An exchange occurs when a customer, after placing an order, decides they would like to swap one item out for another.
An exchange can be initiated at any point after order creation, meaning it will be handled in a different way depending on what part of the process the order is in.
If an order hasn't been shipped yet, the order can generally be amended before being sent out.
However if an order has been shipped, a sales credit and a new order will be needed.
Using sales credits for exchanges, you can:
- Use custom fields to record the reason for the credit, along with any other useful data
- Create a new goods-out note for shipping purposes
- Easily see if a customer has been returning many orders
- Move inventory into quarantine before being returned to stock to determine whether it is in a sellable state before updating availability across your sales channels
Best practice guides
Here are some quick reference guides for processing exchanges:
Exchanging unshipped orders
If the order is unshipped, it's a case of going into the sale in question, removing the unwanted item(s) and adding the new item(s).
If they are the same price you do not have to do anything else.
If the prices are different, you will need to take additional payment if the new item is more expensive, or refund the customer if the new item is less expensive.
Be aware that you may need to perform additional steps on your sales channel as removing items could cause issues when sending fulfillment data back to the channel.
Exchanging shipped orders
Here is some general guidance on what to do when a customer would like to exchange goods after receiving their original order.
- Create a sales credit by cloning the original order to a sales credit. If the original order was not in Brightpearl, you can just create a sales credit directly.
- Create a sales order for the new item(s).
You can clone the original order and edit the items, or use the same customer reference, in order to maintain a link between the original order and the new order.
- Take any further payment required on the new sales order (e.g. for shipping, or if the new item is more expensive).
If you don't want to ship the replacement until the original item has been returned, we recommend you now set the sales order as 'on hold' using a status, so it won't be fulfilled. You might choose to allocate inventory to the order.
If you do want to send the replacement right away, then treat it as normal.
Similarly, put the sales credit on hold with a waiting status.
Once you have received the old item and fulfilled the new order, you can complete both the order and the credit.
- Invoice the sales order.
- Credit the credit.
- Allocate the two orders against each other using the customer's payment allocation screen, to link the two orders and mark them both as paid.
Tip: Add a sales order custom field for "hold reason", so you can easily find all sales which are on hold waiting for returned items. There will often be plenty of other sales on hold for other reasons and you only need one sales order status for them all!
It's best practice to keep the item prices as they are on the sale and credit rather than setting them to zero. If the items use different sales account codes for example, then you'll want to reflect the fact that the exchange impacted the accounting revenue lines appropriately.
If you don't mind about accounting codes and prices are the same for the exchanged item, then you can set the prices to zero on both the sale and credit.
Exchanging an item for a more expensive one
Sometimes a new item is a different price, or you want to charge a fee. In these cases you'll need to take payment from the customer on the new order.
Here's a worked example where the replacement item is $15 and the original item is $10. The new one is $5 more (or you charge $5 replacement shipping):
- Open the sales credit with the $10 item and, without doing any refunds, click Credit.
This will put -$10 on the customer account (which means you owe them $10)
- Open the new sales order with the $15 item and click Invoice.
This will put $15 on the customer account, leaving a balance of $5 owed to you.
However neither order will show as paid - you'll need to allocate them against each other.
- Open the payment allocation screen for the customer. You'll see two lines - one with the $10 credit, and one with the $15 invoice.
- Enter $10 against both the sales order and the sales credit. The $10 will clear the credit, and will leave $5 still to pay on the order.
- Click Submit and continue with a zero total value. (You don't need to enter a bank account or an adjustment account, though you may wish to add a reference or change the date.) You'll see that one row remains, with a total of $15 and a paid amount of $10:
- Open the sales order and take the remaining $5 payment.