Quotes, Sales Order & Invoices: The Different Steps of Retail

Quotes, Sales Order & Invoices: The Different Steps of Retail

March 30, 2019 0 By Edward H. Howard

If you’re going to venture into the business world, whether as an employee or as an entrepreneur, you need to know your terms, the steps and when to make use of those terms and steps. There are several documents exchanged when a business transaction occurs. These documents usually involve both the customers and the business, along with the service or goods exchanged between them. However, the use of different documents takes place at different stages.

Except maybe a business plan and employment or non-disclosure agreements, quotes, sales orders, and invoices are some of the most important business documents out there so let’s have a look at them!


In business, not all services or goods always have a. This is mainly when the service involved has as its parts prices that fluctuate frequently, or the good they will supply has to made from scratch. Again, the parts of the good can also face frequent ups and downs in prices. The first step is for the customer to contact the business who will provide them with a quote.

business transaction

source: russoassoc.com

The quote will contain an estimation of the total amount the customer will have to pay at the end of the job, along with various other things like labor cost, VAT, and a time frame for when the job will be done. If the customer agrees to the price, then the business may proceed.

If not, they may either look to get their work done elsewhere or go through a process of negotiation with the business so that they can agree upon a price. This price can change from the business’ side later too. In that case, another quote is provided to the customer. This goes on until a job is safely completed.

Sales Order

A sales order is a document where the intent of exchange of product for a fixed price is stated by the customer. In this case, the customer basically states that they want a certain product from you but due to certain circumstances, say you not having the product during that period of time or them wanting the product at a later date, they are reserving the product to let you know beforehand.

You would create a sales order in these cases to keep proof of the agreement.

Sales orders usually come after a quote. Once a customer has agreed upon the quote, the document can be changed to a sales order, as the intent for purchase at a later date has been made clear.


Invoice is the last process in the retail business. When an order or service is completed, a document or slip is issued to the customer.

This slip contains all the information such as the total amount payable by the customer on completion of the order, the names of the product or service and the separate price of each product and service, the name of the customer and the business from which they brought the product or service, and the discount rate- if any- applicable.

business transaction

source: ideagirlmedia.com

As it is a request of payment, it is usually expected the payment will be provided within days, by a previously agreed upon date. In certain cases, sales orders are turned into invoices.

After going through the different steps of the retail business, you are now better equipped to tackle the business world with your newfound knowledge. The clearer you are on the different business terms, the more in control of your business you will look in front of your customers.

There are also many smart tools like Quikflw that use all of the best practices and allow you to do your work more effectively and saving yourself some valuable time. We hope you gain success on your chosen career path!