Everything that is sold in NetForum is considered a product. Only physical inventory products are considered Merchandise and handled within the Merchandise group item however. Intangible items, also considered products in NetForum, are those items such as memberships or subscriptions or items that can be applied to physical products such as taxes, discounts, and shipping carriers. They are generally not considered part of the Merchandise group item and are handled within their own group items. The notable exception to this is the Publication group item which can be a physical product (book) and a non-physical product (PDF, online report) and, as such, is handled within its own group item.

The rule of thumb is that Merchandise should be considered any physically tangible product that you want to track or sell within NetForum. For example, coffee mugs, hats, shirts, and jackets are all considered Merchandise as defined by NetForum. A variety of price profiles may be set-up for all products in NetForum and be based on member-type, customer-type, discounts, and bulk rates, for example. Price profiles and how to arrange them are detailed on the Price page.

The five standard Group Item Links (Add, Find, List, Run Query, Query Central), are available in the Merchandise group item. Additionally, you can choose to Copy Merchandise as well.

Adding Merchandise Inventory

To begin tracking and managing your organization's inventory, your first step is to add individual inventory records to NetForum for each of your products. Note that fields in bold in NetForum are required fields. You will not be able to save your merchandise until these fields are complete.

To add a new merchandise product to NetForum, complete the following tasks:

  • Complete the information in the Merchandise Setup section.
  • Complete the G/L section to assign accounts to the merchandise.
  • Complete the Price Control Attributes section of the form.

Merchandise Setup Section

To complete the Merchandise Setup section, use the following steps:

  1. Select the Inventory tab.
  2. On the Group Item menu, click Merchandise.
  3. Select Add Merchandise from the drop-down menu. The Merchandise Setup page displays.
  4. Product Code: The product code is often an abbreviated version of your product's name. Product code is required.
  5. Product Name: The product name should be descriptive enough for your customers to understand what it is but short enough for Fulfillment Reports. Product name is required.
  6. Product Description: Use the description field to add more detailed information about the product. This field is optional but note it is also used during Fulfillment Reports, particularly when you are using Packing Slips during the shipping process.
  7. Product Category and Format: These drop-down fields are optional and are used for filtering and better control of your inventory. For example, you can choose to create and place member-only, office item, and conference item product categories in your product category drop-down field. This would then allow you to create a pen and pencil set with a conference logo that you specify in the conference item category for much more control over your inventory. For more information on how to set up product types in this drop-down, view the Inventory Setup page.
  8. Price: Enter the price you plan to charge for the product. This field is required.
  9. Weight: The weight of your product is important if you use a Shipping Carrier (FedEx, UPS, etc.) to ship and are charged by weight for shipping. Therefore, this field is optional.
  10. Minimum Quantity and Maximum Quantity: Quantities relate to your Price and minimum and maximum amounts that must be ordered to obtain the price you have specified in the price field. This is most often used when you are setting-up a bulk item discount profile for a product. For example, if you specify that 25 is the minimum amount that must be ordered for a given product, then the price you specify will only be granted when 25 are ordered. These fields are optional.
  11. Start Date and End Date: Start and end dates are also optional. These dates relate to how long your item will be obtainable for the specific price you entered. If the price will not change, you do not need to modify these fields.
  12. Sell Online: Select this checkbox if you want your product available for sale on your Website. Note that if you select your item available for online sale, you should then click the notes button that appears to specify the dates it will be available for online sale as well as enter any additional text you want to be made available about your product online.
  13. Shippable: Select this checkbox if your product will be shipped. You must select this checkbox if you want to be able to run Fulfillment Reports on your inventory as well regardless of whether or not you want to ship your products.
  14. Allow Partial Shipments: Selecting this checkbox will allow partial shipments of your inventory when needed. For example, if your organization sells encyclopedias and set A-F is available but not G-L, having this selected allows the shipment of set A-F while the rest are on backorder.
  15. Taxable Flag: If your product is taxable, select this checkbox. Please note that if you do not select this checkbox, NetForum will not allow any taxes at all to be applied to this product, not even deferrals. You are not determining how much tax is applied here, just that it can be in the future.
  16. Allow Backorders: Select this checkbox if you will be using a Warehouse and want to allow backorders. This means that, if your warehouse is out of your product, your customers will still be able to order it and it will be placed on backorder.
  17. Email Template: The email template drop-down enables you to set a confirmation template (upon purchase of this product) to send to customers at the product level. Previously this has been handled exclusively at checkout. This functionality has been enabled for merchandise, including publications, exhibits, and also at the price level. Be conscious, however, of exactly where and when you are sending your customers confirmations since it is possible that they get spammed with several confirmations at once if you set too many of these. For example, if you set a confirmation at the event level, then again at the product level, then again on another product, and a customer purchases all three, he or she will receive several emails at Check Out. Be aware of this. The baseline product confirmation template is used at the product and price level but can be modified or changed so long as the template used begins with list type invoice detail. See Setting a Confirmation Template at the Price Level for more information.
  18. Select a Delivery Method for the product by selecting the appropriate checkbox: mail, e-mail, fax, or web.

G/L Section

Once you enter enough information about your product that tells NetForum how to display and track it, you need to now specify how NetForum will cost it within the Accounting module once it has been purchased by your customers. This is accomplished in the next section on the Merchandise Setup page, the G/L Accounts section. Most of the drop-down menus are bold in this section, you will note, which means they are also required. However, if you have not used the Accounting module to setup your General Ledger accounts first, you will be unable to complete this section.

To complete the G/L section, use the following steps:

  1. Business Unit: This drop-down will contain the business units associated with your organizational accounts. If you manage more than one entity, you should select which entity this product will be sold and tracked under.
  2. Currency: Allows you to choose which country currency your organization will use.
  3. Project: For organizations that are concerned with time and materials tracking, the project drop-down is available. Project codes are set-up through your business unit under the G/L Accounts tab on the projects child form.
  4. A/R Account: Drop-down used to designate your accounts receivable account.
  5. Revenue Account: Drop-down used to designate your revenue account.
  6. Liability Account: Drop-down used to designate your liability account.
  7. Return Account: Drop-down used to designate your returns account.
  8. Write Off Account: Drop-down used to designate your write off account.
  9. Checkboxes in the G/L Accounts section:
      • Split revenue among multiple accounts: To split revenue, select the split revenue among multiple accounts checkbox.  If revenue is split, the two accounts will need to be set up on the Price Profile. (Go to the Merchandise Profile, price child form and click the Goto arrow to go to the Price Profile.)
      • Deferred: To defer revenue, select the deferred checkbox and then select the deferred revenue account. You will also have the option of entering a date of when the amount should be recognized.
      • Track inventory: To track inventory, select the track inventory checkbox and then select the COGs and damaged goods account(s) if you plan to implement Cost of Goods (COGs) accounting methods. Note that it is important to select this checkbox if you plan to keep track of inventory amounts for this product even if you do not plan to implement COGs accounting methods. In other words, if this checkbox is NOT selected, NetForum will not track inventory amounts for this merchandise.

Price Control Attributes Section

To complete adding a merchandise product to NetForum , you must specify the price control attributes, located on the bottom of the Merchandise Setup page. Price control attributes enable you to specify, for example, if the price assigned is a members-only price or for all who access your Website. You can further specify if the price available is for an organization versus an individual.

To complete the Price Control Attributes section, use the following steps:

  1. Member: Use the Member drop-down field if you want to specify that the price you have specified should only be available to members of your organization. Selecting Non-Member means that the price is a non-member price while leaving the drop-down blank means that the price specified will be available to both.
  2. Member Type: The Member Type drop-down becomes available when you select Member in the Member drop-down field. If you want your merchandise price to be available to only certain member types, you specify which specific types with this drop-down. Note that when you select a member type, other drop-downs then become available that allow you specify the status of your member (Active, Pending, etc.) and specific Chapter as well, if desired.
  3. Customer Type: The Customer Type field enables you to specify if the customer purchasing the item is an Individual, an Organization, or a Chapter. If you leave this field blank, all customer types will be able to purchase the item. Note that if you specify a customer type, other drop-downs then become available that allow you to further define specific customer types such as Individual and Organization type.
  4. Default Rate: When this check box is selected, no member controls will be in effect for a product even if they have been previously set. For example, you may set a price for your product and decide that it is a members-only product. At some point, you may then decide to offer the same product for sale to non-members but only for a small window of time. You may accomplish this by setting up an entirely new price attribute, described in the Price topic, or by quickly selecting this check box on the current attribute which turns off all member controls and allows non-members to purchase the product. This is a quick way to disable previously defined pricing structures and also useful if you want to demonstrate on your Website the difference between a member-price and a non-member price (to encourage joining). You must remember to deselect the box when you want your members-only pricing structures to be back in effect however. If you want more permanent member and customer pricing structures to manipulate, it is best to set them up through the price profile screen.
  5. Location: Finally, use the location attributes section to further refine your pricing to location if you desire. You may select as broad a location as region to as narrow as zip code should you choose.
  6. Click the Save button to save your changes and enter your merchandise into inventory.

Important Checkboxes When Adding Merchandise

There are three important checkboxes that should be double-checked each time you enter a new product into inventory. These three checkboxes affect other systems within inventory. If they are not selected, you should be reminded of what will be affected later.

Checkbox Description
Shippable Selecting the shippable checkbox allows your merchandise to be shipped by a Shipping Carrier you select (UPS, FedEx, etc.). More importantly, selecting shippable also allows you to create Fulfillment Reports for your warehouse so that your organization knows what inventory is available, has been committed and so forth.
Taxable Flag If you do not have the taxable flag selected, this item cannot have tax applied when it is purchased in any state or country. Several products in NetForummay be taxable (in addition to merchandise). View the Tax Product topic for a list of these products.
Track Inventory The track inventory check box enables more than just Cost of Goods (COGs) accounting methods. The track inventory check box also means that an exact count of your merchandise product is now kept in your warehouse and in NetForum based on amounts you specify.

Finding Merchandise Records

Finding merchandise that has been entered into the NetForum database is easily accomplished. The Find function is universal throughout NetForum and detailed on the Find page.

Finding records within the Inventory module follows the same format and function. You may search by the following:

  • Business Unit
  • Product Name
  • Product Code
  • Track Inventory Flag (For those items in inventory that have had their track inventory flag checked and are being tracked)
  • Weight
  • Taxable Flag (For those items in inventory that have had their taxable flag checked and are being taxed)

The Advanced View checkbox allows you to conduct Boolean searches to broaden and narrow your search as needed. If you are uncertain with what you are looking for, use the NetForum wildcard character, the percent sign (%) to help you with your search.

Managing Merchandise Records

Navigating to the Merchandise Profile

The Product Merchandise Profile page is displayed once you have entered a new product into the NetForum application. If you want to navigate to and view a specific profile page:

  • Click on the Inventory module from the Module Menu drop-down.
  • On the Group Item menu, click Merchandise. You can then choose to List Merchandise or Find Merchandise items.
  • You can also choose to click on the Merchandise icon from the Inventory content group page.

Depending upon which product you choose, its Merchandise Profile page will display.

Product Merchandise Profile

The Product Merchandise Profile page shows the product name, product code, product category, price, price availability dates, G/L account information, business unit, project name (if applicable), whether or not this inventory is tracked, whether or not this product is taxed, whether or not partial shipments are allowed, merchandise weight, and the delivery method.

Additional information such as ISBN numbers (for publications), number of issues, and whether back orders will be permitted, are displayed for Publications.

There are several child forms that can be accessed from each product profile page as well. Child forms are accessed by clicking on the various options found at the bottom of each profile page.

Each child form is discussed below.

Prices Tab

Prices Child Form

The Prices tab on the Product Merchandise Profile contains one child form that you are able to manipulate.

This child form enables you to add additional prices to the same merchandise item. For example, you may want to offer a member price versus a non-member price, a special offer price, or a bulk discount price. To add additional prices, click the Add Record or button.

Once you have added new price records to a merchandise item, you have a variety of options available to manipulate them. Clicking on the expand/collapse folder opens a summary of the pricing options you have specified for that product.

You also have the ability to edit or delete the options by clicking on the pencil or red x icons. Finally, you can go to the merchandise record itself by clicking on the Goto go to icon.

For more detailed information on prices and information on how to set-up pricing structures for your products, view the Price page.

Affiliated Products Tab

The Affiliated Products tab on the Product Merchandise Profile enables you to associate other products to the product you are currently viewing in the Product Merchandise Profile page.

For example, you can assign a complementary product, a substitute product, and a product that must be purchased first (a prerequisite product). In the example above, the following products have been suggested as affiliated products:

  • A small Abila Tee-Shirt is suggested as a complementary purchase when purchasing an Abila Coffee Mug
  • A small Abila Tee-Shirt can be used as a substitution product if the Abila Coffee Mugs are out of stock
  • A small Abila Tee-Shirt has been specified as a prerequisite product to the Abila Coffee Mug. No coffee mugs will be able to be sold in this organization without first purchasing a Tee-Shirt.

Each is described more in detail below.

Complementary Product Child Form

The complementary product child form enables you to specify what product in inventory is a complementary product (to the item you are currently viewing) and recommended for purchase to your customer. Click the Add Record button to specify the complementary item in a drop-down menu.

For more information, view the Complementary Products page.

Substitute Products Child Form

The substitute product child form enables you to specify what product in inventory can be substituted for the item you are currently ordering in the event it is not available and you do not want to place it on back order. Click the Add Record button to specify the substitute item that should be used.

Once a substitute item has been specified, you will notice on the Centralized Order Entry (COE) pages now that the substitute product drop-down contains the item for the products identified. You are able to click on the Add link directly within the COE form to add the substitution product should you need to do so.

For more information, view the Substitute Products page.

Prerequisites Child Form

The prerequisites child form enables you to specify what product in inventory must be purchased first before the item you are currently viewing. Click the Add Record button to specify the prerequisite item that should be purchased. For example, memberships may be specified as required before the purchase of certain items.

Once a prerequisite item has been specified, you will notice on the Centralized Order Entry pages now that the prerequisite product error message will be generated if you try to purchase this item first without purchasing the prerequisite product first.

Credits Tab

The Credits tab allows you to specify if any credits will be earned by purchasing the item. Expanding this child form will show a list of all credits that have been setup for this item.

Miscellaneous Tab

Shipping Region and Bundle Child Form(s

The Miscellaneous tab contains four child forms. The first two of these child forms are the shipping region and the bundle (component of) child forms.

The shipping region child form enables you to specify what shipping carrier you will use to distribute this product upon purchase. Note that you must have previously set-up your carrier first for it to be available in the drop-down menu. Click the Add Record button to specify the carrier that should be used. When you select the appropriate carrier, the values you assigned to that carrier such as name and shipping costs associated with that carrier will also be filled.

The bundle (component of) child form will show you if this product belongs to a bundle. You do not add this product to a bundle on this page. That is completed in the Product Bundles set-up. However, if you have previously added this merchandise to a bundle, it will be noted here. In this example, the coffee mug has been added to a bundle.

Customer Product Review Child Form

The customer product review child form will contain product reviews written by individuals who have purchased this product.

From this tab, you can view the review by clicking on the Go go to icon, edit the review by clicking on the Edit icon, and/or delete the review by clicking on the Delete icon.

History Child Form

The history child form displays all of the changes made to a product. You will see the name of the field that was changed, along with the old and new values for that field. In addition, the name of the user who made the change and the date the change was made are displayed.

Inventory Tab

Inventory and Vendor Child Form(s)

The Inventory tab contains two child forms: Inventory and Vendor.

The inventory child form enables you to specify and view what warehouse your product is being stored and distributed from. Note that you must have previously set-up your warehouse first for it to be available in the child form. Click the Add Record button to add a new warehouse or to made modifications to your current warehouse for this product.

For example, the image below demonstrates the following for this warehouse selected on this particular product:

  • The primary location box is selected so that if another warehouse is added this warehouse is designated as the primary
  • The low inventory checkbox is selected designating that the user wants to be notified when the product number is 'low on inventory'
  • The notification email has been filled in so that the user can be notified by email when inventory becomes low as specified
  • The reorder point has been specified for this product at 20. This means that when the warehouse tracks this inventory at 20 remaining, the user will be sent an email with this notice so he/she can order more of the product from the vendor.

The vendor child form specifies which vendor has been assigned to create or distribute this product. Just as with the inventory child form, you must have previously assigned or added a vendor to this product for it to be noted on this child form. Click the Add Record button to assign a new vendor or to make modifications to your current vendor for this product.

Editing Merchandise Data

Just above the child form tabs is an Edit button that enables you to add and view additional, related information.

On the Merchandise Profile page, if you click Edit, the Edit Product Merchandise dialogue box allows you to change any of the information you entered at the Merchandise Setup window and also add the following additional information:

  • Re-stocking fee (a fee charged for returned merchandise)
  • Re-order point (when the quantity available is equal to this number, additional inventory needs to be added to the warehouse)
  • An end date for advertising the merchandise as a "NEW" product

Re-Allocating Inventory to Another Warehouse

The re-allocate inventory icon on the Merchandise Profile page allows you to move merchandise from one warehouse to another warehouse.

To re-allocate inventory:

  1. Go to the Merchandise Profile.
  2. Click the re-allocate inventory icon.
  3. On the inventory re-allocation window, select the original warehouse.
  4. Enter the quantity to be re-allocated.
  5. Select the second warehouse.
  6. Click re-allocate inventory.

Centralized Order Entry

Once your inventory has been set-up within NetForum , you may begin to sell it on your Website or use the Centralized Order Entry (COE) process in NetForum to sell products yourself to individual customers. This process is described below. For more details on COE, visit the Centralized Order Entry page.

To Order Merchandise Using Centralized Order Entry:

  1. Go to the Individual Profile who needs a specific product that you want to sell.
  2. Click the Order Entry icon.
  3. On the Centralized Order Entry | Order page, expand the Product Selector menu and select merchandise. (In this example, the customer is purchasing merchandise.)
  4. The Centralized Order Entry - Merchandise | Add Products window appears. Select a product type to search for in the product drop-down menu. In this example, you are ordering a merchandise product for your customer so select merchandise.
  5. Once you have selected the type of product you want to order in the product drop-down, you are able to search for all products under that category your organization has available in inventory. You do this by using the Look-Up button .
  6. The Look-Up button returns a list of products available in inventory. Select the inventory item you want to order. Note the following fields are now automatically filled in for you:
    • The full product name is now completed next to the product drop-down you selected
    • The product code acronym is displayed
    • The product category it was assigned to (if applicable)is displayed
    • Sale price, quantity, and list price are assigned
    • Because you are ordering this item directly from the individual's profile page, his/her name and shipping address are also automatically listed
    • The warehouse where this product is stored is detailed.
  7. You may modify the sale price and quantity fields as desired. However, if you modify the sale price of the item, you must specify the reason for overriding the original price in the override reason drop-down. If this drop-down is blank, it is because your Accounting department has not specified override reasons in their day-to-day workflow. This is accomplished in the Accounting module, under set-up. For more information on specifying price overrides, see the Price Override Reason section.
  8. If any discounts or shipping rates will apply to this product, you can apply them by clicking on the apply discounts and apply shippingicons. All amounts applied will appear in the Discount/shipping/tax area as well as in the itemized total.
  9. Click Save & Add Another to add another item, or click Save & Finish to return to the Centralized Order Entry | Order page.
  10. Notice that when you return to the Centralized Order Entry | Order page, a line item has now been added to the "Line Items" section specifying what you have ordered for the customer. In this example, a coffee mug. The line items details the quantity, price, any discounts, taxes, and shipping rates specified.
  11. Before you can save this merchandise order, you need to specify which batch will handle the payment. You do that in the batch drop-down menu within the batch section.
  12. Next, select a payment type in the type drop-down . Various payment methods will then become available depending upon the type you choose. For example, selecting a type of prepaid will allow you to choose a method of check or credit card whereas selecting a type of terms will prompt you to specify invoice terms.
  13. Select a payment method (type of credit card, cash, or check) or invoice terms depending upon the type of payment you chose.
  14. For credit card transactions, enter the credit card number, credit card expiration date, card holder's name, and payment amount.
  15. Select the auto apply checkbox to apply the payment to the credit card.
  16. Click Save. The transaction is added to the Individual Profile, payments child form. If you check the warehouse where the merchandise item is stored you will also notice that the committed amount has been increased by the amount of items you ordered while the amount available has been decreased by that same amount (if you have selected the track inventory checkbox for this particular merchandise item). This means that your warehouse has committed X amount of this product to this individual thereby decreasing the available amount in storage. For more detailed information on batch processing, review the Batch topic.

Backordered Items

Merchandise can be set up to allow for backorders.

If an individual attempts to purchase an item that is currently on backorder, they will be prompted with a pop-up window informing them of this situation.

Clicking the OK button will add the backordered item to the order and allow the user to continue shopping. Clicking the Cancel button will remove the backordered item from the order and allow the user to continue shopping.

Note: The backorder warning pop-up window is available in both the iWeb and eWeb versions of the COE.

Related Functionality

Additional Information

Configure a Product to Sell Online covers how to set-up a product for sale in eWeb.