What is an Order Form and What is it Used for?

Olivian Stoica

by Olivian Stoica

An order form is a document that buyers use to request merchandise from a wholesaler, manufacturer or retailer. It’s mostly used by businesses that buy products in higher amounts. You’ll never have to complete an order form in a store as a person, unless the store-clerk has to make an order for you from the a vendor. At least from my experience.

If you own a store, you’ve certainly had to fill in some document to request more products from your vendor. Is that correct? You can call it however you want. It’s a request form, a restocking document, and so on. But, in broader terms, it’s an order form.

Aside from selling goods, an order form may be used to sell services. For example, if you own a printing company, your customers can fill in an order form with information regarding their prints, such as the required dimension and paper type.

Or, if you are a wedding photographer, you can use an order form to collect information about your customers’ wedding, such as the date it’s taking place, the hour, the location, and so on.

In short, an order form helps summarize the customer’s need in an organized format that is not confusing for either of the entities.

And keep this in mind: order forms are not the same with invoices. And here’s why:

  • The order form (or sale order) is filled in by the customer, and most of the time, this form is prepaid. No payment has been issued yet.
  • The invoice is sent by the seller after payment.

See the difference?

What are Online Order Forms?

When it comes to the online community, it’s a whole different story. Because order forms are much easier to maintain and organize, although you might hit an invisible wall if you don’t have programming knowledge. I’m talking about electronic (or online) order forms, and they have been running all over the e-commerce world.

I know, you’d think about shopping carts, and no, they are not the same with order forms. In fact, we made an article about why shopping carts are not the same with order forms. You can read more about the difference there. Each one is good, don’t get me wrong.

At 123FormBuilder, we’ve got thousands of customers that process orders each day through custom-made order forms on their websites. And all of them were easily made with our platform, without needing any coding skills. Here’s where I know that not everyone is using shopping carts on their checkout page. Are you looking to build one?

As for what are the elements that constitute an online order form, we’ve got another useful article about the anatomy of an order form. Although, I would point out the fact that there isn’t a recipe for the ultimate order form. You will need to continuously test different variants and pick the one that increases your revenue best.

In conclusion

The purpose of an online form is to record, manage and fulfill merchandise or service requests from customers. It can be a piece of paper in a tabular format or a custom-designed online form with complex functionality, such as online payment.

Was this article helpful for you? What else would you like to know about order forms?

If you’re interested in building an order form, start with one of our pre-made order form templates that will give the edge you need to collect orders online.

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