What to ask in an Online Order Form for your Small Business

Are you ready to add an online ordering form to your website? Read through this complete guide and get started with building your first order form.

The lockdowns and social distancing has much changed the world and the consumers have quickly moved to online ordering. Starting from groceries, fresh farm produce, restaurant food to ordering meat, school stationary and pre-ordering at your kid's school canteen, has all gone online. This is the best time ever for your small business to hatch out from your printed order forms and phone orders. It is now, you need to showcase your products, accept orders and collect payments - all ONLINE!

Keep reading this complete guide on how to get started and help yourself make a decision on what to ask in order form.

Which one is best? Ecommerce vs Websites vs Order Forms

If you have already started your search around the internet, it is possible that you had been taken for a spin. There are a span of solutions, starting from ecommerce store, creating websites or to get started with ready-made order form templates offered by every other form builder. It depends on what you are selling and where your customers are. But in most cases, what you will need is to get started with an online order form and share it with your existing customer base and start selling. Unless you are looking for acquiring new customers, you don't need to spend your time and money creating a website for your own or to create an ecommerce store.

Are you ready to add an online ordering form to your website? Read through this complete guide and get started with building your first order form.

What is the purpose of an order form?

In your physical store you are available in-person to guide your users for their purchase. But when you are selling online, your online form must do this for you. A well-organized, simple to navigate form will make it easy your customers to place their order and make payments right away.
So, your customers' comfort should be your priority while designing your online order form.

5 Steps to Design an Engaging Online Order Form

There are two ways to get started. You can pick an order form template and customize it to your needs or design one from  scratch. In any case, you should keep the focus on making the lives of your customers simple and address these 5 needs:
1. Neatly organize and showcase your products/services with nice pictures
2. Group products by categories/types to make your list well-structured, for easy navigation  
3. Let your users choose the products, quantity they want to complete their order
4. Allow them to enter delivery details, review their cart, view total amount and delivery fees (sales tax, discounts, etc)
5. Provide them with one or more payment options to enable them pay online or within the form using their credit card

Order Form Format

A complete order form format should consists these 7 sections. (Here is a printable handy checklist with these essential components of an order form). Read on to know what to have in your order form.

Are you ready to add an online ordering form to your website? Read through this complete guide and get started with building your first order form.

1. Category Listing

When you have a lot of products to offer, it is always good to sort them into categories. This will not only keep your form much organized, but also for your users to easily navigate within and between categories to choose what they need.

2. Product Listing

Here is where your users will want to see the products that you offer and much more details about it:
- Product name
- Description and details of packaging etc
- Price in to correct currency format
- Product Image
- Bullet point descriptors (reminder of what they’re buying, and why)

3. Customer Contact Details

You need to capture their contact information. At a minimum, the fields you want to have are:

- First Name
- Last Name
- Email Address and
- Phone number

4. Delivery Details

If you are provide the delivery option, you will ask them for their delivery address with
- Door number
- Street Address
- City Name
- State
- Zip
- Country (if selling outside of your home land)

Sometimes if you need to calculate a delivery fee, you may want to group the cities and towns of your delivery area into zones. Then, you need to ask your customers to choose the zone the delivery address falls under.

5. Cart & Checkout

You may have listed all your products one by one on a single page order form. Yet, showing your customers their order total, list of items and the quantity they ordered is absolutely essential. The ability to review their order will let them proceed with confirming the order and making a payment ahead.

Dynamic calculations
Here is a list of automatic calculations you need to have on your order form. Ideal, if the totals can change dynamically, as your customers keep adding products to the cart.
- Order Total
- Order Summary with full product details
- Order Quantity re-calculation (especially for the grocery businesses when the fruits and vegetables are sometimes sold by weight rather than by unit)
- Delivery Charges/Shipping fee
- Discount/ Coupon Code
- Sales Tax

Sometimes, your business requires a minimum order price or quantity to justify the logistical arrangements you have to make for a delivery. So, you need to have the validations in place to enforce the logic in your order form.
- Minimum Order Price
- Minimum Order Quantity

6. Payment

At this point, your customers have verified their orders and are well aware of the amount including delivery fee, tax etc. They are now ready to pay. Are you ready to let them make their payment securely? What payment options do you have for them? Yes. These are the only two questions you need to answer well for them.

Give your customers the opportunity to pay for their order by choosing one of the multiple payment gateways offered in your form. Sometimes you may want to add a payment link to your form. Or you may want to add QR codes of your digital wallets, to let them pay easily from their mobile.

In any case you need to have the following fields and clear instructions on how to complete their payment:
- Payment link/QR code/Payment gateway integration
- A question to ask the payment reference code or details. Remember, you need to have a clear process for Order-payment reconciliation.  

7. Email Notifications

Online forms need not be always one-way by just taking in your customers inputs. You need to have continuous communication with your customers until their orders reach their hands. Sending an order confirmation via email is a bare minimum to start with. Here are some more touch points where you can send them email notifications:
- Send yourself a notification when a new order arrives
- Order Confirmation to your customers
- Invoice/Bill
- Payment Reminders
- Pickup reminders
- Notify when you are ready to accept new orders for the next season

Now, choose the best order form template for you

Now with this clear idea on what to ask and what to show for your customers, you are now ready to choose the right order form template or create one for your own.
To make the selection process further easy, check our gallery here for some templates of your businesses, which has all these elements.

Already have a Google Form?

Google Forms are considered the best for taking survey, quiz, but there are so many reasons that make Google Form one of the most popular for creating order forms too. So, there is a good chance that you are already have built your order form with this free tool. Sure, you liked the convenience of collecting all your orders in Google Sheets.

Yet, the challenges for you, that you cannot achieve the prescribed order form format with your Google Form are:
- Setting up Cart & checkout functionalities with dynamic total calculations and validations
- Payment integrations
-  Configuring Email notifications

To overcome these drawback of Google Forms, you’ll have to facilitate these process using some add-ons for Google Forms. Take your time to check out our add-ons Neartail and Mailrecipe on how to use them to create your most complete and engaging order form your business.