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Purchase Orders

Overview

This article explains how purchase orders work and how you can enable them in your FastSpring Store.

FastSpring supports the option to accept purchase orders (POs) from customers such as businesses, governmental or educational institutions, and other organizations. These organizations may need to submit a purchase order and receive an invoice for that PO before they can complete payment.

Both Web Storefronts and Popup Storefronts support purchase orders, as does any implementation of the Store Builder Library. This option must be enabled for each Storefront by FastSpring Support.

 What is a Purchase Order?

Purchase orders (POs) are not a form of payment. Instead, they are requests for an invoice for the purchase of specific goods or services from a specific seller.

A purchase order is often a document generated by the accounting system of an organization that needs to make a purchase. The document specifies the products or services to be purchased, as well as the seller, the expected purchase price, and a unique identifier for the document, known as a PO number. 

After issuing a PO, the customer's accounting department may require an invoice detailing the proposed transaction and bearing the customer's PO number. The invoice must be sent from the seller (e.g., FastSpring) to the customer before the customer can issue payment by any standard method. In addition to standard payment methods accepted by FastSpring, customers in the United States can also pay for PO transactions using checks or money orders.

 Note

Purchase orders are not available when purchasing subscriptions with automatic renewals/charges. Only manual renewal subscriptions can be ordered using a purchase order.

Table of Contents

 

Customer Experience

  1. With POs enabled, customers in all regions of the world who are not purchasing subscription-based products can use an additional payment option, as illustrated here:


     
  2. Upon selecting Purchase Order as their payment method, customers are presented with a payment information screen similar to this:


     
  3. Customers need only enter their name, email address, postal code, and optionally, the Purchase Order Number. Customers may choose to omit the Purchase Order Number.
  4. Upon clicking the Pay button, a confirmation page appears. The contents of the page and the remainder of the order flow may vary somewhat. They can vary depending on whether you have chosen the automatic (Deliver After Paymentorder flow or the manual (Require Approval) order flow.

 

Payment Due Date

By default, payment from the customer is due within 45 days of the purchase order date, or the date on which you approved the purchase order (see the Require Approval option below). The due date shown to customers in the invoice is based on the purchase order date (or the approval date) plus 45 days. However, FastSpring will continue to accept payment for an additional 30-day grace period beyond the 45-day due date. Thus, customers can actually make payment within 75 days of the purchase order date (or approval date). If customers do not make payment within the 30-day grace period beyond the payment due date, FastSpring automatically cancels the pending purchase order. In that case, customers must start a new order if they still want to process a transaction.

 Tip

FastSpring Support can change the number of days used to calculate the payment due date from 45 to any other value ranging between 14 and 90 days, at your request. This setting affects all Storefronts for which POs are enabled in your Store.

 

Order Flow Options

There are two order flow options available to you. You should specify which option you prefer when you contact FastSpring Support to request enablement of POs for your Storefront(s).

Deliver After Payment (automatic)With this option, no manual intervention is required by you. Upon submitting a PO order, customers are prompted to pay or print the invoice. FastSpring also sends a payment instructions email message to the customer. The message includes a link to pay now (e.g., via standard payment methods) and a link to view the invoice. The invoice includes a link to pay now, and, for US customers, detailed instructions for sending a check or money order.

PO orders appear in the FastSpring App under Activity -> Orders -> Awaiting Payment until the customer has made payment. Once the customer has made payment, FastSpring sends an order receipt email message to the customer with any fulfillment details such as license keys or download links. This message is the same as it would be if the customer had initially paid using a credit card or PayPal.
Require Approval (manual)With this option, you can review each PO order manually; you must approve each PO order before the customer will be prompted to pay or receive an invoice. If you decline a pending PO order, the customer does not receive an invoice. Upon submitting a PO order, customers are shown a message indicating that the order is under review.

Pending PO orders appear in the FastSpring App under Activity -> Orders -> Pending Approval. Once you have approved an order, FastSpring sends a payment instructions email message to the customer. The message includes a link to pay now (e.g., via standard payment methods) and a link to view the invoice. The invoice includes a link to pay now, and, for US customers, detailed instructions for sending a check or money order. Once the customer has made payment, FastSpring sends an order receipt email message to the customer with any fulfillment details such as license keys or download links. This message is the same as it would be if the customer had initially paid using a credit card or PayPal.

 Note

We strongly encourage you to process (approve or decline) all pending PO orders within 1-2 business days.

 

Examples of the Deliver After Payment option

  1. Upon clicking the Pay button on a purchase order transaction, the customer sees Pay Now and View Invoice buttons, as illustrated here:


     
  2. FastSpring also sends the customer a payment instructions email message similar to the following example:


     
  3. Clicking Pay Now on the confirmation page of your Storefront--or clicking the invoice payment link in the email message--takes the customer to a Storefront page similar to a regular purchase. Upon selecting a payment method, the country, currency, and language are pre-selected (non-editable) based on the PO order. The customer's name and email address are filled in automatically. The customer just needs to enter the payment details (e.g., credit card number, expiration date, and CVC) and click to complete the order. Upon completing payment, the customer sees a completion page. At that time, FastSpring also sends an emailed receipt containing any fulfillment information such as license keys or download links. The receipt message is the same as if the customer had purchased using a credit card or PayPal.
  4. Clicking View Invoice on the confirmation page of your Storefront, or clicking the invoice payment link in the email message, takes the customer to an invoice similar to the one pictured here:


     
  5. The invoice also includes a Pay Now link. If the customer clicks the Pay Now link, the flow is identical to clicking the Pay Now button on the confirmation page, above. Customers in the United States also see instructions to pay by check or money order, as in the illustration above. If the customer mails a physical check or money order and FastSpring receives it before the payment due date (minus 1-3 business days for processing by FastSpring), FastSpring marks the order complete. FastSpring also sends the customer a receipt email message containing any fulfillment information such as license keys or download links. The receipt message is the same as if the customer had initially ordered using a credit card or PayPal.
  6. In the interim--between the time a customer places a PO order and completes payment--you can view pending PO orders in the FastSpring App by selecting Activity -> Orders -> Awaiting Payment. The result is a page similar to the one shown in this example:


     
  7. Clicking one of these order records lets you drill into and see its complete details, as in this example:


     
  8. You can also search for purchase order transactions using the customer's PO number.
  9. After completing the payment, the customer will still be able to view and print the invoice. However, the invoice will no longer include payment instructions, as in the following example:


     

 

Examples of the Require Approval option

 Note

If you select the Require Approval option, we strongly encourage you to process (approve or decline) all pending PO orders within 1-2 business days.
  1. Upon clicking the Pay button for a purchase order transaction, the customer sees a confirmation page. The page displays a message indicating that the purchase order has been received and FastSpring will send an invoice within 1-2 business days, as in the following example:


     
  2. At this point, FastSpring does not send any further communication to the customer until you manually approve or decline the transaction. However, if you fail to do so before automatic cancellation thirty days after the payment due date, FastSpring sends an order canceled message to the customer. You can approve or decline transactions in the the FastSpring App by selecting Activity -> Orders - Pending Approval. The result is a list of all PO transactions that are pending approval, as in the following example:


     
  3. Clicking any transaction opens the transaction's details, where you can click one of two buttons to approve the transaction:

    • If you choose , FastSpring sends the customer a Payment Required for the Order message that contains a link to the customer's invoice. Fulfillment actions are not processed until the customer has made payment for the order. The expiration date for any associated file downloads is not set until the customer pays. At that time, the expiration date is generated relative to the date of payment.
    • If you choose , FastSpring sends the customer a Payment Required for the Order message that contains a link to the customer's invoice and also includes all relevant fulfillment details (e.g., license keys and download links). The expiration date for any associated file downloads is set as soon as you choose this option. The expiration date is calculated relative to the date you clicked this option, regardless of when the customer might actually pay.
  4. If you decide to reject the purchase order, click Options -> Decline Order instead. 
  5. Once you have approved a PO transaction, FastSpring sends an approval email message with payment instructions to the customer. The message includes a link to view the invoice.
  6. Clicking the payment link in the email message takes the customer to a Storefront page similar to a regular purchase. Upon selecting a payment method, the country, currency, and language are pre-selected (non-editable) based on the PO order. The customer's name and email address are also filled in automatically. The customer just needs to enter the payment details (e.g., credit card number, expiration date, and CVC) and click to complete the order. Upon completing payment, the customer sees a completion page. FastSpring also sends the customer an emailed receipt containing any fulfillment information such as license keys or download links. The receipt is the same as if the customer had purchased using a credit card or PayPal.
  7. Clicking the link to view or print the invoice and payment instructions takes the customer to an invoice similar to the following:


     
  8. The invoice also includes a Pay Now link. If the customer clicks the Pay Now link in the invoice, the flow is identical to clicking the Pay Now link in the email message, above. Customers in the United States also see instructions they follow to pay by check or money order, as in the illustration above. If the customer mails a physical check or money order and FastSpring receives it before the payment due date (minus 1-3 business days for processing by FastSpring), FastSpring marks the order complete and sends the customer a receipt email message. The message contains any fulfillment information such as license keys or download links, just as if the customer had initially ordered using a credit card or PayPal.
  9. You can also search for purchase order transactions using the customer's PO number.
  10. After completing the payment, the customer will still be able to view and print the invoice. However, the invoice will no longer include payment instructions, as in the following example:


     

 

Searching for Purchase Order Transactions

In addition to the usual search criteria, such as the customer's last name and email address, you can search in the FastSpring App for purchase order transactions using the customer's purchase number. (This only applies if the customer entered the optional PO number at the time of the transaction). To do this, simply enter PO: <number>, where <number> is replaced by the customer's PO number. For example, to search for a purchase order with PO number 867-5309, you would enter: 

PO: 867-5309

You can do this in the order search field on the main page of the FastSpring App, or in the search field on any tab of the Activity page, as shown in the illustration below:

 

Webhook Events for Purchase Order Transactions

The following table illustrates which webhook events fire for purchase order transactions.

 Note

You can choose to subscribe to some or all of these events; only events to which you have subscribed will fire.

 Note

Only the order.approval.pending webhook event is unique to purchase order transactions; the others listed in the table below can occur for other transaction types as well.

 Note

For purchase orders on subscription transactions--which are possible with manual renewal subscriptions--additional, subscription-related webhook events may fire.
Event NameFires When...Customer-Facing Email?
account.createdA PO order is placed with a customer email address that has not previously been used for orders in your StoreNo
mailingListEntry.updatedA PO order is placed (or abandoned):

with a customer email address that has not previously been used for orders in your Store;

OR

with a customer email address that has previously been used, but with a different newsletter checkbox status
No
mailingListEntry.removedA PO order is placed with a customer email address that has previously been used for orders in your Store if the address was previously subscribed to your mailing list, and the customer placing the PO order clears the newsletter checkboxNo
order.approval.pendingA new PO order has been placed, and you have chosen the Require Approval order flowOrder Pending Approval
order.payment.pendingA new PO order has been placed, and you have chosen the Deliver After Payment order flow

OR
You have chosen the Require Approval order flow, and you approve a pending PO order
Payment Required for the Order
order.canceledYou have chosen the Require Approval order flow, and you decline a pending PO orderOrder Canceled
order.completedA customer completes payment for a PO order (not to be confused with the submission of a new PO order)Default Order Receipt
order.failedA customer attempts to pay for a PO using an instant payment method (e.g., a credit card), and the transaction is declinedNo
payoutEntry.createdA customer completes payment for a PO order (not to be confused with the submission of a new PO order)No

 

Enabling Purchase Orders

If you would like to enable POs for one or more Storefronts in your Store, please contact FastSpring Support and let us know all three of the following items:

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