Purchase Orders

Last modified July 21, 2017

FastSpring supports the option to accept purchase orders (POs) from customers such as businesses, governmental or educational institutions, and other organizations that may need to submit a purchase order number and receive an invoice for that PO in order to complete payment. Purchase orders are supported on both Web Storefronts and Popup Storefronts, including any implementation of the Store Builder Library.  This option must be enabled for each individual Storefront by FastSpring Support.

What is a purchase order?

Purchase orders (POs) are not a form of payment. Rather, 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 a business, governmental or educational institution, specifying the products or services to be purchased, the seller, the expected purchase amount, and a unique identifier for the document, known as a PO number. After issuing a PO, the buyer's accounting department may require that an invoice detailing the proposed transaction and bearing the buyer's PO number be sent from the seller to the buyer, before they 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 will see an additional payment method, as illustrated here:

    Example of a Web Storefront with the Purchase Order payment method highlighted

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

    Example of a payment information screen

  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 will appear. The contents of the page and the remainder of the order flow will vary somewhat depending on whether you have chosen the automatic (Deliver After Payment) order 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 will be 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, so customers can actually make payment within 75 days of the purchase order date (or approval date). If payment is not made within the 30-day grace period beyond the payment due date, the pending purchase order will be canceled and customers will have to 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 as the seller; you should specify which option you prefer when you contact FastSpring Support to request that POs be enabled for your Storefront(s).

Deliver After Payment (automatic)

With this option, no manual intervention is required by you (the seller). Upon submitting a PO order, customers will be prompted to pay or print the invoice. A payment instructions email message will also be sent to the customer. The message will include a link to pay now (e.g. via standard payment methods) and a link to view the invoice. The invoice will include a link to pay now, and for US customers, the invoice will also include detailed instructions for sending a check or money order.

PO orders will appear in your Dashboard under Activity -> Orders -> Awaiting Payment until the customer has made payment. Once the customer has made payment, an order receipt email message will be sent to the customer with any fulfillment details such as license keys and / or download links, just as it would be if the customer had originally 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 will not receive an invoice. Upon submitting a PO order, customers will be shown a message indicating the the order is under review and an invoice will be sent to them within 1-2 business days.

Pending PO orders will appear in your Dashboard under Activity -> Orders -> Pending Approval. Once you have approved an order, a payment instructions email message will be sent to the customer. The message will include a link to pay now (e.g. via standard payment methods) and a link to view the invoice. The invoice will include a link to pay now, and for US customers, it will also include detailed instructions for sending a check or money order. Once the customer has made payment, an order receipt email message will be sent to the customer with any fulfillment details such as license keys and / or download links, just as it would be if the customer had originally 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 will see Pay Now and View Invoice buttons, as illustrated here:

    Example of the confirmation page when the automatic (Deliver After Payment) order flow is enabled

  2. The customer will also be sent a payment instructions email message similar to the following example:

    Example of a payment instructions email message
  3. Clicking Pay Now on the confirmation page of your Storefront - or clicking the link to pay the invoice online now, in the email message - will take the customer to a Storefront page similar to a regular purchase. Upon selecting a payment method, the country, currency and language will be pre-selected (non-editable) based on the PO order, and the customer's name and email address will be 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 will see a completion page - and will be sent an emailed receipt containing any fulfillment information such as license keys and / or download links - just as if he or she had purchased using a credit card or PayPal.
     
  4. Clicking View Invoice on the confirmation page of your Storefront - or clicking the link to view / print the detailed invoice and payment instructions, in the email message - will take the customer to an invoice similar to the one pictured here:

    Example of a PO invoice awaiting payment

  5. The invoice also includes a Pay Now link, plus instructions the customer can use to issue a physical payment by check or money order. If the customer clicks the Pay Now link in the invoice, the flow is identical to clicking the Pay Now button on the confirmation page, above. Customers in the United States will 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 it is received prior to the payment due date (minus 1-3 business days for processing by FastSpring), FastSpring will mark the order complete and send the customer a receipt email message containing any fulfillment information such as license keys and / or download links, just as if he or she had originally ordered using a credit card or PayPal.
     
  6. In the interim - between the time a PO order has been placed and the time the customer completes payment - you can view pending PO orders in your Dashboard by selecting Activity -> Orders -> Awaiting Payment. You will see a page similar to the one shown in this example:

    Example of the Awaiting Payment view of the Orders tab

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

    Example of a pending PO transaction in Awaiting Payment status

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

    Example of an invoice for a PO transaction that has been paid in full

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 will see a confirmation page with message indicating that the purchase order has been received and an invoice will be sent within 1-2 business days, as in the following example:

    Example of a purchase order transaction's confirmation page with a note that the order is pending approval

  2. At this point, no further communication will be sent to the customer until you manually approve or decline the transaction (unless you fail to do so prior to automatic cancellation thirty days after the payment due date). You can approve or decline transactions in the Dashboard by selecting Activity -> Orders - Pending Approval. You will see a list of all PO transactions that are pending approval, as in the following example:

    Example of the Pending Approval page on the Orders tab

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

    Example of the purchase order review page for approving or declining a PO

  4. If you decide to reject the purchase order, click OPTIONS -> Decline Order instead.
     
  5. Once you have approved a PO transaction, FastSpring will send an approval email message with payment instructions to the customer:

    Example of an approval email message with payment instructions

  6. Clicking the link to pay the invoice online now in the email message will take the customer to a Storefront page similar to a regular purchase. Upon selecting a payment method, the country, currency and language will be pre-selected (non-editable) based on the PO order, and the customer's name and email address will be 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 will see a completion page - and will be sent an emailed receipt containing any fulfillment information such as license keys and / or download links - just as if he or she had purchased using a credit card or PayPal.
     
  7. Clicking the link to view or print the invoice and payment instructions will take the customer to an invoice similar to the following:

    Example of an invoice for an approved purchase order, with payment instructions

  8. The invoice also includes a Pay Now link, plus instructions the customer can use to issue a physical payment by check or money order. 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 will 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 it is received prior to the payment due date (minus 1-3 business days for processing by FastSpring), FastSpring will mark the order complete and send the customer a receipt email message containing any fulfillment information such as license keys and / or download links, just as if he or she had originally ordered using a credit card or PayPal.
     
  9. You can also search for purchase order transactions using the customer's PO number.
     
  10. Once payment has been completed, the customer will still be able to view and print the invoice, but the invoice will no longer include payment instructions, as in the following example: 

    Example of an invoice for a completed purchase order transaction

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 for purchase order transactions using the customer's own purchase number (provided he or she entered it 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 867-5309.3, you would enter: 

PO: 867-5309.3

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

Example of searching for a transaction using the customer's purchase order number

Webhook Events for Purchase Order Transactions

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

Note

You can choose to subscribe to some or all of these events; only events to which you are 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 will be fired.
Event Name Fired When... Customer-Facing Email?
account.created A PO order is placed with a customer email address that has not previously been used for orders in your Store No
mailingListEntry.updated

A 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 check box status

No
mailingListEntry.removed A PO order is placed with a customer email address that has previously been used for orders in your Store, which address
was previously subscribed to your mailing list, and the customer placing the PO order clears the newsletter check box
No
order.approval.pending A new PO order has been placed and you have chosen the Require Approval order flow Order ending Approval
order.payment.pending

A 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.canceled You have chosen the Require Approval order flow and you decline a pending PO order Order Canceled
order.completed A customer completes payment for a PO order (not to be confused with submission of a PO order that hasn't yet been paid) Default Order Receipt
order.failed A customer attempts to pay for a PO using an instant payment method (e.g. a credit card), and the transaction is declined No
payoutEntry.created A customer completes payment for a PO order (not to be confused with submission of a PO order that hasn't yet been paid) 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: