want to present. Then click on +New Template to design one from scratch.

Here, all you need to do is allocate the desired elements on the canvas. An image, product name, price, and description are the most common, so, we will continue working with them.

Make sure the image file is big enough, and that the client can easily see the details.

The text also should be easy to read. However, the font may be even more important than the size. This template has a Monserrat font, which is straight and clear. Do some font research on the platform and select the one you like the most.

Make essential parts of the text bold to attract customers’ attention.

Don’t forget to align the text as it generates a neat presentation.

On the left side of the screen, you can see your products. Click on any one of them to see how the template will look with actual product information. Make changes if the text or image doesn’t fit.

Once you are happy with the template, click Save.

Now it’s time to see how the products look arranged together on one page. You can always go back to the template and change it if it does not meet your expectations.

If you are satisfied with it, click on Create a Catalog.

Template creation can be challenging if you don’t know your goal, your customers’ expectations, and how to structure the page. Once you answer these questions, sign up on https://www.catalogmachine.com/ and create your template quickly and easily!

 

 

 

 

 

 

User Experience: Make your Catalog Appealing

 

Catalog marketing is worth all the investment when you can excite and engage your audience. Today we are going to tell you in detail how to make your catalog looks unique, which information should be included and how to present your products most attractively.

1. Your Story is Your Advantage

Thousands of catalogs are circling the online and offline spaces. Your main goal is to stand out. Good news, it’s not that complicated as you might imagine. Most of the existing catalogs look similar and are nothing but the compilation of the products’ information.

The first thing you should do is to start thinking about your catalog as a way to tell your story. All people love stories because a good story involves an emotional connection. Use it to create brand loyalty among the customers. A catalog should be an extension of your brand and should support whatever messages you stand for.

What part of the catalog is mostly responsible for that? Every single one! Every photo and every product description is a chance to transform your values and ideas to the target audience.

Looking through hundreds of catalogs of our clients, we also want to admit the usefulness of the introduction page. This is exactly the place where you can mention what you stand for or shortly describe the history of your company. It works well, especially if you are presenting a family business. Use this as a chance to invite a customer to your world!

2. Keep Your Customers in Mind

 

Talking about your business, don’t forget who is going to read it. No matter how great your values are, if they contradict your customers’ values, no one will be your client. For example, you are selling wooden furniture, and you don’t want to mention deforestation even briefly. However, a point about eco-products in your life will work out well.

Your customers want to read only what they really care about. How will your product impact their lives? Which problems will they solve with their help? The answer should be included in your product description. Remember, people are buying fridges not to keep their meals cold, but prolonging the time before expiration.

3. The Power of the First Impression

It’s a matter of a few seconds, whether your customers are going to like your catalog or not. That is why you should think carefully about your cover page. It’s the first thing your customers will see.

Cover Page

 

How to make a good cover page?

The cover must be aesthetically appealing. Think about everything, colors, fonts, images. Here are a couple of tips from the Catalog Machine designer.

Use Adobe Color to find great color matches. All you need to do is to type in the name of the color you are interested in, look through the proposed colors combination, and select the one that suits you the best. After that, click on the selected palette and copy HEX (ex. #010D00)number of the color. Paste the number into the Catalog Machine color selector.

You have multiple font options at Catalog Machine with different styles. All of them look good, so we would recommend selecting from the offered base to stay safe. If you want to be creative, you can find more fonts at Google Fonts, create an image from the text and insert the image to your cover page.

Be sure you include your logo on the cover page. If you are in B2B (business-to-business) and prepare the catalog for one or a couple of specific clients, insert their logos into the cover page as well. This will make your catalog more personalized, and your customer will appreciate such an individualistic approach.

The content you include to the cover page also matters. Depending on the category, an offer or hook can pique interest, or create a sense of urgency.

Structure your content

Other than the cover page, your catalog should be structured well. Remember that larger catalogs should have a table of contents, folios, or tabs.

We would also strongly recommend you to leave enough white space. Even if you have hundreds of products, don’t put 16 of them on 1 page. It looks a little bit messy and hard to concentrate. The optimate number of products per page for the companies with a huge product base is 9 (3×3 grid).

If you have a lower number of products, the best option for you is to have 1 or 2 items stand out on the page, whereas all other elements as the lending support.

 

Be consistent with the fonts and colors. Select 2 main and 3 supporting colors. The shades also count as different colors. Whereas #0C19CC and #0D18B2 are both dark blue, they look slightly different, so we count them as 2 separate colors.

Same with the font. Use Bold or Italic style to stand out a piece of information, but don’t mix different fonts. Check the fonts of your footer and header. People usually forget about them and leave them with predefined settings.

4. Photos

It’s probably one of the most important parts of each catalog. Why? Images are helpful in two main aspects. They contribute to building brand identity and make navigation through the catalog easier. That is why the best catalogs are highly visual.

Here is some advice on how to make your product images look nice.

Make sure about the lighting and resolution for printing. Most printers recommend 300 dpi for the resolution (the higher, the better). Make photos at studios, because it’s easy to regulate the lightning there.

It might be a good idea to hire a professional photographer, so you will be sure about the images’ quality. Although it might be a little expensive, you will have material not only for the catalog but for future marketing campaigns.

The perfect photography is where the person is interacting with your product!

Don’t put too many products in one photo. It looks unclear to the viewer. The best option is to group images of separate products by category.

Focus on top sellers and position them with products that compliment them rather than items that could replace them.

5. Increase Chances of Sale

 

How?

Clear Ordering System

 

It should be obvious at first glance how to order the product. Since it’s the main purpose you’ve created a catalog. It should be a bright visual sign or a clear statement that’s easy to find what customers should do to order the desired product.

Good for you, if you are using the Catalog Machine all you should do is to enable your customers to order right from the catalog.

Highlight promotions and sales. It’s always nice to hear about free shipping or a discount.

 

 Insert Contact Info

 

Insert your company’s contact info on every single page. Include both phone numbers and email to connect the customer with your salesperson. It’s always a good idea to post your website url.

Summing up

Follow these 5 simple steps to provide your customers with a memorable experience and boost your sales. Your catalog is similar to the logo or a business card, as all of them are creating a business identity, which makes you unique.

Next time before publishing your catalog, make sure it is both functional (easy to read and intuitively designed) and appealing (looks clean and professional).

The Catalog Machine team is happy to offer you a new service. From now you can order your catalog from us, so all you will need to do is to provide us your product information.

Sign up at https://www.catalogmachine.com and message us about your catalog preferences.

 

7 steps to create an online product catalog that sells

Increase sales and market your small business with a cost effective online product catalog.

Your catalog – What, Who and Why?

what-who-why

Your business is design, manufacture, service or retail. You could be a Shopify, Etsy or eBay seller. You have products or services you need to sell, online, offline or both, and you are asking the question – How do I create myself a successful product catalog? Not just an aesthetically pleasing or comprehensive but a powerful sales tool which delivers critical conversions and products sales for your business.

We aim to answer that for you with seven effective steps to producing a product catalog which will entice and reach even the most passive of customers.

How to begin making your cost effective product marketing and promotion solution that sells…

Consider three elements as you start your catalog creation journey…What, Who and Why.

What

What are your products or services, how well do they fit to an informative or promotional style? What is the best way to present them, what level of information and sale nudging is needed and what are your industry “norms” or your competitor approaches? Informative catalogs may be more suitable to employees, experienced buyers and professional services.  Promotional style, sales oriented, bright and engaging pages are more applicable to product sales, consumer services and attracting new buyers.

Who

Which of course brings us onto the audience; who exactly are your customers or buyers and what do they expect? What works in your marketplace and why? It’s ultimately critical that a product catalog is tailored to the product buyer, as any mismatch will jeopardize sales hugely.

Consider timber sales. The experienced business or trades buyer needs only to know wood type, dimensions and price. The home DIY enthusiast, amateur builder or crafter needs to know which type of wood is more relevant or suited to their project and why. The former, an experienced B2B buyer needs a simple, easy to use, even tabular layout to quick find their requirements, price and order. The latter, a consumer buyer, wants to know the properties of each type of wood, how long it will last and may be engaged by quick DIY guides, tips, information about complementary wood care products.

Why

Answer the why, the “What’s in it for me?” for your buyer, matching your product or service to their needs and answering any questions, overcoming any objections and your “sale” is made.

We can use the example of a home improvement retailer. Their buyers’ reasons for purchase can include:

Fulfilment of need – they require materials, lighting or furniture. The catalog should be factual, include dimensions, price and key information.

Problem resolution – the product may need to be a certain size, shape, color or fit for an existing project.  Think space saving storage or furniture design for owners of smaller or city homes, explaining how space can be maximized by each product will convert the sale.

Satiation of desire – the buyer strives to attain a lifestyle or gain pleasure from a purchase decision, a beautiful room or home.  Allow the buyer, through the product catalog, to visualize themselves or their home with a certain style to win them over.

Money – getting better value or saving money is of course a massive motivator for purchase decisions. The product catalog can emphasise price, old price/price reductions, value for money and feature top sellers, deals and discounts.

Answer the buyer’s subliminal “What’s in it for me?” and your product catalog is well on its way to being a successful tool in your online product marketing portfolio

With good understanding of What, Who and Why  we can move to answering How to create myself a successful product catalog.

Continue reading “7 steps to create an online product catalog that sells”