The Ultimate Guide for eCommerce Invoicing

Ecommerce and online invoicing are among the fastest-growing fields of modern business. As Forrester reports, B2B eCommerce will reach the total revenues of $1.1 trillion only in the US by 2020. Also, online invoicing is becoming increasingly popular with numerous businesses collaborating on a global scale.

The major reasons for this growth are the simplicity and speed at which eCommerce entities can send e-invoices to one another. However, if you’re just entering the battleground of online trade, you might need some instructions on invoicing in this field. This guide will assist you in creating informative and practical invoices for your eCommerce business.

Make your unique template(s)

Creating a new invoice from scratch every time a customer asks for it will waste your precious time. So, if you want to save time for your business tasks, it’s crucial to make your own eCommerce invoicing templates. On the one hand, Microsoft Word or Google Docs can come in handy when it comes to ordinary invoice templates. They’ll meet your basic need and enable you to provide your client with the most important payment information.

Apart from that, you can change those or any other templates and adapt them to your own needs. For instance, the templates that you create can be categorized in accordance with your clients. Moreover, you can study additional guidelines to create impactful invoices.

By doing so, you’ll make sure that the same groups of clients always receive the same invoice form. It will improve the visibility of your invoices, as well as their power. In return, you’ll get paid sooner than expected.

Number your invoices

An invoice isn’t only a business document, but it’s also a proof of financial transactions. As such, it will be scrutinized by the tax authorities. Because of that, every eCommerce business has to bring a specific invoice numbering strategy. That way, you’ll avoid losing track of your customers and sales. Moreover, you’ll more easily keep track of your annual revenues.

For instance, you can start numbering your invoices at the beginning of every month. Also, you can choose the fiscal year as the base of your numbering system. This system will depend on your personal preferences and your business. Nevertheless, make sure you don’t change it too often. Otherwise, you could confuse your accountant, your clients and the tax authorities. Well, bedazzling the latter doesn’t have to be such a bad thing.


Include your business information

Receiving an invoice with incomplete or scarce information about the sender is a sign of ill-mannered business. This issue is especially delicate in the context of online trade. Even if your business has already established a considerable reputation, it needs to leave an impression of a reliable business entity. Many scams happen online, so make sure that your invoices look reliable. For all these reasons, it’s extremely important to include the key business details into your invoice. This is what information it should contain:

  • Full business name – Write the full name of your business and not only your personal name. Many e-sellers are just affiliates of larger companies. Such businesses need to write both their full name on the invoice, as well as the name of that larger company.
  • Detailed contact information – Add your Skype and your Viber contact, as well as your email address. Moreover, include the physical address of your premises and the GPS location. It will add to your credibility.
  • Payment methods – Offering top-notch payment methods is extremely important in the world of eCommerce. Therefore, let your clients choose from several popular gateways, to ensure smooth payments.


Full client’s data

The data about your client’s business are equally important as the information about yours. So, make sure every invoice you send contains the relevant data about your client. Basically, you should add their full business name, their email and physical address.

Moreover, the invoice should contain the contact you use to communicate with your client. This could be of crucial value if a wrong department receives your invoice. In line with that, the invoice has to be addressed to the right person. So, write the full name of your client’s business, but add the precise department and the employee who should receive it.


Precise/pre-agreed itemization

The major goal of every eCommerce business is to retain old customers and attract some new ones. Both these objectives will be reached more easily if you pay attention to every single detail in every payment. One of the most critical parts in creating an invoice is the moment of listing down the sold items. Your earnings will highly depend on that list.

While it doesn’t have to contain as many details as your estimate, it should at least highlight the groups of sold items. For instance, if a small brewery sells dozens of beer packs to a local shop, each of these groups of beers should be included in the invoice.

On the other side, not populating your invoice with those data could raise suspicion about the total sum. Therefore, do a few broad strokes with itemization and let your client see that your invoice is the spitting (but smaller) image of your estimate.

Also, this is extremely important in case of bulk orders. Forgetting to add one group of products in that case could lead to a serious financial loss.


Pricing in accordance with the estimate

Closely related to the previous point, it’s important not to change the price of your products in the middle of the selling process. The invoice should contain the terms discussed at the beginning of your business collaboration.

Nevertheless, if a client asks for some additional products or services, you shouldn’t turn them down, but charge them for those additional requirements. A rule of thumb is to make it clear to every client that they have to inform you in advance about their growing commercial demand. That way, you’ll be able to order more stuff from your suppliers and meet everyone’s needs in the chain of supply.

Each and every eCommerce business comes from a different economic background. This is why it’s important to maintain a professional attitude in every collaboration. You’ll manage to do that if you bring some original invoicing rules and follow them. That way, your clients and fellow businesses will know what to expect from you and how to order items from your business. As a result, you’ll gain many loyal customers and climb the ladder of the contemporary eCommerce business.

About the author

Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.


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