View Cart Page - The adilas.biz Shopping Cart Overview
This page is the main hub of the shopping cart. Most of the changes to your cart will take place from this page or from a link off of this page. To return to this page at anytime, look for the "View Cart" link in the top right corner of the application (site). There will also be a small shopping cart icon to help you find the link.
The shopping cart is how you sell your stuff. It is the interface between your customers and the entire rest of the system. The shopping cart eventually helps you to create your invoices and quotes. It is literally tied to almost everything in the system. If you took out this piece of the puzzle, not much would be happening. This is the "interface" piece.
Selling things can be as simple as selling a candy bar or as complicated as you can possibly imagine. The sky is the limit. Complicated doesn't always mean hard. The two questions you need to ask yourself are: What do I sell? And how do I sell it? Your answers to those questions will help you know which tools and features you will use and how you will use the shopping cart.
The cart itself is a little tool that helps to bring together a number of system players to create a quote and/or an invoice. There are 20+ corp-wide settings that help deal with carts and invoices. They include what to call your customers, salespersons, parts, locations, payment options, special field names, checkout options, disclaimers, show/hide options, and much more. This section of the application is highly customizable and we recommend that you get familiar with the settings and options to tweak it out to meet your needs.
Getting Items Into The Cart:
There are lots of ways to get items into the shopping cart. We will cover some of these different methods in more detail later on. The most basic way to get an item into the cart is by doing a simple search and add process. This way doesn't require any special setup and is fairly straight forward. You basically search the database for an item, when found, you add it to the cart. If you are looking to go faster and faster, the cart is also setup to allow barcodes and barcode readers. More details on both of these basic methods later on.
If you have custom needs or want to pre-set certain items, we have two features that allow for that type of process. One of the ways we handle this is a thing called "my cart favorite buttons". These buttons get setup by you (or your company) and are basically programmed to do certain tasks or hold certain information (prices, quantities, descriptions, etc.). Kinda like shortcuts for the cart. If you want to learn more about my cart favorites, we recommend that you read the help file for that section. Those buttons are not required, but are very handy in certain circumstances. Another great way to get multiple items into the cart is called a recipe and build. These are pre-set groups, kits, or lists of options. To learn more about recipe/builds, see this help file. These advanced options are not required but are great add on tools if needed.
Let's talk more about doing a basic search and adding the items to your cart. By default, the application is set up to help you add additional line items by using a special mini search form. This is the most basic way to get new items into the cart. This simple search option is found towards the top of the page. The search is very flexible and has a built-in 4-way search. A single search will check for part numbers, reference numbers (secondary numbers), descriptions, or barcodes. When using the basic search option, we highly recommend that you use a minimal amount of information for your search. For example: Say you know you have a part or item with the part number of "XYZ-1234". If I was doing the basic search, I would enter "XYZ" or some other part of the item name or description and then submit the search. Keep it simple and fast. The search has built-in wildcards and allows you to search different sections of the data at the same time. We recommend that you keep your search small and limit it to 4-5 letters or numbers. If too many results come back, you could always add a little bit more criteria to tighten things down. This keeps things fast and you don't sit there typing in 50 million letters and/or numbers per search. Let the computer help you by performing its search routines.
If your corporation needs more search options, there are some corp-wide settings that allow you to expand the cart quick search defaults. Another way to do a parts search is by clicking the "add item" button from the view cart page. If you click the add item button, you will be taken to a different page that has some additional search options. This standalone page allows for additional filters besides the normal flexible 4-way part number search explained above. Some of the additional filters are for vendors, part categories, etc. Basically, the page will do the same search as the quick search, it just has a few more options. Another really nice feature of the standalone add item page is an easy to use list of what we call "special line items". These are hardcoded system parts that are included for each corporation. These are things like labor, shipping, rental, supplies, fees, other, discount, etc. There are about 20 special line items that are included for each corporation. These special line items are turned on/off from the corp-wide settings page. Anyways, coming back to the standalone "add item" page. The page will allow you to do basic part searches or it will allow you to use the easy point and click list of hardcoded special line items (no searching required).
Returning back to the basic search process. Once an item has been searched, it will most likely show up in a list of search results. Assuming that you are looking at the search results, there will be a field to enter a quantity and a button that says "add", meaning add it to the cart. If your search returned more than one result, you are welcome to add more than one item to the cart by entering valid quantities where appropriate. Only one add button needs to be clicked and the system will loop over the search results and look for items with a valid quantity. Those items, that have a valid quantity, will be added to the cart at the same time. If for some reason, your search results didn't come back like you were hoping, no problem, just refine your search and then resubmit the search again. Your cart will continue to hold all of the information loaded in to it even if you have to do additional steps or jump out of the process temporarily. For more information about searching for parts and inventory items, see this help file for more details.
Barcodes and Barcode Scanners:
To use a barcode reader to add an item to the cart, make sure that the cursor is blinking in the part number search field. The placement of the cursor is the key to helping the barcode search happen and allowing the barcode scanner to do its job. Once the cursor is ready, scan the barcode and it will automatically submit the search. No other action is needed until the search is complete. There are corp-wide settings that help the system know what to do when a match is found. The options are to "auto add one to cart" or "simply show the search results". It may sound silly to use a barcode and only show the search results, but this is actually very handy for advanced options where special look-ups, tiered pricing, custom settings, or other advanced features are needed. The barcode search has been expanded to include barcodes for general parts and inventory (default), flex grid tie-in's, recipe/builds, and barcodes assigned to custom my cart favorite buttons. See this help file for more info about barcodes and searching for barcodes.
Page Navigation and Options:
The links at the top of the page are there to help with basic cart functions such as adding an item, show the printable cart, save cart/quote, clear cart, showing profit per line, and applying discounts. We will cover applying discounts a little bit later on, but one of the discount options is controlled by the links at the top of the page.
From the view cart page (this page), any field may be edited without hurting the cart. The most important buttons are the "update cart" and "checkout" buttons. These buttons will both submit the cart for processing and will update any changes made. The "update cart" button will make changes behind the scenes and will pass you back to this same view cart page. Basically, it makes the changes "stick" to the current cart. The "checkout" button will make the changes and then goes to the next step which is the add payment page. After that page, it will take you to the actual create invoice page. Basically, two steps past the view cart page (this page) is where you create the actual invoice. As a small side note, there is a corp-wide setting that does allow you to skip the "review cart page" but the default is to use or show that page.
To remove a line item from the cart, do one of the following:
1. Click the remove checkbox and click the update cart button.
2. Set the quantity to 0 and click the update cart button.
To update a quantity, simply change the quantity and click the update cart button.
To edit a line item, click the "edit" link next to the line item in question. The edit page has a number of features and allows for changes in price, quantity, description, tax settings, and for applying a line specific discount. The only thing that can't be changed from the edit page is the underlying costs of the items. More help is available from that page.
Additionally, if you have the advanced add to cart permission turned on, there may be an edit link that has two plus signs together like this: "++". If you see this link, you may use a special advanced edit form that has additional fields, calculators, and special options. More help is available from that page.
If you need to change a tax category, use the drop-down options provided. Each line item holds its own tax calculations and tax settings. This allows you to mix and match things like labor, services, general parts, and other items. Make sure and update the cart when finished. If your cart has four or more line items attached, there will be a feature that allows you to change the tax categories in bulk. The bulk changer will appear below the list of line items. To use the changer field, simply change that field's tax category and it will flip the other tax categories to match your selection. The bulk flip is only done locally. You still need to update the cart to make the changes stick. Once submitted or updated, all the taxes will be recalculated behind the scenes (lots of moving pieces).
The bottom part of the view cart page has options for notes and other special settings. One of the optional special settings is a field called the "customer PO #". This field is controlled by the corp-wide settings and may be used as an additional invoice call-out field. Because it is a corp-wide setting, we allow you to change what you call it and what data you end up storing in it. Think of this field as a custom field for your invoices. The reason we mention this field is because it is turned "off" by default. Some people don't even know that it exists. However, different businesses may need things like: External PO #, Tracking Number, Requisition Number, Account Number, Job Number, Request Number, Due Date, or some other special "call-out" field. All underlying values are searchable.
The view cart page has a number of "notes" options as well. These notes are not required but are there incase you need or want them. The first notes section is for non printing notes. These are notes that are tied to the invoice or quote but do not print. Think of them as "internal to your company" (hidden from the customer). The other notes section is for printable notes. Anything put in the printable notes will be on the customer copy of the invoice or quote. This is a great way to provide a summary, give instructions, say thanks, or give an overview about what the invoice is for. All of the notes sections are searchable from inside of adilas.
A quick note about the line item sort order - If you want the line items to appear in a different order than what they show, don't worry about that here. Throw everything into the shopping cart and you will be able to sort it out once it becomes an actual invoice. The reason you can't sort the shopping cart is because it doesn't really exist yet (it is just virtual memory). Create the actual invoice and then sort the line items from the edit line items page for invoices.
Cart Logic and Saving Carts:
Only one cart may be open at a time. This may seem a bit technical, but the shopping cart is not physically recorded in the database until it gets turned into a quote or an invoice. Up until that time, the entire cart is saved in virtual memory. Only you can see it. It is tied to a thing called your "session" which is a special container that is just for you to use. What this means is that you may start a cart, play around, and nothing gets recorded until you save or checkout. If you clear the cart, nothing is saved or recorded. This is like clearing out your little session container. Realizing that the cart is held in memory allows you to practice, play, and get good at what you will be doing in real life. Another benefit of having the cart stored in the session is that you may continue working on things or tweaking things until everything looks right. You may even leave the cart, do some other function, and then come back. Having the cart being held in memory allows it to be non-linear (not a rigid step-by-step process). The down side to that is if you forget to finish the process, nothing is recorded. It is as if it never happened.
You can save a cart as often as needed. The simplest way to save a cart is to use the "save quote" button. Once clicked, all changes will be recorded in the database and the cart will be saved as a quote. Inside of adilas, a "saved cart" is the same as saying "a quote". They mean the same thing. The difference between a quote and an invoice is the "checkout" process. If you go to the checkout level, and complete the checkout process, a cart goes to the next step and becomes an invoice.
Let's talk more about quotes for a minute. You can create as many quotes as needed and it doesn't hurt anything. A quote is real and exists but is not tied to inventory levels or anything like that. Once you click the save quote button, the entire cart will be saved as a quote. This action will clear your session container so that you are ready to process the next action. Once it is a quote, it may be restored to the cart mode (made live again) at any time by clicking a link from the quote section that says "restore to cart". The only exception to this is when a quote gets fully converted into an invoice. At that point, the quote becomes closed. You may save a single cart as often as needed.
If the current cart is already tied to a quote number (it was restored to the cart from a quote), there will be a "save as..." option for the new shopping cart. If you click the normal "save quote" button, the original quote will be updated and saved. This is basically like saving your work as you go. If you wish to take the current quote/cart and create a brand new standalone quote (new quote number from an existing quote), you will need to use the special button at the very bottom of the page that says "save as new quote". This will break the tie to the original quote and will create a brand new quote with its own new quote number and data (line items and values). This is a great way to give your customers options. For example: Say you had one quote with 4 widgets and another quote with 8 widgets and some labor. The save as option allows you to create independent quotes to show different scenarios.
Once a quote is made into an invoice, the restore to cart function no longer works. If you still need an exact duplicate and you can't get to it from the quote, go to the printable invoice page and look for the corresponding invoice. From the printable invoice page you will be able to use the option that says "duplicate invoice to cart". Instead of using the quote as the master, this function will use the existing invoice as the master. All customer info, parts, labor, widgets, and services will become part of the new shopping cart. The only piece that does not get duplicated is the payment information. That is specific to each cart and/or invoice. Once in the cart mode, you are free to tweak and change as needed. Duplicating an invoice is a great way to get information into the shopping cart.
Some companies use quotes as a prep step for completing an invoice. Here are two examples of how a saved cart (a quote) could be used. Example one: Say you have a customer and they are shopping at your store. They have 5-6 items picked out. When they go to pay for the items, they remember that they forgot their wallet in the car. If there are other customers waiting, you could always save the cart, help the other customers, and then restore the cart when the person comes back in. Example two: Say you were doing some work for a customer and the job is almost finished. The customer gets a call to come in and pick up the item. Before the customer gets to the shop, the person preps the ticket and saves it as a quote. When the customer or person shows up, the person working the counter simply restores the quote (saved cart) to the cart and finishes the transaction. If anything else is needed or purchased, it may be added to the cart once the quote is back in the shopping cart mode.
If you are using quotes on a more traditional level, both quotes and invoices have the ability to be saved and emailed as an Adobe PDF document. This allows you to send quotes and invoices directly to your customers. If the customer says, "Yes, Let's do it!" than you already have most of the work prepped and ready. In a nutshell, adilas give you the ability to create a non-linear cart, you could then save it for later, send it out as a quote, or complete the checkout process and make it into an invoice. Great flexibility!
Time is one our most precious resources. It is worth a lot of money. People sell their time in different ways. Some do rentals, reservations, bookings, appointments, hourly work, etc. Both invoice and quotes are able to hold and process elements of time as well. Explaining everything that the elements of time can do is way beyond the scope of this help file. If you would like to learn more about the options available in the elements of time section, please see this help file.
For our purposes, it is sufficient to say that the shopping cart is able to hold time-based elements (all different kinds). If you are billing for time (assigning elements of time to the shopping cart), please note that much of the information that shows up in the cart will not be printed or shown to the customer. Some of the values are listed and shown to help you get your numbers and underlying math correct. The only values that will be printed are the time id, the start date, the color, the caption/title, and the general time notes (if present). There are also show/hide options from both the printable quote and printable invoice pages to show/hide the elements of time that are assigned to that quote or invoice. Elements of time have their own pages and permissions.
Without getting too technical on elements of time, they have their own add to cart functions. There are grouped add to cart functions, single (one-by-one) add to cart options, and other ways to cross-tie time to invoices and quotes. Very powerful and more enhancements are in the planning stages for this portion of the site. Good stuff!
Next we are going to talk about customers for a minute. If no customers are added to the cart, we call that a "counter sale". Think of a simple cash register that rings someone up, gets the money, and sends them on their way. Pretty simple. If you decide that you would like to track and tie the invoice or quote to one or more customers, that turns into what we call a "customer invoice" or a "transition invoice". There are corp-wide settings for both of these invoice types. Basically, the quote and/or invoice needs to be tied or connected to a valid customer record. Once you do this, a relationship is formed between the customer (person buying a product or service) and what they bought (invoice line items and associated parts or services). This connection (called a relationship or one-to-many relationship) extends the invoice and allows for new search options later on. Once a customer is assigned to the cart it adds the "who" component to the "what", "how many", and "for how much" options that already exist.
The term customer is a corp-wide setting. It could be a customer, a client, a patient, a student, a member, etc. Anyways, to assign a new customer you simply click the link that says "choose customer" (where the term customer is a corp-wide setting). This link will take you to a basic page that allows for customers to be searched. Once the customer is found or added to the database, it will be "assigned" to the cart. This first assignment is what we would term as the "main" customer. This is the customer that will end up being responsible for paying for the goods or services (accounts receivable). Once the first or main customer is added, there will be options to add and/or assign additional customer tie-ins (if needed). There is no limit to the number of additional customers that you may assign to the cart, quote, or invoice. Additional customer tie-ins allow for a number of neat options. In a way, these additional tie-ins help to tell part of the story about what is going on. The additional tie-ins could be for: a special ship to address, a bill to address, adding cosigners, parents, buddies, a contact person, etc. Once added, they may be edited and/or removed if needed. They also become searchable.
Still dealing with customers, some companies like to start with the customer first. Once the customer is assigned to the cart, then they add the line items to the cart. There are multiple ways to populate the cart and one way is not specifically better than the other. Some people use the customer queue, some will scan license cards, some people use the quick search and type in part of a name or phone number. There are tons of ways around the pond. Long story made short, a customer may be added first, middle, last, or not at all. You decide. It comes back to what are you selling and how do you do that?
Special Invoice Types:
In the customer section above we mentioned a couple different invoice types. They were "counter sales", "customer invoices", and "transition invoices". These are considered the basic invoice types. As long as we are talking about different invoice types, there are a few other types that we allow as part of the shopping cart interface. Some of these invoice types are very specific to certain tasks. We will only discuss them briefly in this help file. The first one that needs a little explanation is called a "transition invoice". This invoice type is very similar to a normal "customer invoice" except that it has a special "work in progress" or "layaway" type usage. It basically tracks a window of time when the invoice is in the "transitional" state. Once it leaves that state or status, it will become a normal "customer invoice". This invoice type has its own permissions and has an extra management step to help monitor the time window. To see more information about the transition invoices, see this help file.
If your corporation has more than one location, we allow for "transfers" between locations. This invoice type could be from a warehouse to another store or from location to location. This is a very flexible way to move items around. We also have a thing we call "internal - repairs". This invoice type uses a stock/unit (big ticket item) as a virtual customer. The process ends up assigning inventory items and labor to the stock/unit. This type of internal ticket will take things out of the general inventory pool and will virtually attach them to the stock/units. These invoices end up affecting both inventory levels and what is called the "basis" or extended cost of the stock/units. This invoice type is specific to stock/units and helps with internal tracking and details. These invoices may also be used to show steps in a manufacturing process (adding to a bigger whole).
There is also an invoice type that we call a "wholesale - cart builder". This invoice type requires a special permission and is used for selling multiple stock/units at a time in a point and click type interface. Hence the name "wholesale". This invoice type may be used as a standalone invoice type or expanded to a level called "cross-corp sales". A cross-corp sale is where both buying and selling between different corporations take place. Both parties need to be using the adilas.biz platform to make this work. Without getting too technical, the stock/units are sold from one corporation and are then stocked in or added to the other corporation. Both the sending and receiving corporations get some special tie-ins that exist between the corporations. This invoice type is very handy if a manufacture is selling units to a retail company.
Stock/Units and Big Ticket Items:
Stock/units are items that are tracked one-by-one. Often they have their own subs or extra details that are being tracked specific per unit. Another way to think about them is "serialized units". This could be things like cars, trucks, SUV's, trailers, modular homes, heavy equipment, tractors, ATV's, motorcycles, furniture, computers/hardware, boats, firearms, RV's, construction projects, buildings, condos, apartments, etc. You get the picture. Anyways, there are a number of special options for these type of units. As a little bit of history, the adilas.biz platform originally started as a custom write-up system for a multi-location used vehicle and trailer dealership. We have tons of special ways to work with stock/units. This used to be our main bread and butter. As a general rule, to sell or quote a stock/unit, you go to that unit and start the sales process from the stock/unit details page. Look for the link that says "invoice/quote". The sales process for these bigger ticket items takes you through a 5-step sales process that includes special taxes, subs, warranties, and trade-ins. Once that process finishes, you end up in the shopping cart mode where you can add other items, labor, services, etc.
You may add multiple stock/units to the same ticket and save quotes and invoices just the same as with other carts. One tip we would give is, add the stock/units first. Once they (one or more) are in the cart, then add all of the extras. The reason for this is the 5-step sales process. If you have things already in the cart other than other stock/units, they will be cleared when transitioning from the stock/unit sales process to the normal shopping cart. To get around that, add the stock/unit(s) first and then add what ever else you want... parts, items, service, labor, fees, elements of time... you name it. The system will allow you to mix and blend as deep as you want to go... :)
How To Apply A "Discount":
Basically, there are three ways to apply a discount, either on the entire cart, line by line, or doing a manual entry. If you want to apply a discount to the entire cart as a whole, look for a link at the top that says "profit & discount calculator - cart as a whole". You must have at least one item in the cart for this link to show up. Once on that page, enter the discount rate and then apply the discount to the cart. Remember, this is applied to the cart as a whole. As a side note, do this (cart as whole) at the very end. If you do it each time you enter an item, the system is not smart enough to remember what has already been discounted. If you are not careful, you could end up discounting the discount... :)
If you want to apply a discount to a single line item, click the "edit" link for the line item in question. Once on the edit page, you are allowed to apply the discount from there. The discount fields are right at the top of the edit page. There are options for calculating percentages or for certain number of dollars off. If you want even more flexibility and options, you could always add a discount by hand. This is done by clicking the "add item" button and then physically entering the discount as a "special line item" (use the bottom most form on the add item page). If you decide to do it manually rather than using the system to calculate it, make the quantity negative so that it reduces the total owed. If you do add the discount manually, you are welcome to put any text, verbage, promotion codes, etc. into the description field. This may be handy if you are trying to track certain sales or promotions. Remember, the acronym for adilas is "all data is live and searchable".
Please take the time to get the cart looking like you want it here. At this point, remember it is still in building mode and has not hit the database yet. The shopping cart is non-linear which allows you to go anywhere in the site without loosing the contents of the cart. If you need to do a price check or search out a unit, go for it and then come back to the cart. It will still be fully functional. Use the "View Cart" link on the top right of any page to get back to this view cart page. Now, get in there and have some fun and make some money! Yee Haw! :)