Price List and Invoice design
No one wants to grow up to design a list. "Why is that in your portfolio?" Because it made peoples' lives easier. When the Customer Service manager held the new invoices in her hand, she literally jumped up and down laughing, saying, "You don't understand! This is a TOOL we can USE!" I did understand; I'd seen them take customer calls asking where the order was.
Price List Redesign
The brief: Design a pricelist from scratch. It needs to be clear, clean, and accurate. Don't look at the current ones until you have a good grasp of what a pricelist can be.
My role: Sole designer, working with the Director of Business Systems and an outside developer.
Process. My first thought was, "...the website is a pricelist. Maybe pricelists are obsolete." However, our ad hoc persona "Gus the Installer" wants to flip through physical paper in the front seat of his truck. He wants to circle things, total up the job on the back, and call back to the office. He may not have the authority to spend money. Maybe he shouldn't even see the wholesale price... Also, bookkeepers need to update their Quickbooks and estimation software.
I made some mockups based on the invoices I'd designed, and the product categories and ordering we'd worked out for the Portal. Portal items were ordered in tiers of "awesomeness," with flagship products at the top of each category, and replacement parts and closeout items at the bottom. The developer and I worked back and forth, fairly quickly, and he was responsive to my requests to start new brands at the top of a page, and to eliminate "widows and orphans," (which was tricky, but worthwhile).
The outcome: The new price lists are 100% accurate. Prices come right out of the Netsuite ERP, and account for brand level pricing, custom pricing, and individual discounts. The old pricelists were only "level" pricing (you're a "Level 5 Dealer"). Pricelists are self-service: a customer can generate a PDF or a CSV from their "My Account" page, and see everything they can buy, and nothing they can't. In addition to regular US Dealer price lists, I worked closely with the International Sales Director to design International price lists, which include metric weights and dimensions used to calculate shipping costs (this was tricky). Price lists were immediately extended to support Employee pricelists, and Master Pricelists, which include all levels and all brands.
Available as PDFs or CSV files
PDFs are easily navigable, with brands and categories linked as "chapters." Brands always start on a new page, and "Closeouts" are grouped at the end of each brand.
Domestic price lists are in portrait mode, and international price lists are landscape, because they include dimensions.
Customers can choose a CSV format file, for ease of uploading to Quickbooks and job estimation programs. CSV files have more information than PDFs, such as UPC and promo status (new, closeout, etc).
New Customer Invoices
The brief: Make the customer invoices readable and consistent. Re-brand them as "Core Brands," a new company formed from two companies that included seven brands.
My role: I was sole designer, working with various stakeholders to identify the current issues, and the ideal hierarchy of importance.
The process: I talked to people in Accounting, and we marked up the existing forms. I created new layouts with new fields, and we marked those up. Several rounds of changes, honing the design, including placing the Billing Address information correctly to show through the windows in our mailing envelopes.
The outcome: Success (pretty forms that minimized confusion), but the implementation was held up by more pressing functional issues with Netsuite. In order to make the HTML templates live in the system, I had to work with another internal developer to adjust the HTML and insert the calls to the Netsuite fields.
Old Invoices were a mishmash of legacy forms.
Core Brands' forms and invoices had come from different systems, and were legacies of the original several companies. The invoices were hard to read, and were missing key pieces of information. The lack of consistency and design had a direct cost in fielding customer calls, and time spent figuring out which invoice belonged to which customer.
A rule to always put identifying info at the top right corner of every form was carried over to the Price Lists, and the B2B Portal. Page and invoice numbers appear on every page, so a scattered invoice can be quickly put back in order. The old way of putting an invoice back together involved a person hand-totaling columns to see what order a page belonged to.
This format, with some additions, was the template for all outgoing forms, including Credit Memos, Return Authorizations, and International Pro Forma Invoices. Each form was adjusted to have all and only the relevant information the customer needed at that point. For instance, Pro Forma Invoices include "Final Destination" shipping information that domestic customers don't need.