The difference between Invoices and Purchase Orders, and how to enable Invoices in your Store.
Invoices are useful for organizations who need to submit a Purchase Order and receive an invoice before they can complete payment. Web Storefronts, Popup Storefronts and the Store Builder Library all support Invoice creation.
What is a Purchase Order?
Purchase Orders are requests for an invoice for the purchase of specific goods or services from a consumer; they are not a form of payment. They are often documents generated by the accountants of an organization that is looking to purchase. The document specifies:
- The products or services to be purchased
- The consumer
- The expected purchase price
- The purchase order number
After issuing a Purchase Order, the consumer’s accounting department may require an invoice detailing the proposed transaction that includes their Purchase Order number. The invoice must be sent from FastSpring to the consumer before the consumer can issue payment by any standard method. In addition to standard payment methods accepted by FastSpring, consumers in the United States can also pay Invoices using checks or money orders.
When Invoices are enabled, consumers can select Invoice as their payment option in checkout.
- After selecting Invoice, consumers are presented with a payment information screen. Consumers only need to enter their name, email, and zip code. The Purchase Order Number is optional.
- After they click the Generate Invoice button, a confirmation page appears. The contents of the page and the remainder of the order flow vary depending on whether you have chosen the automatic or manual order flow.
- Automatic Order Flow (Deliver After Payment) - No manual intervention is required. Upon generating an Invoice, consumers are prompted to pay or print the invoice. FastSpring also sends payment instructions via email to the consumer.
- Manual Order Flow (Require Approval) - You review each Invoice Order manually; you must approve each one before the consumer will be prompted to pay. If you decline a pending Invoice Order, the order is canceled. Upon approving the Order, you can decide if you want to deliver the fulfillment immediately or after payment is received. Consumers will then be prompted to pay their invoice.
Payment Due Date
By default, payment from the consumer is due within 45 days after the Invoice is generated. FastSpring informs consumers of this via email, however, we accept payments for 30 days following the payment due date. This means that consumers have 75 days to make the payment before FastSpring automatically cancels the Pending Order. If FastSpring cancels the Order, consumers must start restart to process the transaction.
Submit a request to FastSpring Support to change the number of days a consumer has to complete the purchase. You can change it to any value between 14 and 90 days; this setting applies to all of the Storefronts in which Invoices are enabled.
If you would like to enable Invoices for one or more Storefronts in your Store, contact FastSpring Support and include:
- Your Store name
- The name(s) of the Storefront(s) where you want Invoices enabled
- Whether you want the Deliver After Payment or Require Approval order flow.
Deliver After Payment Order Flow
The Automatic Deliver After Payment order flow does not require any manual intervention. When a consumer generates an Invoice, they are prompted to pay or print it. They receive payment instructions from FastSpring via email, which include a link to pay, and a link to view the invoice.
Purchase Orders appear in the FastSpring App under Sales > Orders > Awaiting Payment until a payment has been received. Then, FastSpring sends an email to the consumer with applicable fulfillment details, such as license keys or download links.
After a consumer clicks Generate Invoice, they see Pay Now and View Invoice buttons.
FastSpring also sends the consumer an email containing payment instructions.
To make a payment, consumers click Pay Now on the confirmation page, or select the invoice payment link in the email. The country, currency, and language are pre-selected (non-editable) based on the original order. The consumer's name and email address are filled in automatically.
To complete the order, the consumer must enter the payment details and click Complete. When they complete the payment, the consumer sees a completion page. FastSpring also sends an emailed receipt containing any fulfillment information. The receipt message is the same as if the consumer had purchased using a credit card or PayPal.
View an Invoice:
To view an invoice, consumers can click View Invoice on the confirmation page of your Storefront, or invoice payment link in the email.
The invoice also includes a Pay Now button. If the consumer clicks the Pay Now button, the flow is identical to clicking the Pay Now button on the confirmation page. Consumers in the United States also see instructions to pay by check or money order, as illustrated above. If the consumer mails a physical check or money order and FastSpring receives it before the Payment Due Date, FastSpring marks the order complete.
FastSpring also sends the consumer a receipt email message containing any fulfillment information such as license keys or download links. The receipt message is the same as if the consumer had initially ordered using a credit card or PayPal.
After completing the payment, the consumer will still be able to view and print the invoice. However, the invoice will no longer include payment instructions since the invoice is now paid.
Between the time a consumer places a Purchase Order and completes payment, you can view pending Invoices in the FastSpring App by selecting Sales > Orders > Awaiting Payment.
When you click on a Pending Order, you see the order's complete details. If you do not see the order immediately, you can search for it using the consumer's Purchase Order Number.
Require Approval Order Flow
For the Require Approval order flow, you manually approve each Invoice or Purchase Order before the consumer is prompted to pay. When the consumer submits an order, they receive a message indicating that the order is under review. If you decline a pending Purchase Order, the order is canceled.
Pending Invoice Orders appear under Sales > Orders > Pending Approval. After you approve an order, FastSpring sends a Payment Instructions email to the consumer, which includes a link to pay and a link to view the Invoice. For US consumers, instructions for sending a check or money order are also included. After the payment is received, FastSpring sends an email to the consumer with applicable fulfillment details, such as license keys or download links.
When the consumer clicks Generate Invoice, they see a confirmation page which displays a message indicating that the order has been received and FastSpring will send an invoice within 1-2 business days.
Until you manually approve or decline the transaction, FastSpring does not send further communication to the consumer, unless you fail to do so before the automatic cancellation date (75 days after the order).
Approve or Decline an Invoice Order
To approve or decline transactions in the FastSpring App, select Sales > Orders > Pending Approval. On this page, you see all Invoice Orders that have not yet been approved or declined.
- Select the Order. If you are looking for a specific one, you can search for it using the consumer's Purchase Order number.
- Click the transaction to see its details. To decline the order, click Options > Decline Order. To approve the transaction, either click Approve - Deliver Before Payment, or Approve - Deliver After Payment.
- Approve - Deliver After Payment - FastSpring sends the consumer an email that contains a link to the consumer's invoice. Fulfillment actions are not processed until the consumer has made payment for the order. The expiration date for any associated file downloads is not set until the consumer pays. At that time, the expiration date is generated relative to the date of payment.
- Approve - Deliver Before Payment - FastSpring sends the consumer an email containing a link to their invoice and all relevant fulfillment details, such as license keys and download links. The expiration date for any associated file downloads is set as soon as you choose this option, regardless of when the consumer might actually pay.
- After you approve an Invoice Order, FastSpring sends an email with payment instructions to the consumer, which includes a link to view the invoice. If you decline it, the consumer does not receive a notification.
- When consumers select the Pay Now link in the email or invoice, they are redirected to a Storefront page similar to that of a regular purchase. The country, currency, language, consumer’s name, and email are pre-selected based on the original Order. Consumers in the United States see instructions to pay by check or money order. If the consumer mails a physical check or money order and FastSpring receives it before the Payment Due Date, FastSpring marks the order complete.
- After the order is completed, FastSpring sends the consumer a receipt email message containing fulfillment information. The receipt message is the same as if the consumer had initially ordered using a credit card or PayPal.
Search for Invoice Orders
Search orders in the order search field on the main page of the FastSpring App, or in the search field on any tab of the Sales page, as shown below.
To search for an Invoice Order, enter:
- Consumer information, such as their last name or email address
- Purchase Order number (if provided)
To search for a specific Purchase Order number, enter PO: then the number. For example, to search for an invoice with PO number 867-5309, you would enter PO: 867-5309
Webhook Events for Invoice Transactions
The following table illustrates which webhook events fire for invoice transactions. Subscribe to some or all of these events to enable them to fire. Additional Webhooks may fire for Invoices on subscription transactions (which is possible with manual renewal subscriptions).
|Event Name||Fires When...||Customer-Facing Email?|
|account.created||An invoice order is placed with a consumer email address that has not previously been used for orders in your Store||No|
|mailingListEntry.updated||An invoice order is placed (or abandoned):
|mailingListEntry.removed||An invoice order is placed with a consumer email address that has previously been used for orders in your Store if the address was previously subscribed to your mailing list, and the consumer placing the PO order clears the newsletter checkbox||No|
|order.approval.pending||A new invoice order has been placed, and you have chosen the Require Approval order flow||Order Pending Approval|
||Payment Required for the Order|
|order.canceled||You have chosen the Require Approval order flow, and you decline a pending invoice order||Order Canceled|
|order.completed||A consumer completes payment for an invoice order (not the submission of a new invoice order)||Default Order Receipt|
|order.failed||A consumer attempts to pay for an invoice using an instant payment method (e.g., a credit card), and the transaction is declined||No|
|payoutEntry.created||A consumer completes payment for an invoice||No|