Approval Plans (B2B Only)
Orders placed by Users can be made subject to Approval by a supervisor, purchasing agent, etc. Only one plan can apply to any given order; this is either the default plan for the site (set up at the bottom of the Site > Settings > General tab), or a plan assigned to the user (if any, set up at the bottom of the Sites > Site Users > user's settings).
In the image below you can see the warning about this feature being for professional and enterprise packages. If you have one of these packages do not worry that the warning is displaying for you, it is on all accounts regardless of the package you have.
The Basic (Default) Approval Plan (included with all packages)
The standard package has a default approval process in which order approvals are determined on a per user basis.
The "Basic" plan is set up for the most common situation.
1. You create an “Approvers” Site Group (Sites > Site Groups).
2. Individual Users who need their orders approved are then assigned a group to approve their orders. This setting is found in Sites > [site name] > Site Users > [site user] > General Information tab: Additional Information section > "User's Orders Approved By" setting. If this field is blank for a particular users, that users' orders will not require approval. If a site group is selected in this field, then this user's orders will always require approval.
3. Any order coming from that individual will trigger an approval, and the Approve Order Request email is sent to all members of the Site Group “Approvers” (Sites > Email Notifications > Approve Order Request). Conversely, any order coming from a User who does NOT have an approval Site Group, does not require approval and is allowed to proceed.
For example, if Pat requires approval, and Jane is allowed to approve orders from Pat, then make Jane a member of a Site Group called "Approvers" and set Pat's approval Site Group to "Approvers". Naturally, the User should NOT be a member of their own approval Site Group.
Most approval needs can be satisfied by adding rules to the basic plan instead of creating a separate plan.
Custom Approval Plans
This is an advanced feature not included with the Standard package. You must add this feature to your plan, or have the Professional or Enterprise Packages.
An approval plan has two things to decide: first WHICH orders need approval, then WHO is allowed to approve them. This advanced approval workflow allows you to set up any number of approval workflows with specific triggers for requiring approval of an order. The approval requirement may be based on a specific product, or an attribute of a product, or a dollar amount, etc. If you have multiple approval workflows set up, you may select the approval plan that this user must go through for orders that require an approval process. Each user can only have one approval process that their account will follow.
The custom Approval Plans can have many levels of approvals, each with their own triggers and approval Site Groups. For example, an order approved by the first level of approvers, can subsequently trigger an an approval requirement for a second Site Group of approvers, and so on. The number of approval levels is unlimited.
Sometimes you may want an approval plan to catch orders for certain items regardless of who places the order. For example, you may want extra approval for orders requesting a certain Shipping Method, or for a certain Product, or orders over a certain dollar amount. Or, you may want to send all approvals to one Site Group, without having to assign each User individually to an approval Site Group. And so on. For this you need a custom rule. A plan consists of one or more rules, each one checked in sequence. If an order triggers a rule, then no other rules at that same level are checked; but higher level rules are still checked.
For example, the rule below will catch all orders over $1000, and send them both to the User's Boss, and to the special Site Group “Accountants”. The Rule Name is “Expensive Orders”, Level 1. The Rule Type is “Order Subtotal Amount Threshold”, with Dollar Amount set to 1000. For who will approve the orders matching this rule, both “The ordering user's boss” and “Extra approval group (set to Accountants) are checked.
Creating a New Approval Plan
Click on the "Create New Plan" link at the top of the page, name the plan and save. You will then need to create the rules for the plan.
Creating a New Rule for your Plan
If still inside the approval plan (edit), click the button "Create New Rule". Otherwise, locate the name of the new plan you set up, and click on the pencil icon to edit.
Rule Name - Name the rule.
Rule Level - Enter the approval plan rule level. Multiple rules may be defined at the same level, but only the first rule to match will be used.
What order criteria will trigger this rule? - Select the Rule Type. The choices here are:
- User Account Requires Approval
- Item Dollar Amount Threshold
- Order Total Amount Threshold - will add the total of all items along with shipping and tax (if applicable)
- Product Attribute**
- Shipping Method
- User is a member of a Site Group
- User Location
**PLEASE NOTE - When setting the "Text to Match" criteria for these rule types, the text cannot contain a "#". You can replace the "#" with a "*" in the "Text to Match" area if your product, category or attribute name contains a "#". You do not need to change the product, category or attribute name.
Who will approve orders that match this rule? Check the box ahead of the option(s). Choices here are:
- The boss of the user placing the order
- Users with Approval permission set to "Same Site"
- Users with Approval permission set to "Same Location"
- The Site Group assigned to approve the user's orders
- A Site Group
What can the Approver do? - Select what the approver can do when approving the order. Choices here are:
- Approve Order Only
- Approve and Edit Order
You may want to have multiple levels of approval. After an order gets one approval, it is sent to a higher level person for another one.
To do this you set up more than one rule, and distinguish each by giving them a number level, with “Level 1” acted on first, After an order that triggered a Level 1 rule is approved, “Level 2“ rules will be checked next, etc.. Remember, the first rule that matches the order at any given Level will trigger the approval. At that point, no other rules at that Level will be considered. Once approved, the next higher level rules will be checked separately in the same way as shown below. The rules do not have to be the same type; for example after an order gets regular approval, it can be sent for extra approval only if it is more than a certain dollar amount.
Example of Multilevel Approval Process
Multiple Approval Plans
In the most extremely complex approval situations you may need totally separate plans for different Users. You may have one set of rules for ordinary Users and a special, second set of rules for a special Site Group of Users you created. This is extremely rare; most situations can be handled just by customizing the rules correctly. But if necessary, you can create and name another approval plan, with its own rules, and assign it to the User.
Making a Custom Approval the Site Default
When setting up a custom approval plan, each user account does not need to have that custom approval selected for it to apply to their orders. Instead, make the plan the "Default Approval Plan" for the site (Sites . Settings > General Info), and users do not have to be individually set. If you have some users that should use a different plan than others, then you can set them individually. But this situation should be very rare.
See Site Users under Admin > Sites > Site > Site Users > Default Information section for more detail.
Doing the Approvals
When an order requires approval, emails will be sent to the people eligible to approve it. These emails have a link which will take them to a special page in the storefront that lets them approve or deny the order. If there are many orders awaiting approval, they will get an email for each one; however, the page will list all the orders they can approve or deny, and they can switch among them.
Deleting an Approval Plan or Rule
Once an approval plan or rule has been used in a order, it can no longer be deleted. This is because it would make prior approvals invalid and cause errors elsewhere in the system. The best options when you no longer wish to use an approval plan's rule that cannot be deleted are to either re-purpose it for a different approval rule or edit to something that will not be triggered by any orders in the system.
Knowledge Base Articles related to Approvals