Guide to Order Management
Order Management Workflow
The View Orders screen in BigCommerce is where you manage fulfilling orders. It is here you'll find:
- Orders to date
- Order details
- Order total
- Order status
You also have a few built-in alternative views across the top of the screen to see specific order segments. For example, if you only wanted to see newly paid for orders that have yet to be processed, you'd switch the view to Awaiting Fulfillment, which indicates the customer has checked out with a successful transaction, and now it's time for you to get busy.
The fulfillment process involves first recognizing what stage in the timeline a particular order is. Is it a newly paid order ready to be picked from the warehouse? Or perhaps it's been pulled from the warehouse and packaged, and is waiting to be picked up by a shipping provider. BigCommerce has built-in order statuses that represent the different stages of the fulfillment process including:
- Pending — customer started the checkout process, but did not complete it
- Awaiting Payment — customer has completed checkout process, but payment has yet to be confirmed
- Awaiting Fulfillment — customer has completed the checkout process and payment has been confirmed
- Awaiting Shipment — order has been pulled and packaged, and is awaiting collection from a shipping provider
- Awaiting Pickup — order has been pulled, and is awaiting customer pickup from a seller-specified location
- Partially Shipped — only some items in the order have been shipped, due to some products being pre-order only or other reasons
- Completed — order has been shipped/picked up, and receipt is confirmed; client has paid for their digital product and their file(s) are available for download
- Shipped — order has been shipped, but receipt has not been confirmed; seller has used the Ship Items action
- Cancelled — seller has cancelled an order, due to a stock inconsistency or other reasons. Stock levels will automatically update depending on your Inventory Settings.
- Declined — seller has marked the order declined for lack of manual payment, or other reasons
- Refunded — seller has used the Refund action
- Disputed — customer has initiated a dispute resolution process for the PayPal transaction that paid for the order
- Verification Required — order on hold while some aspect (e.g. tax-exempt documentation) needs to be manually confirmed
All new orders that have been paid for default to an Awaiting Fulfillment status (except digital only orders, which default to Completed). Using any other status is at your discretion.
Most order statuses are applied as a result of an order action, but some must be manually changed. For example, orders must be manually changed to have a Cancelled or Declined status — they are not triggered by any store user or customer actions.
If you sell downloadable products, then fulfillment is a bit more straightforward since there's no physical shipping involved. When a downloadable product is paid for, its status is automatically set to Completed.
Once the type of order has been identified, then it's time to decide if any actions need to be taken. Does a shipping label need to be created? You could have an already shipped order from last week that's been returned, and now needs to have a refund applied. For these scenarios and more, your orders screen includes order actions that allow you to manipulate orders and move them forward to an ultimately “complete” status.
Each order listed in this area also sports an action button to its right. Clicking it reveals what actions can be performed for this order, such as:
- editing the details of the order
- printing an invoice or packing slip
- creating a shipment and printing a label
- refunding a payment
In addition to the action button, there is also a “Choose an action” dropdown menu at the top of the order table. It allows you to apply certain actions in bulk to multiple orders, including some not available via the action button, like:
- capture funds for selected
- export selected
- archive selected
Archiving an order will prevent its value from being including in analytical reporting. This gives you the ability to perform some test orders without muddying up your reporting data. As volume increases, it also becomes a useful tool for keeping your orders “inbox” area tidy. The status of an archived order cannot be changed, but they can be un-archived, if necessary.
Performing actions on an order will sometimes change its status. Depending on your Checkout Settings, this will send an update email to customer, notifying them of the status change.
The process of checking the status of the order then performing the appropriate action is repeated for each order, whether manually or automatically.
In addition to reviewing incoming orders, you can also use the Add button to create an order on behalf of a new or existing customer. If it's for a new customer, you have the opportunity to create the customer account in the order account creation process, or you can also check them out as a guest if they prefer not to have an account created.
Existing orders can also be edited to change cart contents, or billing and shipping details of the customer. Note that any changes that affect the order total have no affect on the transaction if it's already been completed.
Here's an example to illustrate. A customer contacted you immediately after placing their order to request one item be removed. They've already paid for the order, so when you go to edit the order and remove the product, the price will now appear lower, but the customer doesn't automatically get the difference paid back in their checking balance (or PayPal account). You're left with two options:
- Perform a partial refund back to the customer for the difference, or…
- Perform a full refund, cancel that order ID completely, and either you or the customer creates a new order with the desired cart contents.
The View Orders screen also gives you the opportunity to export all off your orders, or just ones that you choose or sort.
Some accounting services and software allow you to import existing order data. There are also accounting apps available that can automate that process. Regularly exporting your orders and other store data is a good practice for reference, record keeping and account reconciliation.